Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Yesterday, I was able to cross off another item from my "101 Things I Want to Do Before I Die" list! I attended Wimbledon! Ever since I started playing tennis, I have always dreamed of going of seeing The Championships Wimbledon in person. Wimbledon is one of the few (if not only) major sporting event that reserves a significant number of tickets available for purchase the day of the event. While most of the tickets for the show courts are sold in advance to corporations, groups, schools, etc, all of the groundspasses (over 30,000) are on first come, first serve basis. This is a time honored tradition that I am convinced is not found anywhere else. I arrived at the grounds a little before 9am with no idea what to expect. I quickly learned that "queueing for tickets" is taken for seriously and everyone becomes very prepared (blankets, picnic breakfasts, books, etc). Some people had even camped out overnight for the 500 tickets available for centre court. There is even an entire pamplet distributed to everyone entitled "A Guide to Queueing for the Championships." With just my camera and small purse, I joined the que. We were all informed by an Honory Steward, decked out in jacket, tie, and hat, that we needed all soon receive que cards that would guarantee a ticket. After standing/sitting in the que for about a half an hour, we received our que cards. I happily accepted card number 5,640...not too bad for my first attempt queueing for tickets. After receiving our que cards, it became a waiting game. Around 10am, the Stewards began to move the lines toward the turnstiles as the grounds opened at 10:30am. After being led towards the turnstiles, we then waited in a long line that slowing moved towards the grounds. Right around noon (the start time for the first matches), I finally passed through security (yes, they put all bags through an x-ray machine), paid my 20 pounds in cash (no credit cards accepted), and was standing on the grounds of the All England Club. The entire process was extremely well organized and easy. The whole experience was AMAZING. Even though I could not see the show courts, I saw some great tennis and some of the top players in the world. I am going to head back there later in the week and que for evening tickets (you can get buy tickets as people leave the grounds for only 5 pounds to see the late day matches). It is crazy to believe that this is all just a tube ride away from my flat. I will definitely post some pictures after round two!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Our New Neighborhood

Here are some pictures of Hampstead! I took these last night during en evening stroll. I recently purchased a new SLR digital camera so I love to pretend that I know what I am doing. Sorry about the funny layout but you can click on them to make them larger. Cheers!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Hello London

I am here! I made it. I am officially a resident of the UK. Can you believe that actually let me into the country? There is so much to say that I don't know where to begin!

After a sad goodbye to my family in Knoxville, I spent a very short 24 hours in Charlotte. It was very surreal driving away from our house to the airport. I was sad, happy, exctied, and nervous at the same time. The flight was smooth and I was literally smiling as I walked (I had to control myself from running) through the airport to meet Jiggy. I exited the terminal to see Jiggy waiting with flowers! He had been waiting for over an hour!

My firts day in London was rather unevenful. I was tired from the trip but we did manage to end the day with some exploring around our neighborhood and a great dinner of pasta and wine!

Yesterday (Monday), Jiggy left early for work and I headed to the Heath for a run. The Heath is an amazing wooded area/park with ponds, pools, walking/hiking trails, tennis courts, and even a track! I cannot wait to take Schlopy there...there are dogs everywhere and they are allowed to run free! He is going to be one happy little guy (Mom, give him a wet one for me!). We are very lucky to have this just steps away from our flat. Later that day, I ventured the the grocery store and quickly learned that I have to buy small loads as I struggled back the to the flat with all my goods. After spending almost 45 mintutes figuring out how to turn on the oven, I finally made a great dinner of pizza and salad.

Today, Jiggy left for Rotterdam so I am on my own for the rest of the week. I again headed to the Heath and proceeded to get very lost. My 45 mintue run turned into almost 2 hours. Wow! That place is huge. We are still settling into our place. We did get our air shipmet of mostly chothes but will not receive the sea shipment unit the first week of July. At least we have rental furniture until then. We don't have tv or internet (I hate to admit that I am at McDonald's for the first time in almost ten years right now....hey, they have free internet acess) but do have a home phone (thanks to the phone guy that woke me bright and early this morning). Although our flat is small, I think we got a great place! We have an incredible sunroom and garden that is quickly becoming our favorite place. With the help of creative storage and our own stuff, I am confident that our flat will be very comfortable. Oh, I am going to make sure we have room for visitors so book those tickets!

I am quickly learning that it is going to take time to adjust. Everything is so different. The accent (am I am Disneyland?), the transportation (you better have comfy walking shoes), and the shopping (no Target here). However, I actually like the differences. I like the fact that there are not 20 different types of peanut butter in the grocery store or that people are not too lazy to walk 1/2 mile to run errands.

Umm...I guess that is all for now! I will post some pics soon. Thanks for all the comments. I love reading them.


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

No Turning Back Now

Well, there is no turning back now. I finally have a ticket for London. A one-way ticket! On Saturday evening, I will be cross the pond to my new home. I definitely have mixed emotions. I am very sad to say goodbye to family and friends. Also, Schlopy has to stay in the states (lucky Grandmom and Grandad) until late July to avoid quarantine. It is going to be hard not having the little guy follow me around the house, waking me up early in the morning, and giving me sloppy kisses. On the flip side, I have not seen Jiggy in a few weeks and I miss him dearly. I am excited to start this new adventure together....experiencing a new culture, traveling throughout Europe, and just living in London is going to be amazing. We are very fortunate to have this opportunity and I am determined to make the most of it!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Over the River and Through the Woods

Today my dad, sister, and I are heading to Boston to visit my paternal grandparents! Both of my grandparents are almost 90 and are in amazing shape. They not only live on their own but they are constantly doing house projects. When I was there in the fall, he spent the weekend ripping up and then replacing his stone pathway that leads from the street to the house. Oh, he originally built his house with his own two hands (plumbing, electrical, etc!). I will take a picture of my grandfather's cellar...it is unbelievable. It is packed full of machines, tools, and thousands of nails (all caterogized in tin cans and recorded in a notebook!). I admire both of my grandparents tremdously and it is going to be hard being so far away from them.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Relaxing on the Lake

I am still at my parents house relaxing on the lake. However, with miles of calm lake, two boats, a jet ski, and a kayak in the backyard it is hard to relax too much. I find myself constantly doing something. I definitely could retire here one day.
Jiggy is off to Amsterdam bright and early tommorow morning for work. He has been bouncing around from hotel to hotel the past few days and just trying to settle in. He is amazed at how different things are in the UK. He feels like he cannot even speak English! I think he is definitely experiencing some culture shock. He bought a temporary, pre-pay phone from a vendor on the street. Well, he soon become very frustrated when the phone would not work. He went back to the vendor on the street (Jiggy was convinced the vendor sold him the phone and skipped town), and learned that he simply did not know how to turn the phone on. OPPS! Our misadventures begin.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Goodbye Charlotte

Wow! A lot has happened over the last week. We sold our cars (Have a nice life Razzy and Little Lightening...don't forget to write), packed our stuff, spent two days watching movers take away our stuff, and attended an expat orientation in New York. After the orientation, Jiggy and I parted ways at the airport. With his passport, visa, and one-way ticket in hand, he boarded a plane for London (NOW this is real). I returned to Charlotte in the hopes of finishing a long "to do" list. With an empty house, no stuff, and practically living out of a rental car, I only last a few days in Charlotte. Yesterday Schlopy and I found ourselves driving to my parents amazing lake house in Tennessee. I wasted no time and quickly hit the lake swimming, skiing, and jet skiing. I love this place...it feels like summer camp. I do feel slightly guilty knowing that I left a ton of loose ends in Charlotte so I am sure that I will be back before leaving for London. Oh, I still do not know when I am heading to London...no worries, just minor details!

Jiggy is doing well in London. He is currently staying at a hotel until our air shipment arrives with the trusty air mattress. He does have the keys to our flat and went there to check on things...he is very excited about our new home and although it is small, he confirmed that we found a great place! Jiggy starts work tomorrow (Monday) and they are wasting no time putting him to work...he flys to Amsterdam (umm...that should be interesting) on Tuesday for a 2 week project! I miss him already and cannot wait to get over there to start this adventure together!