Sunday, July 24, 2011

Empty Nest/Cocktails in Kensington

Sonia flew back to San Francisco on Wednesday.  We had a brief scare that morning as she was planning to take the Tube to Heathrow, but half an hour before she was going to leave, we discovered the District line was experiencing severe delays.  I made a few frantic phone calls and was able to find a local taxi service that was able to send someone right away AND quoted a fare of £29!  Sonia reported back that the ride went smoothly and they charged her exactly that -- no scams or hidden fees.  I'll definitely be calling them next time I need a ride to/from the airport.

After a week and a half of overlapping house guests, it was a mixed blessing to have the house to myself again.  I enjoy having visitors to explore the city with, but I did have a lot of mundane things I needed to do.  Lots of laundry, mail, and email had piled up while I was gallivanting about with Robin and Sonia, and the cupboards were bare, so most of the rest of the week was devoted to taking care of things on the domestic front.  Not very compelling...

Friday evening Josh and I Tubed up to Kensington to attend an AWC cocktail party at the swanky flat of one of the members.  I think they have these once a month, and it's one of the few events that spouses are encouraged to attend, so I thought this would be a good opportunity for us to meet some new people.  The hosts were originally from the San Francisco area, but had moved to London from Hyderabad, India.  That seems pretty common -- many of the expats I've met here have lived in other countries as well.  They had an amazing penthouse flat with panoramic views of London -- and the World's Smallest Lift.  I'm mildly claustrophobic, but I'm generally OK in elevators.  In this case, though, I had to take a few deep breaths before stepping inside.  The lift was only big enough to accommodate 2 people, and the ceiling was just a couple inches above Josh's head.  There was a mirror along the back wall, but it completely failed to give the illusion of the space being larger than it was. The brown carpeting along the sides didn't help much either.  I was so happy when the doors opened at the top!

Our new friends Sarah & Christian were there, and a couple of women I had met at previous AWC events, so it was nice to see a few familiar faces.  But everyone at the party was very friendly and Josh and I had a nice time chatting with our fellow expats and sharing funny stories about the unexpected culture shock we all experienced when we first moved here.  I hope we'll be able to attend more of these spouse-friendly events together.  And I'm looking forward to doing more tours and other activities with the AWC.  Now that I have an "empty nest," I need some new friends to explore London with until the next wave of visitors arrives.

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