Monday, July 11, 2011


Our weekend was pretty quiet.  Josh got back from DC Saturday morning and slept on and off for most of the day while I tidied up around the house.  We went out to Nando's for dinner, just to get out of the house, and took a walk through the lovely South Park Gardens near our house on the way home.

Yesterday we slept in, made waffles using the Trader Joe's pancake mix Josh smuggled back from DC, and then spent the middle part of the day cleaning and doing laundry.  In the late afternoon, we hopped on the Tube and went up to Kensington to meet a former neighbor of our friend Diana for tea.  Kensington is a lovely part of western London where a lot of Americans live.  It is also home to the Victoria & Albert Museum, the Natural History Museum, Kensington Park, and several other attractions, so there are many American tourists around as well.  It can be easy to forget you are in London at times.

Diana's friend has lived in London for 10 years now -- although they still own their house across the street from Diana's parents in NJ -- so she had some good suggestions for meeting people, places to travel, and coping with the idiosyncrasies of life in London.  She also confirmed what I keep hearing from other Americans here: it's very difficult to make friends with the locals.  Most of her friends are expats -- not just Americans, but from all over the world.

I imagine the same is true of many parts of the U.S., but Washington DC is not one of them.  It is such a transient place that it's rare to find someone who's lived there their entire life, so people tend to be more welcoming of newcomers because they were likely new to the area once themselves.  You'd think the same could be said of London, but that only seems to be the case within the expat community. Several people -- including Diana's friend -- suggested I join the Kensington & Chelsea Women's Club (KCWC), as it has a larger and more international membership than the AWC, so I may look into that as well.

After tea, Josh and I walked up to Kensington Park, which was full of people enjoying the cloudy, but warm, day.  The gardens around Kensington Palace are particularly lovely

Darn!  Some guy walked into my photo! (These shrubs must be a bitch to prune)
We stopped at a Dutch pancake house for dinner on our way back to the Tube station and had GIANT crepes.  I didn't think to take a photo until Josh had already folded his dessert crepe into a giant blob, but it started out as a banana split on a pancake the size of the plate -- about 16 inches in diameter. 
We were both shocked that he managed to eat the entire thing, especially after he wolfed down a lamb stew crepe for dinner, but it was that good.


  1. While I have more immediately in common with expats, I've found that befriending locals helps me feel more at home here. We talk less about the oddities of living in London and more about our lives in general. Strangely, spending time with them makes me feel like less of an outsider than spending time with expats!
    Ultimately, though, I don't really care where my friends are from. It is just nice to have people to hang out with and enjoy the company of since all my friends are so far away!
    Speaking of, we need to get a dinner date at our place on the books!

  2. I'm so happy you had the chance to meet up with Lisa!


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