Our first year abroad came and went last week. The first year was an exciting yet challenging combination of fun travel, stress and isolation. So far this year we get to keep the fun travel and dump most of the stress. Could not be better!
Summer in England. My first Pimm's was at a pub along the river with my sketching buddy. Not a bad way to welcome summertime! Later we wandered a bit more and I got in a quick value sketch of an old church.
(Almost) Six months into packing up everything and moving to England we are pretty much adjusted to our new life. I have some observations.
1) Living abroad is lonely. Moving to a country with the same language certainly helps but the cultural differences are still hard to overcome.
2) You adjust. My kids adjusted the quickest and my husband and I a little slower. Adjustment doesn't happen all at once but it ebbs and flows.
3) Visitors from home are awesome! Our first visitors from the states came in May and we really appreciated spending time with them.
4) But when they leave homesickness will be rekindled.
5) Living abroad is addictive. I love not being super tied down and hope to live in other countries in the future.
6) There are so many flowers and birds in the UK! At least in the area that I am blessed to live in.
7) I am allergic to at least some of that beautiful plantlife. This past May was by far my worst experience with allergies.
8) I don't know why crosswalks exist since drivers constantly block them.
9) Traffic is the worst! But walking, biking and public transit are all reasonable options. (Despite the crosswalk blocking vehicles)
10) Living here still feels like a dream that I am going to wake up from.
Late start plus a convoluted journey led me to London to sketch Hampstead Heath with the London Urban Sketching group. Next month they are coming to Oxford!
Nothing exciting except after twelve years of single floor living and two kids this simple staircase is just about the best thing. A bigger space for my family, tons of inspiring local structures to draw as well as a vibrant art community to join plus traveling all over Europe these past five months in the UK have been pretty fantastic.
Finding myself already counting down to our next vacation. On vacation in new countries I don't expect to know anybody and don't have the chance to feel bad. Here in England when I go out and am around people it is the worst because at home I know people back home through online. But out there I know nobody. Feeling alone in a crowd feels like a horrible party every time I go out of the house. It rarely bothers me I'm so busy and preoccupied with making art and growing my skills and business, but when it does ouch! Summer might me difficult for me.
365 days of creativity for 2015, a month of daily blogging for March and April and 100 days of flowers on Instagram. It was only a matter of time before I missed a day of something. That would be blogging yesterday! Oops! Flat out forgot about it with everything going on and I am not going to waste my time feeling bad about it or using it as an excuse to quit. Instead I will think about sunshine filled playgrounds, spending time with my kids during the last day of spring vacation, scooters, butterflies, sketchbooks and drawing workshops. Mistakes happen.
Next time I go to Paris I'm taking the train! Rookie mistake. Trying to save a couple of bucks was not worth the hassle of airports and customs. Just glad to be back and with a fridge full of fresh food and the endless laundry we brought back with us started.
Is showing up more and more after a long spell of Oxford dull dreariness. Happy Friday!
And I am learning to be okay with that. It's still a sketch despite an obvious lack of binding. I could gather these loose paintings up and bind them in a book later. Or not. I am learning to not overthink and over plan the process of art making and what better time to start than now?
Shelving is up and my printmaking tool pegboard is up. That makes me officially moved in to my new space in England!
Spring sprung a few weeks ago here in Oxford, or so I thought before it got cold and grey for an extended period of time. Today marks the first official day of spring and the sun is shining and flowers are blooming. Hurrah!
After two months of setting up painting at various dining tables throughout our stint in temporary housing I am energized by my newly set up art studio! I have a filled palette for my studio and I am ready to paint all day long. In fact that is pretty much what my Monday looked like.
Life drawing drop in is tonight. Since today is Charlotte's day home with me I really need that time out to focus on art. I need to pack my bag with the right collection of supplies.
It's lovely here in Oxford now that we are no longer tripping over each other in temporary housing. Just tripping over boxes, but we are making progress moving in and prioritizing certain rooms over others. I could get used to this living room view and space.
My studio is comfortable and I was able to spend the morning painting. It's a good life out here.
That is what my life here is here as we wait for our stuff to arrive so we can move into our apartment. Over a month in temporary housing and our furniture and possessions just arrived and now we begin the hard work of unpacking and moving in. We got rid of a ton of stuff when we left Boston, but apparently not enough!
My awesome birthday gift this year is being here and not in snowy Boston right now. While it hasn't always been easy it is such a wonderful opportunity and adventure. Happy to be turning 37 in the United Kingdom!
It's been a month already! It has been a long and challenging month with stress and illness. But good things are ahead and I am very excited to stretch my creativity in England and the rest of Europe. In a month I will be all moved into my new art studio and it will be spring. Spring and flowers in March! I can hardly contain my excitement.
We expected moving to a new country with small children to be difficult. And it has been difficult, but mostly in ways that we didn't anticipate. Back to back illnesses for me has killed my sketching in Oxford groove. But I'm finally starting to feel better enough to start drawing again. Not outside yet, too much congestion for that. But it will come soon enough and I will enjoy it!
My current art space my be small but it contains my essentials and is accessible. As I start to get used to my new time zone I will spend more and more time with the contents of this drawer. Doing so should help me cope with the loss of my community and general homesickness as we all adjust to our new lives over here. When is it going to start feeling real?
Lately I have been too preoccupied to clean up at the end of each creative session. They blend into each other and there is a mess growing in my art studio. The art studio that is getting packed up and moved across the ocean next week. A little mess is okay with me as long as I keep creating. So far 2015 is off to a great start. I am excited about where my art is going to take me.