In all honesty, there have been many difficulties with being in London, especially for the family. The weather is rubbish. It’s crowded. We didn’t know a ton of people before we got here, so we lost all sense of community and place. It’s really difficult to get around with the kids. Buying a car has done wonders in this regard, but it’s still not easy, especially compared to the States where you just pop everyone in a car. Just getting things done – partly because of unfamiliarity, partly because of the city life, partly because of the culture – is hard. We have a new thing where, when we’re frustrated by things here, we raise a fist to the sky and yell “London!” Add to that the additional responsibilities I have at work related to being a site-builder and the additional responsibilities those entail, as well as personal issues going on, and it has not been easy on the family.
I’ve gone through stuff myself also, most notably repeated health issues. I already wrote about losing hearing in my left ear. I’ve also been struggling with a painful pinched nerve for the past month. It shoots from my neck all the way down my left arm. It was borderline unbearable for a few weeks; slowly getting better but it’s still a bother. The kids nightly prayers’ for me are fairly pathetic – please help Daddy’s ear, neck, shoulders, back, and arm to get better.
And yet, despite all that, I like it here, and I personally would like to stay here longer. And some people don’t understand that. But here’s why. There are 3 things I really value in life, that are huge determinants in my happiness. Those are: a good church life, doing things, and having new experiences. And we’re getting all those things here. I really enjoy the church we’re at; it’s a separate story in itself, but it feels alive, and as we get more involved, it feels more and more like a missional community where something is happening, and we jive with the worship style, teaching, and culture. I value that. In terms of doing things, even in California, I much prefer going out and doing things with the kids than lounging around at home. And there are endless things to do, kid-centric and not, in London. And I have new experiences virtually every day. So I like it here. Quite a bit.
Last Saturday kind of symbolized all that’s great about London. It was a sunny day, and the kids went with a school friend to the HMS Belfast. Us fathers joined them for lunch at a Tapas place (the mother is native Spanish). The continental food is pretty good here, and we had a good, long conversation with people we would never come into contact with in Cupertino. Afterwards we walked through Regent’s Park, getting an ice cream there on the way and passing over the zoo before we went home. That there’s good food and amazing parks with interesting people all in such close proximity – it’s pretty incredible. I can’t think of another city where that’s even possible. When it’s sunny, London is just about the best place in the world.