Monday, August 1, 2011

making friends and memories

Meeting people in London has been different for me than it has been in the states. Back home it was easy to find friends through my church. And extremely easy to find friends with kids my kids' ages. And honestly, I kinda just stuck to those people from church and didn't really find a need to branch out and make more new friends. I had plenty and great friends!
London is different. Our church doesn't have a lot of children Marisa's or Natalie's ages unlike California, and London is not known to have a sense of community either. (A Londonder told me this on why they don't really celebrate Halloween here.)
So I've had to join many playgroups and go to many activities in order to be social, meet other mums, and see the same familiar faces in order to make friends. I've even had to go out of my comfort zone a little to make friends too.

Several weeks back, right after our Spain trip actually, I was on the bus after church when I saw a lady with her three kids get on the bus. I over heard the young boys talking to their mom in an American accent. I at first thought they must be tourists, but I then realized our bus mainly goes through more the residential areas and became curious on where they were going to stop. I wanted to ask where they were from, why they were here, etc., because I was so curious. But I just ignored the thought in asking them such silly questions. No one here just suddenly talks to strangers and asks them questions about their life.

I over heard the mom speak back to her sons in this awesome familiar American accent and something inside me again told me to talk to her. But I immediately thought again, "No, no one does that here. She is going to think I'm a weirdo. People on the bus are going to think I'm weirdo. What if she is just a tourist? What a waste to talk to her."

I ignored this little prompting at first, but as we got closer to my stop my heart then just started pounding. Why? I really had no idea why then. I mean, why must I talk to her?
My heart then began to not only pound but burn as we were approaching our stop. I couldn't take this strong feeling anymore and immediately caved in, went out of my comfort zone, quickly tapped her on her arm before we arrived to our stop and said, "Are you American?"
I got a warm smile back with a reply, "Yes I am!"

And the rest really is history.

-We ended up getting off at the exact same stop.
-She lives right across the street from us.
-She has a four year old daughter just a month younger than Marisa.
-We were both coming back from our own churches.
-She is a stay-at-home mom like me.
-She is American.
-Her husband works in Canary Wharf like mine.
-They are here for 2 years like us.

Now I know why I had such a huge prompting to talk to her. My heart only beats like that when I must do something. I'm so glad I listened.

We immediately exchanged numbers right there and like I said, the rest is history.

We see them at least weekly and have become great friends.

Shauna is another great person to cross things off my list with because we have similiar lists for London. And I must add that we also both have to find things to occupy our children here for 2 years! So today we decided to take our children out to the city and explore some London fun.

We took the bus all the way down to Coram's Fields. We are so lucky that we don't have to pay for a double-decker tour experience. We get to experience it everyday! Except I have never been at the top but once because I am always down below with the buggy. Such a fun experience to be at the top and front row.

Coram's Fields is a private park for children with several playgrounds, a paddling pool, huge sand-pit areas with spurting water, a cafe, everything to keep our children extremely happy and entertained for hours.

Side note: I will never understand the European speedo look here, even in children. I'm not kidding when I say that our children were the most clothed in their one piece swimsuits for the girls and board shorts for the boys. All other children wore only their speedo, underwear, a nappy (word for diaper here), baby swimsuit bottoms only, or just plain naked.
A baby store here that I shopped at sold only swim bottoms and matching hats for girls. Who needs tops? Who needs one piece swimsuits? Just go topless! Weird.
Oh yeah, I forgot...these children weren't only naked in the water area. Little boys with their little wee-wees, completely naked, playing in the sand-pit. Very weird.
Anyways, we at first choose a rainy day option and a sunny day option and this was the perfect sunny day option as it got up to 83 degrees today! Super rare around here!

Our girls are like two peas in a pod, literally, and I am SO, so, glad I opened mouth to talk to Shauna. They have been such great friends to us and I'm sure glad we have them to experience London with the next 2 years!


Kari said...

I'm happy for you! :)

Fisher Family said...

Memories come flooding back to me when I read this! I remember trying to join every kind of group to make friends when we were there! We even walked a mile to this church every week for a playgroup just to socialize. Who ever thought making friends would require so much effort :) I love reliving through you. Enjoy it! It will be over before you know it! xoxo

L said...

YAY!!! So cute!


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