In exactly one month, a big truck will pull up to our house, and all of our belongings will be taken away by strong men with boxes. At least, that's how I picture it will go. Because, we found a house in London!
We did a quick trip to London end of October to do some house hunting. Which was exactly as horrid as you would imagine - apartments in London are expensive, tiny, and ugly. At least the first 8 apartments we saw were like that, and some of the more promising ones were taken off the market right as our relocation officer drove us around town to get there. We went through the ghetto and back, to closet-sized apartments on shmansy streets, and waited around for real estate agents who in the end turned out not to have the key to apartments we were eager to look at.
We were about to give up - talking of plans for another round of searching, possibly staying somewhere temporarily for a while, perhaps even looking at completely different neighborhoods, when we visited 'our' apartment.
Bright, not too tiny (still small), cute mixed neighborhood, right near a 'tube' station, perfect. We put a bid out almost immediately. Yes, a bid. I had never heard of it either, but apparently tenants can outbid each other until you put a crazy fee down (which we did).
Fortunately, the bid was accepted after much back and forth, and we spent the next day walking around our new home town and eating Turkish food near our future place. That was probably the last time we'll ever be able to go out to dinner as we'll be poor from the minute we arrive in London, so I'm glad to inform you it involved a very, ehm, motivated belly dancer.
As soon as we got back to Utrecht, we started sorting out our belongings. The new place is about half of the size of our current apartment (and about 2 times as expensive, so it works out in a strange, messed-up way), so we can't bring all of our stuff along. It's a great way to get rid of the junk we've been collecting and haven't looked at for years (college notebooks anyone?), but there also won't be room for some of the good stuff, like my drawing table or any of my studio equipment.
Fortunately, there wasn't much time to mourn our earthly possessions, as we boarded another airplane on our way to Lisbon, Portugal! I'd booked this trip a while back as a surprise for Jochem. Totally irresponsible, of course, and looking at it in hindsight we should have saved our precious Euros, but it was a welcome distraction. Sunny, beautiful, delicious, and relaxing.
The week after, I got a new tattoo! I had decided on the design a while ago and had booked my appointment a few weeks ago, but I was still nervous because that stuff hurts like a mother. I lived, though, and although the tattoo right now is looking scabby and itches badly, it turned out real nice.
Last week, it was back to normal life. Taxes, bills, scary movies. The usual.
But not before I took one more trip to London to attend a few meetings. I decided to fly in in the morning and fly out the same evening, which sounded like a good plan. Until I had to get up at 4 am to catch my 7 am flight. Fun times, but all the meetings went really well, and at least I won't have any trouble sleeping this week.
And then it was today and I'm drinking coffee and reading John Steinbeck before I get started on my work for the day. So. Bye then!