Alan’s First Trip to London

My productivity and level of endurance sometimes amazes even myself, but honestly, I know all that strength comes from the Lord. After spending 6 weeks traveling around Europe, we headed home, packed up our entire house of 10 years and moved a few streets down. I summed that up in one sentence, but it was no small feat. On a practical level, one has no idea how much stuff they have accumulated at home until it’s time to move. Even for a constant purger and KonMari advocate like myself, I was astonished at the amount of stuff we had accumulated in the past 10 years. Needless to say, I hit the ground running as soon as we landed in SFO. On an emotional level, it’s incredibly hard to leave a home where some of the your fondest memories were made. We basically raised Bridgette in that home for most of her life, and the majority of her childhood memories were made there. To leave it almost felt like we were permanently closing a chapter of our lives that we were not ready to close.

Fortunately, prayers (lots of prayers) helped us greatly. We were reminded that when God leads us to a change, it’s always for the better. We just had to trust in His plans for us. Clinging onto something that God intends for us to let go is never a good idea. And so, with tremendous faith, we focused on purging, packing, and moving in two week’s time. We were grateful that we could remain in the neighborhood that we love so much and that Bridgette would still be physically close to some of her best friends in the area.

At the time of moving, I also turned in Bridgette’s passport for renewal. Technically it wasn’t due to expire for another 8 months, but I had read that passport renewals were so backed up it would easily take 2 or more months to receive the new one. Since we didn’t have any travel plans for the remainder of the year, there was no better time to hand over that passport!

Much to our surprise (and delight), Bridgette’s passport renewal took only 4 weeks. With her new passport in hand, and the move completed, we decided to hit the road once again! Our dear friends Karen and Vasilis had invited us to their upcoming wedding in London, and we were ecstatic to get to celebrate them in person!

This would be Alan’s first trip to London and Bridgette was keen on showing her daddy some of her favorite spots. We stayed near one of our favorite areas in London–Covent Garden, which was already full of Christmas festivities by the end of November. For the first few days, we took Alan around the city, indulging in fish and chips, street food, and high tea at Bridgette’s favorite place Sketch. My sister surprised us with a very special Christmas gift. She booked a professional photographer to follow us around for 3 hours to capture our family. We walked over 20,000 steps in one afternoon hitting many iconic places around London for this shoot, and even though our faces felt frozen from smiling too much in the cold by the end of the shoot, we were grateful to receive some spectacular photos!

During our first week in London, we also got to reunite with friends whom we hadn’t seen for a long time. The Kemps’ were one of the first families we got to know closely when we started Worldschooling. Bridgette and I have visited them in various countries through the years, but it had been several years since our last reunion due to the pandemic, so it was really nice that they drove from Bristol to spend the day with us. We also had dinner with Natalie, Lawrence, Abby and Zoe whom we knew from my sister and her family. They had recently moved to the UK from Hong Kong, and it was nice to catch up with them to hear how they were settling in.

We ended our time in London with Karen and Vasilis’ wedding festivities. The wedding itself was cozy and intimate, with many of Karen’s family from Canada attending through zoom since it was still difficult to travel internationally at the time. I’ve known Karen’s family my whole life and they hold a very, very special place in my heart, so getting to attend this wedding and to spend time with them meant a lot to me!

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