Sunday, November 09, 2008

Finally in London!

Well I've finally arrived in London! The entire transition and relocation process, while at the time seemed to drag, has really come and gone pretty quickly. For the most part, it was a smooth move. My last month in California was spent with quality friends, family, and of course my wife. It seemed the lunches, brunches, happy hours, coffee dates, and dinners would never end and now that I've had some time to detox and reflect a bit, October 2008 may have been one of the greatest months of my life. When you make such a big move like this, you really learn to appreciate the blessings in your life. While it's bittersweet, I'm comforted in knowing that Lily will be with me shortly, we already have several visitors committed over the next several months, and our stay in London, while long term, is only temporary and we will one day return to the blue skies (most of the time) of California.

When I arrived in London on October 30th, they were experiencing colder than usual temperatures for this time of year. In fact it had just snowed the night before, but not enough to last on the ground. The last several days have been more temperate, but with lots of light rain. I work at 40 Bank Street in Canary Wharf on the 25th Floor and the views from that level are amazing. However, since it's been fogged and cloudy most of the time, I only just saw the view on Friday for the first time. Indeed my co-workers even joked with me that yes, the sun does exist from time to time in London.

I spent my first couple of days in London with my relocation agents looking for my permanent housing accomodation. The "flat" hunting was a very valuable exercise because it allowed me to tour different neighborhoods in London to get a feel for the space of the city. The area we covered was diverse and varied significantly. Each neighborhood in London is unique in its own way, but I ultimately decided to live in either Islington (Angel) or Clapham. The decision between these two areas was difficult (there is a big North and South divide in London). I've decided to live south in Clapham because of the combination of wide open green spaces and the urban atmosphere.

I am currently staying in Isle of Dogs, near Canary Wharf in a corporate flat. The area is really an artificial city, built out of the wastelands of the former docks and recreated as an ultra-corporate headquarters for the world's largest banks. There isn't much of a character to this area as most of it is newly built and it's skyline is defined by highrises and condominium towers. Beneath Canary Wharf itself is a gigantic shopping mall. It's comfortable and convenient for the time being, but I am looking forward to moving to a London neighborhood with more excitement and culture.

I hope this was an insightful first post to let people know what I've been up to over the last week. I plan to write regularly and frequently, so please feel free to provide questions and comments!


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