According to Wikipedia, Thanksgiving is a federal holiday in the United States, celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November. This dry description leaves out that it’s the tradition of gathering with your family and friends – and Thanksgiving in London at Aqua Shard was something even more special again. Disclosure – this time we were guests of Aqua Shard but all thoughts are as ever my own.
Many years ago when I was a university student in New Zealand, I was adopted by a crew of expat Americans.
I blearily cracked open an eyelid – my proper first view of a London morning was framed by the bright red struts of a dorm room bunk bed. I was finally here, and I knew my first job was finding a flat to rent in London. Disclosure: This post was commissioned by Nestpick, who work with more than 1 million listings from 100 trusted partners to provide expats with the biggest selection of mid-to-long term furnished apartments for rent on the internet.
When I arrived in the UK 13 years ago, I had booked my (relatively expensive) temporary accommodation in a hostel on the recommendation of my Travel Agent for a couple of days of as a stop-gap, so that I could start to get my bearings in the city.
My Dearest London,
I feel like I’ve said why I live in London a hundred different times and in a hundred different ways. After all this time I utterly adore you. Even when you drive me crazy. It’s all your fault.
After exclaiming at my British accent (for some reason I seem to be at pains to tell people I am of antipodean origin) people always ask me how I ended up living on the other side of the world. It’s a strange combination of a gypsy soul, an obsession for old buildings and the unusual feeling of homecoming on Heathrow tarmac despite never setting foot on English soil before. But the reason for staying is you (plus a bloke and green-eyed cat which are both definitely your fault.)
Some of the moments that spark joy when travelling are hard earned and some are just ripe for the taking. Our long weekend in Valencia was as easy as twisting a ripe orange from a laden bough.
It began on a cold winter evening, perusing a list of winter sun destinations and within 15 minutes of finding a date both Binny and I could do, we booked the flights and started flicking through the lists of hotels and apartments.
To chase away the impending January blues, Sima (The Curious Pixie), Binny (Food and Travel Diarist), Shikha (always asking Why People Waste Annual Leave) and I plotted a cheeky respite from the winter blues, a ladies staycation in our favourite city, London. Disclaimer: We were invited to spend our London staycation in the Chronicle Aparthotel by Supercity but all views, PJs and meal choices are very much our own.
Did you ever read The Babysitters Club books by Ann M. Martin as a teenager? In one of them (Baby-Sitters’ European Vacation – The Baby-sitters Club Super Special #15 to be exact) some of the group take a trip to London & Paris from their American home of Stoneybrook. They have adventures, dance in professional performances, explore London, meet the Queen – you know, the usual things that teenagers get up to on holiday.