Peter and I have moved back to London.
I do not recall when the London 2.0 seed was planted but it was many, many months ago. In February, our little seed started to sprout and I processing the move in the form of background thoughts as we carried on with normal Seattle life.
At the same time, I slowly started decluttering our house in anticipation of the move. We’d been living in Seattle for three-and-a-half years and there were boxes in our garage that had not been opened since they were packed and sent to storage during London 1.0 in July 2011. And if I’m being honest, the contents of those boxes had not been touched since I moved from Minneapolis to Dallas in November 2007. I found an 8-bit Nintendo tucked away in one of those boxes (it still works!).
By April, our seedling had sprouted a single leaf. Paperwork was signed and it the relocation was official though not yet public. In May we put our house on the market for sale. We’d read and heard that the Seattle housing market had cooled and our house was on the market longer than we expected but it did sell – it sold on the day before we were going to pull it off the market and list it as a rental property.
Whilst the house was on the market, I created a project plan and began organizing the stuff in the house into categories:
- Airline luggage
- Air shipment
- Sea shipment
The movers arrived on June 25th and completed their work on June 27th. Peter flew to London that night and I began my cross-country adventure driving our car, plants and remaining wine to Minneapolis. I arrived in Minneapolis on June 30th and departed for London on July 4th.
We closed on our house in Seattle on July 5th and the following day we put in an offer on a flat in Islington, London. That offer – which is an offer to lease/let a flat – is still in progress and I “touch wood” that it will be finalized this week.
Overall, the UK rental housing market is still a cluster fuck but it is simplified this time around because we do not have dogs. On a positive note, a major change has recently been implemented by UK immigration…
Protip: Beginning on May 20th, 2019, UK immigration expanded the use of ePassport gates to seven more countries. They have done away with Landing Cards and USA passport holders can now use the ePassport gates at points of entry (i.e. Heathrow). If you are a USA passport holder (or holder of any of the cited countries) and over the age of 12 (or not traveling with anyone under the age of 12), head straight for the glossy ePassport gates like a boss and you will be through immigration in a matter of minutes. It is, quite simply, brilliant.
We are currently living in a serviced apartment in the heart of Kensington, directly off of the High Street. Kensington is a nice area – “Little America” I call it – but it is too far from Peter’s office so living here permanently is not an option for us. If all goes well with our reference checks, we will move into the Islington flat at the start of September.
The final piece of the puzzle after moving into our permanent accommodation will be waiting for our sea shipment to arrive. It is estimated that the sea shipment will take 9-11 weeks so for the first month or so, our flat will be fully furnished with rental goods. And when I say “fully”, I mean fully – flatware, cookware, dishes, beds, sheets, sofas, towels, etc.
Finally, I’ll address the question I am asked most often: How long will London 2.0 last? We don’t know but it will be somewhere between 2-5 years. We set out on London 1.0 with a 2-year plan and that turned into nearly 5 years so…