Over a month has passed since my last blog post. Sorry for the radio silence! I still can't really believe that I've left London and moved back to Dallas! It's exciting, bittersweet and terrifying all at once. I definitely plan on sharing more in-depth recaps from my recent adventures. In the mean time, here's a quick and dirty run down:
- Left Google on April 1st
- Spent 3 days in Berlin
- Spent 2 days and got food poisoning in Paris
- Went skiing with some ex-teammates (again) at Val d'Isere in the French Alps
- Embarked on a 12 day Ring Road adventure in Iceland
- Briefly returned "home" to London one last time before moving back the states
- Met my beautiful newborn niece, Kressa, in Dallas
- Reconnected with old friends in DC
- Celebrated Eric and James's nuptials in Charlottesville
- Returned to Dallas in search of a new home and car (FYI: I bought a Subaru!)
Needless to say, it's been an action-packed 40 days. I've had an unforgettable time and even managed to learn a few things along the way. Here are some takeaways from the last few weeks:
Take a break
When I left my last job at Deloitte to join Google, I took zero days off between gigs. My last day at Deloitte was on a Friday, and I immediately flew to San Francisco for Noogler orientation the following Monday. This time around, I managed to squeeze in some much needed time off for myself. Although I wish I had even more time, one month was enough for me to clear my head, refocus, re-energize and even check a few things off the bucket list. All my life, I've been programmed to keep my foot on the gas. Taking a break meant lack of progress and waning ambition. Gradually, I've learned to appreciate a healthy work life balance and slow down...once in a while :)
Moving is a pain in the ass
Over the past 8 years, Michael and I have moved 7 times across 4 cities, 2 countries and 2 continents. This last move from London to Dallas has been (and continues to be) the most challenging. We sold all of our furniture and somehow managed to pack our life into a few dozen suitcases. This doesn't include the largest (and most expensive) move: our dog! To this day, I still feel like there are tons of loose ends we've left behind in London. Have we cancelled our council tax, TV license and utilities bills? Did we pay off all remaining credit card bills in the UK? Did I forget to turn off the heater in our old flat? We'll never know...
The repatriation struggle is real
A lot of my globe-trotting friends who have since moved back to the US warned me that repatriation can be a challenge. They were right. Yes, we were only away from the states for 2 years. However, over the course of those 2 years, we built a great life and quickly found our daily routines, friends, local hangouts and favorite pastimes in London. Leaving all that behind has been an emotional struggle. We also grew to embrace some cultural quirks abroad. As soon as I moved back to Dallas, I noticed the differences. I'm swapping delicious Indian food for Tex-Mex, Dinner Date for Fixer Upper, football for football and EDM for country music. However, one thing is making its way to the US just in time for our return: Eurovision!
The world is getting smaller
Perhaps the thing I will miss most about London is its proximity to so many amazing destinations. We could literally travel to any city in Europe on a cheap 1 or 2 hour flight. Thankfully, moving back to the US won't stop me from "frequently wandering". If anything, Dallas opens up tons of new short haul destinations in the US, Central America and South America. Additionally, there are multiple direct flights to London everyday in case we get the itch to return :) New innovations in aviation have made long-haul travel much more comfortable and faster than ever before. The thought of a weekend trip to Asia no longer seems so far-fetched.
Book a trip to Iceland immediately
I can't wait to share with you all our experiences in Iceland. It was an unforgettable 2 weeks. While you eagerly wait for the upcoming blog posts, go ahead and book your vacation in Iceland immediately. Tourism continues to boom as more and more direct flights from the US crop up. We barely beat out the Kardashians, who arrived just a few days after us. A few quick pointers:
- Consider visiting during the shoulder seasons (spring and fall) to avoid skyrocketing prices and flocks of tourists that arrive in the summer. Yes, weather may be unpredictable. However, no matter the conditions, the country is jaw-droppingly gorgeous.
- Give yourself plenty of time in Iceland. You might think you can squeeze everything into a week. Good luck with that. Even with nearly 2 full weeks in the country, we felt very rushed.
- Go further afield. Don't just limit yourself to Reykjavik and the uber-touristy Golden Circle. With more time, you can explore far less frequented parts of the country like the East Fjords and North Iceland.
Beware of the Google 15
Just 2 weeks after leaving my job at Google, I lost 6 pounds. I can't attribute this to a new diet or fitness routine. The primary reason for my rapid weight loss is that I no longer have access to Google's bottomless pit of food. No more free lunches, breakfast buffets, TGIF happy hours, stocked microkitchens and espresso machines. Yet even after losing 6 pounds, I'm still 9 pounds away from my pre-Google weight :(
I'll be completely honest. I still don't quite understand how to use Snapchat. The app is kinda gimmicky and the interface is a bit clunky. However, I find myself spending more and more time snapchatting (is that the right terminology?) every single day. My friend Courtney suggested I use Snapchat while in Iceland. It quickly become a fun way to share our experiences in real time. I didn't have to worry about painstakingly editing photos for my Instagram feed. I could just send out a snapchat of myself wearing a floral wreath!
The only constant is change (and coffee)
2 weeks ago, Michael and I went to Charlottesville to attend Eric and James's beautiful wedding. Before the festivities, we also got to spend some time reconnecting with old friends and colleagues in DC. Every time I visit DC, I'm shocked by how much the city has changed since I last lived there. Neighborhoods we once avoided at all costs have become the "it" spots in the town. Old dilapidated buildings have been converted into beautiful coffee shops like La Colombe. Similarly, the Dallas we are moving to is not the same Dallas I grew up in 15 years ago. I'm energized by the rapid development and recent growth that has given this city new life and character.
Family means everything
Just as we reached the halfway point of our Ring Road excursion in Iceland, I got the news that my sister had given birth to beautiful baby girl. I was finally an uncle! If you can't tell, we're still pretty bummed about leaving London. However, knowing that Michael and I get to be closer to family and spend quality time with baby Kressa has made this move that much more meaningful. I'm very excited for our life ahead in Dallas. I'm even more excited about spoiling the hell out of my little niece!