Our First Tea Time: The Lavender House

The Lavender Room 7Our day-to-day schedule is not so bad, now that we’ve moved, considering we’re all cramped into a single hotel room and we’re five hours ahead. But we do frequently find ourselves wishing for an afternoon snack to tide us over till dinner and then yesterday, it finally dawned on me: That is why British people have afternoon tea. DUH.

We saw the cutest little teahouse a few days ago, on the same block as the laudromat (called a launderette, here) where we washed some clothes. It is called The Lavender House and when we tried to head in while we waited for our stuff to dry, we were told they were closing. (It was 4 p.m. Not a lot of demand for tea after that.)

So we went back today.

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Officially Brentered

Sometimes, it just takes a breakfast buffet with your own tiny pot of coffee to make things feel okay again.

A trunk, four suitcases and a pack-n-play: the most luggage I've ever traveled with in mu life. When we arrived at Gatwick and our driver saw us, he just backed away, shaking his head in horror, so that was a good start.
A trunk, four suitcases and a pack-n-play: the most luggage I’ve ever traveled with in my life. When we arrived at Gatwick and our driver saw us, he just backed away, shaking his head in horror, so that was a good start.

Yes, we’re officially in the UK. I know this because when I browse the internet, the ads and suggested links are turning British. Oh, and also when I look out a window I see England. Yes, the trip over here, and first day, were like tiny little hellscapes. Let me tell you why.

As previously reported, our friends Pete and Megan and their adorable puppy Lola graciously opened up our home to us until things got sorted. It was great to have some extra time with them, and the few extra days did buy us time to handle a few things outstanding – mainly, even after shedding or shipping probably 90% of our belongings, we somehow still had too much stuff.

Most of you probably haven’t gotten rid of most of your stuff to move overseas. I know I hadn’t. It is difficult, but not for the reasons you’d think. We actually didn’t find it hard to let go, for the most part. What I didn’t initially grasp is that inventorying every item we own is really just a series of thousands of tiny decisions. I don’t know about you, but I do not make every decision perfectly, the first time, and that’s what led to us overestimating the suitcase space we’d have and coming to Megan and Pete’s with way too much stuff. So once again, there was sorting and decision-making and repacking and despite our best efforts, we ended up leaving behind a small pile of things, for which I am about to issue an apology to Megan and Pete, but maybe Lola would enjoy some of Dexter’s toy balls.

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Brentering, Deferred

So, despite selling our house and being bon voyaged, we are still in Florida. I will attempt to make a very, very, very long story short.

This is the actual crate. I'm so happy Dexter's wagon fit but Matt thinks that space would have been better used another way. We've agreed to disagree.
This is the actual crate. I’m so happy Dexter’s wagon fit but Matt thinks that space would have been better used another way. We’ve agreed to disagree.

In order to apply for our visas, we had to obtain a passport for Dexter and then send the whole family’s passports, plus Dex’s birth certificate, our marriage license (all originals!) and a two-inch thick sheaf of paperwork to the British government. The visas were approved while we were visiting family up north, and because the package required a signature, we arranged for it to be delivered to our home Friday, the day after our return to Orlando.

From there, the plan was to spend the weekend packing and discarding, with a break for a bon voyage party Saturday evening. We’re having a 200 cubic foot crate shipped to the UK, and that pickup was Monday morning. Sign papers to close on house Monday evening, officially get out of house Tuesday morning then fly over Tuesday afternoon.

Except, when the package arrived Friday, it only contained Matt’s passport and visa. Dexter’s and mine, along with our important documents, were missing.

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