Plan no plan

I fully planned a terrific post for today detailing where we live, what our neighborhood and tube station look like, etc.-
(gigantic) camera in hand, we left our housing for the tube station…me snapping pictures like an overzealous tourist.
But then I realized half-way through our trip that I had no SD card in my camera…grrr!
So this will be a short post, but hopefully a bit funny!
The kids and I set off for the mall in London.  It’s called Westfields and it is gigantic!
We spent our first week and a half navigating tube stations to as many parks as I could muster.  
But today, we endeavored to go to the mall.
I think of the mall as a safe place, perhaps in a different sense than you would think.
After having babies, I would spend a few days a week at the mall.  Not to shop, not to walk-off baby weight, but because it was the next easiest place to home- bathrooms, food, play areas, air-conditioned and most importantly a little distraction from the extreme exhaustion and cabin-fever that seemed to arrive about a month after birth.  
In addition, my very dear friend, Marin, had her children at similar times as me, so we could both meet there together and congratulate each other that we made it out of the house: dressed, at a respectable hour.  

This was not my experience today.  

For us, going out does not involve a vehicle, but a series of buses, tubes, or both.  I think it’s about a 20 minute drive from where we are, but using the aforementioned forms of transport, it is about 45 minutes away.  No problem, we are walking-off excess energy and learning the ropes of transportation in London.  And I am definitely committed to public transit after years of living in my mini-van transporting children to and from school, activities, etc.  I am happy to be walking!
Anyway, Westfields is gigantic.  No problem, I have already mapped out the stores that we need to visit so I can be efficient.  What I didn’t plan on was the new experience of taking non-infants to the mall.  I forgot that I completely stopped doing this about 2 years ago.  They are now walking and talking and seeing toy stores, candy stores and cookie shops- and they are now capable of running toward them.  Additionally, hiding in racks of clothing in gigantic and unfamiliar stores is fun, and escalators are the urban play area.  So my little happy-distraction mall time bubble was burst.  
But there are small victories in this.  A large part of my role in these first few weeks is teaching the kids to be wise city kids.  Without the protections of familiar places and the mini-van, we all need to be a lot more savvy, careful and aware.  We see and navigate new places everyday, and as I kid, this is understandably fun and exciting. It’s exciting for me too!  But I am trying hard to learn myself how to navigate and be safe, and how to teach the kids to navigate and be safe as well.  
We’re learning, and it is good and hard, as is with most learning.  Today I learned that the mall is a place for adults to visit- and that if I really need something, I should order it on Amazon.  The kids learned that stores and escalators are not play areas.  They are also learning the being bored is ok, kinda normal and not a reason to complain.

Below are some pictures of previous transit adventures…and a picture of Eva seizing the opportunity to climb at the gates of Buckingham Palace- why not?

Buckingham Palace

South Woodford station, we visited last night and are considering living here 🙂

More soon, as soon as I can remember my SD card 😉

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