Reflections on a year in the UK

Our year in numbers:

Steps walked: Over 3,000,000 each. Thanks, no car!

People who learned how to walk: One. We can’t even begin to calculate his steps

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From not walking to standing in his two wrong shoes.

Public transit rides: Over 11,000. Again, thanks no car! And thank you Transport For London – you really are amazing,

Visits to parks: Over 275

Flights taken: Over 25? I really have no idea.

Friends made: 16-ish. It’s an evolving number.

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Baby friends! Vicente, Viv, and Scarlett.

Countries visited: 10 – Germany, Netherlands, France, Italy, Spain, Morocco, Czech Republic, Wales, Mexico, USA, with Germany being my most frequent destination oddly.

Family and friend visits: 11!

Flats lived in: Three

Times I forgot my passport and T had to rescue me: Two (I didn’t need a passport to take my 4.5 hour flight to Texas, why do I need it for my 1 hour flight to Germany?)

Babies born: One

Amount I miss our family and friends in Boston: Immeasurable.

How glad we are we undertook this adventure: Immensely.

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From one of our first pub visits in July 2015, and then daily life from Aug 2016. Max isn’t a baby anymore, but someone else is!

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We decided to move here for a lot of reasons – firstly because we wanted the experience of living abroad as a family, but second because we agreed that this would be great for my career.

It was a little bit of a hard decision to keep the move on track when we found out I was pregnant (13 week when we took the flight over), but we were committed to the adventure. It didn’t make things THAT much more complicated. #Imlying   However, it did make it easier in some ways to make friends since we took an NCT class and met 7 other couples expecting kids at the same time.

The journey has been lonely at times. Anyone who has moved to a new city can attest to that. We went from being surrounded by loving family and friends to feeling like a solitary family unit floating around London. T and I experience this differently – his weekdays were no longer spent with Steve, and mine were surrounded by new coworkers as part of a new piece of business where everything had to be established, not just social connections.

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A new walker and his dad in Aug 2015.

The payoff in terms of my career has been tremendous. I regularly work with and present to VPs and CMOs of very large companies – all about search. I smile when junior team members say that they want to learn channels besides search so their career is marketable — because the demand for search planners, managers, etc is off the charts here. [To be clear, I respect them wanting to learn other channels but just not for the reason of being ‘marketable.’] [Also – if you’d like to come work in London in paid search or SEO please let me know.]

There’s something nice about being at a new company in a new city — about leaving your past behind in many ways. Not that our / my past was bad; it’s just that very rarely are we in a situation where ALL relationships are brand new, and impressions newly formed. People know me first as a 35 year old American marketing professional with two kids (or one kid with another on the way); they don’t have the memory of 28 year Casey who was too casual at a client meeting or 25 year old Casey who got unreasonably upset at work or 31 year old Casey who was an enthusiastic manager and speaks really loudly. I suppose that’s not really a function of moving to the UK per say – it’s a function of leaving a company I was at for 9 years (and had a wonderful experience at for the record).

Being in a new place can be exhausting. Or maybe it’s having a toddler and a baby – but it’s probably both. I can say that a year in, I don’t have to check the map three times before leaving and then every block on the journey. I know where to buy cardamon and lamps and jeans (answer: Amazon. Just kidding. Kind of.). I sort of know how to get refill prescriptions from my GP. I love WhatsApp for talking with my Boston peeps. I definitely know what to consider when running a global piece of digital marketing business – though as they say, the more you know, the more you know you don’t know.

I don’t know how I’ll feel in another year or three – but I am glad we undertook this adventure. Here’s to pushing yourself – personally and professionally – because you just really never know what will happen as a result.

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Max and Viv enjoying life.

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Patio time!

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5 Differences Between Mexico City and London

This post is kind of silly because basically everything is different between Mexico City and London. But here are my top noticed differences:

1. Food. Give me Mexican any day! Finest restaurants in the world but also killer street food and cheap eats abound. I think I had five different carbs at lunch today. But also a great steak, tacos, and apparently sushi, though I didn’t try it this time. Our potato chip puff things at the steakhouse were served in a basket made of rippled potato chips. Whhhaaattttt??!!!

Potato on potato on potato

Potato on potato on potato

Tacos de pollo

Tacos de pollo at the local hole in the wall.

Gelatina gelatina gelatina !

Gelatina gelatina gelatina !

The street food I wanted to eat but didn't. You're welcome, baby.

The street food I wanted to eat but didn’t. You’re welcome, New Baby. Even the corporate part of Mexico City had street meat!

2. Colours. Or Colors. Or Colores. So many colors, from the graffitied buildings to the greenery to the markets to the clothes to the taxis to basically everything. Even though the weather here was basically the same as London (rainy), it was so much brighter! I had to restrain myself at the market because I wanted to bring all of the colors home. I mostly succeeded but I mean, I had to spend the pesos I had left because who knows when I’ll next be in Mexico?

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Flowers. Duh.

Flowers. Duh.

Even the sinks are colourful.

Even the sinks are colourful.

Workers at the Frida Kahlo museum. Man, she loved colour!

Workers at the Frida Kahlo museum. Man, she loved colour! Her house is a deep blue on the outside, and called “Casa Azul.” She also did a lot to advance the consideration of crafts as folk art.

3. Transit. I could have taken public transit at the end of my trip… But everyone here drives. One of the things that is the same – Uber!! But damn the drivers here are crazier than London. Basically anyone middle class and above has a car so traffic is notoriously bad. We sat in plenty of it.

4. Language, duh. Though most corporate people speak English, and obviously hotel and travel people speak English, most people only speak Spanish. I sound like a 5 year old when I speak Spanish, and understand about as much as a 5 year old too. Ok maybe more than that. I sat through 1.5 days of meetings that were mostly in Spanish. I’d try to add something and would use 66% Spanish and 33% English. Hey, I was trying. I think sometimes my comment was even relevant!

5. Service. They are really committed to service here. Either they’re working hard for the 15% tip or staff is affordable enough they can have lots of people on hand or they’re just nicer than Londoners or some combination. People often went out of their way. And then there’s my infamous second floor airplane seat!! I LOVE CLUB WORLD ie WAY EASIER TO SLEEP ON THE AIRPLANE IN A FLAT SEAT CLASS.

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Enjoying my complimentary OJ, footrest, and extreme recline.

Really I did enjoy the trip, effective business time and all, but I couldn’t wait to be home.

Bonus pinata action video!