***Hey! Leave a comment and win a fab box of American and London(ish) goodies! See end.***
Yes, it's official. After six years, four months, and seven days, on Friday, I'm moving "back" to Chicago. (I say "back" because I'm not a native Chicagoan but rather lived and worked there for eight years before moving to London in 2004. My hometown is somewhere between Long Island, NY and Fort Lauderdale, FL.)
If given the choice, I would stay here in London. But we aren't always masters of our own destiny. (That being said, in 1998, a palm reader in Hong Kong told me, "Whenever given the choice to move, MOVE. Change is good for you.") And so it is that I go. (The abbreviated story is that I'm moving back for an excellent job opportunity.)
I debated this post for ages. How do you say goodbye when although you might be physically moving, your heart is still with a place and you are sure you will be back? I started out with "10 Things I'll Miss about London." But then the list got too long, and I couldn't narrow it down. Nor did I want to. It's a rambling list, but I'm in a rambling sort of mood these days and well, it's my list, not yours. So bear with me. Here's what I think I'll miss. (And I have permission to update this.)
Marks & Spencer Roast Chicken. Olive Magazine. (I'm hoping they'll deliver to Chicago.) Welsh Rarebit at St. John. The comte at the Borough Cheese Company. Macarons from Laduree and Pierre Herme. (Still so sad that Yauatcha stopped doing them. I'm waiting for a savvy person to start doing macarons at markets, and I'm looking forward to trying the ones from Macaron Chicago when I get back to the States.)
Direct debits. Pizza Express Salad Dressing. Living etc magazine. The 55 bus, especially from the front row at the top. Liberty. Waitrose. Penn State Sour Cream & Chive Pretzels. Green Valley. Pret's Scrambled Egg and Roasted Tomato breakfast baguette. My old flat at the top of a converted spice warehouse in Shad Thames, The "never a dull moment" stories from my building in Clerkenwell. (Rats. Dead people in cardboard boxes. The brothel.) Grazia. The bike scheme! (Hey, I'll at least get a couple of days out of it, assuming my key arrives by Tuesday or so.) And how no matter what day or time it is, CSI is ALWAYS on.
Broadway Market on Saturdays. Borough on Saturdays. Columbia Road and the Sunday Up Market on Sundays. The (nearly) yearly Orla Kiely sample sale. My landlord. My 15 minute walk into work. The roses in King Square. M&S underwear. M&S flavored sparkling water. The Jerusalem Tavern. The Westbourne. Crazy Homies' margaritas. The lounge area at Eyre Brothers. (Skip the restaurant. Just go for the bar snacks.) The (burned to a crisp) East Room. The bartenders at Milk & Honey. The London Bloggers' Meetup. Freecycle. The London Eye.
The sweethearts who work at my local Indian and say hi to me every time I walk by even though I haven't eaten there in AGES. (They take too long, but it is good food.) My dry cleaner, Ty, who helped me out when the hookers downstairs were really getting to me. The singapore noodles and the chili spareribs at my local Chinese. The Japanese ladies on Brick Lane. Rob Ryan. Cheshire Street. Did I mention Green Valley? Fernandez & Wells. Spitalfields. Come Dine with Me. Concerts at Kenwood House. The waterbus between Camden and Little Venice.
The staff at Nicolas, the wine shop. The Sampler. How easy it is to split the check here. How close we are to France. The "new" Kings X. Whitecross Street. The crunchy tuna rolls at Pham. Terminal 5. The fishcakes at Plane Food. (I've had them three times now.)
You know I could go on and on, I will stop there because I can barely see the screen through the tears. But again, I reserve the right to come back and edit this post and add more as it occurs to me!
Now this is the contest bit. Over the years, have I entertained you? Made you sad or glad or mad? Please say hello (and goodbye) and leave a comment! I'll pick a random commentator using Random.org and send them a box of London and American surprises in the post, as long as the winner lives in the UK. (Please include a valid e-mail address in your comment and if you don't respond to my "You've won!" email within 48 hours, I will pick another number.) Contest will close Monday, August 9th, 2010 at 12 noon Chicago time/6 p.m. London time.