Untouristic in London

Friday 27 June 2014

A few weeks ago, I turned 31.  I've been lucky the last couple of years as my birthday has fallen on or around Whit Sunday & Whit Monday which are public holidays in Norway resulting in long weekends perfect for a birthday getaway.  We tossed around a few ideas as to what to do and where to go but left booking anything until mid-May.  When we finally got around to seriously planning, the prices of flights had doubled on our original itinerary so I jumped on Skyscanner, put in our dates and chose 'anywhere' as the destination.  London was the cheapest so London it was.

We had visited London last year in early Spring and were pleasantly surprised by the city but our stay was short and there was certainly a lot of the city we didn't experience.  Despite an abundance of sites and museums to visit, we did practically nothing a typical tourist might do in the city.  We didn't catch a glimpse of Big Ben.  We didn't saunter by Buckingham or peruse the V & A.  The only time I saw the Thames was from the airplane.  In fact, I left my camera in the hotel room for two of the four days we had in the city.

However, we did love exploring Marylebone, the neighbourhood we stayed in.  We spent some time in Regent Park and trekked up Primrose Hill for views of the city (pictured above.)  We took in The Book of Mormon in the West End and laughed so hard and picked our jaws off our chests at the highly inappropriate jokes.  We shared a lovely breakfast with Jess at Le Pain Quotidien; we got completely overwhelmed by Harrods and we took the tube out to suburbia for a little shopping, North American style (i.e., in a mall.)  We made our way through the market in Camden and bought fudge and frozen lemonade.  We wandered through Covent Garden and we traveled by train to Bath for a day.

While we might have been terrible tourists, it was nice to just be in the city without thinking about checking things off a list.  It felt less like travel and more like regular life.

Regular life as a 31 year old.

The Details
-For the second time, we flew direct with Norwegian to Gatwick.
-We stayed at Dorset Square Hotel.  It was lovely.  Designed by famous English designer Kit Kemp, each room was unique.  We liked the location - close to 2 tube stops, an easy walk to Oxford Street & Regent Park yet quiet and residential feeling.

The FAQ's

Monday 2 June 2014

For those of you not on Instagram

When one announces they're pregnant, it's inevitable that the questions and the comments start coming whether you are ready for them or not.  I remember when we found out at 5 weeks, I couldn't fathom waiting until 12 weeks to spill the beans.  We told our immediate families and a couple of my closest girlfriends over the next few weeks but as we entered the safe zone, something about doing a big attention grabbing announcement didn't feel comfortable.  Of course, we wanted to share the news but the thought of creating a lot of fuss and the subsequent bombardment of questions wasn't attractive to me.  Instead, we slowly told people as we talked to them, one by one (or let our parents spread the news as they had been bursting at the seams.)

Our situation is perhaps a bit more unique which creates a lot of curiosity about how everything is going to happen.  As I continue in this latter half of pregnancy, I might do a few posts about having a baby abroad and specifically in Norway.  Pre-baby, I always thought it was interesting - women do this in every city and in every country around the world and while the result is the same, the process varies.

But, for now, to answer the general questions you might be wondering...

How are you feeling?

Much, much better, thank you.  The first trimester was miserable.  I knew that there was a good chance that I wouldn't be feeling up to par.  I was not prepared to feel completely unlike myself.  I was so happy to say 'au revoir' to that entire experience.  These days, I'm feeling pretty darn good.

When are you due?


Are you moving back to Canada?

No, much to my mother's chagrin.

Will you give birth in Norway or Canada?

I'm happy to be giving birth in Norway.  Norway is a very family-centric society and the system for pregnancy & birth reflects that.  It's also less medical here which aligns a little more with my own personal beliefs.  My care thus far has been really great.  I love my midwife, I feel well cared for and comfortable.  It also helps that this is my first time around the block - I don't have any expectations as to how things 'should' go so I'm not focussed on the differences.

Will your baby have a Norwegian passport?

No.  While he will be born in Stavanger, he does not meet the criteria for Norwegian citizenship.  We'll apply for a Canadian passport as soon as he arrives.

He? Does that mean you know it's a boy?

Yes! He's a he!

Will your parents come over to help out after the birth?

No, I don't think so.  I'm ok with that.  I've always been pretty independent and I like to have the space and time to figure things out on my own.  In fact, most of my friends that have given birth abroad speak of it as a really special time as a couple and family.  I look forward to that.  However, our parents will be very anxious to meet their first grandson (they both have one granddaughter.)  If we take too long to get a passport and board a flight to Canada, they might just show up on the doorstep.

Am I missing anything? Any other general questions?  I won't guarantee to answer them (you wouldn't believe the amount of weirdly personal questions people will come out with) but you can try!

And thank you to all of you who left 'Congratulations' on Instagram - one of the most unexpected but loveliest things has been feeling the excitement of others on this big transition for us.
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by mlekoshi