On Gratitude

A new parents meeting for our girls' school

The perfect house where the headmaster lives.  Isn't that green door awesome?!

The perfect house where the headmaster lives.  Isn't that green door awesome?!

Trafalgar Square at sunset

I've been so full of gratitude lately and November is the perfect month to put some of that on paper.  So here goes...

I am grateful for

1. This amazing city we are so lucky to live in.  When we first moved to London, several local friends said that they thought it was "the greatest city in the world".  I was a skeptic because the initial transition was difficult, but now I totally know what they're talking about and I wholeheartedly agree. This city has sunk its claws into us and we are forever changed because of it.  

2. The beautiful buildings everywhere you look.  There really is no shortage of uniquely gorgeous buildings- everywhere you look and at every turn.  Sometimes I will take a book to read on the bus while I get around and I have a hard time keeping my nose in it because of this.  

3. How clean London is.  The powers that be are clearly devoted to this and I love it.  Every time we come home from a vacation, I notice it all over again because it isn't like that everywhere in Europe.  

4. The gardens.  Wow.  I cannot imagine the amount of work and design that goes into tending these perfect plots of land scattered all over the city.  I've never seen anything like it and I can now appreciate a true English garden.  I love that we live so close to Regents Park so we can see the gorgeous greenery anytime and you should, because it is changed out all of the time.

5. The school my kids are so incredibly lucky to attend.  A couple of weeks ago, Brian and I got to attend a meeting for new parents at the home of the headmaster (see pictures above).  We were both blown away by the philosophies, care and devotion the teachers and administration have for their jobs and their students.  Like blown away.  A few days after this meeting, parents of 4th graders were invited to come to a musical informance (informal performance) where the kids in Taylor's class were all playing the xylophones together.  Their teacher asked the eager parents (myself included) to put their phones away so they could really SEE their kids playing instead of watching it through a screen- which I loved!  The thoughtfulness of that set a perfect mood.  I was almost brought to tears when it started and I can't really explain why other than an overwhelming sense of gratitude for this whole experience that my kids get to have.  It is so unlike anything they've ever done and I just felt so many happy emotions from getting to take part in it.

6. How healthy we've all been (Knock on wood, right?!?!).  No one has been really sick since we've been here- minor stuff only.  It doesn't happen often with 4 kids in school, but I sure am grateful for it.

7. The culture we get to experience.  So much talent, whether its artwork at a museum, people performing outside of the tube, broadway plays everywhere, and every different kind of cultural food you can imagine.

8. The diversity in London.  You can walk down our street and literally hear 10 different languages.  Its pretty amazing. 

9. The proximity to so many countries and the ease and affordability of travel.  I could go on and on and on making this point.  Life-changing, eye-opening, growth stuff.

10. Our church, more specifically our ward here.  Brian and I both have callings that have stretched us a lot.  We have a close relationship with the missionaries and have had so many opportunities to share the gospel in our home, which has been such a great experience for our family.  We are deep, deep, deep in the mission field out here and I love what it has done for us.

11.  Our family and friends back home.  We miss you guys so much.  Because of the time difference, it makes communication with the States hard, at best. Its not easy to stay in touch all of the time, but we think of you often.  Since living here, my grandma has passed away, one sister-in-law and two sisters (my twin included!) have had babies.  Its been really tough not to be there for these things and to feel SO FAR away.  I'm just grateful that our family has so many people that we love and that we know love us.