Scenes from Our Neighborhood

October 22nd, 2010 by carolyn

So we have spent this week exploring the neighborhood in between doing fun stuff like getting phones, getting a new drivers license and organizing our stuff.  It has been beautiful autumn weather here and its been nice getting out and exploring our new (old) home.

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The lake, art, funky buildings and what American neighborhood would be complete without 7-11 and McDonalds?  So for those of you still reading, a poll……..

Is anyone interested in hearing a bit about our observations as we move back to Chicago?  Is it interesting or just annoying?  When this whole blog started out 3+ years ago, Matt was writing a lot of “wow, this is really interesting about London stuff”.  Is it time to do a bit of this in reverse?  Let us know what you think.

A Safe Passage to America

October 18th, 2010 by matt

Well, we’re back! So far, all is smooth, we are getting a lot done and beginning a jetlagged adjustment. On a happy happy note, Chewy behaved like a professional traveling cat and arrived this afternoon at O’Hare. After about 30 minutes of curious, spooked poking around, he’s finding his old hangouts in his old home and following me around like he hadn’t spent 16 hours in a box. Way to go Chewy! Here he is having his first US meal:


Lots to do and next week, I start work again! Sweet! 🙂

Goodbye London

October 17th, 2010 by matt

Our stuff is on a boat, we’ve moved out of our flat, our finances are sorted, a myriad of goodbyes have been said and all the other little things required have been dealt with (we hope). It’s time to head home again.


In a few hours, we lug ourselves to Heathrow for one last flight and say goodbye to our home for these past 3+ years. Chewy will join us the next day on his second trans-Atlantic flight. It’s been a wonderful experience and we’ll miss it, but a new adventure calls.

Goodbye London.

Goodbye London

September 23rd, 2010 by matt

Well, this was it, 30 minutes before we threw our packs on our backs to head to the airport and parts unknown. After that, we had no keys, the flat was officially vacated. We’d already tearfully said goodbye to Chewy and left him with the wonderful Heather and now it was time to say goodbye to our home of 3.5 (for me, at least) years.


A sad moment, but time for a new adventure.

Saying Good-bye

September 18th, 2010 by carolyn

We have hit the final countdown in London and the past two weeks have seen Matt and I both finishing up at work.  We have been exceptionally lucky in that we both have been graced with amazing colleagues.  We have been fortunate enough to not only enjoy working with our colleagues but have developed some of our closest friendships in London through work.  It has probably been the key reason why we like it here so much.

So, saying goodbye has not been easy.  Last week I had my work leaving do at the Vortex, a jazz club in Dalston, that I have been meaning to check out for ages.  It was a lovely evening for sitting outside and enjoying some pints and food and then a few of us listened to the Deirdre Cartwright Band upstairs.  Matt’s leaving do was this week and we went to the Old Fountain, one of Matt’s favorite London pubs for some general merriment including ale followed by some Malaysian food.  It was great to celebrate with good friends but not easy to say good-bye.  Maybe we will leave it at so long for now.

Exploring London

August 9th, 2010 by carolyn

So I have officially hit “tick that off the list” mode which essentially means that I am trying to take advantage of as much as I can in London before our upcoming move back to the US.  I am trying not to be too obsessed with it but on the other hand there is still so much to see.  I would be impossible to see everything London has to offer even if you lived here your whole life but I am doing my best with the time I have.  Here is a little round-up of some of the spots I/we have been over the past few weeks.

I think one of the best ways to explore London is by foot.  One of Matt’s friends gave him a great gift when he moved to London – City Walks 50 Adventures on Foot.  Basically it contains 50 cards with different neighborhood walks around London and at this point we figure we have done all but about 3 or 4 of them.  Recently we covered a few more cards when we visited a former colleague of mine in Chiswick, walked around Chelsea, and did a pseudo-pub crawl around Clapham Common.

In Chelsea, we visited the Physic Garden founded in 1673 as a training garden for apothecaries.
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Next we walked through the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea, a retirement home for British soldiers /pensioners and spotted one of the remaining elephants from the London Parade of Elephants.
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In Clapham, we visited the Common (Note what the amazing sunny, rain free summer we have been having has done to the grass!) and some pubs.

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My second favorite way of walking around London is taking a guided tour with London Walks.  We have taken quite a few walks in Greenwich, Hampstead, Canterbury and East London.  After work last week I decided to join a tour around Westminster because I haven’t really spent much time in that area.  We got the general history of the Palace of Westminster (Parliament) and Westminster Abbey and also got to wander the streets in the neighborhood.  The most interesting part of the tour was seeing these signs for WWII bomb shelters on a very posh intact street just behind the Abbey.

This past weekend, I visited another London Park – Gunnersbuy Park in Acton Town to join in the London Mela Festival, an annual South Asian festival featuring music, food and fun fair rides.  Sorry no photos.
I have also been trying to fit in a few of the smaller museums around London. We thoroughly enjoyed the Wellcome Trust, a personal collection of medical oddities, and the Wallace Collection, a personal collection of master artwork in an amazing home full of furniture from the time of the French Revolution.  The Dickens Museum was worth a stop to see the place where Oliver Twist was written.  We also returned to one of my favorite London spots, the British Library, to see an amazing exhibition of maps from all over the world and all through history.  Here is a photo of the outside of the British Library where you can find the original manuscript of Alice in Wonderland, the Magna Carta and supposed notes written in Shakespeare’s own hand among other original works.


I’ve got a few more weeks and plan to continue exploring this amazing city.  If anyone has any suggestions or wants to join me let me know!

Time for Some Big Changes

July 10th, 2010 by matt

Well, we’ve not made mention of it on the blog, so I thought it was time. I started writing here in January 2007, a few months before I moved to London. Now, in the next 2-3 months, our time in London will come to an end. I’m going to transfer back to Chicago, same company, back to the same apartment. And yet, in the last 3+ years, nothing is really the same. It’s been a time of so many change for Carolyn and I, that this is just another one of those. Weddings, deaths, new friends, a million new experiences. But now it’s time to move back. We’ll keep updating here. Originally, it was mostly just for a few people (particularly Carolyn while and I were apart). It’s remained that way, but it’s also become a chance for us to make a semi-permanent (we’ll download all the entries and print them) record of what we’ve done here.

Anyway, that’s some big news! More fun to come. 🙂

A Very Matt and Carolyn Wedding

May 12th, 2008 by matt

So, on 10 May 2008, I married a wonderful woman. Most of you who read this have met Carolyn by now and know she’s pretty darn cool. Allow me to officially introduce you to my (hee hee) wife, Carolyn:


I’m not sure who that snazzy lookin’ guy is, but I hope she married him 🙂

We’re working on getting Carolyn’s visa set up now, but we’ll spend a day or two in NYC to relax while we deal with all sorts of chaos in the meantime and I head back to the UK in less than a week. So many wonderful things going on. Married life so far is going very well. I wouldn’t change a thing.

She’s here!!!

March 16th, 2008 by matt

Well, it took a year, but Carolyn is finally making the move. She arrived for her first really extended stay on Friday night. She makes the final, official move after the wedding (in 2 months!). Now we’re stocking my bachelor pad up to make it a little more friendly to others as Anna and Chewy get used to the confusion of another person around. And, as luck would have it, the hot water broke in my place. Allegedly, it’ll be fixed tomorrow morning. I never realized how much I love having a shower nearby. We have some nice friends who are letting us borrow theirs, but it takes a little trip to get there. Never fear, Linda, your daughter is not stuck without a hot shower.

In the meantime, I’m obviously very happy to have her here. It’s nicer to have your loved ones around in person than over the phone. And, the waiting is over as Carolyn begins her adjustment to a pretty big move. Here’s a picture of Carolyn and her new roommates:


Carolyn and Anna Will Soon Be Re-united!

February 26th, 2008 by matt

Soon, I’ll have more pictures of this again:


This is a short little post to point out the fact that, in 17 days, Carolyn will begin the move to London. I say begin because even when she flies here on 14 March, it’ll only be a temporary trip. She will not be living here for real until after the wedding. But that’s pretty soon too! In the meantime, I’m not complaining. I’ll be very very happy to have her in my direct world again. It’s been a long year and I’m glad we’re near the end of it.  🙂

Another Link to Chicago Leaving

November 17th, 2007 by matt

Well, today is officially Carolyn’s last day in Chicago. She had a little gathering a bar called the Globe (and English style bar, I might add). Tomorrow morning, she and her friend Mehreen, will be loading up her car for the trip to NJ, leaving Chicago after three years. It’s very bittersweet. I’m sad she’s leaving Chicago (for herself and because it’s one less person I know there), but it means she’s closer to joining me in London, which is nice.

Everyone wish Carolyn a safe drive and good luck on her next round of adventures!! 🙂

Getting back into the blogging saddle — with kitties!

August 2nd, 2007 by matt

OK, I was able to leave the office at a reasonable hour, have a leisurely dinner and decompress by sitting on my ass in my flat for once. Let’s start up the blogging again with these cute little critters:


Anna looking pensive


Chewy zonked out

Now I’ve said I wouldn’t dwell too much on the cats, but there’s developments afoot! In one week, these sweet little creatures will be crated up and take a crazy ass adventure across the Atlantic to join me in London. Just writing this makes me incredibly nervous. It was wonderful to see them again in Michigan (I’ll get to that in the next week), but when I think about the 12 hours of hell they’re going to go through just so I can be with them again, I worry. OK, first of all, I hope it’s not hell. And when the come out of their crates, then they will be home again. Even if home is a long ways away and nothing like the last two homes they were in. But I’ll be there.

Anyway, Anna and Chewy are coming soon. I’ve got a lot to do to prepare for their arrival. Woo hoo! 🙂

My Last US Roadtrip

May 11th, 2007 by matt

It’s been a long week of things not worth writing about. So I’d like to take a step back. Almost 2 months back to a time when I still lived in the US and it was winter. I had one week before my departure and was getting things together for storage and moving. My parents, about to enter the blissful world of retirement (or rather semi-retirement), were in the process of putting the finishing touches on what is now their home in Michigan (which they share with my Aunt Judy and Uncles Mark and Marvin — a jolly little sitcom could be made). As of St Patrick’s Day, the place was very near completion. The guy doing the work was a machine and had managed to go from complete demolition to a livable house in less than 6 months. Here I was moving to England just as my parents were about to finally be geographically close to me for the first time in 12 years. Well, I’d grown up visiting the old house that stood where the new house was and I really wanted check it out before I left. That, and I needed to store some things there 🙂

So Carolyn and I prepared for a road trip. I rented a mini-van and did a massive push to get all my computer crap and a bunch of boxes together and off we went! But not before a little side trip. While I had lived in Chicago for 5 years, I had yet to experience the wonders of the green Chicago River on St Patrick’s day. And the day of our road trip was in fact that very Irish of holidays. Here is what the Chicago River looks like in a bright shade of green:


This is in comparison to when it’s usually a murkier shade of green.

Anyway, the drive up to Michigan was nice and smooth. I believe it was the last time I’ve driven. My aunt and uncle were already there which meant I had a chance to wish them farewell before my trip. We got to the house and were thoroughly impressed. My family had managed to capture the essence of the old house, but enlarged it to house a lot more people and taken a crumbling place and made it suitable for many people to live in. There are some great colors on the walls and I love the big ass porch. This is what it looks like from the exterior (keep in mind they had literally just finished a lot of the big stuff so it was still a work in progress):


We spent a little time unpacking the mini-van as well as taking in all the nice rooms (ranging from the gi-normous downstairs rec room to the cute little office). However, since the plumbing wasn’t quite ready, we made our way to a hotel, the Bay Point Inn, a nice new-ish hotel on nearby Gun Lake which was the inspiration for many of the cool color schemes in the new house. After a dinner of Guiness and fish and chips, we retired for the night. We went back to the house to explore it some more and take some nice photos:


I miss Carolyn 🙁


Yep the Schroeder genes make us tall!

Although it was a short trip, I was happy to have made it. Hopefully, I’ll have a chance to see the finished, completely furnished product in July. We said our goodbyes and Carolyn and I hopped back in the car for the return trip. But, before returning to Chicago, we decided to make a little detour. A fine gentleman by the name of Tony used to be in a running group with us in Chicago. He had finished his PhD and had moved to the far far outskirts of Kalamazoo for his Post-Doc. We decided to drop by and check out his life in Michigan. He surprised us with a very short hair cut (the previous week we’d seen him and he had long hair) and gave us a tour of his life in the rural Midwest. One of the Kelloggs had bequeathed a lot of land to MSU and it was now a great place to study ecology, which Tony studies. It was a very cool layout and he was living in an old farmhouse near campus. After a little tour and walk, we went into Kalamazoo to check out the Bell’s brew-pub. It had a cool hippie-vibe, which I hadn’t expected. Anyway, here’s Tony having I believe a Bell’s Porter:


After a quick beer, we hit the road. Since then, I’ve moved far away, the house is now completely furnished, Carolyn ran a marathon, my cats have moved from CT to Michigan and now get along with my parents cat and my parents are living a nice life in the cozy confines of their new house. A whole lot of change in 8 short weeks!

Hope you enjoyed a little trip in my time machine. I’d meant to add this a long ways back, but it’s been a little hectic. This weekend will be quiet and it looks like the London rain has arrived, so it might be a little uneventful. So chew on these pictures and this story for a bit.

I have an apartment!

April 7th, 2007 by matt

So I have an apartment. I got the keys this afternoon and, when I got there, there were two people just finishing up cleaning. it’s pretty much empty, but it’s mine!!! It feels a little odd. But the neighborhood is already growing on me. I’m at the office for a brief stop over so I can pick up my stuff (a suitcase and a very large duffel bag) and then i’m off to, ummm, ‘unpack’. then i’ll try picking up some basics so i can do laundry and whatnot. I took some quick shots, but it’s very similar to the original photos I took. woo hoo!!