Goodbye, New York, it’s been emotional

Kay Bermudez photo shoot - the DCs with 'Love' sculpture 6th Avenue & West 55th Street

Start spreading the news. We’re leaving today (well, next week). After three exciting, crazy years, we are leaving New York and returning to London. We’ve experienced New York at its finest, and it’s been way beyond our expectations. As the song goes, in New York, concrete jungle where dreams are made of, there’s nothing you can’t do. And anything is possible. We’ve driven in New York traffic.  We’ve lived under the Obamas and the Trumps. We’ve even made a little New Yorker of our own… Fuhgeddaboudit.

I’ve been chatting about this with C, and interestingly, he says he feels like a New Yorker now, whereas I still feel like an expat. He regularly plans his weekend walks to pass specific coffee shops. You drink coffee, I drink tea, my dear. I’m an English girl in New York…

But it’s been three years, and it is time. Six year old T expressed it perfectly the other day. “We’re excited to be going back, but sad to be leaving. It’s like bitter sweet food.”

Things I’m going to miss about living in New York City:
  • It’s been v difficult to say goodbye to the girls’ friends and teachers at Blue School. J has been there pretty much since conception, and it’s hard to take them away from such a source of love, affection and fun. If we could somehow transplant the school and its alumni back to London, life would be perfect. Instead, we have made promises to write and send little video messages to help the girls keep their friendships going
  • Getting everything delivered. T’s epi-pens need renewing? Get the pharmacist to deliver them to your door within two hours. Can’t face cooking? Get supper delivered. Run out of pull ups or nappies? Get them delivered. NYC is the capital city of convenience
  • Living in an apartment with doormen and concierge! Obviously not every New Yorker lives in an apartment building with a doorman, but there’s something about it that has felt extremely ‘New York’ to us
  • Wash & Fold – outsourcing laundry is GENIUS. Especially when you don’t have your own washing machine. Not that this has been a challenge at all… [click here for a whole blog post chuntering about this]
  • Proper seasons. They are very clearly defined here, and we love it. Spring and Fall are my favourites as the winters and summers are hard-core.
  • People making a fuss of our “wonderful British accents”
  • Cinnamon raisin bagels with cream cheese. It’s a classic NY combo, and we’ve really got the taste for it
  • Brunch. Such a great tradition, far more convenient than lunches when you have young kids to juggle. And there’s never a bad time of day to eat French Toast with bacon and maple syrup
  • Feeling like you’re in a movie whenever you walk around town
… and things I’m NOT going to miss:
  • Being in a different time zone and continent to family and friends. It’s hard being so far away. Facebook stalking helps you keep track of who’s having babies, but it’s not the same. Obviously
  • The gun thing. Still struggle to get my head around the fact that Kinder Eggs are banned (choking hazards), but that you can buy a gun at Wall-Mart. We won’t have to delicately ask potential playdates if there’s a loaded gun in the house back in the UK
  • The food prices! This took me a year to get used to (I actually cried the first time a tiny food shop in two baskets came to $180)
  • The -12 degrees Celsius New York winter wind knocking us back when trying to turn a corner
  • Revolting tea
  • Kettle taking forever to boil, why is American voltage so ridiculously low??
  • High humidity and sweltering afternoon heat, with the accompanying aroma of dog wee evaporating off the streets
  • Really slow post between the UK and the US. Talk about snail mail – you’d expect about four days – the reality is more like two or three weeks
  • The six-night jetlag @:£# storm when travelling with young kids between the US and the UK
  • Poorly signed subway platforms (Yes, I’m still getting lost. Yes, it has been three years. Yes, C despairs of me)

Goodbye, New York. It’s been emotional.

This week’s Highs & Lows:

Highs:

  • J’s first steps! He can officially manage three steps at a time, knees straight, feet far, far apart. It’s adorable
  • Finding the best ice cream in the city at Taiyaki NYC in Chinatown. Rainbow icecream in a fish-shaped waffle cone. Fabulous
  • Doing a family photo shoot with one of B’s teachers, Kay Bermudez. It’s something we’ve been thinking of doing for years, as it’s near impossible to get a decent photo of all five of us, all looking in the right direction, behaving (more or less), and in focus
  • Finding it surprisingly satisfying to use things up, ahead of the Big Move Home. Usually I measure out presents and trim the wrapping paper exactly – now I gaily double wrap and add ribbons. V pleasing
  • Finding stash of Angel Delight sachets at the back of a high cupboard, sourced from Myers of Keswick
  • Enjoying a freakish, once in a blue moon lie in. For some inexplicable reason that couldn’t be re-created if we tried, all five of us slept in past 9am. AND it was a weekend, so we didn’t even need to panic when we woke up. It was amazing
Lows:
  • Epic organisation required to handle the move back. Little things like finding yet another cupboard that needs emptying out, organising, and repacking
  • Now that J can walk a bit, he’s even harder to stop crawling into boxes and chucking everything out onto the floor. It’s extremely annoying
  • Tedious customs rules, like No Wet or Dry Batteries which means that every. single. battery operated toy in our household has to be unscrewed, removed, and screwed shut again to keep it all together
  • My postal vote card arriving far too late to make it in time for the British general election. Boo

Author: Alex

Hello. Toddling Round New York is my own little blog of our family's experience of moving young kids from London to New York... And of having a baby out here. They are my own baby steps of exploring this incredible city. I lived in five countries in four continents growing up, so you'd think I'd be good at this by now. Here you'll find stories and photographs of our adventures, the highs and the lows of expat parenthood, and some ideas I hope you'll find useful if you're in New York with young kids.

6 thoughts on “Goodbye, New York, it’s been emotional”

  1. I’m going to miss your posts and never having gotten our girls together. But wishing you as smooth a move as possible back to Blighty. Let us know how that goes! Good luck with the next adventure. Xx

    1. @pippins81 Hi Pippa, I know, we only ever managed that one meet up in the sweltering, sweaty, humid mess that is an August morning in Manhattan. All the best for your time here, Alex x

    1. @SarahFoster Thank you! We’re excited, pretty much everything is in boxes ready to ship by sea…

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