One thing about living in London that will surprise few is that it’s expensive. And our biggest expense by far has been housing. We’ve been saying all along that we want to stay. Probably not forever, but for a good bit longer. So today we took steps to ensure that we can afford to stay.
Next month we’re moving a mile from our current place into an apartment that’s a little smaller. In doing so, we’ll be cutting our housing costs by 40%. It’s on a so-so street where a local pub is being replaced by a Tesco Express and where you’ll also find an auto mechanic and carpenter. There are positives too: we will still have good access to public transit, we’ll still be walking distance from our friends, the apartment is nearly brand new and the kids will get to watch the train go by from our balcony (yes, that’s a positive, we’re not too close to it). But there’s no getting around the fact that it’s 860sq ft and that there are five of us. So we’re going to be making some hard decisions about what we keep. I’m 90% sure we’re keeping all of the kids.
Our biggest (if not only) recurring stress of living here has been money. So when we did the math and figured out that this change would be the equivalent of a 25% pay raise, it became a no-brainer. We lived in less space for the first couple months here in corporate housing, and at the time we felt like we didn’t even need our stuff to arrive. We were so present in the moment with each other when our stuff was on a boat.
I’m looking forward to the financial breathing room this will give us and the travel it will enable. I’m also looking forward to the culling of the stuff that doesn’t make the cut. The California King bed that’s a joke in London, the jacket I might wear for two weeks per year, the shoes I haven’t worn since we’ve been here. The wasted space between us.