I want to take this opportunity in my blog to give out the news that my family and I are moving to London town!! Oh dear!
After living for almost 20 years total in the Big Apple, I am excited to be returning to the Big Ben. And to Europe. Well, I guess not quite Europe anymore, specially now that Boris Johnson has been elected Prime Minister! We're in for a clash of the unpredictable Titans between him and Trump!!
My family and I will be closer to Europe and my home country of France and that's what feels amazing. I'll return to a city I used to live in for a couple of years as a 20 year old. Back then I thought London would be a great city to live in as a family, with children and a dog in tow. This vision is now coming to a reality.
Never did I imagine I'd be living in a big city like New York for this long, so far away from family. I still don't consider myself a Big City girl, feeling more in tune with myself whenever I'm in nature and outdoors instead. But such is life and my life is where my children are.
I do feel like a New Yorker though (actually getting myself an NYC skyline tattoo after the summer, marking my almost 20 years Total there!). So leaving - albeit for a two years stint, for now - feels bitter sweet.
Two things that make the city of NYC so special for me:
. Being able to be whateverthef** I want walking down the street and no one cares.
I've said it before and most of my Tall Podcast guests have confirmed it indeed, walking down the streets of NY versus anywhere in Europe is quite different when you are yourself quite different. In Paris for example, being very tall and looking like a foreigner such as myself (even though i'm french!) makes you a target. Many a time have I had to fake-speaking english only or take refuge in a store while unpleasant young men tried talking to me or following me while insulting me or commenting on my body. In London, quite a few times I've been touched or even followed and in Italy, I've had the pleasure to discover the exposing kind of men. I'm intrigued to know how it's going to pan out this time around, perhaps being older now won't attract such nuisance.
But this kind of stuff has never happened to me in NYC. One doesn't attract any attention in the street and it's a darn good feeling, to me at least. 6'8" Katja Bavendam and 6'2" 1/2 Jessica Chick also share their experiences walking in the city in the the T-Factor Podcast, Episode #3. It's funny how walking down the street or riding the subway can be an actual 'thing'. Maybe there are some women who like the judging, watching pair of eyes but that ain't my case.
. The other thing I will miss are my NYC girlfriends.
I have come to make life-long friends here. I am super nervous about loosing the bond and not creating easy, meaningful friendships in London. A city with a reputation for being tight knit in its social groups. But as one of them just told me last week, our friendship is distant and time proof. I quite like that.
I am proud to have discovered the beauty of female friendships deepened by the tight bond of raising children together and simply doing our best.
This TransAtlantic Transfer makes me realize how I have neglected my relationship with my city. Thankfully, the last few months I spent in NYC were magical. Why? Because I did all the things I had been meaning to do but simply never did. I said yes to everything, the typical Broadway shows and Theater Plays, yes to dinners at new hot spots, business meetings in Brooklyn, yes to lunches, coffees, manicure hang outs, anything at all, I was in.
Which made me think, why the hell don't we live like this ALL the time?! Yes I visited that gallery or went to that art opening. In fact, I even did Art Tours which in all earnest I had never done until my dear friend Patricia de Picciotto started her informative NY Art Experience tours in the Lower East Side and Chelsea. Patricia has a knack for giving just the right amount of information on the artists and the galleries, which is a far cry from over zealous art reps who talk non-sense. Her tours are the best two hours you can give to those amazing neighborhoods. I have discovered incredible places in my downtown neighborhood, passing by so many non-descript spaces with no names on the outside not knowing the treasures displayed inside. Which has made it even harder for me to leave!!
The idea of living life as if it were the last couple months in the city is very attractive and well in-tune with my desire to lead a more meaningful life.
The fun part of the moving process was the cleaning up, specially if your apartment is up for sale. The apartment got inevitably decluttered which was heavenly!
And the closet got lighter and smarter, the pantry too actually.
Which made me wonder, again, why the hell haven't I lived like this before?!
I used to constantly play Jinga in my freezer, closing my eyes for fear of what would fall when I'd pull out a box of puff pastry. With moving, we've had to use up all the content in our freezer which was delightful. I actually knew what was in the freezer!
I even learned to purchase only the food I actually needed and not stock up on stuff (again!) just in case. In case of what? In case a whole soccer team showed up at my door so I could finally use the 7 Coconut Milk cans into something because there had to be something I could concoct with all this coconut milk, wasn't there? Or in case we'd be entertaining last minute, having to serve my guests 5 cans on red beans to fart the night away? And why the f**k did I have 27 different snacks in my pantry? Kids snack WAY too much in America in the first place and I became complicit in this trend it would seem.
Gosh, it's only when my face got right in the middle of it all that I realized how wasteful I had been. So I have made the pinky promise never to overindulge in cans and STUFF ever again. London will be a house full of purpose. I'm preaching sustainability but am still a work in progress myself!! Which is fine. Hopefully my odyssey towards living a more meaningful life will be inspiring to you as I share my journey if not struggle to shed the extra baggage.
So today, it's a quicky blog post with 5 Tips to leading a more meaningful life based on my recent moving experience:
. Live in your city/area as if you were moving in two months.
Say YES! to every invitation, plan, go discover new places. Of course, say yes as long as it flows with your boss-vibe and doesn't take time away from work and your positive energy. Cram it all in for two months periods being mindful of who you spend your time with. Sometimes the best person to be spending time with is yourself indeed. And smile for goodness sake, take it all in, even if you're in the filthy subway.
. Live in your apartment as if you were ready to move out!
Stop hoarding sister. It's time to unload the crap and lead a clean life. That means stick to the pantry you need at the moment, not for just in case. Shrink down your closet to the essentials - and find yourself a clothes rental service for the fun stuff like accessories and bags and occasional funky coats like on Rent the Runway in the US or Front Row in the UK. Why buy that Oscar de la Renta pair of earrings when you can rent them!?
. Get rid of all your beauty products that don't serve your body and your soul.
Yes, you read right. Make it a point to have your beauty products nourish all your senses. Instead of mechanically applying your moisturizer with crappy scent, get yourself a lovely natural essential oil like my favorite Bija Essence or Burt's Bees and thank me later. This will always be your mini spa session if you give your hygiene routine the attention it deserves.
And knowing your make-up was not tested on animals does feel good for the soul whenever you apply your mascara. I'll make sure to post my favorite Cruelty Free brands soon and would love to know what are yours.
. As per my last Blog Post TOSS IT, make an effort to rid yourself of plastics.
When you're downsizing your apartment to make space for more meaning in your life, you'll realize that you don't need the 13 different cleaning products in your home. For example, use Force of Nature to remove every single cleaning agent in your home. (I can't find it yet in the UK, I'm desperate! it needs a power chord for the electrified water and it doesn't work here - unless i get myself a transformer, i'll do some more research). For your every day spills, water + vinegar in a glass sprayer does the trick. And voila, two bottles for everything in the house. The effort of lowering your plastics will help create space in your house and brain. It will make way for to a more meaningful way of life because your daily decisions actually impact the planet and your family. Just that...
. Be present in the moment as if you knew you were moving away.
Perhaps this is the time you can listen to your friends intently, wrap up your presence in this town with kindness and care. I'm not saying you're not kind and caring most of the time but just sprinkling that little going-away spice is rewarding all around.
Sending you all much love from London town, amidst boxes, sitting on the stairs 'cause i don't have a chair yet. But I have internet, hahahha!!!