Today is my last day in London. It took some time to adjust to being back after nearly three months away, but now I feel like I never left.

My “real” departure was in late August, when I quit my job and flew back to California to meet my newborn niece, run the Portland marathon, qualify as a running coach and apply to MS/DPD programs in Clinical Nutrition. I expected to feel overwhelmed with emotion as my plane took off for San Francisco to begin this new chapter of my life. However, with my November London visit already planned, I felt like I was embarking on an extended trip home rather than permanently moving countries.

Now it’s time for my final preparations and goodbyes. I have changed my pounds to dollars, closed various accounts, prepared all my things to be shipped (okay, still working on that…) and have no clue when I’ll next be in London. Probably won’t be for quite awhile, although you never know!

I’m incredibly grateful to have had these two weeks, as well as some time away from London before returning to wrap things up. It has made this transition so much smoother. Aside from dealing with all the boring and annoying aspects of moving, which are far easier to do in person, I caught up with friends, wandered all over town, ate many of my favorite foods and ran along all my usual routes. It’s given me some closure as well as time to reflect on the four years I spent living here.

My long run on Saturday certainly presented itself as a great opportunity for reflection…

I had grand plans for my last long run of this mini training cycle. I had hoped to go to Hampstead Heath or elsewhere further afield in the early morning to run on some hilly terrain and avoid the crowds. However, E and I planned a last-minute weekend getaway and thus running along the river to Battersea Park and back was the fastest way to fit in 14 miles before we needed to catch our train.

It was a crisp, sunny day. I donned my new Nike running top once again, this time carrying two gels and my iPod (I usually don’t listen to music but needed some extra inspiration). I also decided to try out my new ING NYC marathon arm sleeves. I already had a pair in black (I wore them for the 2010 race) so when I saw that they carried them in orange this year, I snatched them up. Purple and orange are my colors, after all! Plus, there’s something about wearing arm sleeves that gets me extra psyched to run.

It’s business time!

After my run, E and I hopped on a train to Southampton and headed to Hotel Terravina, a lovely 11-room B&B right on the edge of the New Forest (not too far from where I raced last July). They happened to have a cancellation that morning, which was great news for us as we were struggling to find somewhere to stay before E called them.

We arrived to find this little dog on the bed, with a collar that said “Too tired to get up.” Yeah, that pretty much summed things up!!

We relaxed inside for a bit, but it was such a beautiful day out that we decided to go for a sunset stroll…at 3:30pm. Ah, winter in the UK. Gotta love it.

The hotel offered wellies for guests to wear – my size just happened to come in colorful stripes.

We walked along this trail for about an hour – it was very quiet and peaceful, exactly what we needed. This was also our running route the next day. We only ran four miles, but it was far enough to explore other nice parts of the forest. We even saw some wild horses, although thankfully this time they didn’t try to run us down!

After our walk, we had a wonderful three-course meal, which I particularly appreciated after my active day. One of the owners of the hotel is a French man who won Best Sommelier in the World in 2010 among other titles, so as you can imagine, the food and wine were very good. Here I am enjoying a glass of red…

The rest of the weekend was very relaxing – we were a bit sad to have to return to the craziness of London and face all the things we both had to do before leaving for Boston!

This pizza dinner, however, made our Monday blues disappear very quickly. I couldn’t leave London without going back to Pizza Metro in Clapham. The pizza is not only amazing, made with delicious, fresh ingredients, but it also comes by the meter! I’ve never gone with more than one other person and have always wanted to order one of the gigantic four-person pizzas, so I recruited some friends and this was the result:

Pure. Heaven. There wasn’t a crumb left on the tray. It certainly was an appropriate way to kick off Thanksgiving week!

So that brings me back to today. I’ve been procrastinating all morning and it’s time to get my things done. Finish packing my boxes. Pack my suitcases. Do laundry. Itemize everything. Go for a run. Return emails. Say more goodbyes…

It’s a bit sad, and I will miss living here as well as the frequent travel opportunities, but I am eager to move on. I’ve been such a nomad during my twenties and particularly throughout these recent transitional months that I actually feel ready to stay in one place for awhile, wherever my new home will be.

I’m also very excited to spend Thanksgiving in the US for the first time since 2007. I am celebrating it with E’s family in New Hampshire, which is why my next destination is Boston before I head back home to California next week.

Farewell London! Hello America…

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