We live in central London smack between the rather expensive Marlyebone and Paddington and near a few tube stations. Our street is a main hub for Middle Eastern cultures and immigrants. It is actually probably the first time I’ve ever been the minority on the block (we can discuss this more later). The streets are always bustling with people (there’s a hookah bar across the street we’ve never seen close) and the smells of food and flavored tobacco are always scintillating.
On the corner of two major roads five floors above an always noisy (almost painfully so when the windows are open) street is our flat. It consists of 4 rooms–bedroom, living room, bathroom and kitchen–hardwood floors and creamy white walls. Most of our funtiure is brown-chocolate brown colored. We have a leather loveseat and chair, small circular dining room table and espresso/glass coffee table in the living room. I could describe the rest of our furniture to you, but it is all pretty normal.
To be honest, even though the furniture is nice and the flat, I’ve heard, is better than most young professionals’ in London, I was slightly unhappy when I first saw our flat because it was even smaller than I expected, but after the jetlag wore off and my things were put away the flat started to seem less like a tiny hotel room and more like a perfect sized London home. I think getting a flat that came furnished was key to downsizing my American mind to European apartment standards. I didn’t have to worry about making it look nice or buying furniture that would fit, most of that was already done for me.
So now I love it. We’re still adding details, learning appliances and figuring out how to fit all of our clothing into tiny “cupboard” closets. In fact, I’ve spent much of my first week here (while J was at work) calling and hosting repairmen for our boiler, sink, dishwasher and wardrobe. Things are slowly coming together and nothing was completely broken when we came just not quite up to snuff (ie. a sink that works, but with no hot water). While I have yet to use the oven (scary celsius oven!), the only appliance I am having trouble with is our washer/dryer
The War of the Washer/Dryer
No, I wrote that properly it is one machine that both washes and dries your clothes. If that weren’t enough for me to wrap my very American brain around, I have yet to figure out how to get it to dry my clothes fully. An hour and a half in the dryer sounds like long enough to me…especially given that loads are about 1/2 the size of my old apartment dryer. To put a comical spin on top of the dryer issue, J and I bought blue bath towels on our first day from a cheap store recommended to us by our real estate agent. After showering off the airplane residue, we discovered that we were now covered in blue lint. Smurf Katie then ran all of the towels through the washer in hopes of getting all the lint off the towels permanently. It almost worked (took a few more washes and many more uses), but now the dryer is somehow holding on to all the lint, spreading it all over our clothes, especially (it seems) J’s work clothes. I have wiped down the inside of the dryer with a cloth, pulled out all the lint I could find (minimal by US standards) and discovered that there is no lint trap. This perplexes me because not only can’t I stop the source of this blue lint plague, I feel like this is a fire hazard waiting to happen (firefighter’s daughter is always on alert). I have no idea where lint goes. When I look for it, there’s nothing there, but when I wash J’s clothes…I find it when they come out.
So that’s a long way of saying that I have almost no clue how to work my dryer properly, but I’ll be putting my conflict resolution skills to use in a way my professors would not approve–I shall be victorious, I will not compromise with this machine, one day I will have dry, lint-free clothing within a reasonable time period. (In all honesty, I’m not sure if I’ll actually win this battle…)
I could tell you an equally long story of how hard it was to find a lint roller to clean said clothing, but I’m getting off topic.
You’ve had a little introduction to our flat. There are many more humorous stories of us trying to fit our clothing into odd shaped and small cupboard-looking closets and my new chore of handwashing all of our dishes, but I don’t want this to be too long. I’ll post pictures when I can, my camera isn’t working (that’s another story).