... but it's not. It used to be, but it's not now. Now, I'm fortunate to have a social calendar that keeps me busy and one that I don't always - in fact, rarely, on the weekdays - share with John. And I think that's important. Because if you move to a new place with the intention of living there for at least more than a year, you need your own friends or else a cloud of resentment kicks in and that can make you very, very unhappy. I know this because it happened to me and it took me a while to establish my own routines, my own social circle - my own life.
But while I'm thankful for all the new friends I've made here in the UK, both British and American, I also love and cherish the friends who visit me here in London - even if they're from far away. And I especially love it when they bring gifts like these:
Adeline came down from Edinburgh to stay a couple of weekends ago now and we had a positively girly weekend, sampling almond croissants and pain au chocolat as big as our faces and then subsequently cleaning such faces at Space NK with complimentary Eve Lom and Clarisonic facials. She brought me this amazing fairtrade organic green tea from Suki Tea (above left), some of the National Galleries of Scotland's famous shortbread (which is already gone, I'm afraid) and the adorable brooch (above right) to jazz up my jackets. I'm holding out for this Bodum teapot to make my tea in. Saturday evening may or may not have resulted in lots of red wine and memorizing the "best" phrases from The Chronicles of Riddick but we made up for our sins during Sunday morning yoga and a cleansing shopping trip on Regent Street. I was sad as soon as she packed up to go.
But last Friday, I had the joy of meeting up with Anna and her mommy (Anna, of Le Petit Elephant fame) for cake and tea at Fortnum & Mason's The Parlour, where we were greeted upon arrival with mini ice cream cones the size of my pinkie finger for each of us. We oohed, we ahhhed. We discussed their recent Le Tour de Lakes - cycling tour of the Lake District - and caught up generally, as I hadn't seen Anna since our Mount Holyoke days in ... oh, 2005? And then Anna pulled this out of her bag for me:
S'more making materials! I told you I get the best presents. Complete with "stackermallows" - marshmallows flat enough to make the perfect s'mores. One whiff of the Honey Maid graham crackers and I was instantly transported back to kindergarten (we were allowed four graham cracker squares for a mid-afternoon snack). I tried making the s'mores in my microwave, but the marshmallows exploded, sending me into a state of sweet, gooey mess - but they were still delicious. John has yet to try a s'more, but I think he'll substitute the Hershey's with a block of Cadbury instead. I'm no snob when it comes to s'mores, however, and though I prefer Cadbury to Hershey's you gotta make them the campfire way ... with the original.
I love my friends, old and new. But mostly, I'm just grateful to have such amazing ones.