We have now been in England for a little over three weeks, so I'm due for some updates and to share some pictures. We moved here because of a really great opportunity Miles was given through the military after he was awarded a scholarship last fall. The scholarship enables him to attend a grad school of his choosing so long as he studies something in the realm of counter terrorism (meaning, he can't just use it as a chance to get an MBA). He applied, and was accepted at, some good options stateside, but also wanted to apply to Oxford and fortunately for our family, he was accepted and the Army said, "sure, we will move you guys there! You just owe use a few years in return for paying for your school" and Miles said, "deal!"
We took an overnight flight leaving Savannah in the evening, connecting in New York, and then had a six hour flight to London. The kids did really well traveling and both slept a little on the flight, but it definitely took them a few days to adjust. We rented a car for a bit as we didn't want to have to schlep six suitcases, a stroller, and two carseats on public transport. Miles did a great job navigating the other side of the road and driving a standard transmission. We are only about an hour outside of London and we stayed in a two bedroom flat (an Air BnB) just north of the city center when we first arrived. We have since had to change to another flat, in a different part of town, but both places have been nice and made living out of suitcases very tolerable.
This was our first flat.
We knew we would only want one car while we were here so started looking right away at options. We went to several dealerships and looking online and at postings on Gumtree (Craigslist equivalent), but as we were driving home from a Ford dealership I saw a small used car dealership and we found a car that met our wants (automatic transmission! space for kids and bags for traveling) at a good price so ended up coming back to test drive and purchase the car. Miles also go a new set of wheels and picked up a hybrid bike. We have road bikes that are being shipped here, but it's much easier (and safer) to commute on the streets on a hybrid.
While we haven't done much exploring outside of Oxford, it's been really nice getting familiar with this lovely little city.
We've taken a bus tour, visited a museum, walked through the city center numerous times, and visited over a half dozen parks and playgrounds.
We started house hunting the day after we arrived and looked at lots of houses and found a good option in a good location, but it is not ready for us to move in until next week. Fortunately, the Army covers our lodging expense for 30 days and we will use all 30 of those days. I look forward to moving in to a space we can call our own, but we still are looking at at least a couple more weeks until our stuff arrives.
Miles has had some events to attend (registration, orientation, etc.), and tonight he and a dinner at his college, but his official first day of class isn't until Monday, so it's been nice to have a few weeks here to just ease in to life on the other side of the pond. His facial hair is officially the longest it's ever been and the civilian life seems to be suiting him, and us all, just fine.