Tag Archives: London Adventure

The London Adventure: I Spy literature!

I’m back, y’all.  The plane landed, the suitcases made it, and I’m in London! Here’s a peek of what our temp space looks like at the moment:

Actually, that photo makes a lovely little game of I Spy…with a London twist.  

In my London flat, can you spy: a Cadbury bar, a mug for tea, the electric kettle, a place for laundry?

A little bit of Seattle snuck into the photo by way of two votives, given to me by my colleagues and a dear family prior to moving. And a book. Because there are always books around…

Speaking of I Spy and books – the first two weeks in the city we took time to get out, see the sights, and visit some museums and shops. And boy is there a whole lot of literary love in London! Some photos, the connection is obvious. Others remind me of books and authors. All of it made my heart happy as I attempt to settle my family in.

Victoria & Albert Museum: Home of the National Art Library. I squealed upon finding original sketches from Beatrix Potter AND Randolph Caldecott (he of the Caldecott Medal). Excellent books in the gift shop, including Du Iz Tak?

The British Museum: Mummies – including cat mummies – reminded my kids and I of Mummy Cat. Too bad we couldn’t find this version their gift shop (they had MANY other books, though). And real-life amulets caused my kids to ooh and aah and remember their favorite graphic novel series of the same name.

Magical Lantern Festival in Chiswick Garden: The massive lanterns were inspired by the silk road, and these reminded me of the folktale Aladdin and the fairy tale Thumbelina.

LEGO store on Leicester Square: Three words – Life-size Lego Shakespeare! I had to get in this picture 🙂

Waterstone’s book shop: Comparing U.K. covers to some U.S. favorites…including a not-yet-released-in-the-U.S. Andy Griffiths book!

Gosh! Comics book shop: Shopping the outstanding selection of quality comics, graphic novels, and picture books. And the piece of Dickens ABC art didn’t go unnoticed 😉

Paddington Station: Paddington. LOTS of Paddington. Books, toys, pencils, hats…

John Lewis (an all-in-one store, a bit like a huge Nordstrom+BBB+Crate&Barrel): This journal. I love journals. And while not a piece of “literature”, this one brought a smile to my face, for I often wake up at 3am – wide awake, with swirling thoughts, usually about details relating to our move here.  Upon opening the journal, I had a moment of clarity. Because these are the words I need to remember on this London Adventure: It might be hard, but it’s worth it.

Cheers, y’all.  ♥ arika

a reflective moment

The move to London is imminent. Less than two weeks, and we’ll be there.  And not just visiting…living life.

People often ask how I’m doing. If we’re packing. Cleaning. Ready.

To be real: the answers change depending on the day, the hour, the moment.

There are many days when I’m like Piggie in Mo Willems’s I Am Going! Excited. Joyful. Effervescent. Thrilled for the adventure.

But not always. There are times when Bernard Waber’s Courage gives me strength when feeling overwhelmed.  That I *can* do this.

Some evenings though, with thoughts swirling, I’ve felt like Katie Woo in A Nervous Night: unsure and afraid.

Todd Parr’s cheerful illustrations and messages help me face my nerves. I’m Not Scared…usually.

Ultimately, though, it’s Kat Yeh’s The Friend Ship that keeps me afloat.

Knowing that friends near and far are cheering, supporting, and hoping for the best for me and my family has made the stress of the transition bearable. If this life change has taught me anything, it is that our friendships are vital. They sustain us when life becomes overwhelming. They provide reassurance.  And that no matter how big the world seems, the bonds of friendship can stretch and grow.

So thanks, friends. Every sidewalk talk, phone call, email, text, hallway & office chat, Facebook message, Instagram comment, Tweet, and moment you’ve taken to be a friend has mattered. It’s helped. And I only hope to one day repay it.


With gratitude, arika

New Year, New Adventures

Never there been a more aptly-titled blog post.

Yep: I am leaving Seattle – my home for the last 13 years – and headed to London.

I won’t lie: I am as excited as I am scared. My thoughts often ping-pong between “OMG. WE ARE MOVING TO LONDON! ADVENTURE, HERE WE COME!” and “We are moving…to LONDON?! Wait…we’re moving WHEN?! Early 2017?! So I won’t finish the school year? ACK!”

Why the move? My husband got a new job. Same company, different office. In fact, different CONTINENT.

Knowing the move was scheduled for early 2017 made the end of 2016 particularly tough. Giving notice and applying for leave. Breaking the news to students and staff, then saying goodbye – to current and former students, families, teachers, friends. Cleaning out my office. Prepping for a replacement (a lovely librarian I had the timely pleasure of meeting last fall at AASL – yet another reason Why I Conference). And, finally, walking away.

More truth: I have never cried more in my life than walking in – then out – the door for the last time. And those stairs. Walking up those steps for the first time, I imagined and dreamed to be a librarian that changed people’s perspective and stretched their expectations. As I left, I hoped I achieved it. #mtigerslibrary

I spent a lot of time in December walking around the small community where I’ve spent the better part of my life since moving to WA – taking pictures, documenting, remembering. The NW is beautiful, but especially the spaces near my school. These are from a few final walks.

And now it’s January. The New Year. Adventure Time. When do I leave? Great question. Our departure date keeps changing, but my heart tells me I’ll be In London at the beginning of March (though with the delays we’ve already had, I won’t be surprised if it’s later).

So what about this blog? What’s to come of it? Four years ago, I thought long and hard about the name. I settled on job title and first name because those are two things that are always constant. I will always be a librarian – it’s what I tell my students as they graduate: “always your librarian”. And my name – it isn’t going anywhere. Students could easily find it. And the domain name was available.

LibrarianArika – the person AND the blog – will head abroad to experience expat life…and, if I’m lucky, expat teaching.

Let the New Year Adventure begin.