We had the privilege of hosting many visitors from back home in the States. First Gabe’s sister, Emily arrived as the start of her European post-college graduation adventure. We rode on the London Eye, visited museums, shopped at Broadway Market and caught a glimpse of the Changing of the Guards. She also attended a Beach Volleyball match with Gabe as part of the Summer Games.
Then our friend Tami from California visited for a week. Some highlights with Tami’s visit was riding the London Eye at night and going to Abbey Road in St. John’s Wood in north London. It was a neighborhood that we have never been to, it was beautiful, very charming and quiet.
And our last visitors were Jason and Chris from Santa Fe. They stayed with us for a week and then all five of us went to Provence, France where we stayed in a villa outside of this wonderful village of Bonnieux. It was the best vacation of my life. The land reminded us so much of both Santa Fe and California, it was sunny and hot. We hiked every day, ate amazing and delicious foods, and spent time at the pool soaking in the sun.
Gabe and I were able to get some Olympic tickets a couple of weeks before the games commenced. We went to Wembley Field to watch a women’s soccer match between Great Britain and Brasil. It was as amazing and thrilling as you could imagine. There were 70,000 people in attendance, with a very sizable Brasilian crowd. Team GB ended up winning the game 1-0 after scoring in the first minute of the match.
We enjoyed our first summer in London celebrating the Queen’s Jubilee and hosting the Summer Olympic Games. We did make a family outing on the day of the Queen’s Flotilla, despite the cold rainy day. Great excitement filled the air as we waited to get onto a train to go into the city and at the Vauxhall Platform, loads of people waited anxiously to get out of the station to find a spot to see the Queen float by. We had been in London for 6 months at that point, but this was the largest group of people that we had ever witness gather together. Millions of people from all around the world showed up to witness Her Highness on The Royal Barge and 1,000 other vessels dressed for the occasion. It soon became clear to us that finding “a good spot” was going to be a challenge. In every direction there were hoards of people walking to the river to get a spot. Some people had camped out the night before securing a riverside seat. People cheered and Union Jacks soared in the air hours before the anticipated arrival of The Queen. Lua had a wonderful interpretation of the event, just as a 3 year old would. Behind us was a large building with businesses and flats where people hung out of the windows from cheering and waving. Lua turns to them with Union Jack flags in each hand and says “Hello Everyone!” She was reliving a past life moment, remembering the duties of The Crown.
The spot we chose was the last row where the road was slightly elevated allowing Lua, who was on Gabe’s shoulders, the only glimpse of The Queen. After The Royal Barge passed, we dashed up the road to see if we could get a peak too. Gabe squeezed in the crowd and on his tip-toes managed to get a sighting of the Royal Family. I jumped and I leaned, but my 5’3″ body was only able to get me glimpse of the barge just as it passed under the Lambeth Bridge. It was an exciting day indeed!
Later that month my parents visited us for three weeks. It was wonderful having them with us, Lua loved getting to play with Grandma Bobbie and Grandpa. We showed them many sights of London, a couple of our favorite days were a tour of Buckingham Palace, watched the Changing of the Guards ceremony, Broadway Market, Tower of London, and the Natural History and Museum of London museums. Grandma and Grandpa joined in on all of Lua’s activities including Playball and Ballet class, as well as many trips to the parks.