1- You Will Get Sick
It's as simple as that. Last year was a cycle of respiratory colds, one after the other. This year has been better so far, despite the BS "summer" we had in London that was really just like a regular old Bay Area winter. In any case, all that time over the last year-and-a-half on the Tube has built my immune system, I am stronger.....I am better. I haven't had a cold for MONTHS. Yay.
However, I did just get over a particularly bad, 5-day-long case of stomach flu. How's that for a weight-loss plan, actually it really sucks. Especially when you go to a fancy restaurant for lunch with Dave and can only stare at your gorgeous fish stew for a few minutes (it sounded good when I read about it on the menu), then go into the bathroom at put your head between your knees and try not to barf or pass-out for 10 minutes (knowing full well you haven't eaten anything for 3 days anyway), thus embarrassing your husband who is now sitting alone at the table eating your fish soup.......oh god.
Anyway, wash your hands and all that shit but I think the hand sanitizer may be worthless. When you ride with 80 other people in a congested Tube car, you are going to be exposed whether you touch something or not.
2- It's Not All Glamor
Guess what, you cannot travel EVERY weekend. You'll run out of money and (break out the world's smallest violin for me) travel can sometimes be tough: struggling with languages, lost hotel reservations, transportation strikes, airport delays,boisterous arguments over which train to take into town from the airport, getting ripped-off when you decide F-it and take a cab into town.......that kind of stuff.
Besides - going in and out of the UK involves a lot of time in immigration and customs lines with coughing people who probably have antibiotic-resistant TB. Sometimes you just need to sleep in, get coffee, relax, and do normal stuff like scrub the floors or bathroom tiles, pay bills, and call your mom - just like "at home".
3- Get a Job If You Can
This is especially true if you are the partner of the overseas transferee. The number one reason overseas transfers fail is because the spouse is unhappy. Don't think you can spend all day lunching, shopping, and going to museums. Well, I guess that might be cool for a while. But seriously, after a few months you will get bored or turn to day-drinking and hard drugs with supermodels and former rock-stars (exaggeration for effect there).
The best piece of advice I got before moving was, "You have something you need to do each day to enjoy the stuff you get to do". I think about that advice a lot, because it really shaped my approach to our 2 years overseas.
I had the best of all worlds working part-time for my company in Palo Alto. I take German and French in the mornings, then work in the afternoons. I have the flexibility and freedom to really enjoy being here. That being said, if I had it to do over again (knowing that I was going to be here for 2 full years),I probably would have gotten a job in London. I am a bit isolated working from home, and I think it would have been cool to be exposed to another aspect of the culture. But whatever, nothing is ever perfect. C'est la vie!
4- Don't Depend on Your Partner for ALL Your Entertainment
While Dave and I have a good time togehter, I try to have my own life as much as possible. Volunteer, take classes, meet friends for lunch or whatever. It will make you a happier, much more interesting person/spouse.
This All Being Said - JUST DO IT
Moving here was the best thing I have ever done with my life (aside from marrying Dave, wait I just barfed in my mouth). I will never regret it, and even on the dark days in December when it is raining and cold, the sun sets at 3:45 p.m. - though you wouldn't know because you haven't actually seen this supposed "sun"for months - I still don't ever think, "we never should have come here." After all, my father died at 32 - he didn't get to see much, I feel like I have to have an exciting life for him. You just never know what day is going to be your last.
On that uncheery note, the sun just came out and I am going for a run in Hyde Park. See you all soon.