Thursday, November 4, 2010

Mama Angst

Meet Sarah:

Sarah is my oldest, but still my baby. Of the three, she is most like me. She works hard, she loves life, she wants nothing more than to be accepted for who she is. She is an excellent student, extremely involved in campus activities, a real go-to kind of person when you need something done, and an all-around great kid.

It's bad enough that Sarah had to grow up and go away to college... so that I only see her now & then and she's living on a campus three hours away. Now, I'm headed for far worse...

In January, Sarah is leaving to spend a semester abroad. In London. That's over 3,500 miles away! Across an ocean. And as the time draws nearer, mommy angst is creeping up in a big way. I'm missing her and worrying about her just thinking about it.

But wait a minute. I have friends in the UK!  So here's my pitiful plea - one Mom (Mum) to another - I need advice. All kinds. Anything you think I should know!

What is it like in London? Is it generally a safe place? How easy is transportation for college students wanting to see Europe?  What sights are within easy travel that should be on her "must see" list?  She has to make or buy all her own meals - where are the cheap places to shop for a student on a VERY tight budget?  She's also lactose intolerant - how are UK stores about stocking soy milk?

Sarah tells me she will be living in the "Marble Arch" area. I have no idea what that means, but hope some of you will. I still am unclear how I will be able to communicate with my baby while she is away, or what to do if/when she needs money. I wish the school was giving us more information up front.  At this point we know her departure date, but don't yet know exactly when she returns beyond "late April."

So... any and all thoughts and advice GREATLY APPRECIATED!

P.S. Sarah would very much like to meet and fall in love with the Prince of a small European Country while she is abroad.... are there any available at the moment? ;) (Yes, this from the kid who is a Junior in college and whose standards are so high that she hasn't even dated yet!)


scrappyjacky said...

Cheri...a brief reply due to bad eye problem....but will email you further info in next few days.
It will be a great experience for her...I would have loved to spend a semester in Washington DC when I was a student....and Marble Arch is slap bang in the middle of central London...most kids I know would love to live there.
I also hear Prince Harry is unattached at the moment....and can probably be found in a variety of London clubs!!!!!

debs14 said...

I'm 45 minutes on a train away from London and my husband works right by London Bridge so we know it a bit. Marble Arch is in brilliant shopping area! Very handy for Selfridges and the whole of Oxford Street. Soy products are readily available in most supermarkets now, she shouldn't have any problems finding food that will suit her needs. Without knowing her exact address I can't help with what supermarkets are nearby.
Travelling in Europe is pretty good. We have two budget airlines, Easyjet and Ryanair who go to most European cities. My son travelled around Europe this summer, got a month interrail card with unlimited European train travel and then booked hostels when he was over there. Most hostels have internet and they chose a destination and then went on to find a cheap room for when they got there. check out this
I could go on and on, please feel free to email me with any specific questions. Places to visit - apart from the obvious Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, London Zoo etc, if she's interested in art most of our galleries are free. The Tate Modern has some interesting exhibits. Carnaby Street isn't far from Marble Arch. Covent Garden is a lovely place to go for street entertainers and quirkly little shops. She'll have a wonderful time, please do email me and I'll answer any questions as best I can!

Anonymous said...

Aw, I know it's hard. Hugs.

humel said...

Oh Cheri, I do feel for you. What a great opportunity for her though! She'll have such a great time :-)

Liberty :) said...

Prince Harry is totally available but probably as unsafe as London will get haha!!

What is it like in London? - It is a busy, cosmopolitan city, significantly busier than San Fransisco or Sydney. The people have busy lives and commute via public transport because the whole city is a nightmare to drive in.

Is it generally a safe place? On the whole I would say it was a safe city, many of my friends have lived there years without any issues. Every city has its quirks, LDN is probably safer due to more police presence because it is the capital I would imagine.

How easy is transportation for college students wanting to see Europe?
Well you're in the home of the busiest airport in the world, transfers to Heathrow are 10 a penny and cheapo airlines like Easyjet fly all over Europe for a few hundred quid (or less than £100 in some cases, tax dependent).

What sights are within easy travel that should be on her "must see" list?
Tower of London was my favourite as a child, a west end musical of course and buckingham palace. Covent Garden is gorgeous too and some of the markets are good to see for the feel of LDN.

She has to make or buy all her own meals - where are the cheap places to shop for a student on a VERY tight budget?
Netto, Lidl and Aldi are budget supermarkets but to be honest, I'm not sure if they have them in LDN. Tesco, Sainsburys and Asda are all cheap and cheerful and students get by easily. One thing to note is that LDN is far more expensive than anywhere in the country, the North of England is cheaper, so big purchases might need to be made out of LDN.

She's also lactose intolerant - how are UK stores about stocking soy milk?
Absolutely fine, Tescos, Sainsbury and Asda, especially the big ones have a huge range of "intolerant" products! :)

I will be a 2 hour train ride away so don't worry Mommy! despite having never met up with anyone from cyberspace, I totally would meet Sarah if she was feeling homesick because I would hate to be so far away from home and feel alone. She will never be alone in England with all us bloggers! :)

alexa said...

I can empathise, because my own DD was sent from London to Washington DC for ten months last year ... All the comments others have left you are valid. London is an exciting, busy city, soy milk and products are readily and easily available, it's a transport hub for cheap flights to Europe from Stansted and Luton (north of London) and so much to do she won't have time to work! Though I live away from London, feel free to contact me if you'd like more info, or contact details just in case she needs any assistance at any time.:)

Amy said...


Cannot comment too much as I am here in Australia ... though, half of our population at Sarah's age head on over for a year or so - probably our old colonial ties or something to the like. Both my sisters went for a couple of years and thoroughly enjoyed themselves.
The one thing both girls noticed was a big difference in the food- namely the availability of fresh quality produce. We are spoilt in Australia ... but hey, that should never get in the way of such a wonderful experience - this is an opportunity to embrace :-) It's easy to communicate too, especially in this day and age.

Liberty :) said...

cheri, my e-mail is it is the best one to get me on anyway! x

Sian said...

What a fantastic opportunity for her! She will have a ball - and remember it for the rest of her life. I hope you will be sending some scrap supplies with her!

You've got lots of great advice here. You probably already know that when I'm stuck I always turn to a book, so I'm going to suggest getting a copy of "Rough Guide to London"

quiltingfool said...

How exciting for Sarah, how scary for you! But I sort of remember you took a trip to Germany as a young lady, which was a pretty brave thing to do. She'll do wonderfully. She has a level head and the smarts to figure out anything on her own. My guess is that she's grown up way beyond your ability to perceive in brief visits home. And saving herself for a prince is not a bad thing, given the number of trolls out there. These will be memories she will fall back on for the rest of her life. I'm so excited for her. Hang in there "Mum" have lots of friends in the UK who would help her, I'm sure, if she needed help. But all will be well.

Cheryl said...

Aww Cheri I feel for you I don't actualy have any children myself but I now the heartache you will feel, she will have a fantastic time and will remember it for the rest of her life x

Anonymous said...

Cheri, don't worry--it's such a waste of your health!

My oldest son, Ryan, applied for a Critical Language Scholarship from the U.S. Government when he was a senior in college, and he actually received one. Which meant he went to . . . wait for it . . . Russia. For 2 months. That's a 13-hour flight, and he'd never ever even flown before. So of course I was anxious. But he was fine during the flight. They hooked him up with a Russian babushka (grannie) who treated him like her own grandchild. He had an awesome experience, saw all of the important sights, came home with hundreds of pictures for me to scrapbook, and actually improved his Russian pronunciation to the point where his babushka complimented him on finally being able to understand him (lol!). And it was one of the most memorable times of his life.

Suggest to your daughter that she start a little blog for you guys, and her friends, in which she tells about her experiences. That way you can read up on what she's doing, and it'll be like a little journal that you can print out and save for her. And there's always Skype to help you keep in touch!

This is going to be awesome. Admit it, you're actually a little jealous of your own kid. I know I was!