I am so excited to introduce you to my friend and super Smarty Mom, Amy Andrews! Amy and I met pre-husbands/pre-kids while training for our first marathon. She and I have spent countless hours and miles together telling stories and sharing laughs. Trust me, she is definitely someone you want by your side for 26.2 miles! Lucky for me, our friendship has lasted beyond running – through 10+ years of life’s “other” adventures – husbands, babies and more.
I’ll never forget the day Amy told me her husband, Marc, accepted a position in London and they’d be moving their whole family – two children and all – overseas for two years. (Granted, I was sitting there nursing my 4th newborn, but I still couldn’t imagine up and leaving to live overseas!) Being very close to family, it was difficult at first to know they’d be spending these precious young years away from their children’s grandparents and aunt, but in typical Amy fashion, she focused on all the many positives and dove head first into this unique opportunity for her and her family.
Amy is an amazing mother to Ayla (almost 7) and Ethan (4 ½) and – with Marc’s help – is making sure her children experience everything that London and Europe have to offer. I (along with countless friends and family) keep up with her family’s adventures through her blog – “The Bespoke Path”. Amy was kind enough to “chat” with me online about some of her very fun experiences with raising a family abroad!
Amy’s Smarty Mom Stats:
Married to: Marc
Years in Charlotte: Most of my life!
Years in London: This is our second year
Mom to: Ayla and Ethan
Occupation: Stay at home Mom and Public Relations consultant
Home Town: New York is in my blood and will always have a pull on me
How have your children adjusted to living overseas?
I have trouble putting into words how well the kids have adjusted to life in London. I think the moorings of our house, family and friends in Charlotte have given them (and us) the freedom to jump in with both feet and embrace our life here. They both have such a tremendous capacity for flexibility and I’ve seen that play itself out time and again in their interactions at school, with friends and on our many travels. Their school here is truly International and they have classmates from every possible corner of the globe. I treasure the fact that whenever there is a school break, we try to go and explore – whether another country or another part of England. International thinking has permeated their existence. When we recently headed to Cambridge for the day, Ethan asked “what language do they speak there?” One of the biggest near-term gifts that living overseas has given to our family is the knowledge we are all extremely adaptable.
As a mom raising a family in a foreign country, what’s one thing you couldn’t live without?
My husband! Living in a foreign country has been a pleasant surprise in terms of further cementing the way that Marc and I are there for one another. Since we don’t have family or as many friends to rely on, we have come to count on one another in even more ways than we did prior to this time in our lives.
I would be remiss if I didn’t also say that the Internet has certainly made my life easier. It helps keep me connected, provides a vehicle for my musings via my blog and helps me locate goods and services that I wouldn’t know where to find otherwise!
I love your blog and am living vicariously through it! You’re an avid runner – what’s it been like to explore the city and other countries as a runner?
Running has kept me grounded and been a framework for keeping myself motivated. I’ve come to appreciate what I initially took for aloofness on my runs in London and my routine has given me space for much needed internal dialogue. I’ve also enjoyed using running as a good additional excuse to travel. Our family has made several fantastic weekends out of half marathon races. You can learn a lot about a place by running through it and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed every race I’ve done. My most recent was the run from the bottom of the Eiffel Tower to Versailles, which was quite singular. The next race I’ve signed up for is the half in Prague in the spring.
That Eiffel Tower race is now on my Bucket List! So fun! I know you and Marc are big “foodies” and you loved to entertain in Charlotte. Have you been able to make the most of it by eating at some fab restaurants and have you found a good niche of people who have become “family friends”?
I know! It was a really amazing experience…
We definitely don’t entertain the way we do in Charlotte. We have gotten in a really nice habit of getting a babysitter almost every weekend and going out on our own or with other couples. We are spoiled for choices in London and are more than satisfying our “foodie” desires. We always say we’re going to go somewhere casual, but end up in a beautiful room having the tasting menu.
We have many acquaintances here but have also been fortunate to develop a few family friendships. We are close with one family in particular and have been lucky enough to travel together and spend some holidays.
By “holidays” I know you mean the British version – “vacation” to us! Have you found yourself using a lot of British terms and are your kids speaking with a British clip these days?
Ha! I actually meant true holidays to us like Thanksgiving! But we spend holidays/vacations together too!
I find myself using some British phrases, but it is much more apparent in the kids, especially Ethan. They correct me all the time when I don’t say things “properly.”
That is so cute! Speaking of Thanksgiving – it’s almost here! What’s it like to be abroad for this very American day? Will you be able to make a real Thanksgiving feast and share it with your new international friends?
It is one of the oddities of being abroad. It is a day when you feel like it should be special or unusual, but everything around you goes on as normal. We are spending it with our friends who make Thanksgiving each year.
What a great way to start new traditions! Lastly, humor us, is there anything that Charlotte has over London? Anything you miss in particular (besides family!!)?
Yes! Besides the obvious of missing family and friends, I truly miss yoga in Charlotte. Yoga in London is fairly different and surprisingly not as accessible – not as many studios and not as many classes throughout each day. I lament to Marc all the time that I miss YogaFlex! I didn’t fully appreciate what a great yoga community Charlotte has until I was without it.
Thanks, Amy, for sharing your Saturday with us! Do you have a Smarty Mom/Dad or TWEEN who is doing amazing things in our city of awesomeness? Please email us!