It’s been almost a year since I’ve met Vonnie. Vonnie and I met while walking our pups on the connecting trails that intersect the suburban communities in which we live. If you’ve ever tried to talk while walking two hyper-happy five month old puppies you don’t get much talking done. More pulling sticks from their mouths or commanding “leave it!”.
Vonnie invited me to have a “proper chat” at one of our local coffee cafes. The following week we met while sitting outside next to a pretty decorative fire pit. Four hours later it was time to pick up our kiddo’s from school.
Jumping ahead. Vonnie and I still enjoy our “proper chats” but we save money by meeting at one of our homes. This week was at her home. Vonnie’s urban townhouse is decorated in warm soft colors with a splash of London. If you haven’t figured it out – Vonnie is a Londonite. That goes for Vonnie’s hospitality as well. Every visit I’m stuffing my face with “naughty’s”. Being naughty by eating deliciously fattening non-organic foods. Bangers&Mash, without the bangers for me. I take them home in a doggy bag for Football Superstar. Crusty bread with tangy cheeses, jellies and clotted cream. Forget the high tea at noon, this is Vonnie’s childhood tea with a backhoe full of sugar and cream. Put the pinkie down! My favorite is Vonnie’s homemade pear jelly (a friend who lives in DC makes for her) smeared on water crackers with a slice of Stilton or cave-aged Cheddar cheese.
Vonnie could make me a simple slice of toast and the toppings are always “naughty”.
Our conversations are just as warm and cozy as her hospitality. With an occasional “rant”. She’s in the process of putting her Flat on the market back home in England. Her emotional connection to the 1930’s, 900 square foot home with a flower garden full of herbs (pronounced with the H, like his name Herb) and English lavender made me fall in love with a building I’ve never seen in person. This tiny Flat was Vonnie’s home all her single life. After she finished school and entered Travel Academy Flight school, she purchased her very own home and filled it with love, friends, dinners and eventually her future husband and a few years later – their surprise baby boy. I could smell the fresh scent of her flower beds, the aroma of wine and cheese seeping from her tiny kitchen. I could hear the laughter from her friends and family as they sat around an antique table.
The photos of this 900 square foot Flat made me fall in love with living in tight quarters. Could it be possible? Well, we’re not purchasing Vonnie’s Flat and moving to London tomorrow. I know this for sure because I called my hubby the realtor right after leaving Vonnie’s home. He asked me what beverage Vonnie served during my visit. Haha.
Learning from Vonnie is an experience I appreciate. We, here in the US, certainly have many avenues with many options. Health insurance complaints, I’m going to put on the shelf for now. I shouldn’t be complaining. Schooling. We have some of the best private and public schools in the DC Metro area. One reason she and her husband moved to the states. Their son needed specialized health services. After two years in the United Kingdom waiting – they received services within two months here in the US.
Vonnie misses her family. And of course her friends that filled the tiny Flat she
called calls home. For now, the home is being rented by a wonderful woman from Johannesburg, who just happens to love this cozy, 1930’s living space.
Sometimes when we uproot what we have had for so long – can be a positive change. No doubt for us, moving our family was a good change. Vonnie recognizes this too. We live in an area of new urban development. Suburban single homes surround man made lakes along high rise apartments and condo’s. Arlington is busy with new tech companies and now Nestle headquarters is moving in. Dog friendly restaurants and connecting trails from Northern Virginia to Washington DC are consistently full of bikers, runners and dog walkers. Crew teams can be seen practicing over the hill on the Potomac. Museums and history. There’s so much more for Vonnie and her family to experience. Before they move to Boston.
I’ll see Vonnie in two weeks. Boston….Massachusetts.