Friday, August 26, 2005

My parents and I had Chinese food tonight and my fortune was as follows:

You will step on the soil of many countries.


Got an email from John, he says I'm welcome to stay for the week and oh! It made me excited. I can't wait to see him. Mild panic ebbing away. He says the only thing I owe him is corn bread, since he can't get it there. Hurray!

I can breathe just fine now, thank you.

I have a reservation for a hotel my first night in London. Things are progressing fine. And Mark has finally written back, so hopefully he and I really will meet up somewhere around there. Good. Good.

Started looking at phone options. People have been telling me that phone cards are the way to go, but I wanted to check on the deal with cell phones. I like my cell phone, you know, letting people have the option of calling me.

Turns out if I go with Cingular it's from ¢99 to $1.29 per minute plus my current minutes. Ha, gross. Average phone cards are ¢25/minute. There's also one for ¢8/minute. Which is way better than a dollor or more. But man... It'd be really nice to have a number where people can reach me, no matter where I happen to be prancing around.

Oh. I plan to prance. Oh yes I do.

Forgive me. I've been having wine.

Updates as events warrant. Which is, apparently, frequent since this is entry four and I haven't gotten very far yet.
And with nine total hours of driving (damn you, traffic!) I'm no longer a resident of North Carolina. In fact, for the next few months I will be pretty well without residence (unless I do settle in Edinburgh, which is entirely possible). I managed to fit everything into my car (you are impressed, yes?) WITH a view out of the back window!

This is not entirely true. I was being very Crafty with my car packing, getting everything (everything!) in the back, and I was almost done, and I was triumphant at how it all fit plus seeing out the back window!

And then I realized I'd forgotten to pack my bike.


So my bike is residing in North Carolina for a while (thank you, Andrea...). And now my room is filled with boxes.


So! T-minus eleven days and -- eleven days? Jeez, this stupid trip is taking forever to get here. Getting a little impatient, okay.

Had a mild bout of panic last night which I'm chalking up to the fact that it was 2am and I was tired. Hopefully I will not have a full breakdown before/during the trip, as this whole blasé attitide is really helpful and non-stressful.

Do you think I can just leave my stuff in boxes? Cause I'm all kinds of not in the mood to put it away.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

In a rare and brief burst of ambition I started packing for the move back to Philadelphia. As much as dumping one's stuff in one's old room can be considered moving. Cleaned out the back of my car (or at least straightened up all the bedding from the last dance weekend I attended. Which was in June), then got one of the giant boxes from the garage and began tossing stuff in. And nearly gave myself a hernia when trying to lift it. Somehow I managed to push/drag/strain the box into the car, and all was well. Except for all the other stuff I have yet to pack. Like my uike! I forgot I need to take my uike home in addition to my bike. Plus my shelves (hello, folding flat-ish). Plus my japanese maple.

That's going to be fun to fit into my car.

And people wonder why I have an SUV. Pssh. So I can transport my crap all over the east coast while polluting the environment!


Three or four more days until I need to be done packing and on the road.

And I realized I haven't mentioned my plan so far (so I can laugh at how it changes when I get over there):

-Sept 6, fly to London.
-Sept 7, arrive in London. Feel confident at flying and being all independent skills. Find hotel. Crash. Find John C. when he gets off work. Joyful reunion, ignoring the fact that I've met him thrice. Adore him anyway. Meet his girlfriend (still a confusing thing since he was gay when I left).
-Sept 7-14, hang out in London. Stay with John, then in hostels, or similar. Try to not be nervous about giant city with confusing public transportation. Meet Paige's friend Luke.
-Sept 15-17, meet Mark somewhere (Italy, where he's been staying? Elsewhere? Who knows).
-Sept 18, fly back to London and take train to Edinburgh, or fly directly from wherever to Edinburgh.
-After that, stay in a hostel until I travel more or decide to rent a flat.
-Possibly visit Grandfather's cousin and his wife in Norway.
-October, catch up at some point with Jamie and Hans as they do concerts all over the place. Possibly join Jamie and his brother for traveling up to Northern Scotland, or whatever it was he was talking about.
-See if American friends actually come visit me.
-In December, go back to London at some point, hang out with Katharine and be awesome.
-December 20, fly home.

Or something like that.
It begins.

Well, not really yet. But I have my plane ticket, people to see when I reach London, and am in the process of leaving North Carolina. I haven't been stressed out about it much. In fact, I'm remarkably calm about the trip. Mostly I want it to just happen already so I can stop thinking about it. Last night was my contra dancer going away party. My strongest reasons for staying in the area post-college, and most of them were two hours late. Or more. And most of them didn't bring food to the potluck party. Excellent. But we had fun, staying up until ridiculously early in the morning (hello, 4am!). And here I am, ba-da-da da-da da-da, feelin' groovy.

And then I started looking for a hotel for my first night in London.

So my plan, see, is that I fly into London, then crash in a hotel the first night. I get in at 9:30am their time, and I'll have been up all night and feel either 1. full of adrenaline or 2. beat to death from flying in coach for a million hours. Have I mentioned that I'm not so good at sleeping on planes? It's true! So I'll find a hotel! Go there when I get in, drop my stuff, maybe crash for a bit. A hotel would just be cozier and more intimate than a hostel. Those can come later. And then after that night I can crash with John. I feel a little awkward trying to get into his place in the early morning when he's at work.

And thus I seek hotels. And holy sweet mother of Jesus they're expensive! I don't know what I was thinking, honestly. Sure! I can stay somewhere that's really inexpensive -- or even mildly pricey -- in London! It's just one night! I would be willing to spend $50 for a nice little room.

I don't travel much on my own. Can you tell?

Now I'm getting a little anxious. Am I really going to have enough money for this? Am I being incredbly stupid? Can I really fit all my stuff into my car? Only one way to find out, I guess.

I have a half dozen windows open on my computer, searching hotels and wondering where the hell I am (North Carolina somwehere) and am going to be (presumably London).

Ooh, good news. I found a promising place. Heart attack subsiding. Kind of. Even though their ad says £35/night it's telling me that the night I want to stay is £40/night. Meh. It has good recommendations. That's way cheap for London. I'll deal. Or, um, maybe I'll see if John can get me into his flat when I get there.

Americans are spoiled by their hotels. Can you imagine if there was a local hotel that didn't have a bathroom in the room? Or didn't have rooms the size of a two-car garage? The user feedback for some of the b&bs I'm looking at often complain about the size of the rooms and bathrooms. Well, yes. It's London.

I am very quickly becoming jaded. $100/night? Golly, that's not so bad!

Ha. I will be broke soon.

I have about $8500 in the bank. I will be there for four months. I don't actually have any specific plans for what I'm doing. Excellent.

The going away party -- now in slideshow-vision!

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