Saturday, July 22, 2006

Airport arrival: 1pm

Airport departure: 10pm

Number of plane boardings: 2

Number of phone calls to parents, updating status: 30

Number of times through security: 3

Number of flight changes: 435

Number of storms: 2

Number of convenient flights: 3

Number with empty seats: 0

Number of sobbing sessions in airport bathroom: 1

Number desired: 49

Miles traveled: 0

Hours until next flight: 12

Friday, July 21, 2006

The pile of clothes (look how small! So exciting!):

The space left in my bag after putting in my camping stuff:

New note the first: as I was on my way to the bathroom (giving myself a break from all this internet perusal) I recognized a feeling that I've Had Before! It was the good god, this trip needs to HAPPEN already so I can stop thinking about it!
New note the second, in which I embarrass myself slightly: I called Cingular becuase their website was entirely unhelpful, and was directed to Michael in some effort to talk me through the confusion that is international calling with my cellular hand growth phone. He was entirely delightful, funny, AND helpful. Oh, how we laughed! I miss him already.
Anyway. I got most of my information, and then as we were saying goodbye (good times do end... alas...) he said to have a good trip, and I said, "You too."
I hate it when I do that.
Work is over in 30 minutes, even though the last person who I go to for stuff to do left an hour and a half ago. I wish to also leave pls.
That is all.
Emily in Europe, part 2: The Swedening!

I've had that title in my head for days. It still causes internal amusement. Hee.

Doctor: Mrs. Vanderboodle, you seem to be suffering from acute internal amusement. I'm afraid you have 20 minutes to live.

Chapter one, in which I am a little punchy.

Or whatever. I'm at work. I'm running on adrenaline and 2 cups of coffee. Be quiet. Also, someone broke the internet and I am Miffed. But that's why I'm finally writing this and not reading the complete archives of another knitting blog in that way that I do, um, constantly. Hee.

So. A little over a month ago I was bored at work (like today!) and perusing the internet (like I WAS doing, stupid computer) and had a whim to check what it would cost me not if I went to Sweden for Herrang.

For those of you who are not In The Know, in the month of July the tiny town of Herrang, Sweden becomes a mecca for swing dancers worldwide. There's a camp there that is flocked upon by crazed dancer types. Classes are held, famous people (well, in the swing world) are flown in – it's chaos. I, personally, knew about 5000 people who were going. But, alas, I didn't sign up because, when everyone else was making their plans in May, I didn't have a job. This meant:

1. If I got a job by then there's no WAY they'd let me just take a week off immediately upon starting work, and
2. If I didn't have a job by then I wouldn't be able to afford it.

Finally I did find a job, and I became chief file monkey of the second floor of Giant Law Firm. I listened to my friends make their plans for Sweden and felt Envy, but was pleased to have a job. I heard that some of my Edinburgh-based friends were going. I lamented (lament! There was repetitive head-to-wall contact) not being able to see them, particularly since many of them are looking to move soon. That = not getting to see them all in one place again which also = bad. There would be North Carolina dancers there, too, but that, well, was less of a concern.

Which is when we return to a month ago! Looking up what it would cost me to go to Sweden and see lovely people!

Turned out that for all my travel and living costs (here to there, plus their "limousine" fare from the airport to camp and back again, including camping or getting a bunk there which, technically = free) would be about $1100 (slightly less than what my friends were paying months ago). I had $6500 in the bank. This was totally plausible. Holy sheep.  

I wouldn't take classes because it'd be an extra $500 and I wouldn't be there the whole week, with flights working out the way they do (arrive before-god-early in the morning on Sunday, leave just-kill-me-now early on Friday morning). BUT for 200 kroner a night (about $30) I could social dance from about 9pm until 8am (after 2am it's free). This is fine by me, because Annie sent me an email today reminding me of that fact, and that the dance floor's too crowded to move until 4am anyway.

I will just remain on east coast time! No jet-lag for me!

The trick, of course, is getting that time off work. This was infinitely harder considering I'd just asked for the second week of August off for the yearly family vacation to Colorado. What kind of company would let me take another week off work?

This company, apparently. Their attitude is that because I'm temp and Low on the Totem Pole of Law, I can take off any time (within reason), so long as there don't appear to be any major crises on the horizon.

And so it was that I got the first week of July off.

Dear Job!
I love you, and your vacation-enabling!

BUT WAIT, you type in the Capitalization of Excitement! It is now well past the first week of July, and you are just writing about the beginning of… the trip… is – is that right? What's going on. Damn you.  

Calm down, internet.

Here's how it went:

I needed someone to convince me to buy the tickets, because it's skeery to 1. spend assloads of money, and 2. go to Europe. So I called my folks.

Dad first, and the conversation went approximately as such:

Me: I can go to Sweden for a week for 1/6 of what I have in my bank account. It would enable seeing awesome people and dancing awesomeness and also, hi, Sweden. Should I go?

Dad: Um, YES. Omg, hawsome. Go now.

And with mom:

Me: I can go to Sweden for a week for 1/6 of what I have in my bank account. It would enable seeing awesome people and dancing awesomeness and also, hi, Sweden. Should I go?

Mom: I don't understand. Why is that a question? Are you listening to yourself?

I love my parents.

Travelocity was sought and tickets were purchased! I sent out an email to Scotland-related folks and said "OMG I'm going! Who else is going to be there the first week??" This is, of course, when the universe laughed and me, and I got responses from all of them saying, "That's great! But um, I'll be there the fourth week."

Shit. The main reasons I'll be there and I'll be missing them by three weeks. No doubt it'd cost me $100 to change the tickets, and [expletives deleted because it'd just take up too much space]. Travelocity was called and I was connected with a very nice woman in India, where it was 5am. Ouch.

I said I wanted to change my tickets, and she said it'd cost up to $250 plus the additional cost of the new tickets.

Heep! I love my friends, but is seeing them worth the additional $250? Is… is it? Oh dear…

Painful shudder!

She pulled up my records, and lo, the universe smiled upon me, and she said that since it was less than 24 hours since I'd bought the tickets she could just void them and I could purchase new ones. It'd just cost $10 for the nonrefundable Traveocity fee from the original purchase.

I made her repeat that  5 times and then got it in writing because it sounded too good to be true. Buying $1000 plane tickets twice in two days and being wrong is a terrifying thing. I checked my bank account many times over the next few days, though, and it seemed to work out. Phew.

Excitement abounded! New camera was purchased! Emails were sent! Bragging commenced, which led to gentle haranguing (get it? It sounds like Herrang! Ah-ha!) from co-workers, with my excessive vacationing in exotic locales!

Here it is, then, a month later (it's today, even). I leave tomorrow.


Okay, breathe, Emily, breathe. HEEE HUGHHHH, HEE HUGHHHHH.  

My parents were good enough to send all our camping equipment, dutifully purchased a decade ago and used exactly never. (Side note: why the hell is camping stuff so huge and bulky? What is WRONG with you people?). They also sent little gifties like a super-absorbent towel and a keychain LED flashlight which is little but mighty like a rambunctious kitten. Turns out the flashlight, while appreciated and delightful (har! DeLIGHTful! It is TOO funny, shut up) will not, um, be much use. It being Sweden, and it being summer, it's dark from 11pm to 3am. Which is when dancing happens. Ha! I laughed. And bought an eye mask for sleeping.

(I just realized I'm having mac and cheese and apple juice for lunch. Hi, I am four!)

After many discussions with C4 at work about camping and what to bring (she lent me stuff! She gets a t-shirt!) I have made stacks of post-it note-style lists, brought the wrath of my debit card down upon Target/CVS/Great Outdoor Provision Co, scrounged the internet for some (ANY) relevant information, and made piles of "to-bring" stuff in my apartment. When I was not hiding from it all by burying myself in the couch and knitting.

See, I'm not totally sure what to pack because while there are approximately infinity number of pictures on the web of Herrang, none of them involve 1. the campsite, and 2. any of the buildings! I-do-not-know-what-is-available-to-me. So do I pack everything? Or nothing, and then buy what I need for many many dollars kroner? (Kroners?)
Conclusion: I DON'T KNOW. I will pack what fits, and leave whatever doesn't. I will pack my knitting first.
Tonight's agenda: run around my apartment as adrenaline replaces the water in my body. Pack things until totally insane (estimated: seven minutes), then give up and go traveling super-back-to-nature-style with my passport and debit card. All will work itself out later. What? Debit cards = nature. Shut up. 
Actually, that's sounding really good.

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