For the past week or so, my mom and I had been getting things ready and organized for my trip to London. Little did I know that packing like an adult and for specific visits was going to be harder than I imagined. I had to go shop more in the professional dress stations and really think about my clothes being appropriate or not for the places we were going to visit. I had gotten a lot of info from friends who had visited or lived in the UK but I was still stressed out about it. Oh well, I came home with bags in my hands and dropped everything on my living room floor just expecting to pack the morning of my trip.
This was a horrible idea. I woke up at 9am on June 9th expecting it to take only an hour or so to pack. That was a sick joke. I started packing and quickly realized I was going to have absolutely no space at all for any of my clothes, so I had my mom check the sizing of how big my luggage could be, and with my sisters help, I packed all of my things in a larger suitcase only weighing 43 pounds! Then I packed my two carry on items with books, movies, computer, etc.
Next thing I knew my sister was greeting me with my last meal--Chipotle--and I had to hop in the shower and get ready to go. It was about 15 minutes after my mom had wanted to leave so she wasn't too happy but we were almost two and a half hours ahead of my flight, which was at 6:30pm. We arrived at Dulles and right away my mom took off like the knew the place blindfolded. We checked my bag in and I said a long goodbye to my mom, but it was different than the time I left that same spot almost three years ago heading to Italy with my Aunt, Uncle, and three cousins. It was sad leaving my Mom but it was just another sign that I was growing up!
I walked down to security which was not too bad of a line and headed down to the tram that took me to the area where my gate was. The people who work for Dulles are all so helpful and showed me exactly where I needed to be. I sat down at my gate where there was a plug and noticed that I had forgotten something. Normally material things don't really bother me too much, but I had forgotten to put on some specific bracelets that my family and friends had given me and a St. Christopher necklace that my Dad gave me to wear when I travel. This really made me upset so I texted my sister and asked her if she'd wear it for me just for my own peace of mind. And she happily obliged--thanks, Kate!
I waited almost 30 minutes and one of my friends from my study abroad group found me so I felt a little better seeing her there. And less than five minutes later, another one of my friends in the study abroad program showed up as well. We all went to a bagel place and got a sandwich and bagel but when we got back, they were having people board the plan almost 45 minutes before take-off.
We stood in line for about 15 minutes and got on the plane.
I was in an isle seat with my fellow pirates not too far from me! A woman was seated in my isle and made a joke hoping that the two people assigned to sit in the middle of us wouldn't show up--and they didn't!! Takeoff was great and seriously the people who work on British Airlines are so sweet and happy to talk to people. I watched a bit of a few movies, read a little, and tried to sleep but it didn't really happen. The food was really good, but because I had already eaten my sandwich right when I sat down, I wasn't too hungry. A few hours later, it was 6:20am in London and we were about to land in Heathrow airport.
We landed, got off the plane, headed to the long long LONG line to check in to the UK with our passports and we got through. We met up with another study abroad student and while we got our luggage, she waited for hers. We all waited almost four hours but no sign of it.
We headed to the terminal where we were supposed to meet our group, all savoring our last minutes of free wifi, and we all made it! (Except for a few people who met us at the apartments.) We took the tube to our Baron's court stop, headed up the steep and long stairs and walked out to the streets of London seeing the double decker busses and cars on the "wrong" side of the road. You could tell right when you got off of the tube that the way of life in the UK was just different. We got a little lost...or a lot lost trying to find our apartment and after about 30 minutes of walking around with all of our luggage, we were greeted by a man who guided us to our apartments and gave us our keys.
For my apartment it was myself, Morgan, Caitlin, Summer, and Stephanie. The apartments are nice, just no air conditioning, timed wi-fi, and five flights of stairs to walk up...but hey, it's somewhere! Actually, the no ac is no problem, it's so nice just sitting in our common room with the window open and listening to the London traffic go by. (Which is what i'm doing right now). We dropped all of our stuff off and a few of us went to the local market, almost a bigger 7-11 or Sheetz, and got a few food items and things for the apartment. It was so convenient and the people who worked there were so sweet!
After that, we took the tube to dinner at Newman Arms which was a restaurant and pub as well. We had the upstairs part and for dinner I had a chicken and broccoli pot pie which was probably the most delicious thing in the world...until the dessert came. I had "chocolate pudding with cream" which was basically chocolate cake with milk surrounding it but it was seriously amazing!! After dinner I was so exhausted and half of us decided to just take the tube back to our apartment. We got back in no time because it was so late and all went to bed around 2am, London time. I'll be posting about our first full day in London soon!