I know that I didn't really promise wacky travel stories, but Air Canada (bless 'em) went out of their way to make sure I had something to write home about.
Leaving Newark seemed to take forever and I was one of the last people on the plane, since they never seemed to call my row. I was in 4F and as I go barrelling through the first class section, it suddenly dawns on me that I'd been upgraded. Frankly, it was a little strange. The seats were like sitting in a giant easy chair (yes, there were footrests), so my feet were dangling a good 6-8 inches off the floor if I sat all the way back. Then, there was this obscene amount of distance between me and seat in front of me...literally enough room for little me to lie on the floor and take a nap (although I did not act on this impulse). The whole time I was torn between wanting to sleep in this comfy chair and my desire to milk being in first class for all it was worth. Oh! So, apparently the reason why we had this plane was because they needed to get it ready. It's rentable and they use it for sports teams and stuff. Today, it was picking up U2 for the Vertigo 3 tour. And I thought that was cool. :-) Air Canada capped it all off by not putting anyone in the seat beside me on the Toronto-Heathrow flight and I actually did sleep (with the help of a Tylenol PM). Oh, and did I mention the lovely views of Chicago, Toronto, New York, Ireland, Wales, England and London? Just about the only thing I didn't get to see was Indianapolis (at which I would have
I did decide to splurge and took Heathrow Connect, which is faster and more expensive than the Tube, but cheaper and slower than the Heathrow Express. And against Welling's better advice, I went ahead and did the rest on my own via the Circle Line from Paddington. Some lovely women helped me up the stairs at Tower Hill, but it wasn't too bad otherwise. I think a big part of me just thought it was really cool to trundle across Tower Bridge with all my stuffity stuff. Checked in,went to my room and discovered that it was occupied. So, Max was using his friend's room and thought he had another night left. I showered and read for awhile and he packed up. I felt kinda bad, but it's settled now. None of the other students have arrived (although a few old ones are leaving).
I'm sure that at least a few of you are wondering what my room is like (since some of you have already reserved the floor space). The good news is that it is a whole lot bigger than it looks in those pictures and very well designed. There's a ton of storage space and I'm hardly using any of it. I would guess that it's longer than a Bundy single, but about the same width (if that helps?). There's a big wardrobe, the sink, more storage under the sink, two big cubbies under the bed, and a floor to ceiling bookcase (guess they know what LSE post-grads will be doing in their spare time, eh?). Desk looks out the window (out of which I have a lovely view of a brick wall) and there are quite a few flat spaces and shelves (other than the book case) for setting things down. Of course, in my newly clutterless space, I don't have too many things to set around.
After unpacking I took a nap, but I'm going to have to get used to having noise outside again. I've been spoiled in Indianapolis and Richmond. Then I went for a walk to buy supplies to the shopping center at Canada Water. Just in time, too, apparently, since all the shops were closing by the time I'd spent 15 minutes in this mini-mall (WTF?). Anyway, I've got an ethernet cord (hence the e-mail), sheets, towels, bluetack so I can start hanging photos and dinner supplies. Now I'm eating the dinner supplies (yogurt, milk and a cream cheese and turkey sandwich on whole grain bread, if you were wondering). There are nectarines for later, too. Yum, I've missed European dairy products!
Frankly, I feel like a duck out of water. Part of that's the jet lag and part of that's being nervous about this whole experience. I'm worried that I'll be too shy to get to know other people (especially my flat mates). I think I'm going to go exploring in a few minutes, to find the lounge and (hopefully) some other students. I'm also readjusting to London, albeit slowly. I feel very much like and Indiana Hoosier in the World's Capital City right now and sort of bumpkin-ish. But, I must not be showing it, since I've already gotten stopped for directions (perhaps a new personal record?). Or maybe it's because the Hoosier in my just looks approachable.
Anyway, off to wash up the dishes and attempt to be social before a pretty early bed time. Still fighting the jet lag, you know!