The End of Days

(Don’t panic! Just for me in England…not like…the end of the world or anything.) 

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

Here, allow me to illustrate with this chart I just happened to have on hand:

Venn diagram

Hannah and I got back from EA!P2 on Wednesday, June 3. We made the trek from Gatwick to RoHo in the early afternoon and met up with Miranda and Phoebe in Staines for the Last Ever (for us at least) Orange Wednesday (two-for-one movie tickets through our mobiles…that’s “cell phone” for the yankees). Saw Angels and Demons. I’m sorry, I just cannot buy Tom Hanks as an “action hero.” But I love Ewan McGregor in anything and everything. And it was super cool because I had been to almost every place in Rome that they filmed. Overall, I’d say it was better than previous movie. “I have to get to a library! There’s a snake in my boot!”

Thursday was crazy packing day of crazy.

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It always gets worse before it gets better.

Hannah went off on her own to London to shop for some souvies, Grace came back from her Euroventure, and then it was Farewell to London Time. Grace and I found Hannah by Southwark Cathedral (the first place I went with Grace and Tyler and Colin and Annie the first time I took the train into London waaaay the heck back in January) and had fish and chips and Bulmers (HOW I MISS THEE) at a pub by the Thames.

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Then Grace went off for her farewell ritual, and Hannah and I kept walking along the Thames River Path (I think I saw it called that on a sign, but it is also entirely possible that I’m making the name up) to Shakepeare’s Globe for Romeo and Juliet!

They try to be very authentic in their props and costumes and set design and lack of microphones. And lack of comfort in seating. Three hours on a wood bench with no back. I guess it was better than the poor groundlings who had to stand the whole time. Oy. And because it’s open air, it was cool to see the sky change and the sun set (dare I say…Waterloo sunset?

) and all that.

Back in Egham, I said goodbye to Miranda and Phoebe (who are suuuuper cool, btw, and I’m really sad that I didn’t start hanging out and getting to know them earlier) and Hannah, Grace and I hunkered down for some more packing and Surrey Sleepover 3.0.

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See? Progress was made.

On the morning of D-Day, I was feeling surprisingly ready. It was the most ready and calm and on-time departure morning I’d had in a long time. For example, before leaving New York in December, I was running around like a headless chicken, trudging through the snow, trying to mail home last minute packages, desperately pawning my belongings onto other etc etc.

Everything was ready ahead of our goal time for going downstairs to wait for the taxi. Of course it started to rain just then, but there was enough time to take a photo at one of RoHo’s most beloved landmarks:

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The taxi was right on time and the driver was super nice, even in the face of our huge huge pile of luggage. We had a nice chat on the drive to Gatwick and got there super early.

Of course, both of my suitcases were over weight, but somehow I only got charged for one, which was a magical surprise.

We spent a lot of time in the departure lounge, browsing the duty-free shops and buying up snacks to strategically get rid of as much of our left over British money as possible. And then there was the ceremonial Taking of the Last Picture in England.

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It took a bit of diligence to get seats together on the plane because we all had separate reservations, but hard work pays off.

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Airplane cheers for us. I was lucky enough to have the window seat…

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Great view, right? We gazed out over the Atlantic the whole time.

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Eight hours in a plane isn’t so bad, especially when you’ve got your besties. You’ll note we were not immune to the crazy, however, which can be seen in our faces. Or mine at least.

On our landing cards, we all put that we’d been to a farm (because we had) which caused us to get special marks in immigration (the line was super long, and then the conveyor belt for the luggage wasn’t working so it took forever), and then we got pulled aside in customs for a special xray of our luggage (which we had diligently loaded on to carts and had to immediately take off again) and the Official Decontamination of the Farm Contaminated Shoes. They were also placed in a plastic bag for Extra Protection.

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And once we got through customs, they are like “SURPRISE! Give back your carts for now there is only an escalator to the shuttle to the main building. Or you can put your luggage on this slow mystery conveyor that will take it to normal baggage claim so you can wait for it all over again.”

Of course, being the strong, independent women that we are, we were like “heeeeeelll no” so we comically transported the bags up the escalator one at a time.

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The task was overwhelming, to say the least, because then there were more bags to pull than hands to pull them with.

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Our parents were waiting on the other side of security. It was a joyous reunion, filled with much laughter as our precarious luggage arrangements and SaniShoes continued to malfunction and relocate…so by the time we got into the terminal, we were just dragging them higgaldy piggaldy and giggling with jetlag. Nevertheless, we made it home!

Whew! Finally!

So there you have it folks. There and back again!

Life in Londonland
Leonore’s Adventures Abroad
January 7-June 5, 2009

Stayed tuned for one last reflective/conclusionary entry coming (fingers crossed) soon!

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