Nov 6, 2010

Just Touched Down in London Town

I love Virgin Atlantic’s style with nice seats, good (and frequent) food, and a little travel goody bag with socks, eye-mask, toothbrush and paste, etc. After a terrible experience with China Airlines last year I learned that going cheap just isn’t worth it sometimes.
Our party was completely scattered and some wandered to the back of the plane to hang out, but I was too tired. Having a window seat with a large sleeping man at the aisle didn’t help things much either.
I think I must have a sort of complex about feeling left out because I began to feel pouty that I was trapped in my seat. I noticed everyone was getting extra drinks form the stewards, and I imagined hilarious stories afterwards about the fun and conversations I’d missed.
However, it wasn’t long before my sleep deprivation knocked some sense into me and I told myself I was being silly. What happened to the Serena that stayed up for days without batting an eye? My mom always used to worry about me not getting enough rest or taking care of myself, but if she saw me this trip, I think even she would've told me to suck it up and get on with my life. I woke to breakfast being handed out and annihilated a croissant sandwich.
We arrived in London after a short ten hour flight from Las Vegas.  Joel, Gabby (both Australian) and I took our places among the non-UK passport holders and waited a good deal longer than those in the UK line. An American guy behind me, looking like he came from Yucaipa, kept saying loudly “What the fuck? Why is their line moving so much faster? Good thing these morons don’t work for tips.” And good thing you don’t work for immigration sir. What happened to muttering quietly under your breath?
Since I wasn't sure how long I was staying I just wrote two months. Although I gathered it might prompt some questions, I must have been too flustered to ask for another one so I kept it unchanged. Oops. I was asked why I was staying so long and how my job could allow such a long holiday. When I said I was between jobs, my interrogator actually removed his eyeglasses and gave me the most condescending once-over, “So you’re unemployed.”
He asked how much I had in my account exactly as well as cash on me. About ten minutes prior I had found a ten Euro note in the airport hallway and waved it in front of him, hoping to somehow convince him I’m not the vagabond that I am.
When mentioned I was visiting my boyfriend he made me write down his name while he looked it up. I started sweating and getting a little shaky.  Joel waited for me on the other side of freedom with a concerned look. “Please God, don’t let them turn me away,” I thought. After taking his time writing notes and notes on who knows what, he finally stamped my passport and said a curt ‘thank you.’ Whew, breathe.
Although I kept reminding people “I’m temporarily moving to London” I still felt a bit sheepish about the amount of luggage I had. I eyed Gabby’s single bag with a weird jealousy. When the California fires surrounded our house last fall, I secretly wished I would lose a few things just so I could be rid of some of my possessions that are really more burdens than assets. With no such intervention of fate, it might be time to learn a little self-control and prioritize. Hmmmm, we’ll see how that goes.
I've been told that Londoners proudly walk at an absurdly fast past because “they’ve got things to do.” I scrambled along after everyone, wishing I hadn't worn my high-heeled boots. James threw one of my bags over his shoulder and stayed with me to make sure I didn’t kill myself with the runaway luggage cart- squirrely little sucker.
The cab ride home was beautiful. It is so green here! Not a brown patch in sight, it made a stunning backdrop for the vibrant yellows, oranges and reds of the trees. I’m not one for describing surroundings, but it was too impressive to skip. I could already tell this trip was going to be entirely different with only a crisp cold in the air, versus the numbing, freezing bite of last winter. Maybe Jon won’t have to drag me kicking and screaming out of the house this time!
We cuddle up in the cab and I can feel my excitement about the move building under a thick coating of sleepiness: the wonderful, soft and warm, guilt-free kind. Jon announces that we are going straight to bed then out for a nice meal when we wake up; music to my ears.  Actually-- sleep and food to my ears! Even better.
A perfect nap followed in our bed that I swear is actually made out of clouds… or at least geese that have been fed clouds. Waking up at 10pm, 12 hours after our flight landed, I threw on some makeup and twisted a little braid in my hair hoping to make my bed-head look deliberate. Green curry and some white wine at the Thai place down the street hit the spot as Jon, James and I toasted another successful Modball.