November 20, 2010
London notes – 20-11-10
There’s been many requests for updates, and here is a little one as I’ve only been here for 24 hours.
Saying goodbye to everyone was emotional. I was very grateful to have so many lovely people come to my little so-long shindig and I made sure to spend some quality time with my family and my grandparents before I left. Many people asked if my family will visit me over here – they won’t, they’re just not into travelling. So this will be the longest period of time I’ve ever spent away from them, and I miss them already.
Packing was tricky. I managed to get everything down into one large suitcase, one carry-on suitcase, and my satchel, but of course I made a rookie mistake at the airport – I didn’t realize there was a weight restriction for the carry-on case and ended up having to check it and pay a big old fee.
Other than that, checking in was so easy and only took five minutes. It wasn’t my first time flying (I’ve flown to New York and Las Vegas before) but it was the first time I was on my own in the airport. I was very early and found a nice spot by the gate, watched the sun set over Mississauga, and felt… nothing. After so much emotion and letting go of so many places, people and things, I have become an empty vessel.
I had a window seat on the plane. I’ve only flown a few times so I love the novelty of it all. I barely slept at all, spent most of the trip poking my head out and looking at the vast nothingness of a black ocean, not thinking about anything. Coming into England while the sun rose over the coast of the English Channel and all the foggy little fields was incredibly beautiful.
Landing in Gatwick was OK, something was wrong with the gate so we got to disembark on the tarmac which was different. I got my checked baggage OK, met a mini-cab driver with my name on a piece of paper, and drove into London.
I’m staying with my Australian Aunt and Uncle (well not exactly, it is a tangential family connection) in a suburb called Putney at the moment. They’re fun and hospitable and great cooks and I feel so lucky to have a great place to stay while I enter the next phase of this thing, which is trying to settle in my own place somewhere.
So far so good, I’m mostly somewhat jetlagged and disoriented. Everything is backwards here. Taps turn backwards, doors open in instead of out, people cross on the wrong side of the sidewalk, I do a lot of bumping into things.
Between erratic sleep patterns, I’ve bought a phone (07538 786074) and am connecting up with some friends, and trying to figure out what neighbourhoods I’d like to live in. That’s about it for the moment.