I kind of dropped the ball here.
I meant to post various things about the packing process, checking in for my flights, the experience of preparing to leave home, all that travel stuff, but somehow, in the flurry of all above mentioned activities, I simply forgot about getting anything prepared to post online, let alone a proper introduction to the chaos that occurs before any big move. So, as it is, this post will be a reflection on the past couple of days and quick gloss over the weeks leading up to 15 August, the day on which I flew out of San Francisco to land in London, England, where I am currently writing to you now.
The process of getting ready to leave really started back in May when I got home from ASU graduation ceremonials. It seemed that the sooner we started making lists and choosing suitcases, the quicker the date would arrive. Of course, that amount of preparation, the sheer timing, led to a long wait. Every time my mom and I went out, there was always the question of, “Do you think you’ll need this?” in the back of our heads. Target became a hunting ground for tiny toothpaste tubes and microfiber towelettes. Suffice to say, collecting everything that I would need happened far before I would need it, and the lack of payoff was more nervewracking than the thought of leaving!
Naturally, leaving home also necessitated getting rid of most everything that I would leave behind. Mom and Dad made no secret of planning what my bedroom would become, and, “really, Nikki, why do you have so much crap??” was heard at least twice a day for a while. I couldn’t take all the school books I’d accumulated over the years (being an English major, I had a lot) and much of the clothing I had was either desperately out of fashion by Italian standards or falling apart. By the end of the summer, I was wearing the same pair of jeans and rotating three tee-shirts because all the appropriate-to-wear-in-Europe ones had been packed. I’m still not entirely sure what my parents plan on doing, but at least Mom’s willing to box up whatever I have left for me to sort out whenever I go home. I can’t imagine shipping all of it over here. Where would I put it!?
I had to say goodbye to a lot of family members, after having left my friends behind in Arizona. As Rachel and Katie can attest, many of us are going very separate directions and who knows when we’ll all meet up again? While my friends were unable to come by California for a final send off, my family was at least able to get together for a goodbye party two weeks before the actual date, so I saw everyone in one shot. Since I won’t be going home for holidays, this leaves FaceTime and Skype and Facebook as main modes of communication. Thank goodness for technology!!
Being sent of by my mom, dad, and brother was a bit strange this time around. I mean, they’ve done this plenty of times before since I attended an out-of-state university and when I left to study in Florence the first time, but leaving from San Francisco without them is something I’ve only done once and that was at the beginning of my college career. It’s strange and fitting, I think, that I’ve ended my college experience this way. I’ll be seeing them, hopefully, for the Christmas holiday, so that’s not too far off. Maybe if I remember anything I need, they can bring it over? 😀
The flight from San Fran to London was better than I thought it would be, honestly. It’s been years since I’ve flown Virgin Atlantic, and I was a bit skeptical about how things would go. All I could remember was that there were video games available on board for the kids. Their website listed plenty of movies and television shows to watch, but I tend to sleep on planes nowadays instead of staying up the whole flight. It turns out that Virgin’s quite good. I enjoyed the food, watched Django Unchained (great movie), slept a bit, and even managed to feel not-squished in upper deck coach seating. I have to say, though, that I wasn’t terribly pleased with the whole “one carry on item ONLY” idea. No personal item, no computer case, nothing. Just one bag per person. Shoving my computer and my purse into my already 10k backpack made me want to cry.
That said, I arrived in London in one piece and fairly rested, only to find that the global plan on my iPhone had not been activated for some reason and I had no service. Thankfully I got that cleared up this morning, so I’m riding the Vodafone UK carrier here in London, though the rates are completely obnoxious. I might be better off just buying a crappy SIM card for a pay-as-you-go phone, but hopefully the plans available in Italy will make bringing the iPhone with me worth it.
Staying with my aunt and uncle and cousins in Birmingham is just as I thought it might be: scathingly funny and very, very English. I’m having a great time, and though I’d love to elaborate on it, I’m creeping up on midnight here and jet lag is still kicking my butt. I wanted to get a post up, though, FIRST POST, in fact, before I fell asleep again today. Tomorrow, if I’ve time, I’ll definitely let you know how my time here has been thus far. Until then, ciao ciao!