Tomorrow, I will leave for London. I'm sure I would be more excited if I had actually begun packing yet. If packing anxiety is a legitimate anxiety, I definitely have PAD [Packing Anxiety Disorder]. For as much as I travel and have travelled, you'd think that I would have it down to a science by now, but I still cower in fear as soon as the suitcase is opened on the floor of my bedroom, the empty black insides symbolizing a deep, dark, terrifying abyss. The worst thing about this trip is that I don't have to be at the airport until 3 tomorrow afternoon, making the "I'll do it in the morning" cop-out extremely tempting.
I've been to London once before. In the summer of 2000, I was on a student trip to France. My mom was a high school French teacher and she had a group of about eight kids, plus me and a friend of mine. For our return flight, we flew from Paris to London-Gatwick, but our connection was from London-Heathrow to Chicago. The travel company told my mom that there would be a free shuttle between the airports, and we had about three hours, so we should be fine. We found the shuttle stop, but after about half an hour, we realized that the other people at the stop were holding pieces of paper that looked rather suspiciously like tickets. When my mom inquired at the desk, she found out that there weren't enough spots on the next shuttle for all of us to go, so we'd have to wait an hour. We all ended up getting on the plane in Heathrow, but they held it at the gate for us for a few minutes, and the whole experience was not without one of those Home Alone-esque scenes, with our whole group running towards the gate. It was kind of awesome, but I hope we don't have any of that tomorrow. We have an hour to change planes in Newark, and as far as I know, Newark is only important enough to have one airport. Of course, Newark is also kind of the third airport for New York, so perhaps that's even less important that being its own entity. I wonder how the folks at the Newark airport feel about that. I probably won't have enough time to ask anyone, and maybe that's a good thing.
So tomorrow, I embark on my first trip to London that lasts more than a couple of hours. I have a lot of expectations, mostly regarding the number of nerdy places I'll get to visit. I love museums and touristy things and taking pictures that inspire captions like "Me with a statue of some dude I forgot." This trip is part of a class that has been an endeavour in cultural studies, so I am excited to experience a culture that I was once a part of, given my heritage, which is heavy on groups from the British Isles. I'm also excited because London is an Olympic city, both past and future (1908, 1948, and 2012), and I'm a little obsessed with the Olympics. I'm also excited to go to Greenwich, where I hope there will be a painted yellow line that marks the Prime Meridian, so I can get a photo of me standing with one foot in each of the Western and Eastern hemispheres, to go with the photo of me standing with one foot on each side of the Equator that I took in Ecuador five years ago. See what I mean about the nerdy things?
This blog is an assignment for my course, so I'll be making it a priority to update while I'm in England. I should also mention that while most of the trip will be spent in London, I will also be going to Stratford-upon-Avon (it is an English course, after all!), Salisbury, Oxford, and Paris! Yes, Paris. Four other girls and I will be taking the train to Paris on our final free day, where I get to play tour guide extraordinaire. Thanks for reading, and don't forget to leave me comments if you miss me while I'm gone, or if you don't mind pretending that you do so I feel better about myself.