It has been awhile since this blog has been written on sadly. There has been different reasons for that, but I thought it was time for a new post. A lot has been going on. Some good, some bad, but I thought you might like to hear about some of the 'adventures' we have been going through the last couple of weeks.
A lot of you might have not known that I decided to hop on a plane to see Jan. I will tell you all about my time in Germany and getting there in another post. But first I will share my 'awesome experience' of randomly going to England while it is fresh on my mind. It was not exactly part of the plan. There was never really a plan, but I will get to that later...
It all began at the train station in Nuremberg. Trevor and Jan took me there and we got a parking spot and were trying to figure out how to work the parking ticket machine when a lady was pulling in right next to it. She ran into the poll that was by us and we were like "bummer". She gets out of the car murmuring in German. We told her we didn't speak German. Then she continues in English how we made her run into the poll and we were in the way, how could we let her do that. We all just kinda stood there a little shocked. I was amazed how she twisted it and blamed it on us. Jan and Trevor didn't take it very well. lol. Then she asked why we were just standing there and told us she would not help us with the machine because she obviously did not like us... yeah..So we went inside and we found an information desk where we got me a train into Frankfurt. The guy helping us did not put Jan at ease because he said it was not safe for me to be alone at certain stations. I was ready for anything though.. We decided to have one last meal before I headed off and we ate at the famous McDonald's, but don't worry, in Europe its actually quite good... Then it was time for me to leave. I was not very happy about it. Jan took me out to the platform and I tried to convince him that I could fit in his suit case so he could take me with him. He disagreed, so I gave up. The train arrived and he helped me get my stuff on board. ( I need to take the time to explain what I actually had with me so you can better visualize what I went through. I must also say first that I was not planning on roaming Europe all by myself so I didn't think to pack light. I had one giant sized suit case with at least 50 pounds or more of stuff, one duffel bag with at least 30 pounds in it, my purse, and my very heavy lap top bag. Now please, throughout this story, remember me carrying all this). Jan rolled on my suitcase and my trip started off with a bang. I went to lift it up and the handle broke. He then lifted it up for me and put it on the overhead racks. (Sorry to keep interrupting my story but I think it is necessary so you can really visualize this journey. For those that haven't been on a European train, there is not a lot of room on these trains. The trains are used for travel, but they are not made for travel. They very inconveniently didn't put into consideration that we would have extremely heavy and over sized suit cases with us. There are narrow aisles and OVERHEAD compartments for some luggage. I stress on overhead because you have to be strong to actually lift the stupid things above your head and squish them in the tiny space. Anyway continuing with my story). The train was about to leave so Jan was rushing to get off. We didn't get time to really say goodbye. As if this whole trip hadn't been enough like the movies, this next part was just another heart breaking scene. I stood on the door of the train while the engines rev up and he stands there and holds my hand and kisses me goodbye and quickly says certain things and says his goodbyes. And the train is off...
I try not to think about what just happened because in our relationship we have had a lot of goodbyes. Too many goodbyes. And we never get used to them, they never seem to get any easier. No relationship should have to go through a constant fear of goodbyes. We haven't been lucky enough yet to have what everyone else has, the pleasure of being together. We are left to wonder when the next time we will get to say hello, but we are left knowing it will not be soon enough. All we can do is hope that it will all be over soon.
As the train leaves the station I decided I needed to find a seat but the Germans were not being any help and none of them would let me sit next to them. I didn't want to stray too far from my suit case either. I finally reach this guy and he moved over so I mutter and motioned to him if I could sit next to him. He nods and says yes. I take a quick glance at him and he says where are you from. In my head I say "Thank heavens and American! Ah." So we begin talking and conveniently he was there for military work. He was really nice so we talked for some time and he also had another friend on the train that was there for work too. He was in the Army for 6 years but got injured in Iraq so now he travels around to train army men. He was actually headed to Jan's base in a few days. Small world. It was nice to have someone to talk to so I could take my mind off things. Jan told me I was not allowed to talk to any males, but I decided to break the rules that once. But of coarse everything couldn't go right and after an hour or so I got kicked out of my seat by some old people... My ride was coming to an end so I thought I should go attempt to get my bag down. I didn't want to do it while the train was rocking back and forth because I didn't think a German would have wanted a suit case on their head. (I think that would have been the better scenario). It stops and get my suitcase down and struggle with my other three bags. I hit every elbow in the way and every eye was on me. I decided not to make eye contact while I continued to hit people. Then as I almost make it to the compartment door when this guy getting on the train stands there waiting to get past me. He is an idiot. This is a one way aisle. I don't know where in the hell he thought I was going to go, but I needed to get off that freaking train before it left that station. I sat there waiting for him to move and he kept talking to me in German and this lady sitting next to us was talking too. I think I let the words "I'm sorry slip" and he said some more stuff in German and all I understood was "Oh she's English...haha..blah blah" I could have taken him down, but I was in too much of a hurry, and finally I barely got off, as my bags went flying everywhere.
I was in the airport. Now I had to figure out how to get a ticket to England. I didn't even think you could buy a ticket out of the airport, because who doesn't buy their ticket before hand. Oh yeah, me. I had seen Amazing Race, so I knew it was possible. Thank goodness for reality tv. I think I should totally go on that show... Anyway this airport was confusing, I had been there before but I had a ticket then. So I found an information desk and he directed me where to go. But then it was an airport full of Lufthansa flights. Luckily some one directed me to a bus that would take me to British Airways. Once I found the airlines they helped me find a flight for that night but I could check in one bag for 23kg and it was 28 ish. So yet again, I was stuck in front of the check-in desk repacking. Finally I did it really fast not paying attention to what I was sticking into my duffel bag. All I was thinking about is how much my stupid duffel bag weighed and I dragged it along to find my terminal. I found it pretty easily and there wasn't a line so I was pretty excited. Then I started to get a little queezy as I realized what I had put in my duffel bag. Oh freakin no. My hairspray. (If you know me at all, you will know that nothing comes between me and my hairspray). So I asked the security guy, as I was putting my carry on stuff in the buckets, if it was going to be a problem. "Eh oh eh" he said as he made a disgusted, worried face. I thought to myself "Awesome". Then I went through the scanners and I went off. And again I started beeping as the man or women (I couldn't really tell) scanned me. Then I reached in my pocket and then a flash back of earlier that day came into my mind. At the platform Jan pulled his euro coins out of his pocket and gave them to me just in case I needed them. I told him I would be ok, but he insisted. Thanks Jan, for making me look even more suspicious. Lol. Then came the stares yet again. As they motioned me over because of my duffel bag. She made me open it and then I remembered ALL of my bathroom supplies were in there. Awesome. Both of the security guards began to "tsk" and give me looks as they went through my stuff. Shampoo, conditioner, lotion, shaving gel, HAIRSPRAY, and so on. They put it all in the trash. All of it. But of coarse I had some scissors in there too, but did they take those away? Absolutely not, because why would scissors be a threat when I had shampoo with me. Idiots... So I walk up to my gate when I noticed a questionable amount of Asians around me. I always enjoyed Asians since my study abroad, but why were so many of them going to London?.. Why would they be going to London, why would I even think they were going there. This was my gate, so I looked up at the sign and it said 'Destination: Tokyo'. ..I stood still, taking a breath as I convinced myself not to kill someone. I put a smile on my face and walked up to the Asian flight assistant that seemed to be smiling too much. She looked at me with a little giggle and said "This you gate, but you too early". Awesome. I don't own a watch, but there is nowhere to go, so I took a seat next to the gate and entertained myself by watching all the Asians for the next few hours... So I wait and wait... "hmmm 30 minutes till my flight leaves and yet, no one is there... Strangely enough we make it on time. I got in my seat and everything was swell. No one was in the seat next to me and they even gave us some sandwiches. But then all hell breaks lose. We were flying over Germany and I realized what just happened. I just said another goodbye to Jan, and this plane was taking me further from him. Then the tears started to come. Awesome. (I don't like to cry in front of people. So this was not good at all). I hate saying goodbye and I was not ready to leave. It was to late to do anything about it now.
We are now in London and it is 11 o'clock at night. I was tired and I drag my 2000 pound bag behind me as I walk to border control/customs people. As I walk up to him he jokingly say "What do you have in that bag, gold?" "Sure feels like it." He put me at ease so I thought it was okay to joke a little with him. Wrong. My last experience with these guys they made me question who I am as a person. "What are you studying in America? Why haven't you picked a major? Why are you studying Art History here if that is not your major? Why does your family live there?" (If you think I am kidding or exaggerating, I am telling the complete honest truth, they really ask you ridiculous questions like this). They make you feel guilty, almost like are you smuggling something in this country and you should not be there or all hell will break lose.. This time I practically told him my whole life story. "Why don't you know how long you will be here? Why does your ticket say you are leaving out of Frankfurt? Is someone picking you up from the airport? Why are you going to Leicester? How did you meet this friend? Why is your fiancee living in Germany? Why did he have to go to that leadership camp? Why would he let you come here?"... And it went on from there. No joke. We are practically good friends now, except for the fact that I think he hates me. Finally after thousands of questions about why I am the way I am, he let me into the ridiculous country. I proceeded to get my bags. Then as I went to pull it off, I noticed that the airport had broken the other handle. Both handles broken. Awesome. I was glad the airport was empty as I awkwardly removed my suitcase from the track. Next plan of action: Get into a hotel so my mom doesn't kill me for wondering around England in the middle of the night. I walked up to the ornery hotel service lady and she tells me all of my crappy options that costs a whole lot of $$$$$. (Except in pounds but I am not sure how to type that). I agreed to take a bus to an expensive hotel that it was near the airport. So I patiently wait in the freezing cold with a bunch of questionable men. Finally over an hour later the bus comes. It was finally nice to walk into somewhere I felt safe. They were expecting me and knew exactly who I was. (Maybe they had talked to the border control friend). I head to my room and go to turn on the lights. Click, click, click, click. Walk walk. Click Click Clickkkkkk. Click, click click click. "You have got to be kidding." Walk, walk, walk. "Excuse me, I have a stupid question." "Okay" "Why can't I turn on my lights." "You have to have to put your key in the card holder to make them work." Smile Smile. "Awesome." I had not been to Europe very long ago but I swear I had completely forgotten all the ridiculous, unnecessary things you have to do in these countries to make things work. I had learned a lot from my last trip, but I couldn't seem to remember any of it. And I get to make a fool of myself because of my forgetfulness. But I had somewhat gotten used to all the awkward, burning stares and was just super excited to see how the next day was going to go. I decided that I should probably let a couple people know I am somewhat alive. I saw some computers on the way in, and I paid a lot of pounds to stay here, so they should be free. Why would I ever think that. So I paid to use it for a quick half hour. But this was also another frustrating story that I am just going to skip over.
I wake up confused and then all the memories come flooding back to me. I get anxious to see how many Europeans I will offend today. Goal for today: Get to Hannah in one piece. Not sure how to get from Arora Inn to Leicester, so this should be interesting. I talked to the employees at the Inn and I ask where the train station is. They tell me what bus I need to catch to get to West Drayton. Ok that is easy enough... Wrong. I sit at the bus stop, and it is still cold. As I read the sign for the bus it is supposed to come every 13 mins, so I am good, I won't be cold for long. Wrong again. I patiently sit there waiting and then my bus comes my way. I get ready to hull my bag aboard. Woooshhh. Umm. There goes the bus, it didn't even hit the breaks, just went right past me. So there I sat wondering. "Why did it just pass me? Maybe it was the wrong bus." Then I continue to sit. Then it starts approaching again. Woooosh. "Hmmm. It didn't stop again. I am sitting here freezing... Wait why hasn't any buses stopped here? This is a bus STOP. Maybe there is a button I need to push or something." I look around, no button. Then I look to the top where it says "Request stop". In all my time in Europe I have never ran into a request stop bus. So that is not a lesson I have forgotten, but I knew lesson I must never forget. I finally realize you have to flag down the bus in order for it to stop. Another hours wait at the bus stop. Awesome. After flagging him down I climb aboard and him and all the other passengers give me that wonderful stare I had been missing since the day before. They loved me as I passed them and my bags fell on top of two passengers. The bus driver was very curitous though as he waited to start the bus until I was situated. I gave him a thumbs up. I was dropped off at the Train Station in West Drayton, but it looked more like an old hole in the wall pub, then a train station. It worried me a little. I again got lucky when I found a very nice man selling the tickets. I told him I had to get from this train station to Leicester. He did not seem to have a problem with it like everyone else, but was very helpful. He printed out my stops and what I needed to take where, and even gave me a return pass for a pound more. He told me what platform and I was off. And that is where the blisters began. Stairs. No Escalators. No Handles on giant suit case. Perfect Mixture. Again as luck would have it, a nice man found me struggling with my 80+ pounds and carried it up for me. Sadly that would be the last time I would meet a stranger willing to carry my suit case up flights of stairs. I also didn't realize how much fun my transportation would be for that day. Bus, train, underground, train, bus. Lots of stairs... I take the first bus to my first stop and from there find which underground route would get me to St. Pancrus. It was a Saturday afternoon, not the smartest time to be running around with a lot of bags in the middle of the Underground. I attempt my first set of stairs and I sit there wondering why they would not have escalators in a place where people would do a lot of traveling. Again, someone was not thinking very smart. My hands where getting beaten up. But finally I make it to the Undergroud and ask a nice man for a map so I can find where St. Pancrus is. I sat there for a while and I couldn't find it, finally he comes back up to me and says "Do you need some help?" I guess I am not good at hiding my confusion. Little did I know, Kings Cross and St. Pancrus is the same stop, as he points out. Dumby. I make my way onto the Underground (as I continue to hit people and make my blisters worse as I climb the never ending stairs). I had been to Kings Cross before and it is actually quite pretty and open. It also had escalators. I was happy to be there again. This time I would not be getting to see platform 9 3/4 though. I easily found where my train departed from and double check my paper. "Ah, my train doesn't leave for another hour and a half, I thought I was late." I should have triple checked. My bad. I didn't mind the wait. I was enjoying people watching as they got on and off the trains. I decided I really did belong in Europe. They have such great style. They always look so good and they are not afraid to be them. Its not like in America were they all wear boring clothes and you always see everyone in sweats... (An hour and a half passes) "Why is my train not on the sign? Why does it not exist? Leaves at 14:29. There is a 14:25 and 14:30, but no 14:29. Information desk here I come." So I walk up to the desk and wait in line and I guess I had my confused look on again because some guy came up to me and asked me what I needed help with. I told him my problem and another smile came my way. "13:15 departure time. Arrive time 14:29. You are late for your train, you missed it." Awesome. I was used to looking dumb at this point, it was all coming too easy now. "Oops. hmm. Well is there another train leaving to Leicester that I could take?" "Well probably not, but that depends on your ticket miss" "I was given this ticket" (Thank heavens for the nice man at the first train station! I think he knew that I would probably screw everything up and he was looking out for me). "Well then yes, with that ticket you can board any train. This train here leaves for Derbyshire, but you can get off at Leicester. It will actually get you there more quickly." Woot woot. I am not stuck here and Hannah here I come. I had a little easier time boarding this train and picked a seat right by the door so I wouldn't have an experience like from the day before. An hour later I arrive to my final destination: Leicester. More stairs. Ticket wouldn't let me out of the station. After dealing with those problems I ran into one more problem. Hannah doesn't know I am here, and I don't know where she is. Hannah, bless her soul, gave me her phone number the night before and I tried calling her on some phone I found. It didn't work the first two times. Third times the charm. "Hello?" "Hannah! Thank goodness its you! Umm, I am acutally in Leicester." Surprise! Lol. My bad again... 20 minutes later she came to rescue me. And we took another bus to her place of residence. And she took me right away to get some sugar. I had been in lack of sugar for a couple weeks at that point and I needed it bad. Thank heavens she understood.
It was so good to see someone I knew. It had only been a over 24 hours. But a long 24 hours. I actually didn't mind it that much. I like a little adventure here and there, but I would have liked it if I didn't have 80+ pounds dragging behinding me. I wasn't planning to roam around Europe so I didn't think to pack like I had last time. I like to live by the girl scout motto "Be prepared" but in all my next trips to Europe, I will never live by there rule again. Just in case.
7 years ago