And so it begins…
Wow. So much has happened in the past 4 days I feel like I have lived a lifetime. I have been meaning to write a blog post. Or two. Maybe three now. Let’s start from the beginning.
It all started about a week and a half before departure. I never knew firsthand how stressful it could be mentally and physically until this moment. Watching my sister go through it twice now, I knew moving abroad was a LOT but I didn’t realize it meant extreme stress.
I live in a very nice part of Florida where a lot of people go to retire. Pinellas County is radiating with older people and we are known for our beaches. Clearwater Beach, as a matter of fact. One of my favorite places to go to as a getaway happens to be a drive away. I like to think of it as a place where I can forget every single thing I’m thinking. They have this really nice place along the water, with live music and drinks. It is pure heaven. I also have another little spot along the beach that is our own private patio area.
I happened to be there the day our accommodation email was sent out. This was actually happening.
Fast forward to the day of departure and I’m feeling pretty good. A mix of every single emotion would be quite accurate. Excited, nervous, happy, sad, scared, curious, independent, dependent, unsure, and adventurous. I had it all. I was dreading the amount of travel it would take not knowing whether I would sleep on the plane considering this is my first overnight flight. I find the seats to be very uncomfortable to fall asleep in in an upright position. Having all these thoughts in my head as I walk up to the check-in desk with my mum and dad – bad news hits. I hear the airline attendant mutter to himself “She’s not going to make that connection” with a sigh and I’m thinking to myself of course I am I gave myself a 3 hour layover. I knew something was up. He informed me that a bigger aircraft was being sent in, that it was on its way from Dublin and my first flight had been delayed 3 hours.
This felt like the end of the world at the time, me being new to this international travel thing and having to hear this news. I started thinking about how I wouldn’t be able to meet up with Danielle and Mackenzie at Heathrow and I’d be getting in to Bournemouth at a much later time than I hoped. I was told there was no way I’d make the flight from Toronto to London, and that they would schedule me for the later flight at 11:55 pm (departing Toronto). Joy. It is currently 11:30 am. I won’t even be out of North America in 12 hours???? Deep breaths.
In the end I knew everything happens for a reason. The first flight was alright, only about a 2.5 hour journey and I ate a nice salad from Columbia restaurant (oh how I missed it). My appetite was starting to be wary though. I landed and felt like I walked across the entire length of Canada by going from customs to baggage claim to connections assistance to the gates. Bloody hell. It was mad. After working up a sweat I settled at my next gate of departure and decided to stretch.
Figuring it was worth a shot, I asked the desk if the plane was full or if I could switch to an empty row. — My seat was assigned to an empty row already! SCORE. This really eased my mind. Now I could settle without worrying about anyone next to me. I took a muscle relaxer and laid down after we were free to not wear seatbelts. I slept a good 3.5-4 hours, which is great considering the amount of random noises I heard.
This plane was fantastic. I loved how dark and calm it was.
It’s 5:00 am now and I have awoken to wait for breakfast. I am getting VERY excited to touch down in London. Flying through different time zones is quite uncanny; all of a sudden you go from pitch dark to bright sunny skies. I looked out the window as we descended and fell in love. I spotted London Eye right away, then Tower Bridge and Wembley Arena. I knew I was home. How long had I been dreaming about this?
In my next post I will talk about the curveballs life threw at me…