Tuesday, September 28, 2010

I Made It!

My trip has commenced! Saturday was my designated packing day, and when I surveyed my room I saw this:
Who knew that living at home for two weeks could result in such disarray?
By the time I left for the airport, I had managed to squash all my belongings into three pieces of luggage and a purse.

Both of my bags weighed in at exactly 50 lbs, but my carryon was woefully overweight. I spent time trying to decide which ones of my books I would leave behind if I were caught. However, I have never before in my life hefted my carryon onto a scale, so I figured no one would check. Well, at least I hoped so, because I couldn’t for the life of me decide which books to toss. I cross-compared weight and personal value (love of books is a side effect of being a Hale...), but my matrix was too complex to solve so I just crossed my fingers. Turns out, they didn’t check. My 501 Must-See Destinations book is still trucking along with me :).

My flights were uneventful, and the immigration and customs processes went smoothly. I enjoyed the layover in Frankfurt, as it was my first taste of an “international” experience. People spoke a myriad of different languages, and I enjoyed sitting and listening to the strange words flying around. Some of them were completely foreign, but others (such as German) held elements that were vaguely familiar. I was reminded that English is one of many European languages that diverged from a common point many years ago and have continued to intertwine themselves together in unique but subtle ways ever since. I was comforted by the sense of familiarity that realization brought even in the midst of a foreign country.

As I waited to board the flight to England. I was entertained by watching a couple with their three young children. Two girls and a boy, around ages 8, 5, and 4. They were all well-behaved, but what amused me most was their luggage. Each child had a personal suitcase: blue with trucks for the young boy, a light pink for the young girl, and a more mature shade of pink for the older girl. The mother took the youngest two to look at the airplane out of the window, and the father had to move the luggage up in line. He easily grasped the two smallest pieces in one hand and lifted them effortlessly. I thought about my 125+ lbs of luggage and chuckled to myself, “oh, the days where all you needed was a few pairs of undies and a couple of shirts, not a violin and piles of books you can’t decide to leave behind...”

My first view of London from the plane.
After my plane landed in London, I had some time to breathe before the bus ride to Cambridge. I decided to fill my time with this:
Ah, the simple pleasures in life.
I arrived at Cambridge around 8:00 in the evening, but it was dark and I was in no way presentable. So, I dragged my luggage up a flight of stairs  to my room and crashed. Tuesday was spent shopping and exploring the city. Among the items purchased: cell phone, bedspread, sheets, and outlet converter. Among the items NOT purchased: hangers. I cannot for the life of me find cheap hangers. Oh, and the scissors I bought came attached to its cardboard mounting with zipties. Think about that for a moment. If I HAD a scissors to cut the ties off with, I wouldn’t be buying a pair in the first place!

Note the zipties. They will probably stay there until I leave England because I have absolutely no use for two pairs of scissors.
And a few pictures of my room, which is about as large as a standard dorm room.

View from the door.
View from the shoe corner.
View from the sink.

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