Thursday, September 3, 2009
Hello all. Currently I am huddled in a dark corner of a British hostel whilst Edward Scissor Hands is playing on a tacky old television over head. It feels good to finally be in the country that I’ll be staying in for awhile (and that speaks the same language!). Although transiency is a way of life I not only thrive on, but plan on living as long as feasibly possible with respect to time, money and those I love, but it is time to plant my feet. Some solid dirt sounds utterly appealing after three months or so of not being somewhere longer than three or four days. :) So, cheers (as the British say to basically everything) to temporary residency! *hip hip horay!*
My last day in Spain proved to be a celebratory, culturally rich, amazing way to end the trip (and I use the word ‘end’ loosely). I spent most of the daylight hours perusing ancient archaeological coins, carvings, and pottery in the National Museum of Archeology in the heart of Madrid. I am continually astounded by human nature, and this particular rendezvous only acted as yet another reason why I want to study evolutionary processes in conjunction with brain science. It amazes me the capacity we demonstrated so quickly as a species. I am anxiously awaiting Ghana for that reason. Afterward, I found myself eating lunch with a few Mexican girls I met in the one-the-only-the-wonderful-the-blasphemous McDonlads, which is apparently far hipper in Spain. It was repugnant to say the least, but still an experience. I got a Cona Kit Kat (ice cream with a Kit Kat stick stuck in it) and cold Gazpacho soup. Authentically ironic, if I do say so myself.
That evening, luckily, the three other American girls I had grown to have a general distaste for the past 4 days, finally vacated and four more girls moved in. One from Vietnam (who was fluent in SIX languages), a girl from South Africa, a girl from Canada, and a girl from Holland. We all became immediately chummy and set off to tour the city, discover tapas, and attempt to perfect the “get no sleep” attitude of the Spanish population. To add to our international smorgasbord of personalities, we ended up picking up two New Zealand guys, an Australian, and a dude from Ohio (which he insisted was a different country in it of itself) who had been living in Johannesburg. It was quite the world mix, which proved to result in some seriously satisfying philosophical conversations after some fine cheese, blood sausage, and several things of sangria. We ended up sitting the Plaza Mayor, underneath illuminated ancient buildings, and discussing politics until sunrise, which was appropriately accompanied by chocolate churros and me almost mauling the Australian over a disagreement about animal abuse. But, nevertheless, we ended up exchanging email addresses to be friends down the road. Funny how that works out. :)
The next day proved to be a slightly catastrophic travel experience. It was as if the universe, which mind you had been EXTREMLY kind to me the past few weeks in terms of fluency and ease in travelling, saved all the bad luck for that one night. The metros were messed up, the buses not on time, I thought my plane left 2 hours before it actually did, my flight got delayed, there were outstanding thunderstorms over London as we flew in, I barely missed the last train to central London (30 minutes from the airport), and arrived after a taxi ride through narrow alley ways at 2:00 a.m. not sure if I’d be able to get into the hostel. Luckily, for some reason unknown to me, this particular hostel had a 24 hour desk service, and I was able to check in and assume the last bed in a room full of 12 snoring gentlemen. It was a night to remember, and quite the way to go out. But overall made me even more appreciatory of how fortunate I’d been for the rest of the trip. Really, besides almost missing my flight in Brussels, nothing went wrong. Glory Glory halleluiah!
Today I spent most of my time touring…basically everything in London possible. With a solid 6 ½ hours of bus hopping, I made it to the London Tower, the London Bridge, Westminster Abbey, China town, Sir. Charles Newton’s house, Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, Parliament, a boat ride on the Thames, the Globe Theater, St. Petersburg, the London Eye, as well as snuck on a tour of the National Museum, saw a famous British comedian, went to the Sherlock Holmes Museum and visited Margret Thatcher’s current residence. The point being: I AM TIRED! Gosh…so totally pooped. But at the same time, entirely enthralled by a new love. Out of all the cities I’ve been to in my life, London is really the only one that I really could envision myself living in and being totally happy. (Note to self: live in London for awhile). The other strange thing is, and I don’t have any idea why, out of all the monuments and bucket loads of famous sights I’ve been to, Big Ben was the only one that drew tears. HAHAHA. It was exceptional. I don’t know why either! I started laughing at myself so hard, while eating prepackaged meat slices (which is a story in it of itself) on a park bench with tears in my eyes. It was beautiful though.
And that is that.
Tomorrow I take a train to Brighton (EEK!) to start a new chapter to this seemingly epic novel. I have to admit, in total honesty, I am really afraid of the notion of staying in one place for 4 months straight. The freeing thing about moving is that is someone doesn’t like you, you make a bad impression, or are unhappy for whatever reason, it is all temporary. And while this is still a temporary exchange, it is a little bit heavier. I guess there just seems like there is more pressure to make a right impression and all that jazz. But if anything has been extracted from this experience, it is how to deal with people. I feel pretty confident, or at least more confident, in my ability to go out on a limb. So I am hoping that fragment of learning will help me in this potentially intimidating new situation. I guess I just have to go with the flow, something that is yet to let me down, and do my best. Go kindly. Yup. That’s about what it boils down to. :)
Well, since I am on the verge of sleep coma and need to eat my freshly chopped fruit salad and spinach, I must say adieu. But thanks for reading everyone. More to come.