(side note; this was all more relevant last week, I'm just now getting to write about it. Also, the events in this blog are probably out of order. Hope you don't mind.)
My arms are sore: Never go to the airport without knowing how much your bags weigh. I did that. It was a bad idea. My suit case was seventeen pounds over the limit and my other one was 2 pounds over. They were going to make me pay $400 to check my overweight bags, and I almost did it. However, lucky for me (in a way) the lady checking me in did not want me to pay that much. She left and came back with this formless black bag and told me to repack, weigh them again and just pay for a third bag. So instead of paying $400 I only had to pay $200 (only) for checking two extra bags on an international flight. So here's why my arms hurt. The entire reason I tried to only bring two suitcases and a backpack is that I cannot carry three suitcases and a backpack on my own. And this bag, the new bag I had to buy to save me from that outrageous fee, is the worst bag in creation. The bag that God forgot. I can't even call it a duffle because duffle bags are incredibly useful and this bag was the opposite of useful. Jen picked me up from the airport in London and even with her help it was a struggle getting my stupid bag to her flat. I felt like my arms were being ripped from their sockets as I pulled my wheelie suitcase behind me with the stupid bag teetering on top. And by teetering I mean falling off every five seconds and capsizing the entire caravan.
My toes hurt: Another thing you should never do is to wear brand new shoes to the airport. What's wrong with me? I've only flown about 70 million times; I think I should know by now how to dress. But that was the problem, I was wearing a dress. I decided for some reason that this time, I wanted to dress nice for the plane instead of wearing my usual sweat pants (which I can't say here because 'pants' mean 'underwear.' Problem) and some sort of worn in clogs. I wanted to greet England looking nice, even though I knew I would be getting in super late and no one but Jen would be seeing me anyway. So, I wore these nice black shoes that I had never worn before, and they hurt. All the way to Jen's they were just sore, but then I decided it was a good idea to wear them without any sort of socks later the next day when we went in search of a pub. Within about ten minutes the tops of one toe on each foot had a gaping hole in it. They went right past blister to hole. So now I've got these holes to deal with which is really cramping my style.
My legs both hate and love me: I have walked more in the last week than I've walked in the past year of my life. I spent two and a half days with Jen in London and all we did was walk. I've been to London before, so I've seen all the major things. We walked places I've never been, places with less tourists and more real Londoners. We walked and talked, no agenda, nowhere we needed to be or wanted to get to. It was fantastic. That's the sort of thing I can usually only do on my own, but Jen gets it. At first my legs hated me, but then they remembered how much they like walking. All I ever did last year was drive to work and then drive back. Sure, I was on my feet all day long at work, but that's not the same. This was real walking. I love walking.
My feelings were hurt at the airport: Ok, so that's a bit of a stretch. I'm trying really hard to keep with the theme of this blog, but I think I'm just about out of things that hurt. To say that my feelings were hurt is not accurate; it takes more than rudeness to hurt my feelings. I worked at a beer joint for a year; my rudeness tolerance is way above average. So anyway, I got in the student visa line, because that's where I was told to be, but it turns out that was wrong as well. Now, I knew I was getting to the UK early, but for some reason I did not think it would be a problem. My student visa kicks in on the 18th of August and I got there on the 3rd. So when I got up to the guy with the stamp I so desperately wanted, he looks at my visa and says "how do you expect me to stamp this?" and gives me the meanest look. There is always a nice way to say things, and that was just not it. He went on to explain that he would have to stamp my visa with a visitor stamp (he broke it down as if he were talking to a child, showing me both stamps and saying 'now this is the one I'm giving you, and this is the one you need. Unnecessary) and told me that in order to activate my student visa, I am going to have to leave the UK and come back after the 18th. At first I freaked out thinking that I had to go all the way home and come back, but not so, I just have to leave the UK. So sometime this month I'm going to have to go somewhere, anywhere, except England, Wales or Scotland, and then come back. If anyone has any recommendations for a good place to spend a day that won't cost me a ton of money, I'm all ears.
My throat hurts: At first this was because of the talking. A handful of my loyal readers know about this problem I have. In general I'm a pretty quite person, soft spoken till you get to know me. Not to say that I don't have things to say, I just tend to do more listening than talking most of the time. So anytime I see someone I have not seen in a while, I usually talk so much that it makes my throat hurt. It used to always happen on the car ride form Morgantown to Lovettsville when my parents had to come pick me up from school for breaks and then happen again when I saw my friends. Talking makes my throat hurt. Weird, I know. So anyway, my first night in London, after getting to Jen's flat around midnight, we stayed up till five am talking about everything and anything. I have not seen her since New Years, so we had a lot of catching up to do. Then we spent the next four days doing the same thing, talking all day and into the wee hours of the morning. So first my throat hurt from all the talking. Then I got a cold. I was not going to mention the cold because I did not want my parents or grandparents to get all worried about poor sick Maria in a foreign country, but I feel tons better now, so it's all good. It's a lot colder here than it was at home, I went from 90 degree summer to this weird place where it can go from the 70s and sunny to 50s and downpour in a matter of hours. When it's nice, it's NICE, but when it's bad weather, it's awful. So my first few days in Oxford were spent sick. Once Jen left me on Sunday I lost all motivation to leave the house and just wanted to sleep all day. I have ventured out with my flat mates a bit to buy food and such, but not properly explored my neighborhood on my own yet. Today may be that day. So in response to everyone who wants to know what I've been up to, the answer is nothing much. At least the last few days anyway.
Ok, so I'm out of things that hurt. I've almost hit the one thousand fifty word mark on this blog, so for those of you still with me, thanks bud. Overall impression of Oxford; unreal. I have already partied at a club in the City Centre, had drinks in an old church with gigantic columns out front, hung out in The Eagle and the Child, the pub where C.S. Lewis and Tolkien used to hang out and swap work, had a mini tour of Brookes's English department and Art department, been asked if I was in a Sorority in college since the movies make it seem like all American's are in Frats and the like, attended a Barbeque at my own house while listening to The Beatles and drank wine in a close vicinity to Phillip Pullman. No, did not talk to him, but he was there, and at one point he was standing right behind me. It was a book release party in THE Blackwells Bookstore for a graphic novel published by David Fickling Books (my new favorite publishing house, David Fickling is the coolest guy ever) who published Pullman's 'Once Upon a Time in the North.' Ironically that is the book I bought in Blackwells last summer when I was in Oxford for a day with the family. So last summer I was in Blackwells freaking out to be in Oxford for a day and now here I am, living in Oxford, attending the same event as Phillip Pullman. Did I mention he is a fellow of the Brookes Creative Writing department? I think I may have.
So there, I've finally blogged. I've officially been here a week. It does not seem like it. I've having a hard time figuring out how I feel about being here as well. I kept trying to explain it to Jen, but I would only get out one poorly worded and nonsensical sentence before I gave up. So I guess more about that later. If I ever figure it out that is.