London — Going Home

I’m writing this blog from my kitchen back at home in Iowa. I thought it would be nice, but it is still rather, well, dull outside. In London, Spring is in full force with flowers erupting into bloom, balmy breezes, sun–seems very unlike London, no drizzle nor fog. I don’t think it rained once, actually. Only the grass is green here, a few flowers, too, but for the most part nothing to get too worked up about. I don’t have long to wallow in my misery as I’m leaving for Paris in six days now, so I’ll be back in lovely weather soon enough. The trip to London was absolutely perfect, I could not have dreamed of better weather nor better experiences. I fully expected to see the Royal Family, but I never thought I would get so close.

In the past, I was never a huge admirer of London, it always seemed to me to be very much like New York City. In many ways, I still believe this, there is no real cultural shock coming from America, but this time, maybe it was the overwhelmingly positive atmosphere the Wedding provided, the city felt vibrant and interesting to me for the first time. I look forward to my next visit with anticipation. Now, on with my journal for our return trip…

I didn’t get much sleep last night. I was up fighting with YouTube trying to post my video of the Royal Wedding. First it told me that it was going to take 132 hours to upload. I don’t think so. So, I tried uploading it again and it got 95% done before it failed. I was exhausted so I decided to do it again when I got back home (where it worked perfectly and was ready to view within forty-five minutes.) Waking up four hours later was a bit difficult, but I didn’t want to waste time sleeping. The average person sleeps away one third of their life! If you live to be 80, you have slept for about 26 years. I haven’t even lived 22 years, yet!

So we went down to the breakfast room where I was assaulted by the most irritating thing you can come across in Europe–Americans. I know that I am one of them, but I cannot stand them abroad. The worst part of it is that for the most part we are a gracious people when traveling, we blend into the culture easily because that is what you travel for, cultural development. You only see the brash, loud ones who complain and tell the locals just exactly how things are done in America. It is so rude and it drives me out of my mind. Americans on holiday are loud. People in Europe talk, but they don’t shout the way many Americans do. Anyway, I could hear this group down the hall before we even arrived at the breakfast room and when the doors opened I felt like they were raping my ears. They would not shut up about jam. I don’t know why. They wanted more jam. The woman brought them more, but then one of the women started scuttling off towards empty tables to take more packets of jam. I like jam as much as the next person, but I still don’t understand why their group had to have so many. So loud. Thankfully they left eventually.

At the Trebovir, toast is served in a toast rack. Before this trip I had never heard of this dining instrument and I am obsessed. Toasted slices of bread are put into little slots so that they stay crisp and the hot steam won’t make them soggy. Genius. I am just insane for these. I will be buying one soon, and I don’t even make toast that often.

After breakfast we had to pack up. I really enjoy packing my things and seeing just how much I can compress into a space. I think I might be a packing god? Everything fit nice and tidy into my Topman duffle bag and we were ready to check out and head off.

We decided that we didn’t have enough time to go to the BBC Studios. I really would have enjoyed doing that, but I will save it for my next time in London. There’s a good chance I will go there next month, so I’m not particularly worried.

I had to say goodbye to my beloved Cornish Bakeshop which had fed me well. I love the pasty so much. So, so, so, much.

We did some trinket shopping in the train station. I picked up a commemorative trinket box with Prince William and Princess Catherine plastered on it and a commemorative copy of Hello magazine. Ma bought herself a t-shirt, some keychains, and a magazine of her own.

The Monarchy released a digital version of the wedding program, so I read that on the way to Heathrow. It was a nice little booklet, you should get yourself a copy.

I have heard many negative comments about this airport, but I thoroughly enjoyed myself. It was quick and the staff was all very courteous. In America, you get treated like a common criminal, but here it was very respectful. My toothpaste was 13 grams (13!) overweight, and so I had to toss it in the bin. In England, iPads also can’t stay in your bag like they can in America, so that had to be rescanned. Only a few minutes after entering security we were through and looking around the Harrod’s shop.

I found a perfume shop and spritzed myself with Chanel No. 5. I have never experienced it before, and it wasn’t that great. I was really rather disappointed. I thought it would be more light than it was. I spritzed a paper sample and stuck it in my passport so that my passport would reek of money. I’m pleased with that.

We stopped for lunch at a restaurant inside the terminal called Garfunkel’s. It was typical quick airport food, but decent. I had a tomato and cheddar toastie on brown bread–they don’t say wheat bread, I’ve found–and a bowl of minestrone soup. Both were pretty good. I had a Lavazza espresso afterwards. I have never tried this brand before and now I understand why it is considered the favorite of Italy. It really is very nice.

Soon we were on the plane and I was immediately aware of how loud all these departing Americans were. I heard one of them say “epic” and I just wanted to die. I hate that word and how it is used nowadays. There is nothing epic about going to a movie. You are not going to have an epic time going to dinner. This word needs to be reclaimed by its proper definition and the slang version needs retired.

My seat, I thought then, was very nice. I sat in the middle portion and there was nobody next to me, so I wasn’t squashed. Planes are even uncomfortable for anorexic people, I think. We took off soon afterwards and everything was going alright.

We were served a drink, then a snack, then our meal, then a drink, then a meal, then a drink. It was ridiculous. The lunch was pappardelle pasta in some kind of cheese and it was decent. The meal on the other flight was better, I thought, though. I can’t understand why they give me a special vegetarian meal when the exact same meal is offered to everybody else. The only difference being vegetarians get a serving of fruit and no cookie. I like fruit well enough, but I’d rather have a cookie.

The flight drug on. I worked as long as I could with the battery on my laptop to edit pictures from the trip and write blog posts. Soon, though, I only had three minutes left, so I had to do something else. I tried to work on my novel, but just could not get inspired. I started it exactly one year ago to the day, and I hoped to have it finished. It is so close, but I will probably need a few weeks more to get it wrapped up, or maybe a few long writing sessions. I am so excited to see it finished (and then published, and then as an Academy Award winning adaptation).

About now, only three hours into a nine hour flight mind you, the baby in front of me, one seat exactly ahead of me, started to lose its mind. It screamed and cried and sobbed and beat on the seat. It stared at me. I hated it. You can’t say “be quiet” to a baby or else people think you are a horrible person. Even my sound-canceling headphones couldn’t silence the devil child.

I tried to take a nap to make it stop, but she woke me up with irritating regularity. I tried to distract myself by reading, but couldn’t focus.

Later on we had another meal. This one was “Italian.” It was a cheese pizza with arugula and gelato for dessert. It was decent, but then again, I was starving to death, so I would have appreciated anything.

Our stewardess was hilarious. She didn’t know how to use her life vest when she demonstrated them, and she sauntered down the aisles saying “Cigarettes? Liquor?” like she was in an Old West saloon.

Finally, finally, finally, we landed in Minneapolis where it was grey and cold. It had snowed earlier in the morning. Isn’t that just the saddest?

We had to go through Immigration and then Customs and then back through Security. It was exhausting. After a little while we made it back into the airport only to find that our flight was delayed half an hour. That was alright, as it gave us more time to get to Wolfgang Puck Express. Ma and I shared a goat cheese and spinach pizza that was alright. This Wolfgang Puck was not as good as the other ones I have been to, but it was decent.

We made our way to our gate and I was disgusted listening to my fellow statesmen. I have not heard swearing this entire trip. I’m no prude, trust me, I appreciate a good swear word. I’m very much like Diana Vreeland who said, “I’m a great believer in vulgarity–if it’s got vitality. A little bad taste is like a nice splash of paprika. We all need a splash of bad taste–it’s hearty, it’s healthy, it’s physical. I think we could use more of it. No taste is what I’m against.” What I don’t care for is when these words are used like breathing. The girl next to me said the following–I’m not kidding, “I’m not goin’ to no f***in ostrich farm to f***in feed no f***in ostrich.” I don’t know what she could possibly have against ostriches.

The flight moved terminals and we all shuffled there and then onto the plane. It was a short trip home with a beautiful view of the setting sun on top of the clouds.

Soon we were riding home and soon we were home. I enjoyed watching Jessica’s face as she realized we didn’t bring much home for her. There weren’t that many souvenirs that she would have appreciated.

Very tired, I went to bed, and that was the end of the trip.

I forgot to post a picture of my new antique dishes from Portobello Road yesterday, so here they are.

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