I’m home again, safe and sound. Although my travel day was long (made longer by the additional five hours I picked up on my flight back), all went really, really well. From 7am (London time) when I woke up to 2am the next morning (Ithaca time) when I went to bed, I was a happy camper. Sydney and I walked to the bus, which took me to London, where I got a really nice final look at Kensington Gardens (I really like it there). I was dropped off just a few blocks from the hotel where Sydney and I had stayed, so I made my way to the train station with confidence! Short train ride to the airport, where I just wandered around until I had collected my ticket, dropped off my bag, and gone through security. I realized that flying is only really stressful if you feel pushed for time, which I did not.
The first thing I saw when I walked through security was a cute Harrods shop . . . so I walked in and bought some more tea. I felt very satisfied with myself about that 🙂 Apparently everything in England is on sale in January, so I managed not to bankrupt us with my tea-buying. Yes! And by now I’ve collected numerous little tea tins, which come in quite handy around the kitchen.
My first flight was on a gigantic new airplane with all of the amenities–and it was only about 1/3 full! The flight attendants were as surprised as the rest of us, but then quickly encouraged us to enjoy the room! So for my nine-hour flight I had two seats to myself and only a couple of other people nearby. That was nice. I read a book for a long time (it’s a reaaaaaally long Victorian novel, so I barely made a dent), and wrote Sydney a letter.
On my second flight, I had a bit of anxiety because the attendant at the gate made repeated announcements about the flight being “weight critical,” and thus calling for volunteers to take a voucher and a later flight. Since my flight went to Ithaca, there were no later flights (it was going on 9pm), and I was really worried about being bumped after my 20-hour travel day, but I did eventually manage to get on the plane.
Many things made my day really good. Sydney gave me a big hug before I left, and on every single part of my journey I saw someone I knew: another English grad student on the flight from London, one of Sydney’s fellow philosophy students (Stephen), on the flight to Ithaca, and then my friend Laura picked me up at the airport when I finally got home around 11:30 (thank you, Laura!!!). I also sat across from a very friendly and very talkative Cornell sophomore on the short flight home, and he kept me awake and energized with our conversation. Oh yes, and I drank bottle after bottle of water and juice throughout the day 🙂 I’m really glad they allow water bottles into the airport, as long as they’re empty when they go through security–otherwise I’d have downed about $30 worth of bottled water!