No Reversing Without Rear End Supervision
I am getting ahead of myself here. Yes, I do know I am home from my amazing, fabulous, delightful, and years contemplated trip to the UK, but I am nowhere near being ready to offer my hindsight of philosophical renderings of my evaluation of the trip and lessons learned.
Let me start closer to the front and the logistics of zipping the small suitcase closed (21 pounds) and heading out to the airport to arrive 3 hours earlier than my flight. My trusted driver assured me I was just too excited and I had no need to be there so early. Apparently, my sense of timing was working on my side. There were 75 Norwegian students in line for check in ahead of me. They had been on a Canadian Wilderness Adventure Tour, which included several days in my State and a few lovely days in Seattle.
By the time they were all through the line and out to the satellite gates, I and the Indian delegation were just getting checked and sent out to join the students.
They had started boarding and I arrived at the gate 20 minutes before takeoff. I had an assigned seat which was good and I marched off the train and right onto the plane. A 15 year old Norwegian slept on my shoulder for 7 of the 8.5 hours in the air and truly enjoyed the extras from my dinner and breakfast trays. Three infants and 1 toddler screamed and cried for the full 8 hours – one with a high pitched scream that sent the other mature woman in my row to be moved to an empty seat in business class.
The lady in the blue jacket did not meet me getting off the plane. I walked the entire arrival terminal at Heathrow twice and 18 gates of the parking garage twice before I found someone who could get me onto the shuttle. It is now raining – pouring and I do not know what a brolly is and why I will need one right away.
I arrive at the IBIS in Earl’s Court. Wait in line; wait again in line for someone who can speak better English as my French and pantomime has not made the right impression. I escape to the 9th flour with all my bags and books in tow; into the room, the sunshine breaks through I rush to the window and there before my eyes is the Mary Poppin’s Extreme Viewpoint of row upon row of row houses with at least 6 chimney pots on top of the stack. I can see for miles and miles and some new buildings intrude, but there are miles and miles of rows upon rows – I am here.
There is no soap, no washcloth, and no shampoo in my tiny den and I have been told not to go to sleep until a normal bedtime. I ask the excursion assistant in the lobby about stores and head out to round up supplies. I find a grocery and pharmacy and make my purchases along with a snack, apples, bottled water, and return to the hotel.
I will head out in the morning to the Tower of London. I finally get a map – one for the subway – my confidence bolstered and I know to go early. I decide to eat supper in the restaurant in the IBIS and have a lovely lamb roast dinner with great vegetables and a piece of spice cake.
Need to stay awake a bit longer and end up watching on the BBC a discussion about how so many students from the USA in the UK University system are lowering the academic standards in such a way that there is now an overflow of students wanting to attend the Universities. (The US students pay full price and the Universities need the funds, but do not have enough funds for all the students wishing to attend from the UK)
I rest my head upon the pillow in guilt and drift off.
I truly do not know why I am being allowed this adventure in my life. It is a dream come true and I will just take it one day at a time.
My title is a sign which I discovered in the massive London bus terminal as I was leaving for a tour of the city. I am offering the supervision part up to you as I work my way through this experience in the next posts. Maybe I can figure it out and understand this dream and what I am to do next.
Look forward to your comments.