And now it’s time for another good idea/bad idea. Good idea: sleeping before an international flight. Bad idea: sleeping for 2 hours before an international flight. Yours truly thought it’d be a good idea to stay up really late the night before she left for London so that she would be tired enough to sleep on the overnight flight. Made sense, right? False. Little sleep makes Liz a grumpy bear. …not to mention more than a little emotional. Jenny and Amanda drove me to the airport, and even though I was pretty groggy, I made it to the airport anticipating what lay ahead. Everything was fine even through sad goodbyes until I was walking toward security. That’s when it started. I felt that strange tension in my chest that started to rise up to my eyes. You know the feeling — that tightness that then becomes a flushed face that then becomes tears that then becomes hyperventilating that then becomes snotty that then becomes blotchy/puffy. It’s a vicious cycle. I used to hate crying, so I just never would. That plan worked out just fine until I would either 1) explode in a really unattractive crying fit, 2) go to a wedding (where I would weep like a little girl), or 3) watch a movie (we’re talkin’ any movie, here — even the last few minutes of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition would leave me in shambles). In the last couple years, I’ve tried to let myself be a little more emotional and be okay with it. So, as I neared security, I felt those tears well up, but decided to at least hold them in until I got through the metal detector (not sure why I needed a checkpoint). Once I got through and began walking toward my gate, I just released those floodgates. The strange thing is that I’m still not sure why I was crying. I was sad to leave, sure, but I’ll only be gone 4 months, and they will fly by. I was a little nervous about all the travel ahead, but not necessarily enough to warrant such puffy eyes. I suppose the weight of what was to come finally affected me. Whatever the reason, I let myself cry it out, but as I was about to board the plane, I was interrupted again by another little bout of tears.

I boarded with a few sniffles, but had an uneventful flight to Dallas. Abigail and I met up in Dallas and boarded our flight to London full of dreams and giggles. I kept getting more excited to talk to a Brit, and Abby kept getting more excited about all the pastries. After all the obligatory, “Oh my gosh!”es and “I can’t believe this is really happening!”s, we settled in to our seats that included personal screens with movies, tv shows, and games (Abby played Tetris, and I played a memory game — classic). I watched Robin Hood, and Maid Marian was totally redeemed in my eyes (partly because she’s awesome, and partly because Cate Blanchette is awesome), and I realized I had done my hair like her that day, which made me feel like I had tapped into her awesome-ness. After our in-flight dinner, we both popped a sleeping pill, expecting to get some good rest before a big day in jolly ole England. The only thing I got from that pill was excess gas and restless frustration. Neither Abigail nor I slept at all that night. Instead I watched a forgettable Ewan McGregor movie called The Ghost Writer and got even grumpier than I was before — which means whinier than before (if that was possible).

The first song that met our weary ears was “I Want to Break Free” by Queen in our taxi. That immediately elated me (I suppose tired emotions are weak emotions — my grumpiness was broken by that song.). Random fact about Liz: I loved Queen in high school. …also Styx. Anyway, after storing our luggage, we made our way to a fantastic hostel in the heart of London (I don’t actually know if it was the heart of London. It felt like it.). We then made our way to the Natural History Museum, which we were both excited about. However, about 4.6 million other people had the same idea. So, zombie-like Liz and Abigail made their way through the hordes to see a mediocre museum. The outside of the place was lovely, but the exhibits were forgettable — maybe that’s the grumpy talking. At one point, I was so tired I was stumbling and kept taking weird micro-naps while standing. That’s when we decided to go back to the hostel for a much needed nap. We had been up for 29 hours, and made a valliant effort to stay up all day, but collapsed in our beds. We started a friendly conversation with our bunkmate Maria from Finland, but after a couple sentences, Abby asked me, “What did you say?” and I had already fallen asleep (again… classic). We then ate dinner and found a local pub called Ye Olde Swiss Cottage with our friend Lauren Britton (who is studying abroad in France this semester). I can safely say we were at least 1/3 the age of everyone in that pub, including the bartender. I got a Samuel Smith Alpine Lager (which was as delicious as it sounds), and the other two got ciders. Afterwards, we went to glorious bed.

We’re currently in Oxford, a really beautiful town west of London. We have plans to go to a pretty famous bar in which Bill Clinton may or may not have inhaled an illegal substance. That warrants a visit in my book.

Whew. These long posts are pretty annoying. I realize that. If I know myself, they’ll get shorter, and probably stop altogether. Either way, more to come.


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