Alright then.

First of all. We’re alive. Yea! We’ve not died. Yet. How happy for you. More for us though.  That’d be a fair bit of wasted coin, eh?

I’m writing to you now from a quaint and finally warm room with quite the slanted ceiling. It’s dangerous to a midget.  Speaking of midgets, if you met our bathroom…He’s sporting this miniature sink. I don’t mean it’s a little down scale. I mean that the width of it is equal to the breadth of my hand. It’s precious. But more on today later. First, yesterday.

So after a no terribly uncomfortable 7 1/2 hour flight (I think I watched the same 3 episodes of the Office and two episodes of Monk…about 5 times each) from Chicago we desperately sought wifi to inform our mothers that we were alive. We successfully made about four people hate us so far. Hooray. Last night we went down to the lounge of our hotel where were stared at by two blokes, for nearly two hours.  Not just like won’t stop looking, but WON’T STOP LOOKING! They went outside to smoke and still managed to be staring at us.  It was ridiculous.

Brett, you will be pleased to know, in the hotel room last night we walked in and I said to Bethany upon observing the sketchy pull out couch and the double bed, “wanna share the bed?” After about 5 seconds of thought she flopped onto the bed and sighed relief in the form of “okay.”  Moments later I throw myself on the bed and breathe the same sigh.  I look over at her and ask as sincerely as one can ask, “Wanna jump on the bed?” As she mulls the consequences over I begin to get up knowing she’ll feel inclined to do the same.  We totally jumped on that bed!

I personally had the individual experience of finding someone else’s poo in our toilet last night.


Alright, on to today. 

We overslept a bit and got up around 9:30 (that’s 4:30 am, for you homies!) Quickly we checked out of our room and got on the “Hotel Hoppa.” (Couldn’t make that up if I wanted to).  We went back to the airport and talked to the lady at the ticket desk for the trains and underground. She sent us to Paddington Station and then to magically find our way to Willesden Green. So after what should’ve been no more than probably 40 minutes on trains turned into a two hour adventure from the frozen depths of hell.  We’d get on a train and be totally on target an then hear “This train is terminated at this station.”  Which just so you know, does NOT mean they blow up the train there. Much to my disappointment.

We finally made it to Willesden Green.  Figured out how to call our hostel. This is when I met the Canadians because it’s also when Bethany went to call. As I wait impatiently for Bethany’s return a woman in her 60s I’d guess runs across the street in a dress for 20 somethings.  As she nearly gets hit by a car she grunts out a strong and terrifying “AAACK!” and declares them a “bloody nuisance” as she flips them the bird. Bethany comes back as I’m secretly hating her for taking so long and spending so much time inside.  “They don’t have us in their system,” she tells me.  I look at the confirmation papers in my hand and, sorry mum, say, “That’s bullshit.” She explains that they’ll shortly be coming to talk to me about it and I can just show them my papers. 

Several moments later an attractive dark-haired bloke walks up the street and shouts “Hayley Johnson” as he reads it off the paper in his hand.  “Yeah?”  (How tragically American of me).  We shake hands though he never tells us his name.  I hand him my papers. He assures us he will be back in two seconds. (The time difference reaches further than zones. Apparently a British second is 3 minutes. That’s six minutes!) He comes back across the street and addresses a police officer before approaching us.  He points up the street to us. And Bethany says, “Oh no! We’re getting arrested.”   We were not arrested. The man from the hostel calls us down the street and leads us to his car.  He drives us about two streets and parks in front of a house on Anson Road.  We cross the street and head up four flights of stairs to the top of the building, which has no heat yet as our electricity had not yet been turned on.

We sort everything out and he leaves to get us some power.  He comes back and we are instantly warmer.  He also invited us to his brother’s Jewish wedding in Liverpool this weekend. Tempting? No, not really, but he was very attractive.

After some sorting of things out we decided to head out into the cold.  (We learned by the hostel fella that this was likely the coldest day they’ve had all year, though tomorrow is to be colder. It may even snow).  We walked to the end of the street. Looked left and saw more houses.  Looked right and saw lights.  So we headed that way in hopes of finding food, which we’d not had all day.  We walked to the end of the street and turned.  KFC, that’s familiar.  We pressed on.  A beautiful bakery stood on our right.  We pressed on.  McDonalds. Safe. Burger King, sketchy no matter your country.  We finally settled on a cafe.  A place where everyone seemed to know everyone.  The large woman in the booth next to us explained how much she hated these booths because the chairs do not pull out, so she can barely get in, let alone out. 

We walked back toward our street and decided to stop in the bakery to get food for breakfast in the morning, and also a wee fruit tart for dessert.  

All in all, save for the lengthy train changes and lack of towels in our room it’s been alright.  Tomorrow should be better.  We head to SoHo to see Spamalot and whatever else we SoHo choose.  

A story.
We’re walking down the street back to our flat and Bethany looks at me and says, “What if we just got jobs and didn’t go back?” Before I even get the chance to answer her she trips and nearly face plants right there on the sidewalk.  “I think it best you not stay here.” 

Also, I’d just like to say it doesn’t matter what country you’re in, War Games is still no good.  You can SO win at tic-tac-toe, Dr. Steven Falken. You so can.



two short days

This time Monday morning I’ll be sleeping in a foreign bed in a foreign city in a foreign country with foreign outlets and foreign accents and foreign smells and Bethany, who is not quite so foreign.  London. England. My dream. The land of:
muffins (the English ones)
William Shakespeare
Beatrix Potter
Paddington Bear
Winnie the Pooh (and Tigger too)
Elton John
The Spice Girls
Tim Curry
Charlie Chaplin
Alfred Hitchcock
Monty Python
Sir Isaac Newton
Jack the Ripper
The Beatles
Stephen Hawking
James Bond
Graham Greene
Harry Potter
Neg’s Urban Sports
Peter Pan.

It’s so strange to think about. It’s hard enough thinking of me stepping out of my circle of friends or running away to Florida for the weekend, but leaving the country entirely? Ye gods!

This morning I changed my currency. Wells Fargo tried to pocket an extra 200 bucks off me. Watch it, Shannon. I’m onto you. I’m wise to your crafty, money-thievin’ ways. Fear not, friends! I went back and got back my dollars. I would just like to point out when I hold the shiny pounds next to my plain green or even pink Babe-raham Lincoln fiver our money is the ugliest.  Sorry, Babe-raham.

Also, I spent last semester being the poorest lady, and somehow I bought my family Christmas presents. I got presents for a few friends. I still have a whole bunch of dollars. I’m not sure where they came from. Ok yes, 400 or so are going to the magical land of hostels. But I’m fairly certain I owe Brett a few BFSes upon my return. Or at least nine high fives. (not the high five, Brett, don’t worry).

As a reminder to all of you please do not call or text me from Monday to January 12. K? If you’re lucky I’ll let you know when I’m back, but odds are I’ll want to be snoogans upon my return. But let’s not think about coming back, because Lord knows I’m not going to want to.

For those of you who are curious our itinerary looks like this. At least the part where we put our bags and our heads each night.

Sunday, December 28: Around 4 or 5 leave Fort Wayne for Chicago.
Monday, December 29: Fly out of Chicago O’Hare at 9:10a
Monday, December 29: Arrive in London at 10:30p (hotel stay)
Tuesday, December 30: Willesden Green Hostel in London
Wednesday, December 31: Willesden Green Hostel in London
Monty Python’s Spamalot at Palace Theatre London
Thursday, January 1: Willesden Green Hostel in London
Friday, January 2: John and Bea Rhodes’ house in Manchester
Saturday, January 3: John and Bea Rhodes’ house in Manchester
Sunday, January 4: John and Bea Rhodes’ house in Manchester
Monday, January 5: Fly out of Manchester
Arrive in Dublin
Train to Belfast
Dinner with May and Jackie Wilson in Belfast
Murlough House in Dundrum
Tuesday, January 6: Murlough House in Dundrum
Wednesday, January 7: Murlough House in Dundrum
Thursday, January 8: Murlough House in Dundrum
Friday, January 9: Fly out of Belfast
Arrive in London
Anwar House in London
Saturday, January 10: Anwar House in London
Sunday, January 11: Anwar House in London
Monday, January 12: Fly out of London 2:15 pm
Arrive in Chicago 5:05 pm

Now you know.

my personal reminder.

For Matthias:
Lady Margaret Hall in Oxford.  and actually…down the road from LMH on the left, second building past the empty lot and the entrance to the park is teddy hall where i stayed.  i neglected to take pictures of either place. outside of teddy, if you could get in for a picture of LMH’s quad…that’d be sweet.  otherwise, out works.  i really shouldn’t be requesting specific things since it’s a favor

I shall do my best to remember them.

A Farewell to Farms

Hello, friends.  I will be using this as regularly as possible keep you all up to date on our adventures as we travel throughout England and Ireland.  We leave in just a few short days. I wish you all a very happy Christmas and a happy New Year.  If you could be so kind in my absence as to not try to call or text me that would be awesome.  Pay attention to Facebook as well.  We may be putting up some videos from time to time.  We’ll be back in the country January 12. Everyone have a great J-term!