London Holiday: Day 7

You can’t come to London for only a week. It really isn’t healthy. You arrive, get over the first jet-lag, then you spend only a few more days trying to cram everyone you want to see and everything you want to do in, and before you know it, it’s the night before your flight takes off the next morning where you will then get home and recover from jet-lag numero dos.  A week might be OK if there were more hours in the day, but let’s face it…there’s not.

So my doomsday was here.  My plane was to depart Heathrow at 8:50 which meant that I needed to leave the flat at 6:30-6:45ish to allow time to walk to the tube, then ride the tube about an hour to terminal 2, while still allowing time for check-in and getting through security.

I had left Brendan’s only about an hour ago and in 2 hours, I was to be on my way to Kilburn Park Station. So much for a good night’s sleep – but then again, we’ve already talked about how there aren’t enough minutes in the day…and what are long plane rides for? I had already caught up on two movies so I was good. I slept for about 2.5 hours (which normally, if my body gets anything under 7 or 8, it will hate me the next day and not want to function properly) and got up around 6:45, grabbed my already packed and organized bags, and let myself out.  The tube to Paddington, where I would switch to the district or circle line trains, wasn’t crowded; however, the switch at Earl’s Court to the Picadilly line, which would take me to Heathrow, was packed with no seats available. So this almost non-functioning girl would be standing the hour ride to the airport.  I looked down at my watch and it was 7:50 and the tube was stopped at terminal 4 and just waiting for about 10 minutes for other passengers to get on.  I wasn’t sweating but started thinking about whether I could get through and make it to my plane on time, seeing as last time the check-in lines were atroscious and attendants had to call out my flight, rush me past people in line and through check-in, and I ran to my gate!  If I missed it, I could go spend more time in London which wouldn’t be bad at all! Red Nose Day was in a few days…St. Patrick’s Day coming up…sounded great!  Having to purchase another one-way flight home…not so great.

The train started again and the next stop was terminals 1,2,and 3.  I walked as fast as I could through the airport and jogged to Swiss Airlines stations where there was a bit of a line – not too bad – but with Trickler luck, the people in front of you in line always seem to have a long list of problems to deal with.  This would be no different. Come on people! Don’t you know to have your passport and travel information out and ready before you get to the counter? And to make things just a bit easier, hand your passport to the attendant open to your picture page! And WHY do people need so much luggage?! Granted, I used to pack a lot heavier before two years ago. You live and learn. OK – I was up next. Passport and travel info – check, hand it to the guy – check, check bag – check, get boarding pass and run – CHECK! 8:15…I’m ok as long as security isn’t bad. Please, please, please let the lines be short (and it would be nice if there wasn’t an annoying lady behind me in line constantly humming show tunes, this time around…)!  Security wasn’t bad considering I already had my hand sanitizer in a little plastic baggy and my boots were easy enough to slip off. Done and done. So I rushed to the screen to see which gate my flight was at and….the screen hadn’t put it up yet. Whew – ok, I had a few minutes to grab a small bite to eat and check again. So I hopped into a Pret to grab my favorite yogurt one more time and, well, 30 minutes later, it was finally posted.

I boarded the plane, found my seat (a nice and spacious one) and waited for take off.  The last thing I remember was sitting next to a good looking and well dressed older man to my left, and across the aisle, was a tall and also well dressed man to my right. Not bad, Nikki…act cool, calm, and collected. Uhh…right.  I remember having a couple of those moments where you’re asleep and you feel like you’re falling…so you kick your legs or move your arms, to I guess, prepare for hitting the imaginary ground. Well, I definitely woke up during one of those moments and of course instantly realized what happened, and then thought that since I was already moving my hand (because I was falling into oblivian, of course) that I would just brush it off and act like I had meant to move my hand, by running it through my hair. Very smooth… I can only imagine how ridiculous I looked.  I shut my eyes again, returned to my light slumber, and “fell” again, where I woke to a message from the captain apologizing for our delay…and that we would NOW be taking off! I felt like I had slept for a couple hours and it turns out we had been sitting there the entire time?!

Oh boy – if we were delayed leaving on my flight for Zurich…how was this going to effect my short connection time to my flight from Zurich, home? One thing at a time. Deal with it when it comes. You just looked like a weirdo to these men on both sides of you. Try and recover from that, since you’re on a plane with nowhere to go, and deal with your next flight details later.

We landed, I booked it off the plane as fast as possible, took the connecting bus to the other side of the airport, hopped on the train to take me to my section of gates, followed the signs to my gate, but forgot all about having to go through customs…again…first.  So I filled out my landing card, finding it somewhat silly to put that I was staying zero days in Switzerland, and got through line as fast as possible.  Just as I passed through customs, I could see my gate and the line of people boarding, so I ran to them, and got there just in time. Whew! Now I had the joy of a 9 hour flight to sleep. I had picked my seat so I wouldn’t have anyone sitting next to me which is always a bit more pleasant.  I got situated and looked around me. There was a man (not so much my type) sitting in the middle section of the plane who looked at me and smiled when I was checking things out, then I leaned down to grab my bag, looking past the not-my-type guy and saw what I could only hope to be my future husband. Eye contact – check. Him smiling at me – check. Me not returning the smile because I’m in a state of “how good he looks” shock – yep…that’s right – CHECK!

Well, I guess I had 9 more hours to make up my stupidity and catch his eye again.  I did some reading, writing, and started watching True Grit, and before I knew it, I was asleep.  I must have passed out for about 5 hours because when I woke up, we only had about 2.5 hours left until Chicago. Not bad at all. Cute boy was still there but everytime I would look over, the not-my-type guy would think I was looking at him and therefore, look back at me! It was hopeless.  We landed and I tried to get off the plane as soon as possible to make sure I could catch my bus home and not have to wait an additional hour for the next one.  In line for customs, I looked around to spot my future husband but had no luck. I even check the foreign passport line and came up empty. I can only assume he had a connecting flight that led elsewhere. Oh well!

Caught the bus, only waiting a few minutes for it, and then sat, again, for 2 more hours on the bus home. Mybum was really starting to hurt and my bed was sounding better and better.  I arrived home safe and sound and suprisingly with minor jet-lag, which was fantastic since I had to work the next day.  All in all, while my holiday was a bit too short, as always, I can’t complain.  I got to see a lot of great friends, meet new people, and explore the exciting city of London some more.  This trip I passed the quiz given to me on knowing all 50 states, and while I had to write them down and have Smoker chime in towards the end, I proved to Brendo that I could do it – learning a bit more about Australia too…  And I discovered I could definitely become an official London tourguide to students, showing around a group of them who have lived there the past 3 months…

So until my next holiday away, thank you friends for the laughs, good times, and great conversations!

One of the many great adverts in the Underground.

Another advert I loved.

Katie and I in the classic red telephone box.

Katie and I off Victoria embankment with the Westminster behind us.

Smoker's face is priceless - she wasn't expecting to be included in the picture.

Parliament behind us.

The end of a great trip!

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