Thursday, 2 September 2010
First Day- What I've Learnt so far
Well, I'm here!! It's 8.30am here and I'm sat in a hotel room in Duluth. I've just had lucky charms for breakfast (FYI- not as nice as I remember) and I've just chatted to my mum on Skype.
3 flights, 23 hours and I'm finally here.
It's been a world-wind two days.
And I've realised that nothing ever really feels how you expect it to.
Travelling wasn't too bad- I've never flown on my own, and never travelled further than London on my own so I was nervous about all the changes and airports and waiting. I became one of those annoying people who makes conversation with everyone.
But flying alone really wasn't that bad. My first short flight was only an hour so I just slept and listened to my ipod. Oh and read American Cosmo- read thinly veiled porn.
I then had a two hour wait at Amsterdam airport where I made friends with some lovely American boys (Hi Christopher, Ryan and Ryan if you're reading this!!) who really made me feel much more comfortable and made me feel ready to go to a new place. Americans really are lovely and so friendly. Chris just came over and said hi to me and suddenly two hours had gone by and it was time for our flight. Thank you, boys, for making me feel so welcome :]]]
I then went on to receive my first love letter on the plane. One of the loveliest things anyone has ever given me. I read it, on instruction, on my next flight and it made me feel a lot better about being an English alien, a la Sting.
I actually didn't mind the 8 hour flight except for sitting in the same place for 8 hours!! I watched Valentines Day, an episode of House, my first full episode of How I Met Your Mother and Kick Ass. The food was pretty good and I was pretty content!!
I am bit of a nervous flier, but there is something I absolutely love about flying. It's absolutely amazing when you think about it. When I got to my hotel last night I thought, wow, I was in England this morning, Amsterdam this afternoon, Detroit, and now here!!
Time differences are a bitch though. I was stuck in English time so by the time I got to bed last night it was 4am in my head- and I'd gotten up at 5am!! I woke up in the middle of the night and looked at my phone, which was in English time and thought it was time to get up!! I jumped out of bed and started to get ready when I glanced at the alarm clock- 2am. Ah. I thought it looked pretty dark outside!! Saying that it's 9am here now and it's pretty murky outside. My body woke me up at 6.45am so I caved and had a shower and got ready.
Flying though, it's just weird. You start out in one place, and then suddenly you're 4000 miles from home. Just in the duration of a couple of meals and some films. It's crazy.
I also had a super-weird experience on my flight to Amsterdam- Alex Ferguson was on my flight! In fact, he was stood next to me on the little bus and behind me in the queue but I couldn't decide if it was him or not and didn't want to make a fuss!! Then he signed an autograph for one of the air stewards and I was like, wow!!
Today I'm getting kicked out my room at 11am and I'm going to wait in the lobby until Lauren's flight gets in at 2.45pm and then I think we're going to get bedding and kitchen stuff and meeting our roommates!! There's a music event on tonight that I think we might go to if we're unpacked.
So, here is what I've learnt so far-
1. Flying alone really isn't that scary
Okay, there was no-one to hold my hand during takeoff and I had to find my own way to my gates and get my own luggage, but generally, I was okay. Definitely not as terrifying as I thought. Not quite Home Alone.
2. Sometimes you have to be brave. For everyone else.
I didn't cry saying goodbye to my parents. Okay, I got a little choked up saying "see you at Christmas" but I was strong. My mum told me later my dad cried all the way home. But I knew if I started out crying I wouldn't get through the day. I cried later in my hotel room, but I'd stayed strong all day.
3. You have to make friends with everyone
A la Fight Club (if you know me, you'll know it's my favourite film) I made many single-serving friends. And it was nice. The lady on my flight to Duluth gave me her card and said I was welcome to come visit if I ever wanted a nice home-cooked meal. I nearly cried.
4. Americans are really friendly
They like to talk to everyone, and so do I. They will just come over and talk to you. Perfect when you're on your own in a new country.
5. But they can't queue
6. Some boys still give you love notes and their cookie
This was the cutest thing ever. No-one ever gives me love notes. And it was beautiful. Thank you.
7. I am way too uptight
I know all of you reading this are like "yes, definitely", but I am SO untrustworthy (I get it from my mum), something I plan to let go of soon.
8. 8 hours is a long time
But having a TV in your seat and lots of films to watch eases the pain :]]
9. Cheesy biscuits make me unbelievably happy
On my first flight I was half-asleep listening to my iPod (Fall Out Boy actually, yeah I am that cool :]]]) and the steward came round with free cheesy snacks. I was grinning from ear to ear as I ate them. They were in such cute shapes!!
10. Never say no to free wine
"Complimentary beer and wine". I'll have a white wine then please!!
11. Or coffee
Similarly, on my first flight a "tea-or-coffee" guy came round and I asked for a coffee and went to get my purse out. Finding out it was free was like my birthday and Christmas coming at once.
12. Americans do love the accent
Even though I insist I don't have one. Baff :]]]
13. Sometimes you need a moment to take everything in
The last 30 minutes of my flight to Detroit left me in a daze. I was landing in the United States. It was surreal. But it was real. I needed a moment to really think about what was happening. But talking to the lovely people around me really helped.
14. Nothing will ever be quite how you imagine
Nothing ever feels how you think it will. And sometimes the biggest experiences are the ones you never really take in, the ones you walk through in a daze. Some things only feel real and can only be appreciated in retrospect.
15. Luck charms really aren't as good as I remember
Their indie-reputation surpasses their taste. Sorry.
16. Americans really do do breakfast though
I heard "continental", I thought a toaster and some bread like our hostel in Athens. Oh no, toast and bagels were only the start. Cereal, pancakes, waffles... I settled for toast and cereal. And a yoghurt for later :]]]
17. Jet lag is weird
I was awake for far too many hours yesterday and woke up far too early today. I am waiting for revenge-of-the-body-clock.
18. Not being able to make a call home is the worst feeling ever
My phone ran out of credit last night as I was speaking to my parents. I couldn't text them to tell them to ring me, I couldn't ring them. I ended up making a very tearful call to the poor girl at T Mobile. I think I said "fuck." More than once.
19. So far, I'm enjoying being a novelty
Except for that fact that no-one knew what a "lift" was and I walked round to the drivers side of the taxi. Fail.
20. There is a lot more to learn
And I can't wait.