I’m finally here and beginning to settle in. It was a long journey, and probably felt longer due to fatigue, separation, and disbelief. I’m still not sure it has sunk in, but I’m (mostly) unpacked in a room I will be staying in through October and today I even ventured out briefly.
The trip over was seamless. After a long night of packing, stress, and emotion, I had a beautiful morning with Benjamin, who made me breakfast and a check-list, and after the sweetly send-off it was 3 flights to London. Short layovers are great, and I arrived in 15 hours. Customs was fast, hardly a line, compared to my March trip when it was a zoo with lines down the hall. After all my planning and stressing they didn’t even ask for documentation, easypeasy.
I traveled with a reasonable amount of luggage for a move. Going it alone on the other hand… In the airport I felt like a bag lady. I was lucky to grab a trolly (luggage cart) on the way to the carousel, loaded my 2 as-big-as-Delta-regulations-allow 50 pound suitcases onto it, as well as my 40 pound carry-on, and 1 backpack/purse. Downstairs at the Underground entrance you have to leave the trolly behind and navigate through static barriers as wide as your bag is deep. It was a chore to shove them all through 1-by-1 as people walked by staring. A quick trip to Victoria station went smooth, with only one transfer. Getting from the Tube to the train was more challenging.
I think I’m very lucky to have been born a woman. All you have to do is roll 3 heavily-loaded suitcases to the bottom of a staircase and people want to help you. I hardly even got the opportunity to look distressed! Thank goodness, because I was getting very fatigued by this point, from travel and schlepping 150+ pounds around on 4 unstable wheels with 5 hours of sleep in 48. Only 5 flights of stairs and several corridors later and I arrived at Victoria Station, sweaty and successful.
I arrived in Maidstone in the early afternoon, and was lucky to be picked up by my host, Mick. After a tour of the house and introduction to their 3 boxers, Buffy, Ozzy, & Dylan, I spent the afternoon unpacking and resting. Later Viv, my hostess, came home from work and offered a lot of good advice, a potential bicycle, and made me dinner. I slept 12 hours last night and woke up this morning feeling fresh.
The street where I live.
Today I ventured into the village of Detling where I am staying, and had lunch at the Cock Horse Inn. The food was great, and the website says they’re hiring, so my next project is to make up a CV, because no one in England wants a resume. Tomorrow it’s currency exchange, bank account, and cell phone.