6 months ago today I boarded not one, not two, but five planes to begin my journey to Edinburgh and my new life with Dave.
I can’t say it has been an easy process. The visa process was difficult and scary and at times, unsettling. The packing was a nightmare. I still have shoes at home that I dream about. And leaving my family and friends has been particularly tough.
I think the worst thing, though, is not having an instrument. This will hopefully be rectified by the end of this month, or within the first few weeks of November. It’s an odd feeling. It’s like not having my voice.
I left Wellington and sadly looked out over my home as it got smaller and then the clouds came in. What an odd feeling.
My tears were drying and I hadn’t yet grasped the massive undertaking ahead of me. I thought I would write in between flights and use Twitter to report and take pictures, but instead I changed terminals, sat, boarded the plane, sat, slept, got off, changed terminals, repeat. It was, however, surprisingly easy: a really pain-free experience.
The big plan had always been to arrive a day earlier than Dave expected, so that even though he had taken the day off to prepare for my arrival, I would be able to spend all of his days off with him. I’d taken his mother’s email address from his brother, organised his mother to collect me, and faked an elaborate power cut and sent confusing messages to Twitter to throw him off the scent.
Once I flew into New York, however, I’d sat myself down at the gate for my flight to London, only to find out I was seriously delayed. I spent the better part of my wait watching an NBA game on TV, and made the mistake of sending a tweet about it. Luckily, Dave thought it was odd, but didn’t think much more of it.
I still made my connection in London, which made my 3.5 hour transit booking a piece of very good foresight. Terminal 5’s new layout is great, and I’m glad they did the overhaul.
On my final flight, I sat next to two men on a “boys golf weekend”, who were very chatty, and baffled that I’d just travelled 29 or so hours to move to Edinburgh. “Don’t you know it’s kinda cold up there?” Well..
And after all the nervousness regarding UK border control (as when I arrived last time they gave us a bit of a grilling, etc and especially with the letter accompanying my visa that basically said, “THEY CAN STILL SAY NO. SORRY.”), I sailed through. She wasn’t particularly friendly, however. I was hoping at least for a “Welcome to the UK.” Bah. LA super friendly, UK not? interesting..
I arrived into Edinburgh to Ann already waiting for me. It was so nice to be arriving to someone actually picking me up, as airport arrivals are so depressing for someone in transit at times, and I still ached a little for family.
One hiccup was that one of my bags had missed the plane in Edinburgh, but the baggage manager for BA arranged for me to have it delivered to the house that afternoon (read: next day at about 4pm!) – the whole process took much longer than planned, though, so we were nervous that we would make it home after Dave.
She drove me home after my extremely extended travels with us babbling in the car about surprising Dave and I was so pleased to arrive at a house with a dog and a soft bed and clean bathrooms. Airports can really make you feel displaced.
I only made it there about 5 minutes before Dave was expected home, and Ann and I sat on the couch nervously smiling and wondering exactly how to surprise him – do I stay downstairs? wait up in his bedroom? But we didn’t really get a chance to get too far. Not even time for a cup of tea.
Because suddenly the door opened, he called out “Hello!” into the house, and walked into the sitting room, and stopped. And stood there staring at me, baffled, as we giggled away.
“How are you… what?”
I immediately got up to hug him but he barely hugged me back in his confusion. His face was a priceless mix of disbelief, surprise and happiness. Adorable.
Later on, once he had adjusted, and I had slept a little, I explained the whole clever plan to him. Hours of working out timezones for every stop of the way (I flew through 3!) and carefully planning tweets, as well as a power-cut hoax, two co-operative families and months of trying not to slip up about it.
6 months in and I’m still settling, and learning more all the time. Part of me is still so very surprised that I took a chance and flew about 11,400 miles to live in a country where the accents confuse, the daylight slips away in the afternoon and I have so few people to call close. I waited so many months, counted so many days, saved so many pennies to get here.. and it all flew by so fast.
I guess I can’t really predict the next 6 months. But it sure is nice to be here.