July 6th, 2003

you think you know...

pond-hop successful

My flight was going to leave Logan at 6:40 and you're supposed to be there 2 hours early for international flights. I was all over leaving at 3:30, because i do the paranoid early thing, but we left at 4. 4:40 we were on the curvy roads of Logan. 4:50 we were in line, for a flight which had somehow changed to 6:50. My mother went to find a restroom [in Heathrow the signs just say toilets, an honesty and simplicity which i appreciate] and saw Jen Clark who used to live upstairs from us in our old apartment. Because i was changing flights in JFK i could go to her station, which had no line (as opposed to the long line we were previously in, which was, granted, moving along reasonably well). We chatted and it was lovely. I love being from a small town sometimes. Only passengers and authorized personnel can go through the search thing, so i hugged my parents goodbye and was off. I went through no problem and a shuttle took me across the airfield to the building my flight was leaving from. I conveniently arrived just a couple minutes before they began boarding. (Somewhere in here my flight seemed to have morphed into a 6:10 flight.)

As the plan took off i could feel it going so fast and i felt like i must have had a similar feeling as a child, running so hard you were sure you would lift off the ground. The plane, of course, did lift off the ground, and there was that roller-coaster-ride feel. We rode through this hazy flat sort of cloud and then we were riding by regular clouds. The haze was just like seeing movies of above views of haze, and the riding by regular clouds was also like in movies. I think movies have spoiled some of the magic of flying. But then we were above this huge billowing white cloud bank and it was amazing.

I got in to JFK at Terminal 9, followed people to Terminal 8, Gate 8 (which is a separate building, and gate 8 is at the far end). Then my flight was changed to Gate 48A, Terminal 9 (end of the terminal? you bet). I had plenty of time, though, and didn't mind the walk.

I was in some skinny plane between Logan and JFK, but to London was a "Boeing Triple-7," 9 seats wide. You felt the motion less, and it was dark, so there wasn't the impressive looking out at the world, so i was glad that my first real flight (i don't remember flying to California when i was 4) was on the little plane. This was nice for a long flight, though. Dinner and breakfast. Flight info on the viewscreens on the backs of the seats. Going over 600 mph, altitude of 39000 feet, oustidectemps were as low as -70F. Wow. I read my last Oxford book and finally got dozy about a half an hour before landing.

I got through the airport okay and eventually found my baggage. Walked about a mile underground to the (above ground) bus station. Beautiful weather. Sunny, light breeze, about 65F. Scads of people waiting for the Oxford bus (which runs every half hour) so though i got there at 10:15 i actually left at 11:25. Fell asleep on the bus. Getting to Trinity from Gloucester Green is less intuitive than it looks on a map, but there was a helpful bus worker there (seems like every Oxford college is hosting summer students) and i made it with little difficulty. I'm up in the Quad, in a little house. The stairs are a bitch (glad i only had the one small suitcase) but i'm on the same level as the one bathroom and one shower. My roommate arrived later than i did and i think fell asleep; have barely spoken to her, but have gotten to know other housemates and a girl from another house. (The houses are all numbered and refered to as "staircases"). Went around town with them for a while. Feels very American here, though there are also lots of old buildings. Is worse than Boston for street signs. Almost no crosswalks, but the pedestrians far outnumber the cars. Am two houses away from the very nice house which houses the 24/7 computer lab in its basement. Opening dinner barbecue will he held in the quad outside my house in a few minutes as it's nearly 6pm London time now.

Expect to crash when i fall asleep tonight. Traveling is so not a big deal for me, though; i've traveled alone lots of times -- this flying is just a bigger step. Have adjusted to the time difference well, partly i think because i took a night flight.

Off now. Will update lots surely.
you think you know...

I live in an alternate universe.

And sometimes, people live there with me.

Marissa across the hall seems okay, though i'm less fond of her roommate Carly, and Rachel from Staircase 1 seems nice though she's so quiet it's hard to know much about her. They're all UMass kids, and i was starting to feel like i do so many times, that i was just going to follow around a clump of people i have little real connection with. Listening to them talk about traveling in Europe wasn't bad, but listening to "I really should have bought traveler's checks, so I would have a real concrete idea of how much money I have, instead of credit cards, because it's so easy for me to just spend money" made me wince because it is so not how I operate.

Rachel knows this guy Adam, though, who lives across the hall from her (small world, long story) and after the barbecue I was hanging out with a whole slew of people and then it was his roommate Josh and this girl Christina and me. Josh and i are in the Modern Self class, so we were talking about those books, and Christina was talking about the books for her Women Writers class (which it turns out Chloe is in). Josh totally thought i should come into class bold with my negativity. (I haven't liked much fiction i've read recently, so sue me.) This got us talking about literature we didn't like, and then Adam joined the conversation, and then Chloe. Now that is my kind of conversation. Literature. So much better than the superficial conversation of earlier. And at one point Adam said something about disliking Carly's crew, because they're superficial or something, i don't remember exactly, and i was so pleased that i wasn't the only one.

Chloe (co-Smithie) and i must go to the Eagle and Child sometime. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, all that. I definitely want to take advantage of the whole British drinking thing, but on the other hand everything's so bloody expensive here.

Proof that my universe is consistent, this afternoon i was showing Rachel were the computer basement is and there was a guy who's teaching a group of Canadian high schoolers here and he chatted with us a bit and then we bumped into each other at the barbeque and he was talking to me and i know he's a professor and all and usually i appreciate adults treating me like people, but it just felt so shady, and i realized later that he reminded me so much of Richard, the facial structure and/or the intensity/earnestness... i'm not entirely sure exactly what it was, but i want him to go away.