I’ve always felt I’m the sort of person who, when asked about how I am and what I’ve been doing, replies with the answer that was given the last time the question was broached. This has mostly been the case for years now, give or take a few swapped out details (lost job, got a new one, for example). And it really bothered me, really. So, I decided to do something about it towards the end of 2012.
A few things came together in 2013. One – I decided I would definitely be going to the UK, no matter the financial cost. Two – I re-met a friend/acquaintance, who became so much more than that. This is sort of monumental in terms of personal life OMGs because before this point, I had been single since the dinosaur age. Three – I was finally in a stable job. And four – go with the flow a little more. Jump, fall, and most of all, do things for myself. I think I managed to make at least some headway with this point.
So why the UK? I had been dying to go for ages. So many of my friends have moved there and I wanted to see them. But also, I wanted to explore. I had never left South Africa before this point, and going on this trip would mean my first time flying. That alone was enough to get me all excited.
UK highlights include (in no particular order):
- Seeing Laurie and Kasha’s face in a sea of people and coffee and business men, all the while being so goddamned tired and hating everything about flying and planes and babies and luggage. Thank god they rescued me from Heathrow. I’m not sure I would have made it out alive alone! With them, I went on my first adventure. One of the tube lines was down (I arrived on a Sunday I think), so we had to walk loads, and get on the bus and take the tube and and and… Ooh, and I figured out the joys of Oyster Cards 😛 And the not so joyful act of reloading said card. ALL MY MONEYS.
- Arriving at my destination. Standing outside Camden Town station (I think), I saw magical mermaid hair in the distance and just knew it was Holly 🙂
- First pub lunch – Holly and Macca, along with Macca’s family, took me along for a traditional English Sunday pub lunch. And oh my. I had pork belly (first time), with apple sauce (holy macaroni), peas… AND YORKSHIRE PUDDING. That stuff is a god send!
- Getting tickets to see The Breeders live 😀
- Harry Potter Film Studio. Enough said.
- Highgate Cemetary with Holly and Macca. Oh. My. Gosh.
- Nottingham. I organised to stay a few days with my godfather. This was one of the best decisions I ever made. Within about 2 hours of arriving, we were already walking down to visit a pub. I think we went to about three (and drank at each) before going back home for dinner, and going out again. To another pub. This time, it was the Grey Hound I think, and a nu rock/metal coverband was playing and we got so wasted we had to take a taxi home. But we missed the first taxi so we had to call another one. Ha. Had a nice fry up the next morning and went exploring.
- ROCKETS at the National Space Centre in Leicester with the godfather.
- Wollaton Hall in Nottingham. You know in Jane Eyre and books like that, you always read about these manors with ginormous grounds and basically an entire town employed by the homeowner… well this was exactly it. Extravagance, luxury, deer, and so many windows.
- St James park with Laurie and Kasha. Actually, just exploring London with these two was….AMAZING.
- Dinosaurs. This really should be put right at the top of the list. My aim was to go to as many museums as I could. And wow, did I fit in a few. The National History Museum, the British Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum, Science Museum, the National Gallery, the National Portrait Gallery, the museum near Tower Bridge, Sherlock Holmes Museum… I hope I haven’t missed anything out.
- Sitting on the steps, eating one of those apple pastry things with Laurie and Kasha, watching this total nutter do what we assumed was the beginning of some flash dance, only for it to be some very weird solo calisthenics/dance number.
- Delicious food and restaurants, and of course, Holly’s birthday, with Holly and Macca.
- Oxford with Holly, Pril and Rich. Just wow. Oh, and that weird Curiosities museum was BAD ASS.
- University of Oxford Botanic Garden, and seeing Lyra and Will’s name on THE bench (Philip Pullman – His Dark Materials, for those who don’t know what I’m going on about).
- Sleeping on couches and blow up mattresses.
- Shopping. I arrived with a half empty bag, and returned with one that required some elbow grease to unzip.
- M&S honey and pear (or something) fruit smoothies. Actually, Sainsbury’s, M&S, Boots… All this foreign food/drink was sooo good.
- Underwear shopping. Yes, I’m putting that on the list.
- Tea and biccies with Laurie, Kasha and Jesse.
- Meeting Anton/the_basilisk 🙂
- Watching ALL of Hannibal Season 1 with Laurie.
- Laurie and Luc’s shower. I can’t even describe the joy of experiencing their water pressure.
- The plane ride home. I bought myself a decent pair of earphones so I could actually watch movies this time around (I stupidly didn’t bring any with me on the way to the UK, and the headphones they provide had poor sound. Actually, the plane ride there was terrible, but that’s another story). Also, just the idea of coming home was… without words. This was the first time I had been away from home for so long. I wasn’t really missing my parents (sorry guys), but I was starting to miss my own space. And ofcourse… I had left someone behind.
- Homecoming. Hugs, kisses, my person, my bed, my cats, my bedroom, and the first shower after the flight. Bliss.
I’m sure there are others… if I’ve missed anything out, remind me!
Holly, Macca, Laurie, Luc, Kasha, Bill and everyone else who put up with me… Thankyou! You all made this so much easier for me, and it was such a relief knowing that I always had someone to rely on and show me around. I had the best time thanks to all of you 🙂