Some might take my radio silence as a sign that I’ve succumbed to the pressures of grad school and have run away with a band of gypsies. Never fear-my wanderlust has not intensified to that extent…I’m just really bad at keeping in touch? Either way, let’s get down to brass tacks:
I finally got my family to leave the United States! Adam got his passport hot off the presses, and broke it in with a London extravaganza. He and my mother braved a 24 hour traveling excursion before they arrived at lovely Heathrow, and disproved every British airport stereotype that I’ve formed. Their flight arrived 35 minutes early (don’t worry-I didn’t have Internet again, and had to rely on Jenn’s Googling expertise to tell me this), and they flew through customs. The fastest time I’ve ever gotten through customs at a British airport? 2 hours. Their first time out? 30 minutes. Whether you call it beginner’s luck or a curse on my traveling, they got in an hour early. Which made me an hour late getting to the airport to pick them up. Talk about tour-guide fail!
So even though Mom and Adam were havin’ a major cases of jet lag, I decided that I want to shock and awe them with a couple of my favorite bits of this city before they could catch some Zzz’s. And what’s a better introduction to London than to pop out of Westminster Tube Station and have Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament slap you in the face? Having me there with amazing trivia bits, that’s what. Ben will forever be my boyfriend, so it was an obvious first stop for the ‘Greatest Trip Mary and Adam Will Ever Take in Their Entire Lifetime’. (That’s how they refer to their London 2013 excursions…and if not, now they’ve been pressured into adopting that title. You’re welcome.) After eating some dinner and watching the boats putt along the Thames, we went to Kensington Gardens to eat some ice cream in the summer heat and stare up at the golden Albert Memorial (their hotel was almost exactly across the street from the park, so I didn’t drag them all across the city for no apparent reason…). And then Adam went to bed earlier than I have seen him do in the past 2 decades. I’m still weirded out. (For those of you unfamiliar with my brother’s sleeping habits, sometimes he puts my insomnia to shame…)
The next day was a Bloomsbury experience. We started with the British Museum, I introduced them to my tiny little dorm room, and then I took them around UCL’s campus. And then? I took them to the only place worth going to: The. Rocket. We knocked back a couple of pints at my favorite pub in the world, and then (of course) had ourselves some fish and chips. I mean, no trip to England is complete without fish, chips, and a pint in a cozy little pub. The next several days consisted of hitting up the majority of London’s top tourist attractions (yes-in the middle of ‘tourist season’…I’m as shocked as you are that I didn’t punch anyone in the jaw…). I made sure to haul them around as much as humanly possible, working off enough calories to justify the gigantic meals we had at every turn.
I could go on and on about the exact itinerary of what we did each day, but let’s be honest here: I’ve forgotten. Normally I can jog my memory for these posts with the 982 pictures that I took during (if I steal a title from an NBC failure) ‘The Event’, but this time around I opted for a library book in my bag instead of a camera. So you’re getting the cliff notes version. Maybe that makes you happier, because my narration of events is ‘rambly’ or ‘boring’ or ‘gets off topic’. Or maybe that makes you sad, because I’m ‘a literary genius’ or ‘the world’s funniest person’. Either way: that’s how this chocolate chip cookie is crumbling.
I guess I should have explained the ‘Wednesday Addams’ portion of this post’s title a bit earlier (hopefully the bit about pyromania was self-explanatory). So, as some of you know, I sometimes feel like my life is out of my control. And when that happens, I always feel like doing something drastic. Except the thought of ‘something drastic’ gives me anxiety, so I decide to dye my hair a radically different color as a substitute for drastic action. When I called it quits officially with a boyfriend, I went with red hair. When I was unemployed in Dallas, I went blonde. This last bout of anxiety had me jonsing for a change that I felt good about, so I decided to try and be a brunette for a bit. So I naturally decided to put this change in place just hours before I was to meet up with people who were technologically cut off from the world and on the look out for a redhead. And it naturally was the worst experience I’ve had in my 5 years of dying my own hair. Not only were there microscopic holes in the glove, dying 3 of the fingers on my right hand and giving me a minor chemical burn on my pointer finger, but the dye was more intense than I bargained for. Instead of a nice mocha brown, I stepped out of the shower with jet. black. hair. On top of a hand suffering from leprosy. I apparently also dropped dye on bits of my arms and the floor, because I had artificial freckles and tracked dye alllll around my floor. Which, of course, dyed the bottoms of my feet. AKA-I was a hot mess that fateful Sunday afternoon. Instead of embracing the apparent goth status that my quarter-life crisis has taken, I just waited it out. And it’s actually faded into something that doesn’t look half bad; well, I think anyways. I’ve included a couple of photos in the slideshow of me and my amazing guests to put my new hair color on display. And if you’re wondering (which I’m sure you weren’t until this very moment)-yes, I stole the photos. But we’re family, so technically ‘what’s theirs is mine’? (Also included is the leprocotic finger, my mother’s take on an ‘umbrella’, and the present Adam left me upon their departure. He’s such a peach.)
Even though it was absolutely amazing to have two of my favorite people here to visit, we all had to get back to the real world. For me, that is my dissertation. Which is coming along quite nicely so far, I think! I’ve gotten some help from another professor at another university, and between her suggestions and what I’ve acquired so far, I think I’m going to be proud of however this thing turns out. Whether or not the people grading it agree is yet to be seen, but I’ve learned more about mental institutions during the Holocaust than I ever thought possible. Which is kind of the point, isn’t it?
So that is the long-overdue update on ‘Wyoming Folks in London’. I hope they enjoyed it as much as I did!!