Upon threat of a fit, I will post. But first I must defend myself, saying that JET-LAG KILLS! (So I might only get through the first part before having to truncate).
On Friday morning, I left Visalia with my parents after saying goodbye to my two younger brothers. About twenty minutes into the trip, we had to turn around, as I forgot my camera (not my most brilliant moment, but I’m grateful that I at least remembered eventually). We arrived at the San Francisco airport about two hours before my flight took off, so I had just enough time to get through security and eat lunch while watching the plane I was about to board through the giant glass window before boarding. Aside from a small hold up at security, where the scanner showed that there was something in my back pocket (which I was later proved innocent of), everything went really smoothly. They even let my horn on board without a fight, AND it fit in the overhead cabin (how great is that?).
The flight itself went well; when I double checked, I realized that it was only a ten-hour (not fourteen like I’d initially thought) flight, so that was a nice surprise. I lucked out in two ways in regards to seating: I had a window, and the seat next to me was empty. Taking off was really neat, as the plane flies right over the Golden Gate bridge, and for the first three hours of the ride while it was still light out, I was able to see lots of mountains, lakes, and farmland. For those who are interested (Ahem, Kent), I checked and the plane was a 747, and it was called the Lady Penelope. It was a British airline, and as such, all the crew had accents, which was (and still is) new and exciting to me, and everyone was really polite and they took good care of us. I was unable to sleep at all on the plane, which was disappointing as I was tired, but I caught a second wind when we landed and I was able to look out and see England. From the sky, I saw more patches of farmland, but they weren’t square and precise like the ones we have in California, but took various organic shapes that worked around what was already there.
Once at the airport, getting through customs was easy and before I knew it I had my student visa and was ready to go (and it didn’t even cost anything since it was for less than six months!). I bought my bus ticket to Brighton, and ate lunch at a small Italian cafe coffee shop there that reminded me of Starbucks initially, but turned out to be way cooler. Where you wait, and where the cafe is, is indoors, but industrial, like Costco or a warehouse. There’s the cafe, a snack shop, the ticket window, and rows of benches with chairs. With all the people who come in and out, it’s easy for birds to get inside, and so there’s a bunch of them that just walk around in there, looking at the people for food. Most of them were pigeons, but there were two brown finches that had found their way by my table. As I have a soft spot for finches, and was done eating anyway, I took a little piece of bread left from my sandwich (they had really great sandwiches for only £3), and tossed it down to them. One of them ate it, and then all of a sudden I was swamped with pigeons. And that was kind of gross. Had I known the pigeons could see what I was doing from where they were a good thirty feet away, I probably wouldn’t have done it. Still, if I run into a woman and she lets me feed the birds for a topin, I just might do it.
The bus ride was about two and a half hours, and quite bumpy. For the first half hour of the trip, I was the only person on the bus aside from the driver! However, I enjoyed watching the interactions and jokes between the bus driver and the other drivers that he knew at each stop (as the bus stopped at several terminals around two airports before going to Brighton), and I have a feeling that I’m going to like riding the bus if it means I’ll get to watch locals interact. When we finally got away from the airports, and onto the road, within the first ten minutes, I saw over two hundred sheep. They were there the very first turn off of airport ground, just dotted along the freeways on the other side of the guard rail in slim patches of grass, where we in the States normally have trash and oleander bushes. They had small clusters of sheep, and once we got a little ways further, these clusters opened up into herds (on much larger fields of grass). They were everywhere, and it was mind-boggling. I had this idea of what London is… it didn’t include sheep (at least not copious amounts of them)! But it’s alright; it made for a lovely drive.
Finally, I made it to Brighton and the house I will be staying at. I met my landlord and his wife and one of his daughters, as well as the other boarder here, and settled in and chatted for a few hours until I finally just had to shower and go to bed (around 7:00). However, as I am sure you’re tired of reading, and I’m certainly tired of writing, I think I’ll call it a night for now. Tomorrow’s the first day of orientation, and I need to be up early. (Plus, I am still incredibly jet-lagged). I’ll come back and add pictures and write more on my first real day here, church, and the people I’ve met soon.