Sunday, 31 October 2010

Getting to the USA

When I booked my ticket to Washington I booked from London figuring that it would be simple matter for me to get from Glasgow to any airport. What I didn’t take in to account was the timings. Yes I managed to get a cheap train from Glasgow to London but it got me in at 00.30 and my flight didn’t leave until 09.40! Luckily I met a fellow traveller on the train and we were both heading to Gatwick. I knew I would meet some interesting people on my journeys I just hadn’t realised it would be so soon. After many hours on the train from Edinburgh to London Kings Cross, a shared taxi then another train to Gatwick and we arrived at just before 3am. Soon after arriving we parted ways, my impromptu travelling companion was off to Gambia for a medical placement and not long after her I got checked in to my own flight to Charlotte, USA.

I had feared that the USA customs process would be a intimidating but the staff at both airports were mostly friendly and helpful and the unfriendly ones were all at the UK end, though I imagine that had something to do with the earliness of the hour! After passing through immigration I collected then re-checked my baggage before heading to my connecting flight to Washington DC. After a slight delay we were off and soon I was in Washington, baggage collection and a shuttle bus later and I was at my hostel. The staff are friendly and the other guests seem nice but my main concern by now was shower, food then sleep. The guy who checked me in showed me the local Chinese place (where they do indeed serve Chinese in the kind of takeout boxes you see on TV) and then I finally got to sleep, lots of sleep. Now it’s time to explore!


Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Bye bye England!!

It’s almost time for my first trip abroad on my own, eeek! The last month has been amazing. For three weeks I have been getting ready for this trip and now is here. I must confess though I wasn’t getting ready at the weekend, I was at Centre Parks with the WAY Foundation and I had a fabulous time. I went with a good friend and her children and we had some lovely ladies next door who we knew in varying degrees. Everyone else in our villas had polite, well behaved, gorgeous children and I had a great fun borrowing them to play in the pool, go on the rides and I even got to take them trick or treating on the Sunday night! When we returned for the guising (as it’s knowing in Scotland) I was even rewarded with cocktails. It was a truly amazing experience. Every day and evening was filled with fun and laughter, you would never have know from looking at us that we had all suffered such huge losses. There was the occasional wobble but when they happened there was always someone on hand to lend a hand or give a hug. I’ve chatted with a fair few of these people online so it was lovely to put faces to names and really find out what people were like. It was a great finale to my year in England.

There was the occasional suggestion that I take a child with me as a companion, or even the odd adult, but everyone seemed to go off the idea when I explained that it was quite likely I would be living on cheese sandwiches. I can't imagine why, cheese sandwiches rock. Anyway one of the kids came up with a superb compromise and Zack the highland cow was purchased and adopted as my travelling companion. So where ever I go I will have a reminder of both my birth home and my temporary home but most importantly those crazy people I spent my last weekend with!

Pre-CP trip I have managed to get most of my belonging into long term storage. I have booked my ticket to Australia and I leave for Sydney on the 22nd of March. I have a ticket and visa and even a goal whilst I am there, some habits are too hard to break I guess. I had a scuba taster class at CP and I loved it so I hope to become a qualified scuba diver whilst I am away and am even hope to do some lifeguard training as I feel it is important for me to know how to look after myself and others. It might not happen as it will depend on the work I can get when I am there but it gives me a purpose and some goals and I have discovered that though I may not be the same person I was 19 months ago some things are definitely the same, which is nice. It has been suggested that I will find myself on this trip and though I would like to scoff at it in the last 3 weeks I really feel like I am learning all over again who I am. The real me is emerging and I think I kind of like her.

Anyway I best sign off and pack my bags so I can head back to Scotland! England it has been a pleasure living here. York ladies it has been a privilege to meet you and I am going to miss you!!! Though I will be back to visit sooner rather than later so you won’t have much time to miss me. Right, Scotland Here I Come! (With Zack the highland cow of course!)

Monday, 11 October 2010

Plan C – Week One

Strangely enough Plan C started with a 16 mile walk round the North York Moors which was organised by the Scarborough and Ryedale Mountain Rescue Team ( to raise awareness of the sterling work they do. I never would have thought I could walk 16 miles of moorland much less enjoy it but I did. I was out of my comfort zone and I enjoyed it. I’m not sure it’s what I would want to do every day of the week but once and a while it could be fun. The scenery was fantastic, the weather lovely and I got to chat to some random people. It was a fabulous start to my break from ‘real’ life. Strangely enough the next day was spent recovering! All I will say is blisters, ouch.

Since then I have packed up most of my precious belongings and clothes and moved them in to my parents’ spare room, (thank you parentals!). It bore a strange resemblance to my trips to university when it was an effort to pack only the ‘essentials’ then another effort to fit them all into the car. The main difference this time being the lack of kitchen ware and the addition of my hamster who sadly has to be re-homed as hamsters and international travel don’t really mix well. The remainder of my belongings (minus the things I forgot this time of course) will all go in to storage then I am set to go travelling. In less than one month I shall be in the USA and meeting my cousins little boy for the first time! For the first time ever I shall be travelling on my own. I really hope I don’t get lost, seriously, directions are not my strong point. But even if I do get lost I don’t think I care, I’m going on an adventure. Finally it is sinking in to my head that little old me is going on an adventure of my own making. I decided I was doing this and I made it happen. Wow.

Until I go it’s a case of trying to see everyone before I go whilst remembering to do the important things like move out of the house, get travel insurance and pack and re-pack my bags numerous times until it all fits. You can tell I’m a first timer as I have that desire to pack everything including the kitchen sink because you never know what you might need. I really must try to remember that I can buy things over there. However before going to the USA I have a mini-adventure planned for my final weekend in the UK. I am going to spend the weekend with over 300 widows/widowers and dependants in a holiday camp. If that doesn’t get me in the holiday mood I can’t imagine what will. Wish me luck folks.

Monday, 4 October 2010

The End of Plan B

Well folks the day has finally been and gone and my last day of work was fairly normal. It felt like a quiet day in the office which finished with me filling in the guys on my work and where I was at just as if I was going on holiday. I have to tell you (because I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t) I did have a cold and I did send my first day of freedom on my couch feeling sorry for myself watching Glee. It was not a pretty sight. However some cold and flu capsules later and a large dose of Glee and I headed out to meet my ex-colleagues for some pretty tasty Chinese food. It was a joint celebration of my bid for freedom, someone’s 40th and very specially (to my mind) someone going on maternity leave. Three very different occasions yet all celebrated at once, it was kind of cool. It was great to see everyone and receive their good wishes and support but I can’t say it made me sad.

My life went wrong and though I can’t say where and when or why it went wrong I do know that for most of my time with that company I’ve been trying to put it back together. Then one day I realised that I can’t. Some things cannot be fixed. So I made a change. I took stock and said I cannot fix what has gone before but I can change what happens next and that’s what I am doing (well actually I'm writing my blog in an effort to avoid the housework but that’s part of plan C so totally allowed). I am sad that this is my life; that the death of Jonathan has changed many people and their lives in a myriad of ways but I am not sad that I am taking charge of what I have left because what I have left is amazing. I have friends and family who are supporting me even though I am fairly sure what I am doing is completely and utterly insane. I have an opportunity to see the world that most people never get. All I need to do now is sort out my storage, pack up my possessions, get the house cleaned, arrange my leaving night, sort out my weekend away with friends, book my USA accommodation and travel, sort out scuba lessons in Thailand, book Australia tickets, travel insurance, (breathe!) oh yeah and remember to keep you all up to date so I don’t think that finding ways to fill my time is going to be a problem!