Actually not bears, but something even better: free Cherry Coke!
What a crazy past few days! Where do I start? I suppose when I got here would be a good place. Three relatively inconsequential but still fun events happened before I even left Heathrow Airport. First, I should explain that one of the major factors in being able to undertake this adventure is that I have dual American-Italian citizenship. So I don’t have to bother with work visas, greencards, or really anything with Immigration. Still, sometimes when dealing with the authorities you can run into someone with a Napolean complex and they try to find something to hassle you with. After getting off the airplane I went to the GB/EU passport line, which was several times longer but moved several times faster than the foreign passport line. The entire time in the line I was running through things they may ask. “Why is there no exit visa from the US?” “Why do you speak English with an American accent?” “I bet you couldn’t make Bolongese sauce to save your life, let alone as good as your grandmother.” As it were, my interaction with the boarder officer went like this:
Boarder Officer: ‘Ello.
Me: Hi. *Gives officer Italian passport*
*Officer scans passport*
Boarder Officer: Thank you.
Me: Thank you. *Walks through to baggage claim*
And that was it. I know have a small idea of what celebrities feel like when they manage to get into parties they weren’t invited to.
Baggage claim was where the second thing happened. I waited for about 30 minutes while I saw the large crowd dwindle, and still, no bags. After convincing myself that my bag wouldn’t be the next one out through the rubber flaps, I went over to the desk, where they explained that my bags didn’t make it from my transfer in Boston (Really? I was there for 5 hours!) and they would arrive the next day. Now this may seem like a pain in the butt, except that my bags are pretty heavy, and I wasn’t looking forward to lugging them up to Oxford. I had everything I needed in my carry-on bag, so I was pretty happy when they said that they’d be delivered to where I was staying the next day.
Finally, while I was waiting to take the bus up to Oxford, I went to the store in the bus station to get a Cherry Coke (with real sugar!). The man at the register was talking on the phone and when I gave him the £2 to pay for it he took the money, fished through the cash register, and gave me my change-along with the £2 I had given him moments before! I gave him a look, said thank you and then left before he could figure out what happened. So not only did I get a free Coke, I made 21p within my first hour of being here. I hope it’s a good sign! I suppose it might technically have been stealing, but I had just survived a 7 hour flight and it was around 4AM for me, so I hope I can be forgiven.
The rest of my first day here was a blur, I explored Oxford with Austin and drank a lot of coffee. For anyone who’s never travelled to Europe before, the best thing to do is try to sleep on the plane as much as you can (I wasn’t able to), and stay up the next day. I somehow managed to make it to 11pm before passing out.
The plan from my last post had to be altered, since we couldn’t move into our place in Lichfield until
today tomorrow (Santander should take some advice from the F1 team they sponsor and do things a little more quickly). So we stayed in Oxford all weekend. In the interest of brevity I will end this post here, but I’ll come back tomorrow and talk about the rest of the weekend, and everything that is coming up in the near future.