Chilly Chilly is the Evening Time

The original post that I started writing is so unbelievably incoherent it’s almost comical. So here’s take two:

Pictured above are all my worldly belongings. Or rather, all the belongings I deemed worldly enough to come with me on this journey. They’re now sort of spread across my lovely hotel room in Bloomsbury, along with the brand new pillows and duvet cover I bought from Argos today in a miraculous feat of errand-running that including eating lunch, going to Argos (and navigating it properly*), getting my iPhone set up, and returning to my hotel in the span of about an hour. I began to set up Charles and literally passed out in bed mid-app.

I managed to resuscitate myself enough to head to Starbucks for a tea and blueberry muffin (dinner of champions). And now I’m sitting here feeling like a knock-off Carrie Bradshaw circa 2003. I’m serious (exhibit A):

But I’m like, the slightly off-beat version because Carrie Bradshaw would be wearing considerably less than a quilted sweatshirt and jeans and would also be clutching a cigarette in her hand. As for the hypothetical, open-ended, “deep” questions at the end of each article . . . I make no promises either way.

Anywho, I hear beginnings are a very good place to start, so I’m going to zip back to 19 hours ago. The flight was uneventful, aside from three things: first, I sat next to a history professor! I have a very bad track record of sitting next to/being approached by some creepy dudes, so this was a very very pleasant alternative. Second, dinner was actually palatable (well played, Sir Branson). It was a vegetable curry with coconut rice, and while it certainly wasn’t the best curry I’ve ever had it certainly looked tastier than the other options. I’m discovering that the vegetarian option is almost always your safest bet for something reasonably tasty (and healthy).

Thirdly, the people sitting in front of me were from the next town over (a very horse-and-hound town). The daughter is studying abroad in London from the University of Miami. As could be expected, she was in no way dressed for crisp 60 degrees fahrenheit that greeted us in London.

After a jaunty bus ride through London with a very nice bus driver and Australian couple, I was dropped off at my hotel. As I wheeled my two large suitcases, carry-on bag, and yoga bag up to the door the handle of the red duffle broke clean off. Much to the theatrical dismay of the flock of blokes walking on the other side of the road (not that it compelled them to come help me), and my very honest dismay. So now it looks like this:

which naturally I’m just skippy about. Won’t make my life more difficult moving in tomorrow, no not at all.

But everything felt better after a long hot shower and cozy-ing up in a warm towel. That’s right. My hotel bathroom has a towel warmer. It is the greatest thing ever, and it should be adopted everywhere in the US. Stat.

So far (and it could very well all go to poo tomorrow) everyone has been ridiculously nice and helpful, to the point where one more nice person could make me go all “I’ve always depended on the kindness of strangers.” Hopefully without all the shenanigans before and after, though.

But in all seriousness, I couldn’t have gotten Charles activated without the help from the girl who sat down next to me in Pret a Manger when there weren’t any seats left (and laughed when I promised that I didn’t bite, unless we counted my sandwich. Laughing at my poor attempts at friendly humor is always appreciated). And thank the Lord for the concierge at the bus service who saw that I was dead on my feet after lugging probably my own body weight in luggage all over the airport, and wheeled the bags over to the bench for me without lecturing me that I should have gotten a trolley (which I should have). The list of small kindness I’ve experienced in the last few hours goes on and on. And they’re all the sort of things that you don’t even think about while you’re doing them, but that you’re so grateful for when you’re on the receiving end. They’ve all made the transition so much easier to deal with at this point. I only hope the rest of the week goes as smoothly, though I know it probably won’t!

The only downside bit was lugging this massive Argos bag up the street towards my cellular phone destinations. I felt so unwieldy and awkward next to these incredibly sleek city-dwellers; only one step up from the bumbling tourists who stop in the middle of the sidewalk and alternate between staring down at the map then up at the sky like the clouds will spell out the answer like an oracle. (It won’t. People don’t mind you asking for help. They do mind you stopping in the middle of the sidewalk)

I felt much better running out for my tea. Just me, my bag, the L-shape of familiar territory from my hotel to the shop; walking quickly and with purpose. That made me feel better.

But all I’ve wanted to do all day is this**:

*for those who don’t know [most likely Americans] Argos is behind Target but above Walmart in quality. They sell all kinds of crazy houseware items from furniture to lamps to just about anything you can think of. But they operate this superstore by putting out rows and rows of desks with tons of catalogs on them. You figure out what you want, write down the catalog number, take the number to the cashier who rings you up, places your order, and then you wait for however long is necessary to pick it up at a separate desk. I had, in an (inadvertently) genius move, found my items online and jotted down their numbers. I was in and out in 10 minutes! Huzzah! First I-really-do-live-in-London checklist item taken care of.

**and yes, that is a crushed velvet bed pane. The room is very nice, but it does also a bit like a bordello designed by Ziggy Stardust

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