Friday 16 December 2011

Blog XIV: Traveling

Half of the reason to study abroad is to travel around, for instance practically every visiting student at Edinburgh spends a few of their weekends traveling around Europe because it is not only easy but reasonably priced as well. I, unlike most, came to Edinburgh for the spectacular education and the world renowned literature programme, not the travel. I have been fortunate enough to have travelled a lot before coming to Edinburgh so I have been to Paris, London, and Barcelona multiple times as well as having driven around France, Spain and all of Scotland, I have also been to Rome, Sicily, Vienna, Prague, Budapest, Amsterdam, Belgium and Ireland. So while everyone else has been boarding trains and planes to zip around Europe and Britain I have been stressing over essays and class. But with the approach of December this self-induced hell caused by remaining for four months in the same city with no change has finally come to an end. Yesterday at noon I boarded the train to London where I am spending Christmas with my uncle and my mom at my uncle’s flat near Buckingham palace. Since this was my first time traveling outside of Edinburgh on my own (all my previous traveling was with my parents so of course they had planned everything) I encountered a few bumps before even getting on the train. The major bump was more like a mountain; I was originally going to leave Monday 19 December on the eight am train even though I knew when I bought this ticket that I had no exams am thus had nothing to do past Friday 2 December, the end of classes. But I was under the impression at this early time, that I would be loving all my free time in Edinburgh and had a list of things that I was going to do: go to the gym every day, write my Scottish Literature essay that is due the 23 of January, finish writing my blogs, etc. Like everything this year, nothing followed my original plan so instead jumping for joy at the end of classes on Friday I was counting down the days until I would get to leave my insane asylum and go to London. Finally after days of constant complaining my parents forced me into changing my ticket so that I arrived in London on the 15th instead of the 19th. Though I did have a catch: I wouldn’t change my ticket if I had to buy a different ticket, 47 pounds is 47 pounds and I refused to let that money go to waste, it cost 10 pounds to change my ticket. So instead of 15 days until I left I was now leaving in T-minus 11 days, my mood definitely improved. And with this decrease in time my list of things to do suddenly was doing what I originally wanted it to do, fill my days and evenings so I didn’t notice the passing of time. Finally the day of my departure (yesterday) arrived and I was so ecstatic to be leaving that I arrived at the train station forty minutes before the train left but it was no problem I just got a coffee and hung about while people watching. At eleven fifty the train arrived and at exactly noon it departed the station and we were on our way to London!!! I was all settled in with my book and my Gregg’s donut and my coffee but about thirty minutes in I started to feel a bit motion sick so I had to stop reading and just listened to my iPod. As the time slowly crept by and we moved out of Scotland into England, I was settling in more and more when there was an announcement on the intercom informing us that due to some rail issues up ahead the train we were on was going to be terminated at New Castle and we would just have to catch the next train to London there. Though it was a bit of a setback there was a train to London every forty minutes. I didn’t board the next train to London because it was far too full but instead boarded the 2:45 train (so I would arrive about an hour late). Since this one was running late itself and because of our terminated train there were no seat assignments which was good news for me because I was able to sit in a seat and not worry that at some point someone would come and say that I was in their seat and had to move. As the hours progressed and we moved further and further south the train got busier and busier, in fact, the train was so busy that people were forced to stand in the aisles. But after we passed York the train started to get less crowded and soon everyone had a seat. At about half five we entered London and I was off the train by six. Since it was late-ish in the evening and my uncle had his office Christmas party that night my dad decided that it would be better for me to just stay in a hotel so that I wouldn’t be wandering the streets of London alone at night and so that my uncle would have the night to enjoy himself before the dreaded family began to arrive.

So my first travel experience went pretty well, though the four and a half hour train ride was not as carefree and enjoyable as I originally thought but I’m sure it will be better on the 28 of December when my mom and I return to Edinburgh for Hegemony and when we once again journey to London on 2 January where I will meet my dad to fly off to Spain. Though this last term seemed like being trapped in an insane asylum I have hopes that this coming term will be better because I am going to be traveling more. One of my dear friends is studying abroad in France this term and we are going to meet in Paris at the end of January to celebrate her birthday than we will hopefully get together again in February when she has her spring break and then I have my spring break in April and plan to travel either with my mom or my dad. After all you can’t study abroad and not travel to the surrounding areas.