Hello from my favorite (huge) internet cafe in Kensington. We’ve had a great day today! Thursday wasn’t so great. Here is a long summary of the events of the last couple days.
Bridezilla at the Airport
On Thursday afternoon we arrived at Dulles airport, and Mike took fun pictures of me, my mom, and my aunt posing with our mountain of luggage. The good cheer ended promptly when Virgin Airlines security got very rude with us about our apparently misused definition of ticket vs. e-ticket. She refused to let us through, because of a stupid misunderstanding of our reservations. She was very obnoxious, and my temper flared. I was pissed. I yelled at her in an very uncharacteristic manner that surprised Mike and my parents, and that caused me to be labelled as a security risk.
They pulled my luggage aside and covered it with neon stickers announcing my risky status. I watched as she took the box that housed my wedding gown, and covered it with these stickers that said “Do Not Load.” You just don’t do that to a bride. At least not while she’s watching. Suddenly I was certain that my gown would not be loaded on the plane. I started to freak a bit more. She was so cold to me, even when I explained that we were heading to our wedding and I was concerned about my gown. But at least she let us through to check-in.
At check-in, the staff said that Mike and I didn’t have any reservations. We had a printed confirmation of tickets purchased three months ago, but somehow those reservations weren’t included in Virgin’s computers. That’s when I started to cry.
My mom pulled out an AmEx card and said to the staff, “FIX IT.” I told them all that we were going to our wedding and we needed to get on that plane. One of the guys behind the counter said, “OHHHHH… now I get it. I got married once, too, and I remember how that went.” Then they started to be nice to us. Finally. Mike congratulated me for handling a stressful situation, “almost without crying.”
After lengthy security checks of our luggage and ourselves, we got through. My gown was even approved for loading. Mike thought I might need a mocha frappucino, stat. He took me to an airport Starbucks, where I requested no whipped cream. They gave me whipped cream anyway. I was pissed, and Mike was scared. He grabbed my drink, pulled off the top, scooped up all the whipped cream, and shoved it in his mouth swiftly. Then he put the top back on and handed it to me like nothing had happened. I started laughing and immediately felt better.
On our way to the plane, Mike said to me, “Look on the bright side. You can write all this down and it will be a funny blog.” That’s my boy.
You’d never know by casual observation that any bombings had happened here so recently. People here in London are just carrying on like normal. The only outward sign that anything is different is that there are lots of heavily-armed police in the city. That is a very strange sight here in England. Something else that I’ve noticed is that people are really jumpy around abandoned bags. Just twice today I’ve had people ask me whether a bag is mine. I don’t blame them.
Feeling Like a Londoner
I realized today that this is my seventh trip to London, and my ninth trip to England. I’m only 30 years old, and I’ve been to England nine times. That’s pretty amazing.
Mike has been away all weekend, and it’s really funny how my family keeps asking me things about London and England, as though I’m a local. And most of the time I can answer. It’s cool how comfortable I am here. I know to look to the right before crossing the street, to order “skimmed” milk instead of nonfat, and to specify “eat in” or “take out” at sandwich or coffee shops. When I take coins out of my pocket, I can pay without looking at the numbers on each coin. I don’t even carry my camera around with me, because this place feels so homey to me that I no longer have that tourist feeling. It’s nice.
This afternoon I was walking around London by myself on a mostly deserted street. Suddenly I heard a lady yelling, “Stop him!” I looked up, and saw a man running toward me with his hands full of something. A small lady was running behind him, still shouting to me to stop this guy. There was no one else on the street, so I reached out to grab the guy as he ran by. Just as my arms reached around him, I snatched them back and decided not to touch him after all. I didn’t know what he had done and whether he was violent, and I didn’t want to get myself in any danger by grabbing him.
Somehow I managed to fluster him enough that he just dropped whatever it was that he had been holding. Then he continued running. The lady caught up to me and thanked me profusely. I told her that I didn’t actually do anything, because I didn’t know if he would hurt me. She said that whatever I did had worked, because she got her stuff back. She picked up the things he dropped, which turned out to be shoes. Apparently he had shoplifted a pair of wooden shoes from her homeopathic healing goods store. She was so grateful to me for helping her, but I really didn’t do anything but startle a thief. I guess that was good enough.
So today I helped to stop a crime. I didn’t even have to touch the guy–I must have superpowers. I made the streets of London a little safer today, so I rewarded myself for my good deed with veggie sushi.
My parents, aunt, and I went to see The Producers today! It was absolutely hilarious. Before the end of the first act, my stomach was already hurting from laughing so much. By the “Springtime for Hitler” scene in the second act, I was almost wheezing. It was even funnier than I could have imagined. If you haven’t seen it yet, go!
I just got back from shopping for sweaters. In July! It is so cold here, I had no idea. It’s probably in the 40s at night, and no higher than 70 during the days. I brought no long-sleeve shirts, and only one sweater. The crazy thing is that most places have their air conditioning on! My hands are freezing right now at the internet cafe.
Mike is on his bachelor party all weekend. He left last night and (hopefully) will come back tomorrow after he is able to wake up. I really hope his friends don’t torture him too much.
Our hotel is across the street from Kensington Palace. I told Mike that I’d spend the weekend looking for the princes, so I could have my own bachelor party in his absence. He didn’t like that idea much.
OK, that’s more than enough for now! I hope you all are doing well! I’m reading most of your posts, but haven’t had a chance to respond. Thank you to all of you for your send-offs and congratulations! 😀