Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Final Overseas Chapter...

August 19 & 20, 2009
I think probably the absolute worst thing to do in London is go and see the changing of the guards. Everyone asks if you’ve seen it but after treading along amongst, literally, THOUSANDS of people to see it, I was more than bored, terrible hot (very inconveniently warm morning to be standing around in a state of frustration) and remarkably uncomfortable with all of the varying people and energy around me. At the risk of sounding negative, I really thought the entire process was silly and would never, ever do it again. In fact, about halfway through, I turned to Cory and just asked if we could leave. He’s seen it before but I’m sure he was a little disappointed in my lack of excitement about the whole thing. The truth is, though, my time in London feels a lot more obligatory than anything else. As I’ve mentioned a few times, this trip was about coming to visit my friends, not to fight millions of poor smelling, rude tourists scrambling wildly about the city to take a thousand pictures of things they probably won’t even remember. Whew! Okay, I feel better…


Before we headed out to the changing, we did stop and enjoy our last official English Breakfast and, of course, Cory insisted on yet another food-filled photo.

The second part of the day is already going much better. We have met up with Sam and all of my worries about meeting her have gone right out the window. She is absolutely lovely and a complete pleasure to be around. Her positive outlook and glowing aura are so refreshing after being surrounded by a ton of people that really want nothing to do with anyone around them. Plus, she must’ve read my energy correctly because she got us out of the part of town we were hanging out in and took us to my new favorite part of London called Camden where it’s market after market of the coolest and funkiest items I’ve seen yet. Even the building facades are artistically unique. I finally picked up some very groovy souvenirs for my family and friends at work and even found an awesome blue and green candle holder that held a tea light candle with a miniature picture of Jim Morrison painted on the top. Aaron and I had a conversation about how much he liked The Doors and I thought he would really appreciate it. Cory asked me who that particular candle was for and I lied. Badly. I immediately felt stupid and will tell him the truth later on. I’m really a horrible liar when it comes down to something that I don’t feel the need to lie about. Besides, if there is anything to come of this, it wouldn’t hurt to start establishing a foundation. Later, though…

We stopped for lunch at a noodle place called Wagamama that Danni actually introduced us to while in Bristol. While Sam was using the restroom, I asked Cory if she knew that he and I had broken up and he dumbly replied “I think so.” To use a modern British term – what a complete donut. I decided not to worry about it. If it isn’t obvious enough, I do have a habit of thinking too much about things. Besides, I’m really enjoying the day now and Sam is going to take us to some local pubs for some more yummy ales. I think I have forgotten to mention it, but my poor stomach had to lay off all the cider as it’s acidity was starting to take a toll on me. Luckily, they serve their ales here at room temperature and I’ve gotten to experience some really delicious beer that I would never have gotten the opportunity to try in the states. And I think a couple of ales in me should slow my thought process just enough to enjoy my remaining twelve or so hours in this city. Before that, we are heading out to take some more photos. Now, I am happy for the beautiful day as I have been able to capture some amazing shots of the city.

I loved the Tower Bridge. It is so, absolutely massive! And it’s really crazy to see such differences in these older English structures with new, modern buildings put up right next to them. It is an incredible contrast and I couldn’t stop snapping away.
 
After I finally exhausted my clicking finger, the three of us pub hopped through the city until we ended up back at the hostel around midnight. Sam had missed the last subway train back to her part of town and since we had arranged for a 4:30am taxi (plus, we had new roommates in our room and I had no interest in trying to get another night’s sleep with these even more bizarre strangers), we decided just to pull an all-nighter. Cory had to do a bit of convincing with the staff to let Sam come in with us as they are pretty protective about having outsiders come into the hostel. Luckily, Sam had stayed there before and they were able to work it out. Cory can be quite the enroller when he wants to be.

I was feeling a little drunk and out of sorts and kind of frustrated that Sam and Cory were having such a laughable time. Yes, I liked her a lot, but I still had some underlying issues with Cory and was more than anxious to get home already. I left them down in the bar while I went up to shower and get all of my things packed and ready for when the taxi showed up. I am definitely convinced that this is my first and last time experiencing hostel life.

When I returned to the bar, it was clear that my negative and stressed out energy was not meshing well with Cory and Sam’s good time so I watched some television for a while and chatted with some strange guy from Argentina named Pablo until I couldn’t take the basic English anymore and then excused myself to go outside and have a smoke. Outside, I met a very peculiar man that I’m not sure to this day actually existed or if he was just an imaginary friend I made up in my head in my sleepy and post drunken haze. His name was Martin and he wore pointy shoes… he said he was a teacher but seemed very energetically connected to everything and was easily the most untrustworthy person I have encountered in a long time. So, clearly, it made for some fascinating and wacky conversation. Being in a “safe zone” with many people around, I sat and talked to this cartoon character for such a long time that before I knew it, it was time to find Cory again and catch our taxi.

I started up a conversation about the trip to Cory on the way to the airport and being quite exhausted, still a little drunk and perhaps as a result, slightly on the delirious side, we spoke candidly about the ups and downs of the last ten days as well as finally openly discussed our incompatibility as a couple. I like it when Cory’s guard is down and he is able to open up to me. I find myself surprised at how cool he can be at times. I decided to take advantage of this opportunity and while standing at the gate waiting to check in for our flight, I told him about my feelings for Aaron.

Gulp.

His initial reaction caught me off guard. He laughed. He told me that he definitely did NOT think that Aaron and I would make a very good match. He said that he had known Aaron for a very long time and that he really thought it wasn’t going to be a good idea. He told me about Aaron’s very Christian background and that he is awfully agreeable. Knowing me pretty well, Cory is aware that this quality is one that is not high on my “needs” list in a man. He told me that while Aaron is certainly a nice guy, he is a bit of a homebody and that in addition to our own incompatibility, he definitely didn’t see me and Aaron as being any more compatible as a couple. He told me that he was happy I had said something rather than kept anything a secret but my feelings were still hurt that he so quickly shot things down. I supposed that’s to be expected though. I decided to just shut up about it and let things go for the time being.

The rest of the day has been a bit on the stressful side, travel-wise. We missed our connecting flight in Chicago due to delays in security (everyone living in a Chicago who resides in a wheelchair decided to fly that day) so we had to catch a flight into Denver and then are going to pick up another one into Las Vegas. Ugh… why can’t we all just have our own wings?

So here we are in Denver, sitting in the same bar that we were on the way out, having a drink and a smoke before we catch our last plane back home. Cory and I had not spoken since getting on the plane in London although most of that was because I was able to actually get some sleep. Now, sitting together, he told me that he had been thinking about what I said while on the plane and decided that as long as it made me happy, he had my back as far as wanting to pursue things with Aaron. This meant so much to me as I know he wouldn’t say something like that unless he really meant it. I was relieved and excited and just wanted to get my butt home.

Here I am, on our final descent of this trip, watching the ground come up from below, looking at the familiarity of this crazy oasis in the middle of the desert that they call Las Vegas and thinking about a possible new life I have waiting for me once we land. I’m not sure where everything will lead but it seems that the hard part is over. What a strange and wonderful vacation this has been.

Here’s to hoping the good times, however, are just beginning.

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