It Snew

Today my attempt to relocate from Seán’s place to my flat was interrupted when Glasgow was totally incapacitated by less than four inches of snow. God bless.

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Still, a lovely sight since I hadn’t seen any yet on my time here and Massachusetts’ winter wonderlands seemed so far away.

It’s good to be back.

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Going Home

Yesterday I made the trip to Maryland via Heathrow starting at 5:30 in the morning. Seán and I were already up because we were on the sleep schedule from hell, so we packed up my suitcase and headed to Glasgow airport.

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The airport was very sleepy in the morning, not many people passing through security, so it only took me a moment. That left me with an hour and a half to kill before my flight, so I got breakfast and then had myself a little dance party to Over and Done With by the Proclaimers.

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The flight to Heathrow was uneventful, I slept through most of it because by that point I was exhausted. Heathrow is one of the biggest airports in the world, the terminal I was in almost dwarfing the entirety of BWI.

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I was flagging after a few hours, though, so I bribed myself to stay awake by wandering around the shops and eventually picking up a black and red sparkly nail polish by OPI from the Duty Free shops.

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Still, I somehow managed to stay awake enough to get on my plane. Once on it, though, I was out like a light for a few hours, only waking up when we were served a late afternoon lunch.

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By the time we were taxi-ing on the runway I was chomping at the bit to get home. Equal parts restless and exhausted, I jumped off the plane and was one of the first through customs. After collecting my bag I passed through security only to be stopped because I had alcohol in my bag (a bottle of whisky for my older brother.) Oddly, the security guard stopped me, took my passport and said “You aren’t twenty-one. You can’t have alcohol.” and then proceeded to put the bottle back in my bag and give it to me. Alright cool, I guess I can.

Once I met my dad at the airport, though, everything was fine. We went straight home for dinner (beef stew- my request) and I distributed gifts to all my family.

It is so good to be home.

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Back to Scotland

For someone who goes to college about 350 miles away from home and then has studied abroad twice across the Atlantic, you would think I would have gotten over my travel anxiety. Nope, not so. Every time I have to go somewhere I get a little bit anxious about being late, and add in flight anxiety and making connections in airports I can be a bit of a mess. So, much to my delight, this journey went completely smoothly.

Or not.

It started off nicely, I’ll admitl. After dinner with all of my (rather large) family seated around the (rather small) dining room table I went with my dad to the airport. Security had tightened in my absence but no matter, I was there with plenty of time to sit around and then be told that our flight was late.

Joy.

I looked at my ticket. In Heathrow I would have an hour and a half to get through UK Border, security, and onto my flight. That was cutting it close enough without twenty minutes of lateness being added on. Oh well. Eventually we got on the plane, prying a gaggle of 30-60 year old men away from a TV on which they had been watching the Raven’s football match, and off we went.

Despite my travel anxiety I find flying pretty calming. Feeling the plane build up speed as we sprint down the runway and then lift, our stomachs dropped far behind, as we glide up into the inky sky, Baltimore and Washington spread out below us in a glittering web.

A glittering web that doesn't show up very well on camera, but still.

A glittering web that doesn’t show up very well on camera, but still.

The first flight was a pain, I won’t deny it, but I was able to amuse myself. I’m now the proud owner of a Medieval Tapestries coloring book which I amused myself with, along with a few apps on my Kindle fire. I also watched two movies, The Book of Life which was amazing and Hercules which was amazing in a terrible kind of way. I’d recommend The Book of Life with its charming aesthetic, beautiful animation, and cute story over Hercules (which mostly just had Dwayne The Rock Johnson’s biceps going for it), but both are worth a look if you want something to amuse yourself with for a few hours.

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Once over Wales the captain informed us we had made good time and would actually be arriving early to Heathrow despite our late start. I was thrilled, but of course arriving early to one of the busiest airports on earth isn’t always a good thing since you have to wait for other planes to move before you can exit the plane. It was eight in the morning.

And then, of course, Border Control. It was a long tine. I won’t dwell on it.

Security was an even longer line, and I was in the “rush” line for people who need to catch departing flights. By the time I broke through, my connecting flight to Glasgow was gone.

Cue crisis.

I went and waited in another line. Just my luck. The British call them “queues,” but they feel like a punishment to me so lines is sufficient. Eventually I got through to the desk, explained my situation, and was told that I was guaranteed a flight out to Glasgow at 4:30 in the afternoon but might be able to get on standby for either the 11:30 flight or 2:30 flight. And so I parked my butt down, called Seán who was going to be picking me up from the airport, and explained my situation. No, I didn’t know when I’d be coming back, but hopefully around one. I would update.

Luckily, at around eleven, I was called to get my ticket. Yes, I would be going to Glasgow on the 11:30 flight. Now get your ass to the other side of terminal five, stat. Alongside a lumpy Texan named Bruce and a spry Canadian named Carl, I hauled ass over to the flight. Once I was on the plane, I was set.

An hour later I touched down in Glasgow, collected my bags and was greeted with flowers and a can of Irn Bru from Seán. When I hugged him the group of Irish people next to us cheered, apparently. I was told about this later. Everything between getting into the car to get to Seán’s and waking up the next day is still a bit of a blur.

It’s good to be back.

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Home.

Today at 7pm I cleared customs, met my dad in the airport, and came home. I’ll post about my travels soon, right now it is all about family. I am so glad to be home.

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Last Day

Today is my last day in Scotland before I leave to visit my family back in the States on January 1st. My flight from Glasgow leaves at 8am heading to London, where I catch a connecting flight from Heathrow to home. I get in at 7pm East Coast time.

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I’ll miss the UK while I’m gone, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t excited to get home for a little while.

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Dessert at the Carvery

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Today I treated Seán and his mother to lunch at the Toby Carvery in Glasgow. The food was really good, but the star to me was this dessert: Eton Mess, which was basically a crushed raspberry pavlova. Yummy.

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He’s Seen Things

Today Seán, his mother, and I went to the Scottish SPCA to go donate toys and food to the doggies and end the year with a few good deeds. While the dogs were ridiculously barky and hard to take photos of, I found this precious cat too much to bear:

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Sadly Seán wouldn’t let me run off with him. :( Maybe next time.

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Christmas Bru

Happy Boxing day! I thought I’d show one of the gifts Seán got me, which was one of the Christmas Tartan bottles of Irn Bru. Irn Bru is a soft drink in Scotland that I absolutely love, and I need to remember to buy some bottles to take home in my suitcase (customs allowing)  so that my brothers can try.

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I hope you are all well this holiday season!

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Woof!

Today: a dog that lives in Seán’s neighborhood:

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At least he’s prepared for this cold weather. Brrr!

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Carol of the Bells

My Favorite Christmas song: Carol of the Bells by Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

It gives me chills. Merry Christmas everyone!

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