I really cannot believe I’m here. After months of planning and nail picking, I’m writing this entry from my bed in the bed & breakfast in which I’ll be staying until Saturday. I’m also watching BBC’s Food Network equivalent, “Ready Steady Cook,” a fascinating combination of Emeril and American Idol that features celebrities assisting chefs and a studio audience voting on their favorite recipes.
I left Monday night at 8:30 p.m. and arrived around 9:15 a.m. It’s amazing where seven hours can get you, and how different you can feel there. Ever since Monday afternoon, I’ve been experiencing an epic duel in my stomach: bubbling excitement and nervous butterflies. Right now the butterflies have all but flapped away the bubbles, unfortunately. Or my nervousness could quite possibly be gnawing hunger.
In an attempt to trick our bodies into thinking that more time had passed, American Airlines served dinner around 9:30 p.m. (Eastern time) and breakfast around 7:30 a.m. (Greenwich Mean time). Dinner and breakfast should never be a mere five hours apart, unless they occur during a rigorous food tour. I’ve only had tea, shortbread and fruit since.
My low point was yesterday afternoon, alone in my room. I played Solitaire and cried. I’ve never played Solitaire while actually feeling so solitary. But I am. Solo and alone. Inspired by British WWII propaganda and the resulting poster craze, however, I chose to “Keep Calm and Carry On” rather than “Panic and Pass Out.” I took a walk to Kensington Garden, reminding myself why I came here and why sadness is an ineffective means of handling this life-changing experience.
Twice yesterday, I was asked while toting a suitcase, duffel bag, bookbag and purse if I was able “to manage” the load alone. The first time I declined the offer for help, minding the gap between the tube and the platform all by myself. By the time I reached my taxi, I accepted a similar offer for help. I think I’ll have to accept that “managing” is all I can do for now. And I can’t do it alone.