The trip really went well and Kagi and I are very happy to be back together.
I was given some extra time today during which I wrote what you see below:-). I actually found my extreme emotional reaction to a series of things a little comical at the time, I hope that comes across.
You know when kids get to that point where they start weeping and scream, “I just want to go home!”?
Well, I almost just did that right in the middle of Manchester Airport. If I had caught Kagi on the phone I would have burst into tears and done just that. But it wasn't that easy – the phone company doesn't like my American credit card and therefore I have no way to get online or to call anyone.
Kagi will call me when he gets out of his class at 11.
But wait. Wasn’t I supposed to be home by then? Didn’t I have dreams of being showered and maybe even having lunch made by the time Kagi gets home from class? Yes, yes I did.
But alas, after about 20 hours of travel and my body running on about 4 hours of sleep since Saturday night, it didn’t go that way. In my exhaustion I have been quickly unraveling over the last several hours.
First, I’ll acknowledge that my travels went really well. So I know this is irrational. As I’m experiencing the crazy irrationality I kind of think it’s funny, so I’m writing about it. So for the record I do know that things are fine. They just don’t feel that way at the moment.
First, I got held up for questioning at the border again. Yes, even with my visa, I got stuck in the “further questioning” section, wondering if they were going to reject me again. Not a huge deal… I’ve been there before, but I have grown an irrational apprehension for those borders and so the level of impact it had on my emotional state was more than necessary. Apparently I will continue to need further questioning every time I try to enter this country for quite a while, even with all my paperwork squared away. Once blacklisted you’re blacklisted. Awesome. At least the guy was nice.
The last from my flight to clear customs, I went to claim my bags and immediately noticed that something was wrong. They were both there, but one of my bags was slightly opened. The smell of one of my brand-new, expensive, skin-care items permeated from my bag. At first glance I could tell that my closure of the bottle was still in-tact, but the smell and sight of my brand new, wonderfully clean-laundry smelling sheets covered in this toner. Apparently it was not sealed at the bottom of the neck. Great.
Then I began trying to walk with all three of my bags. They total well over 100 pounds and don’t fit together very nicely. I don’t know where I have pounds, so instead of getting a luggage card I began dragging them as best I could. It didn’t work well, and in normal conditions the walk is about 15 minutes. At one point, the bag I had stacked on top of another slipped off, narrowly missing a man’s foot and causing him to dodge it like a meteior aimed at him. “I’m sorry!” I exclaimed. No response other than ticked-off walking away.
I did have a hero appear soon after that, though. An African lady passed me and then said, “Do you need this?” with a cart. “You don’t need it?” I asked. “You need it more than I do,” she said as she took her bags off and gave it to me. I felt bad, but I couldn’t reject her offer. As the situation was I was likely to kill someone.
Finally, I made it to the bus station. I knew I had missed my hoped-for 9:05 bus, but was hoping for a bus in the next 15-30 minutes for about 10GBP. The guy told me that it cost 13.40GBP. “And when is it?” I asked. “11:50,” he said.
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I almost screamed it in the airport. What I actually said was, “OK, I’m going to go check on my train options and I’ll come back if I want to take it.”
As I stood in line, I knew it was hopeless. I can’t move all of these huge bags around a train transfer. I checked anyway. The result was that for about 30GBP (a CRAZY amount of money) I could get a train with one transfer. For a more reasonable fee, I could take a train to Manchester Piccadilly, take a trolley to Manchester Victoria, and take another train to Bradford (which might also require a change in Leeds). On a normal day that would be fine. With these bags, no way. So 11:55 it is.
This is when I frantically tried to put money on my phone so I could call Kagi crying. No go. And worse, the guy selling bus tickets found me right before I started weeping so instead of throwing my temper tantrum I calmly bought the ticket.
The agent must have read me right and told me to come upstairs to a nice café and get a cup of coffee. That was a really good idea—I can kind of pretend I’m not still in an airport. I am here in the coffee shop now, writing. I’ll post once I’m home with internet access
I am really excited to get home!