and i've been thinking about it, really, i have. my parents read the books, my friends read the books, and some of my residents watch the show. so i was like, this could totally be a thing.
then i realised that game of thrones is a genre that i don't really... do.
remember that time i tried to read the fellowship of the ring and i fell asleep during the mines of moria?
yeah. that was weighing heavily on my mind when i thought about starting to read games of thrones.
BUT THEN THE RED WEDDING HAPPENED.
i don't know anything about it. i just know that the entire fandom EXPLODED EVERYWHERE AND EVERYONE WANTED TO DIE AND IT WAS SUPER INTENSE.
which leads me to the actual point of this blog, which is NOT about game of thrones. sorry to disappoint you.
while i was on tumblr after work this morning (yes, i was lounging in my armchair in my swim suit and i hadn't showered) i came across this picture.
the caption was "pouting on the tube after game of thrones".
at first i giggled. because it was a dude. pouting about game of thrones. on the tube.
then i screamed.
i screamed because, judging by the colour of the pole next to him, which is brown, that means that this pouting game of thrones man is on a bakerloo line train (to elephant and castle via baker street).
when i was in england for a month, i took this train every day for two weeks.
when i was done screaming and fangirling and taking in every single aspect of the subway train and how i took the tube (specifically this line) everywhere i needed to go in london, i started to cry.
i never really came home from england. i'm going to say it straight up.
I NEVER CAME HOME.
i've talked before in posts about how my dream is to live in england for at least part of my life. going to england was just a little taste of what it would be like to live there. in our meetings leading up to our month-long adventure taking renaissance literature in york, stratford-upon-avon, and london, we were told simple things about assimilating to the culture.
1. don't tip waitresses. it's not polite.
2. the food culture is different.
3. public transportation is everywhere. use it. use it well.
4. wear dark clothes.
5. don't represent the college. nobody cares what university you go to.
6. walk quickly. walk on the left sides of things. stand on the right side of the escalator.
7. don't be noisy on the tube.
8. get used to the money.
9. don't gawk and take pictures. blend in. you live here now.
to be perfectly frank, i never had any problems assimilating to british culture. i was absolutely disgusted every time i opened my mouth and my american accent came out, but i assimilated quite well.
i still look a lot of pictures. obviously. i took tons of pictures. three facebook albums' worth. so yeah, i was a tourist standing in front of big ben with my mouth open.
i've seen big ben before. i went to england for three days when i was thirteen. most of that time was spent on a tour bus. and since i was thirteen, i took pictures on a film camera.
i developed three entire rolls of film just on big ben. when my mom got the pictures from walgreens, she was pissed. real pissed.
I LOVE BIG BEN, OKAY?! STOP JUDGING ME.
but since my iphone has a better camera than my actual camera, i just pointed my phone at everything and snapped a picture.
this is by far my best one.
hashtag no filter. that is the beauty of my iphone right thurrr.
by the time we reached london, i was used to how everything was on the left. look right, then left, then right, before crossing the street. only take the black taxis. check the menus in restaurants before you go in. order at the counter, there won't be a waiter there to help you. i'd gotten the hang on the money. and i was realising exactly how intricate the british accent is. i will probably never attempt one again.
once we entered london, we were given cards for the tube, or the subway system. stick it in the slot, it pops up about five inches later, grab it, walk through the opening doors. we had a map of the tube but in two days i didn't need it; i knew exactly where i needed to go, which stations to switch at, which lines to take.
our flats were stationed at two subway stations; the bakerloo line and the circle line. the bakerloo line was brown and friendly and took us to st. paul's cathedral (making a transfer to the central line at oxford circus) and past baker street (where you could exit for the wax museum). the circle line was yellow and decidedly jank. like, seriously. it was slow. and janky. the lights flickered. but it was the quickest way to parliament and buckingham palace.
i memorised the tube quite quickly. and soon i was riding it by myself, transferring lines, figuring out which trains to take, and yawning mundanely like everyone else on it.
i didn't think twice about taking the tube to the lyceum theatre in covent gardens alone to see the lion king on broadway, nor did i think twice about taking it alone to get back to my flat at ten thirty at night.
i also got really used to trains. i took a train to edinburgh, scotland for two days, then took one back to york to backpack the wall and sit in york minster in complete and utter awe (that'll be a post later, i promise). i took a train back to stratford to see the royal shakespeare company perform titus andronicus. i took a train to cardiff, wales for the day. i took a train to oxford. i took a train to winchester. i took a train to canterbury. i took a train to heathrow.
remember how i lost my brit rail pass? yeahhhh.
guess who bought individual train tickets for each individual train?
i became a master of the automated ticket machine. i could run up to it, get a ticket in less than a minute, and haul my ass onto a train that took off about two minutes after i got on it.
one time it was ten seconds. scariest minute of my life, bro.
i assimilated very well to english culture. but no matter how well i assimilated, there were always little things, little nuances that i still didn't get down. but by the end of my twenty-five days there, there were fewer and fewer.
but you would think that when i got back to america i'd totally reassimilate to american culture, right? right?
my flight from london heathrow to o'hare was a nine hour flight. we landed in chicago around four in the afternoon. i had a coach (i mean, bus) to catch to take me to michigan city where my parents were picking me up to take me the rest of the way home.
as soon as i got off the plane and into the international terminal, everything felt wrong.
people were walking on the right side. the signage was terrible. everything in england is ridiculously well marked. after picking up my suitcase (which broke on the walk to paddington train station to get to heathrow that morning) i couldn't find signs to get to customs.
when i got into the terminal after getting my open jar of nutella cleared (i was NOT leaving that in londond, yo.) i called my parents and i was like, HEY I'M IN O'HARE AND I CAN'T FIND THE BUS TERMINAL BECAUSE NOTHING HERE IS LABELLED CORRECTLY.
i eventually found it. i exchanged the last of my pounds for american dollars. the american dollar signs looked funny. so did the actual dollars. the change was smaller. i was confused by it.
i then waited for my coach to take me to michigan city. it was scheduled to come at 4:50.
let me tell you something about england transportation. it runs on time. if it doesn't, there are overhead public service announcements apologising endlessly. we had a train that left at 10:49 for canterbury. at 10:49.01 that train was leaving the station.
england does not mess around with punctuality.
well, 4:50 came and went. i was getting anxious. i kept staring at the american flag and wondering why it wasn't a union jack. my body thought it was late. i'd been on a plane for nine hours. i wanted to see my parents.
i wanted to go back to london.
the bus came. at six thirty. six. thirty.
between that time, i called my mother five times. i cried in frustration. i wanted british accents. i missed england so much it hurt.
when i finally got on the bus, it took off and headed for my great state of indiana. i sat by myself and stared out the window, listening to the lion king soundtrack, and wanting to be back in london. the previous night i'd seen the lion king on broadway. less than twenty-four hours ago. and now i was on a bus in illinois. what had happened?
when the bus turned left across traffic and into the right lane, i screamed because i thought we were going to crash from being on the wrong side of the road.
everyone on the bus stared at me. i breathed heavily. i then saw an american flag and started to cry.
the next day, i went to target to replace my wallet. mine had broken in england from my excess english coins. when i turned onto wallen road, i started to drive on the left side.
don't worry, i didn't hit anyone.
i had problems handling my american cash at target. i forgot that america had sales tax. i missed my pear juice. my kitchen didn't have a hob. people weren't walking everywhere. i couldn't take the subway to target.
i was having a really difficult time adjusting back to american culture.
i have been back from england for twelve days.
i've almost assimilated back to our culture. but today hannah pointed out that i still had a decent way to go before i was totally comfortable being back in america.
i don't really think i will be again.
the average female heart weighs 200 grams. i estimated how many pieces of my heart i left in various places in england and how many grams they were.
if my calculations are correct, 98% of my heart is in england. 196 grams.
while i was away, i told adam about the pieces of my heart that were falling out and burying themselves in the places that i visited.
and he asked me, "after this trip, how much of your heart will you have left?"
my heart has gone to england. and i will miss it every. single. day. until i go back.
this i know.
until i go back, here's the most touristy picture of myself that i could muster.