See that food truck? It's full of chicken curry and South African wine that I convinced myself were a good idea to consume somewhere over the Atlantic.Getting here wasn't so bad, though. It took a long time, but each leg of the journey--E and the kids taking me to San Francisco, navigating the international terminal and waiting for my plane, the long flight to London, a long layover, and then a short flight on a rockin' and rollin' Irish plane, and I was here. Just like that. I had myself completely worked up about the plane ride on Saturday morning. It was not a problem. My uncharacteristic peace during flight may or may not have to do with the fact that I took something a little too soon to make myself sleepy, and had a hard time remaining awake long enough for us to take off. I didn't sleep straight through, but I slept most of the night. Enough to confuse my body (at least initially) into believing I should be awake and eating when I got to Heathrow.
What do you need when you're traveling? Two Balls Or Less. (Spotted at Heathrow.)
I had a long layover at Heathrow. When I booked the tickets, there was one flight leaving almost immediately after the first, a different terminal. I knew that if I didn't give myself a cushion I would do something dumb and miss the connection. But since I gave myself more than three hours, I was free to do dumb things--both accidentally and on purpose. Other than getting into the wrong line at the passport check because I got herded along before I realized it, I didn't really screw up. I wandered around and looked at whatever amused me in the airport shops.
I made myself talk to people along the way. I know. How unlike me. But on the long flight I sat next to a lovely woman from London who had been in California working for Microsoft. I basically channelled my sister for the conversation and tried not to have resting bitch face. What would Melissa ask? What would Melissa say? Melissa would not put in her headphones and ignore someone nice for ten hours. What I'm saying is, pretending to not be myself worked.
The best thing about today (besides being on the other side of the globe right this minute) was language. From the moment I was in the International terminal at San Francisco, I heard so many languages around me. And I know I've been in primarily English-speaking countries thus far on the trip. It's striking to me, though, and perhaps a striking example of why this is such a good idea, that being in that mix of sound and perspective made me both want to be more respectful of other people (and offer them my silence), and want to engage in conversation more than I would, ordinarily.
So, tonight is in Ennis.
(Re: below photo of fry ad. We did not eat there. But come on.)
When I got to the Shannon airport after my solo day of travel, I had people waiting for me. That's always a good feeling, right? They picked me up, I got settled into the hotel and had a shower, and we went out for fish and chips in a little pub. IT WAS SO GOOD. I am considering an all fish and chips diet for Ireland. Well, fish and chips and Guinness. Maybe some Jameson.