Thursday, 18 December 2008

A land of mess and stress and bad smells.

I am in England again, quel surprise! But only for 3 weeks. Or thereabouts. But the tale of how I came to be in England deserves a telling as it was une grande drame!

I left Mount Holyoke at 9:50am on Tuesday morning, on a bus bound for Hampshire College. At Hampshire College I leapt off said bus and leapt onto another bus (actually there wasn't a huge amount of leaping as I was carrying a 24.8 kg suitcase plus a rucksackfull of books and a laptop case full of computery goodness.

The second bus took me to Northampton where I got off the bus and wandered for about 15 minutes until I arrived at the Peter Pan bus depot, which was NOT very easy to locate. It was now approximately 10.30am. I was due to catch the 11.35 bus to Springfield. When I arrived at the bus depot there was a sign informing me that my bus would probably be at least half an hour late. More likely to be an hour late. Oh thrills. The joys of missing my flight were starting to run around inside my Brian.

I also had the wondrous experience of watching a documentary about a plane crash while waiting for the bus. The side of the plane ripped off and people fell out and were mangled in the engine. It just so happens that I have never been particularly fond of flying, and this emission did nothing to calm my fears.

When the bus did arrive (only 10 minutes late!) we were all bundled on board by the driver who had not taken his happy pills, and we were off. There were about fifteen people on the bus, so I was able to take up lots of space and sit and panic about the fact that I was probably going to get lost in New York and not catch my flight and die etc.

When we arrived at Springfield, I was able to stay on the bus, and the same happened when we arrived in Hartford as well. So, alas, I stayed on the bus until we came to a stop in the Port Authority Bus Terminal in New York City.

I then located the subway, and even managed to buy the right ticket and get on the right train, and wasn't mugged on the way, which surprised me. I sat on the train for most of my life (i.e. an hour) and then a nice person who understood my bemusedness told me when to get off. Which I did, bought a ticket for the AirTrain, and climbed aboard. There was a minor panic when someone told me that it wouldn't stop at my terminal, but it did. Panic over.

At the airport I had the privilege of being the awful person who has to rearrange their baggage at check-in because it was too heavy. A couple more of the beast books made their way into my hand luggage and I was set. I found my gate in the airport and collapsed in a large and bookish heap of death.

Our flight was delayed as they needed to move another plane away from the terminal and move ours in. We boarded the plane about an hour late. And then were fortunate enough to be able to sit on the plane for four hours while they de-iced it. I was fortunate enough to be seated next to someone with bad flatulence. After four hours of not really knowing what was going on, we left, and six hours later arrived in London.

During the flight I had such privileges as eating 'chicken' and pasta, i.e. cat and pasta. Also, I was able to experience losing all feeling in my backside, which was rather bizarre and unpleasant. I got off the plane, collected my suitcase and located Daddums. And then drove home and ate real food!!

Sunday, 14 December 2008

The time has come, the Walrus said, to talk of many things...

Life has continued since I last posted and the world and his aunty have had adventures. And they took me along.

However there were no shoes/ships/ceiling wax/cabbages/kings. Although It would have been nice, I would think. And I would say that pigs almost certainly do have wings.

But alas, back to my life of escapade after escapade.

Dastardly adventure number 1: Tacky Practice and the preparations for said adventure. Tacky practice is a rugby tradition that largely involves making an idiot of yourself. For some people, this is accompanied by copious amounts of alcohol. I am fortunate enough not to require any alcohol to make a complete and utter idiot of myself. The week before tacky practice, every senior on the team is entitled to making three demands of the rookies; these ranged from the provision of baked goods, being woken up in the morning, putting up banners telling the world how wonderful our rugby seniors are etc... I, being both a rookie (ish) and a senior got to see the best of both worlds. I was allowed one demand, but had to fulfill the demands of the other seniors. So... we expeditioned to Smith College, our rivals, and chalked 'MHC Rugby was here' all over their campus, and wore shirts that said 'Smith is so not cool'. We also put up posters of one of the other seniors telling the students of Smith how wonderful she is. Tacky practice happened on the Thursday, and the requirement is to dress as something tacky. I became a 'chav', a concept completely unbeknownst to these Americany folk. And I was pregnant for an evening. It was utterly fantastic. At tacky practice some demands were fulfilled, mine included. I demanded that the rookies arrived, taped together in a line by their ankles. They didn't quite meet the challenge, taking 15 minutes to walk about 1 foot, but it was fun watching. We also performed a beautifully choreographed dance to 'Wannabe' by the Spice Girls.

Dastardly Adventure number 2: Rugby banquet. My second adventure was also rugby related and happened the following day. The rugby banquet is also a bi-annual event which happens, and we all dress up nicely and eat and receive awards. NB: the awards are largely ridiculous, thus fitting in well with pretty much everything the rugby team does. My award was presented by El Capitan Margot Wade, and says on it: 'The Penguin Award; Too Legit de Quidt.' In summary, my shin splints make me run like a penguin and I am practically a real American now as I have been to the Seven Eleven.

Dastardly Adventure number 3: FEAST. This was possibly the best moment of my life so far. Or one of. Another aspect of my Americanness is that my life almost entirely revolves around food now. A night came along, much to general distress and peril, when we couldn't decide which dining hall to grace with our wondrous presence for dinner. By 'we' I mean the Fantastic Four: Emma, Christina, Moni and myself. So, we split up willy nilly and with gay abandon and went to different dining halls, used our meal swipes and collected large quantities of the coveted foods and took them away in 'To Go' containers, back to Buckland common room. We laid out a picnic rug and gorged ourselves and almost died from the amount of food. Foods consumed included: cheese tortellini, garlic cheese bread, chicken, mashed potatoes with gravy, grilled cheese sandwiches, tomato soup, waffles with assorted toppings, omelettes, vegetable lo mein, fried rice, 40+ mini egg rolls (Tamar fetched us some more) and ice cream. And then we all groaned and lay on the floor and discussed the necessity of hibernation.

Dastardly Adventure number 4: Thanksgiving. I visited four different states in one day: Massachusetts, Conneticut, Maryland, Virginia. I went to see Liz, Virginia-Ann and family in Virginia. And had lunch with all the wonderful guidey-types that I met at SWInG in the summer. And it was wonderful. I experienced a real American Thanksgiving and Black Friday. AND on the way back to Baltimore to get the flight home, we visited Washington D.C. and went to the Natural History Museum. Fantastic. Plus I got to spend a few days playing with dogs and children. And ate a lot.

Dastardly Adventure number 5: Vespers. Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat... I didn't put a penny in the old man's hat. But I did sing a lot. We did three Vespers concerts - one in New York City and two in our very own Abbey Chapel on campus. They went well, and I got to go on an adventure to New York, and bought a penguin hat. AND, when we sang in Abbey Chapel I got to wear a rose pinned to my nun outfit because I am a senior-type thing. Or at least someone posing as a senior.

Dastardly Adventure number 6: Hot Chocolate Run. I ran 5km in aid of victims of domestic violence. I wore fleece-lined spandex and the penguin hat and it was fantastic. Sadly my shin splints let me down and I had to walk some of it, so it took me 35 mins and 35 seconds. We had magic computer chips attached to us to time when we crossed the start and the finish, and when we were done they gave us hot chocolate and oranges and cookies. And mugs. And there was a man wearing a penguin suit and he liked my hat. And then Mickey realised that she had lost her phone. She had left it in her registration pack, which had been thrown away, so I climbed into a dumpster and sorted through sacks of rubbish to locate her phone and wallet. And I am now a hero. And someone took a photo of me in the giant dustbin for a local newspaper. Strange.

Dastardly Adventure number 7: SNOW. There was snow. Not much, and it didn't last very long, but it happened. We saw from inside our sauna (the heating in my room is aggressively over-enthusiastic), and ran outside and screamed and danced at 12.30am. It was fantastic. The penguin came along for the ride.

And now exams are upon me and death is involved. Much work which I am not a fan of. But I got to write a play, which was enormous fun to write. It is about our futile existence, and what has become of the Fantastic Four now that winter is well and truly upon us. Basically, we sit indoors and don't do our homework. And talk about food. If I have time I may post extracts up here at some point.