Travel Update

Ok, so now that I am in Terminal 5 (the new wing) at London, Heathrow Airport, I am actually having a rather good time. Kev and I have spent some time looking around at clothing, jewelery, shoes, and cars that we cannot afford, which was a tad depressing, so we decided to cheer ourselves up with a snack.

We headed to the pub at the end of the terminal near the A gates, and I had a “proper” British tea. I had tea (of course), a scone with clotted cream and jam, 3 finger sandwiches, and a little slice of cake. Yum Yum!! And only for 10 euro!!! More expensive than I would have liked, but considering I was in England and that tea at Harrod’s is about U$40, it was fine.

So the travel arrangements weren’t as bad as I had made them out to be. And flying British Airways was rather nice. The seats were big and they served food. Wow – service!

Q&A – Where is home?

I spend a lot of time on the road, and I am often asked “Where is home for you?”

The simple answer is where ever my suitcase is. Today it’s Fullerton, CA and tomorrow it will be Pittsburgh, PA again. By the end of September, I will have four different “homes”: Pittsburgh, Columbus, Seattle, and Berkeley. By the end of November I will have considered seven more places home: Cologne, Buenos Aires, Quebec, Grenoble, Hamburg, Genoa, and Lima.

Originally home was Lafayette, CA, a small suburb outside of San Francisco on the other side of the Caldecott Tunnel. In June 2004 after my brother graduated from high school, my parents moved to Seattle and I was upset about it. I understood that there was no reason for my parents to continue living in suburbia, especially since the kids had left the nest and my mother was no Stepford wife, but Lafayette had always been considered home and with them moving, I was not going to be able to return to the place that I grew up in.

While attending UCI, Irvine was considered “ school home” and Seattle was “home-home;” after all, that is where my boxes, spare clothing, childhood trophies, and parents were. Before graduating, “home” had also been in Osaka, Japan and Montpellier, France. After graduating, I moved into Kevin’s house in Pittsburgh, PA so that we could dance full-time. And then we started traveling. And then it got complicated.

As the hours ticked along from time spent away from home (referencing Pittsburgh), I would catch myself saying things like “I need to go home before we go to the dance tonight” (that location) or “my boyfriend is back at home” (Pittsburgh) or “last week my suitcase exploded when I got home” (anywhere) and they all referenced different places. So where was home for me?

While traveling, the immediate “home” is where my suitcase is. When thinking about how great it will be to go “home” and sit and relax, it’s Pittsburgh. Getting to be home and being taken care of is where my parents are, Seattle. And at the end of this month I’ll get to head back home to see my aunt next week, and then I’ll be in Berkeley.

Home can be anywhere. Home is a place where I can relax and take a shower. Home is where the bed I am sleeping in is. Home is a place where I can stretch in my underwear. Home is the place where I can be me and not have to censor myself. Home is where I make it.

Trying to get Home

It’s the Monday following the 4th of July and I am still in Seattle. Not that that is a bad thing; however, I was supposed to be heading home at about 8am and here now my flight is not until 1:30pm.

I woke up at 7:15am, showered, wolfed down some breakfast and headed to the airport. My mom and I left early because we’d be driving at prime traffic time, and it’s Cruise Season, so most likely there was going to be a bunch of traffic this morning, yet there was not. So i arrive at about 8am and as I am looking at the monitor to figure out what gate I am departing from, I don’t see my flight up there. I went to the touch screen thingy and typed in my info and my flight had been moved to 11:45am. That kinda sucks because I was there so early, but it sucked even more because then I would only have 25 minutes to catch my next flight.

I head up to the Premier Desk (I didn’t belong there, but there was no one in line) and asked what time I’d get into SFO and then gave Carol my boarding passes and asked whether or not I could make my flight. All signs pointed to no. But just as luck would have it, I could be booked on another flight leaving at 11:30am and then transfer in Denver, which would get me home around midnight. Good news: I am still getting home
“today”. Bad news: it’s super later and I have a flight leaving for Sweden tomorrow at 1:15pm. I inquired to whether or not there were any other options and was then booked on the 1:45pm flight. Man, life is good.

So now my mum and I are paling around, running errands, and nibbling on tasty treats. We stopped by Tully’s to grab some coffee and I grabbed a Red Velvet cupcake at Cupcake Royal next door. Tasty goodness!! We headed home and I picked up the place while mummsy check the garage (apparently it had been broken into). What a morning!

Now we are at her office and I am blogging. I wanted to do some painting this weekend, but it will have to be another time.

Hopefully I’ll get home, grab more stuff for Herrang, run some errand, and then catch my next flight. What a life, eh?

May 5 – Travel Day

Today has been a surprisingly great day.

We found out yesterday that we are flying into the wrong city. Our hosts are in Genoa but we are flying into Bologna. That’s a three hour drive from one city to the other. But no problem, we can catch a train. It will take us four hours and cost us 65 euros, but that is a relatively inexpensive solution to our big problem. So that incident could have dampened our spirits, but it didn’t.

We left for the Kiev airport via taxi and the drive was easy. There were few people at the airport so going through security was a breeze. We were fed sausage, bratwurst, and mashed potatoes on the plane and they were delicious! Then we arrived in Vienna and it was rather grey and cold out, but the airport had some great places we could do some window shopping at. After we got to our gate, Kev went off in search of food and found that there was free wireless. Sweet!!! And then it started to rain.
It didn’t just rain, it poured. They were big fat drops coming down in sheets. It was incredible. I haven’t seen rain like that in years. And then it thundered. And then there was lightning. It was a beautiful display of Mother Nature flexing her powers.
And then our flight was canceled. Apparently there was a malfunction with some of the wiring on the plane, or something of the sort, so we would be re-booked on the next available flight. Many people were not pleased; however, this potentially provided us with a chance to get rerouted to Genoa without an additional cost to us. A stewardess lead the pack of nixed-passengers to the departure which required us to leave the airport and then reenter it.
I somehow managed to stay at the front of the cue of people so Kevo and I were helped out first. And life just got better and better. Not only were we going to be rerouted the following day to Genoa (albeit we’ll now have a transfer in Munich), but they were going to put us in a hotel, get our luggage for it, and give us food vouchers! Yeah!!! Oh yeah, and the hotel was across the street – 50 feet across the street!! And to top it off, it was a very, very lovely hotel. The bathroom is in my Top 10 List of all time great Hotel Bathrooms, ever.

I watched the news and took and nap while Kev indulged himself by taking a bath. After a wee bit, we headed back to the airport to pick up our luggage and to get free wifi. After about 30 minutes, we headed back to the hotel, got our workout gear on, and headed down to the Wellness Center (i.e. that is code for gym). We did some light cardio and some stretching. Life was good.
But then things took a turn for the worse. My luggage was damp. No, not damp, wet. I would say that 90% of my clothes were wet in some way or another. The bottom and the entire left side of my luggage must have been sitting in a puddle. How depressing. Kev and I were cheery customers and were flexible….why was I thanked with wet luggage? Yes, it was raining cats and dogs, but come on. Sigh. I spent the next half hour hanging up my clothes (t-shirts, performance outfits, pants, and all my socks) around the room. Some of them were over lamp shades, near the tub, and on hangers in the closet or the bathroom. The only hope was that everything would be dry by morning.
We had to move on from this unfortunate moment, so we headed downstairs to eat dinner. OMG, it was lovely. There were three platforms of food: salad bar and mini fixings, hot food, and dessert. Kevin made himself a monumental salad and I grabbed bits and pieces here and there. Highlights: lasagna, grilled vegetables, a breaded tomato thing, pesto-crème vegetables, chocolate pudding, and the satisfaction that I was able to order drinks in German with a flawless accent (the downside of that, of course, is then I was presumed to speak German and then when I was further questioned about something or rather, I couldn’t answer). I felt like I was making progress towards my goal of being a secret agent who, naturally, spoke six languages fluently. Note: I don’t speak any languages fluently….English pending. 😀

Then it was off to bed. We’ll be getting up in less than 5 hours. I will need to repack my luggage, eat, and check my luggage in.

Kyiv, Ukraine

That’s where I am at the moment!

After flying in Phillip, the the guy who picked us up last year, came and got us in his old, white Volvo and then dropped us off at Oxana’s house.

We had an appertif and then went for sushi which was um,um good! Since then there has been some internet time and some dance time.

I am getting ready to head to bed. I’ll be away from the internet until Sunday night, possibly Monday, so if anything important happens, I won’t be present for it.

And the adventure begins…..

(oh yea, I don’t have a spell check here so if there are any mispellings, it’s because I can’t spell and the Ukrainian computer isn’t trained in English)

Flight to Sweden

Yesterday (or today really; I haven’t slept yet) Kevin and I left for our trip to Sweden and it was off to a great start, until I realized that I forgot my jacket and gloves! Total amateur hour! How could I, Miss I-am-cold-all-the-time, forget my jacket when I am going to Northern Europe and the Easter Block? Oh yeah, that’s right….because it was hot in Pittsburgh when I left!

Well, there has been lots of flying since that discover and still no new jacket in sight. At PIT I tried to find a jacket and couldn’t; at DTW I tried again and found a sweatshirt (I have one of those already, btw) for $120 which is WAY too pricey; and here at AMS I have found some sweatshirt things, but they are in Euros and I just cringe at the thought at how much it will really cost me.

The flight from DTW to AMS was pretty easy. I watched a movie and then watched some dance clips on my iPod and now I am pumped to dance! And guess what?! I have 4 hours until my next flight, so realistically, I have the time to dance before I take off for Sweden.

I didn’t sleep on that flight. I think it was the fact that I was thinking about dancing, choreography and all the things I want to accomplish, or I could chalk it up to the fact the seats were uncomfortable. Highlight of the flight: Kevo stopped by a Japanese restaurant before we left DTW and bought some sushi (which I got a bite of) and a bean cake for me. Delish!! He’s so thoughtful!!!

Currently, Kev and I are sitting in the internet area typing away at emails. After we write a bunch we are going to hop online, send these guys, upload the new ones, sign off, write some more, sign back on, and do it all again.

Last thing (this is amusing/ironic for me). I don’t like to check luggage because I feel wherever you go (unless you are moving), you shouldn’t have to check luggage. This trip required that Kevin and I check our heavy and over-sized luggage and I was betting that my luggage would be delayed because that would make life even better (forgetting the jacket SUCKS, but having my luggage go missing on top of that would super suck). Yet it isn’t my luggage that will be delayed; it’s Kevin’s! It’s sad to hear, but oh so ironic.

More later. Cheers.

Packing for a Three Week Adventure

What an exciting journey Kevin and I have ahead of ourselves! Tomorrow we leave for Gotenborg, Sweden and we’ll be there for a week. After that, we will head to Kiev, Ukraine and be there for Swinglandia and then we are off to Italy for a week. I can’t wait!!

Earlier today Kev and I tried on a number of outfits so that we could pretend that we were “well-dressed” individuals. I think we found some good stuff, but only time (and pictures) will tell. Oooh, and we recently went shopping at H&M out in Pittsburgh (I didn’t know they had one!!!!!!) and found some amazing stuff!!! I got to play dress up with Kevo and he looks great in his new duds. If I get some pictures of us in the new threads I’ll post them.

Lots of packing to do! There are so many outfits and dance shoes and computer stuff to bring!! And tools! Some of the Swedes asked us to buy some tools they are unable to buy in Sweden and bring them over for them. My luggage is going to way a ton, I am sure of it.

Checklist of things I NEED to remember:

Cell phone + charger        computer + charger
Adapters
Passport + euros
Jeans
iPod + external hard drive
tissue/toilet paper

I think that’s about it. I am sure I’ll forget something.