Day 1: April 28, Monday. No sleep since I got up late on Sunday. Packing. Shower both after waking up and later at night to be fresh for my train ride and flight. Around 5 AM I lie down with my cat and fall asleep a little. Get back up at 6. Mom and sister come with me to the train station. Train leaves at 6:45 AM. Arrive at Atocha at 7:40 AM. Straight to the tube, fighting my suitcases already. Get to the airport, have to drink my bottle of freshly squeezed orange juice before going to my gate. Good thing I couldn’t fit the water bottle in my bag, I guess. Make it through and use my allotted 15 minutes of wifi (so stingy), wait till flight starts boarding. Well in time. Sweating like a pig already. Spend flight doing nothing and then put my head between my knees and just stay there for a while. Buy a bottle of water for £3. Plane lands at 12 PM. I nearly slip off one of the steps and nearly fall on my ass. Pick up my luggage and try to find wifi, uselessly. Wait for Annemari at baggage claim anyway, and this proves successful. Yay! I am no longer alone. I also no longer have to carry both my suitcases. Thank god.
Stansted Express to Liverpool Street, walk to Moorgate, Northern line to Chalk Farm, walk to our hotel. Desperately shower and change. Walk to Chalk Farm and take the Northern Line to Tottenham Court Rd. Dying, so have a chicken royale at the Burger King just round the corner. Then Annemari and I head off to find Ashley’s flat in Marylebone, which proves either incredibly hard or that we’re both tired and sleep-deprived. Eventually find it though. Good stuff. I’m exhausted and mostly lie on her bed. Make Annemari take a picture of me when we leave. Then back to the hotel and can barely stay awake on my laptop. Sleep.
Day 2: April 29, Tuesday. We meet up with Ashley… somewhere. Primark on Tottenham Court Rd, I think. She’s got time between classes. Annemari buys a One Direction t-shirt, because duh. We somehow end up on Southwark Bridge. Many, many pictures are taken. Ashley eventually has to go into the Globe and leave us. Many pictures are taken of her hugging Annemari goodbye. Annemari and I head off to — frankly I’m not sure, but we do take a nice walk around the area. Make it to St Paul’s Cathedral and everything. Annemari takes pictures and I have feelings about Connie Willis’s books. The usual. Then we take a bus to Trafalgar Square because I remember a Costa Coffee inside a Waterstone’s there and I want to walk down Charing Cross Road to see how the bookshops are looking. We do that and then take the tube up to Belsize Park. Chalk Farm is closed and the walk from the hotel to Belsize Park Station is way nicer anyway. In fact, the walk back is basically a photo walk. Nice shit. Then I lose my glasses. Normal. At least I have backups – thanks, SpecsPost!
Day 3: April 30, Wednesday. Supposed to meet Ashley at 9 AM at St Paul’s for a tour of Fleet Street. Tube worker says St Paul’s station is working and it turns out it’s not so we get off at Bank. Keep missing her. Am starving and go into M&S and get a bagel. Baby’s first bagel! It was good. We find wifi near St Paul’s, continue to miss Ashley. Give up and Annemari leaves it up to me to pick where we go next. Me being me, I choose the Tate Britain. We head into a Waterstones for wifi and to plan our route. A joyous though grueling walk down the side of the river ensues, from Blackfriars Bridge to Vauxhall. It is brilliant. I feel exhilarated. Also, I look good. I’m also starving, but you know, whatever. The Lady of Shallott is there. Then we head down Vauxhall Bridge to the tube, and take that back to our hotel. We eat, I shower, and Annemari goes through her pics on my laptop.
At some point between Day 2 and Day 3, Annemari and I head to a flat viewing in Tooting. It doesn’t go too poorly for a first flat viewing, but I’m totally freaking afterwards.
Day 4: May 1, Thursday. Wake up earlyish, ready to work all morning. Ashley comes meet us for a stroll through Primrose Hill Park, and Annemari picks her up at the bus stop. I’m like, hm, maybe head out without me, and they do, and I totally fall asleep. For hours. Annemari has to get someone to open the room door for her because I don’t hear her knocking or the phone ringing. I am amazing, in short. After this frankly lovely nap, I feel less stressed. I do need to eat so we head to the Starbucks around the corner from our hotel and she gets a hot chocolate and I get a coffee frap and a baguette. I do more work on my laptop – push a table next to my armchair. So nice to have a desk, even just for an hour. Early night again. I have three pictures from this day and they’re all of Ashley and Annemari sitting by the hotel room window. Still probably one of my favorite days. So quiet and lovely.
Day 5: May 2, Friday. Annemari wakes up at like, 4 AM to go meet Nick Grimshaw. I meant to go with her but at this point I’m so exhausted that I think getting up at 4 AM will probably break me. She does fine on her own, though! I’m on my laptop for a bit and then I leave to meet them at Topshop so we can do the photo booth thing. We eat at the Costa in Trafalgar Square again after stopping by various unappealing Costas and Starbuckses and even going to Piccadilly and the Waterstones there, and then Annemari and I head to a couple of flat viewings. On the DLR even. It’s pretty terrible. The first one is hard to find and the dude there gives me the creeps, and the second one is plain old impossible to find. Cuddles are applied generously. We head back to the hotel or possibly to Ashley’s and then the hotel. It’s nighttime by the time we get there. Pictures of the moon!
Day 6: May 3, Saturday. Plans! With Ashley! That we are late for largely because of me and my terribleness, but we manage. We head to Ashley’s first thing to do my laundry and I do some stuff on my laptop of the flathunting variety before we set off for the British Library. Mostly just walk around, and Ashley goes to the comics exhibit. We head to King’s Cross to get a picture at Platform 9 3/4, and I stand in line for about two seconds before I’m like ‘fuck this’ and just wait beside the thing until it’s Ashley’s turn. Ashley takes like three seconds and the pictures we get of her aren’t super awesome, but whatever, it’s the love that counts. We eat at a Costa nearby and then head to a flat viewing in Wood Green. The person in charge is not there, and the woman who is there keeps telling me to call (I don’t have a phone) or wait (she won’t tell me when the person in charge will be back). I’m not totally disheartened, but it’s close! I make pouting faces for the camera. We head back to Ashley’s and have an impromptu iPhone photo shoot where Annemari picks us both up a bunch of times in different ways. It’s awesome. There are pics to prove it.
Day 7: May 4, Sunday. Annemari’s last day, nooooooooo. We do a last-minute flat viewing near Finchley Road which is… interesting. I should make a post about all these flat viewings. Then we go to Ashley’s again and then Annemari and I go to an early flat viewing near Ladbroke Grove. I totally accidentally leave my Oyster card in my leather jacket at Ashley’s and have no cash on me and my card won’t work. Bus drivers are however incredibly understanding and I manage the viewing — and it’s finally a decent one! Friendly lady, friendly cats (and a dog!), an actual desk and good lighting, decent location. It’s a short-term let at £160 a week and becomes available on the 10th, and I’m 90% sure I’m going to head there at some point this month. Just trying to work out my finances first. Then we go back to Ashley’s for many, many, many cuddles, and then we walk around Regent’s Park until my Raynaud’s kicks in and I’m like, yeah, we have got to go.
Annemari leaves at like 3 AM to catch her flight but she spoons me while I fall asleep and wakes me up before she leaves. Sadness all around, though too sleepy for intense emotions.
Day 8: May 5, Monday. I oversleep but manage to check out of the hotel in time. I head over to Ashley’s with my luggage and spend a while on my laptop in her living room. I then take an unplanned multiple-hour nap on her couch. I find myself a hotel room at £40 for the night just down the road from Ashley’s and head there. Only head out when I realize I need to eat, and it is at this point that I also realize I took the wrong leather jacket. It’s a Michael Kors, and I later find out it’s one of Ashley’s roommates’s. Everything’s closed because it’s a bank holiday, so I give up and walk into a tesco and get a sandwich, which I eat while I talk to my mom on google hangouts for the first time all week. (We’ve been trying, and IM-ing, but the microphone didn’t work.) Go to sleep relatively early.
Day 9: May 6, Tuesday. Wake up early enough to leave my luggage back at Ashley’s before she leaves for finals at 9, but there is so much traffic noise all night long. I hole up in Ashley’s room, repack, look at hotels and look at coach tickets to Leicester, where someone who reads this blog and generously offered me her spare room if I needed it lives. The site starts messing up, which is awesome. Eventually I give up and head to Victoria with all my luggage. It’s a pain in the ass and also in everything in me, and I don’t take any lorazepam as to avoid falling asleep and totally feel it while waiting for my bus. At least I get the ticket without any trouble despite the entire computer system being down. I break down in tears several times at Victoria Coach Station, I miss my cat, I miss Annemari, the pigeons remind me of my cat, there’s a bus to Wolverhampton leaving from the same gate as mine to Leicester and it reminds me of Liam Payne and I miss Annemari more, I’m scared as hell, I’m hungry (I cry into my Burger King fries — no, I don’t, but it’s close. I definitely cry while holding the still-too-hot cup of cappuccino afterwards) and I can’t get wifi. I contemplate the idea of going into the toilets, holing up in a cubicle and crying, but I can’t use them because there’s a flight of stairs in the one at the main building and the other one charges 30p for use — which would be fine but I’m still not carrying any cash with me. So I basically just cry in public. You’re welcome, Victoria coach station users.
The ride to Leicester is okay. I take some pics. I start playing Pet Rescue from the beginning. I still can’t get any damn wifi. But I make it to Leicester, and I don’t have to freak out for long before Ashton and her husband pick me up, and we drive to a massive Tesco to pick up food so I won’t starve, and then we head to their house in Coalville and I have my own room and I can shower and there are kitties. And I talk to my mom and it’s all right. I have things to catch up on — that’s what I’m doing now.
Day 10: May 7, Wednesday. I shower and put on the clothes I brought specifically for lounging at home, i.e. my Threadless long sleeve and the fleece jacket from F21 that’s covered in Oxford’s fur. Super overwhelmed with all I have to do. I talk to my mom and she figures out the camera and I can see my kitty. In terrible quality, but still. Kitty! I take a lorazepam and, predictably, fall asleep for like three hours. I keep trying to catch up. Go to sleep early again.
Day 11: Before I shower, Ruby (one of the cats) comes to my bed for a long weird petting session. Bless this fluffball. After I shower, I freak out about all the things I have to do again, and take half a lorazepam, and I’m still awake so I’m counting it as a win. I start writing this post and I talk to my mom and see Oxford and then I come back to this post.
And that brings us up to speed.