I got on the plane and got into my aisle seat–which for the record was just assigned to me, I didn't ask for it. I prefer the window because I can lean my head against the side to sleep–which is the only thing I can do on planes. I actually don't find planes that uncomfortable. This is probably because I'm short. I just can't imagine being any taller than I am on a plane because that must just…suck. I was talking to ‘little and I was sitting in a three seat row with two seats empty. I kept an eye out for my other flying buddies. Lo and behold a very attractive guy comes up and motions that he is in the middle seat. When I say attractive, what I mean to say is hot. There was a very hot guy standing next to me at that point. I didn't want to be that guy talking on my cellphone so I had to say a quick goodbye so that I could get up and move all my stuff so that Mr. Surfer hottie could get in.
I don't really love talking to people on planes. Whenever I travel alone, people always want to talk to me. Is this because I look like I'm in high school? Maybe I should learn to be more intimidating. Like start plucking my eyebrows or something so that I will have permanent "angry" eyebrows. Maybe I should go the Sarah Vowell route and go goth.
Anyway, we took off very soon after that–very short taxi and then up up and away! Mr. Surfer turned out to be a small time actor (a Canadian!), appearing in a Disney movie that I just so happened to catch snippets of, back when I had cable (a loooong time ago). Maybe that's why he looked familar? We chatted about how I was meeting Elroy's mom and step dad for the first time after only "dating" for 5 months whereas he was meeting his British girlfriend's parents for the first time after being together (and living together in NYC) for three years. Most of the flight was eating and snoozing and a little bit of TAL at the end. He offered me his airplane "dinner roll" after watching me demolish mine with butter since the main course was so revolting. I politely declined and mushed my airplane food around some more in it's cardboard bath tub. The so called "Christmas dinner" consisted of dry turkey, pulverized carrots and potatoes and the most disgusting tasting stuffing that I have ever encountered in my life. I'm not sure if I had an allergic reaction to that, or the antibiotics I was taking for the bronchitis, but soon after eating the meal I broke out in hives ALL OVER. Yeah. Arms, back, butt, chest, wrists, stomach. On a plane. With no anti-histamines. Of course I could have bothered the flight attendants but I wasn't dying so I just waited it out. You have never experienced the worst an allergic reaction has to offer until you are itchy all over for two and a half hours in a confined space over the Atlantic. Who knows what it was but my immune system so did not like it.
The flight was shorter than expected an we landed ahead of schedule. I didn't really mind because then I could just hang out at the airport while waiting for Elroy and Jane. Little did I know that it just so happened that FOUR huge international flights touched down at Heathrow all at the same time. Translation: I waited in the customs line for an HOUR AND A HALF. Needless to say that by the time I got through telling the customs official my whole life–why does he need to know what kind of work my boyfriend does? and picked up my luggage, it was well past the time that I was scheduled to meet up with Elroy. And Jane and just so happened to check on the status of flights off of the Heathrow website and saw that my flight was getting in early and woke up Elroy at an ungodly hour to rush to the airport, only to wait for hours. They both looked a little dishevelled and it was very awkward to meet Jane for the first time after a long flight while I wanted to RIP MY SKIN OFF. Luckily I didn't have to wait for my luggage as it
looked like it had been circling around and around for a while. Mr. Canadian Surfer gave me a BIG HUG because obviously we were now best friends after telling each other our entire life story, which is what happens on buses, trains and planes. Well, it does to me.
Fast forward to my puzzlement as to why Elroy was getting into the right hand side of the car and then suddenly figuring it out, to arriving in Haslemere to a beautiful house up on a hill. We had breakfast (Jane, Elroy, his step dad, Elroy's brother, and his brother's friend) after which the hives spread to my face (up until this point my body had blessed me by covering my clothed body instead of my head). After which Elroy's brother handed over some German anti-histamines (he normally works and lives in Germany) and I promptly ate them and fell asleep (with a kitty!).
That is one of Elroy's three kitties at Jane's house and she is cute cute cute. While I was taking my red-eye/anti-histamine induced nap, she came and snuggled with me. It was like I was home! Only 2 hours into being in England and I'm already cheating on Madeline and Aeneas. Disgraceful.
When I woke up a few hours later, I had missed lunch and it was pretty much time to go into Weybridge to the infamous pub of Elroy's life, The Castle. I got to chat with his brother for an hour before he had to head to the airport to go back to Germany. Very nice and very cute boy.
We had pre-pub drinks with one of Elroy's friends. I wasn't ready to drink yet as I hadn't really eaten. So I asked for some water. The bartender asked me if I wanted still, sparkling or tap and if I wanted lemon. I said that tap water with ice would be great and lemon too. That amount of speech from me prompted these two old guys who were smoking and having a pint at the bar to turn completely around to stare at me. It was all in slow motion. I don't think they had ever heard a real live American accent in their entire lives. Nevermind one coming from the mouth of a short Chinese girl. The pub was SO smoke-filled that I could hardly stand it. My mucus lungs were threathening to choke me to death. The boys finished up their pints and we left pretty quickly once I started choking on stuff that I was coughing up. Yeah, it wasn't pretty.
Afterwards, it was time to meet eight more of Elroy's friends. Seriously. EIGHT. Nine TOTAL. Being sick and tired I wasn't sure how good of an impression I was going to make. We got to the pub and for the first time in weeks I was actually hungry and I could taste my food! I ordered fish and chips and they were AWESOME. I should have taken a pic but I didn't think of it because my brain was mostly focused on eating. His friends were great. Really nice and not anti-America/n as I had dreaded. I had a great time, despite the smokey pub which forced me to take some breaks to breath the fresh air outside. Unbeknownst to me, I started off with a seemingly orthodox half-pint of Addelston's cider that Elroy ordered for me. Little did I know that it was ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS yet the most alcoholic drink ever. I ended up drinking a pint and a half, my friends, and by the time 10pm rolled around (for me it was 3am on only a few hours of sleep) I was completely bombed. I mean, I think I almost fell asleep at the table we were all sitting at and I definitely would have struggled with walking in a straight line. Most of the drunkeness hit me all at once after we left the pub at the train station so I didn't make a total fool of myself, but man, I was trashed.
At the train station I was freezing because it was so cold and I stupidly left my scarf at the pub (bye scarf! you were good to me…have a good rest of your life in the UK). Elroy ever so kindly broke into the wind protected waiting room by forcing open the door with his rugged handsome manly strength (he just pushed the motorized doors open). I fell asleep on the train and when we got to the train station we got a cab with the best cabbie ever. I mean, the man had long blonde hair, a thick accent, and looked like he just stepped out of This is Spinal Tap. The second we got into the cab, which was blaring some 80's rock band he turned around and asked us if we minded listening to a little "Heart." HAHA!! Best. Cabbie. Ever. He was blaring "Never" in the van and I have provided it here for your listening pleasure. Seriously, it was awesome. He dropped us off and was pretty much the coolest cabbie ever, chattin' it up with Elroy and generally being awesome. I assume he knew we were both completely wasted. We got home, got into bed, where I found to my utter mind-blowing delight that Elroy's mum (Mum!) had put a felt covered hot water bottle in the bed. AMAZING.