Saturday, January 4, 2014

Hello, Dundee

It is currently 11 pm on Saturday in Dundee, Scotland and I am lounging in my bed, settled into Belmont Flat 35, Room 2. 
I caved to jet lag and took a nap this afternoon and I already can't wait to go to bed again tonight. 
Screw you, time zones.
It all started on Friday morning when I arrived at DFW for the 10:25 flight to Minneapolis, the first stop on the journey overseas. The Delta desk attendant informed me that my preciously packed suitcase was 10 pounds overweight and gave me an ultimatum: Unpack those 10 pounds or pay a fee. I needed every ounce of the 61 total pounds, so I forked over the cash. Small price to pay to be warm for 5 months. 
Upon takeoff from Dallas, Kylie clutched my hand so hard I still had marks even after we had reached our cruising altitude. 
We both listened to music since Pitch Perfect failed to download from icloud in time...no diggity. 
We landed in Minneapolis, Minnesota with plenty of time to spare and took turns searching for food. Another perk to traveling with a partner, besides the company, is the added security measure of someone to watch your bags while you pee. Much appreciated, Kylie. 
My last American meal consisted of pizza doused with Parmesan and a side of garlic knots. I got lost on the way back from tracking down the Italian feast, which doesn't exactly bode well for European adventures. Oh well. I munched and listened to the ticket counter women butcher the names of several international travelers and a man with a heavy Minnesota accent make countless phone calls. I felt quite inferior. 
We filed onto the international flight and a nice man with an accent switched seats with Kylie so we could sit next to each other. I settled in next to the window, arranging my six layers of clothing around the provided pillow and blanket, and turned my attention to the screen set into the head of the seat in front of me. The movie I chose first was "The Campaign", complete with Chinese subtitles. Midway through the movie, dinner was served. I picked the hot chicken meal which could have been renamed, scalding hot chicken and ice cold roll. I ate nonetheless and it really was not all that bad. 
I popped a sleeping pill and tried to sleep with Luke Bryan's voice serenading me through the headphones. It worked for maybe an hour max. I sighed and returned my attention to the screen once more, this time selecting "The Internship" with Hebrew subtitles. The flight itself was a cultural experience.
In between all of these riveting activities I visited the airplane lavatory three times. Not so much because I had to, but because my butt was falling asleep. 
We landed in Amsterdam at 7:48 AM, when it was still completely dark outside. We disembarked the aircraft, when I unwittingly left my Camelbak behind in the commotion and stress of getting out of people's ways.  The airport was monstrous and confusing, a mix of Dutch signs and English phrases, but we finally arrived at the correct gate, coated in an invigorating sweat. 
We boarded a shuttle that took us to the final aircraft, a KLM cityhopper, where we bounced around in the sky until finally, FINALLY, landing in Edinburgh, Scotland. The promised land. 
We stood in line for official entry into the country and I got my first passport stamp. The entire process was completely painless and we had far too much paperwork with us than we needed. Better to be overly safe than completely sorry. 
The next hurdle was baggage claim, where I made a total American of myself running to catch my bag before it went behind the curtain and around the carousel again. 
Hannah picked us up at the airport because she is such an angel, and after wrangling our luggage into her car, we were on the the wrong side of the road en route to Dundee. 
We made it safely and checked into our flats. Hannah, still in angel mode, drove us to a Tesco (think Walmart-esque) where we picked up the cheapest bedding we could find (fitted sheet, duvet, pillow, and pillowcase for approximately 25 USD) and I snagged some shampoo and conditioner because showering was high on my priority list. 
We grabbed lunch at Dr. Noodles (I had noodles with chicken and teriyaki sauce, pretty damn delicious, although I think I would have eaten anything at that point) and I came home (yes, Flat 35 is now home!), took a shower, FaceTimed Tyler as he was waking up at 7 AM in Oklahoma (how weird is that?!) and fell into bed, not to move for 4 hours. 
Upon waking up, I contacted others in the States and finally figured out Wifi. UK Netflix is amazing and I watched Pretty Woman as I unpacked. Kylie and I met up to venture out once more, this time to Lidl, another grocery store, where I purchased my first Scottish alcoholic beverage. I haven't tried it yet, but I'm excited about it. 
I have only met one of my flatmates, but I should have 5 I think. The one I met is from Alberta, Canada. Her name is Natalie and she is accompanying Kylie and I to one of the first orientations we have tomorrow evening. Yay for friends! 
It's been an exhausting, but fulfilling, day in the life of A Very Lucky Girl. 

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