01 October 2013

Let the Expat Adventures Begin

If you follow me on Twitter ( @LindsayDinsyDay ) or we're friends on Facebook (sorry, no blog FB page just yet. Just my regular IRL persona) you'll have read that I did indeed get my visa approved. Of course it was extremely last minute. I called A Briggs on Friday and they said I had to get an email from the Consulate telling me it was issued (never did), or I could call them after their last pick up at 430. So I did call them, after coming to terms that I was probably going to pay a shit ton of money to delay my Sunday flight but it was fine, and then they told me my visa was issued and I could get it Saturday! HURRAH!

Then I said "fuck, I need to pack" and scrambled for the rest of the weekend trying to get my shit together. It's hard to move when you have a 50 lb limit on suitcases and have to pay if you want to check more than one. But I did, damnit (paying $100 for the second..but totally worth it).

Brown bag is from Anthropology and was a gift to myself...from myself. For not developing an ulcer from the visa wait.
Before I left I also made sure to do the most "American" things I could think of. Ate apple cider donuts, took a trip to Wegmans (WEGGIES I miss you already!!), spent at least an hour at Target and left it more than $100 poorer (always worth it). I also checked out the pumpkin displays currently at Wegmans in Pittsford. Crazy and makes me just want to have a carving party with hot spiked cider and watch Halloween movies.

I was able to say goodbye to the family, on my Mom's birthday no less, in the morning. They were off to a Bills game, which worked perfectly for me only cause then I could focus on packing, unpacking, re-packing. It's a fun dance, you should try it.
Me and ma laaaadies. Sister, me and Mom. Guess which one of us is not a football fan?
My sister-in-law was super awesome and drove me to the airport and even waited while I got my luggage weighed and checked in, just in case I needed to unload some of it to her. Luckily, I just had to shift some shoes and a book or two to my carry on. YES I'm packed books. I can't live without a few near me. YES I have a kindle, and NO it's not enough for me. Additionally, I was only in London for a matter of hours before I bought another book. In my defense, it's one I wanted for awhile but couldn't get in the US unless I bought used on Amazon. It's called Be Awesome and you should check it out. If you're in America, I can totally give you my copy when I'm done. You're welcome.

Flying over was okay. I'm so uber picky when it comes to what airlines I use. After my trips earlier this year, I can cross Air Canada off my list. Absolutely did not like them at all. Entertainment and food. Those are the main things I'm looking for when clocking 7 hours in the air. If you mess those up, then all I can do is focus on how much I hate the small seats, what is that smell, and how much it sucks if you re-seat me to a middle row seat when I specifically chose an aisle seat so I could get up and use the bathroom whenever (I'm looking at you still Air Canada).

I couldn't afford Virgin Atlantic for this trip because I bought my tickets just three weeks ago and buying that close only gives you expensive options with them. They have way less flights than other carriers, so my recommendation is use them but buy your tickets early. I chose British Airways for this round because I have good memories of them from when I studied abroad. Except I wasn't flying with British Airways for this trip, oh no, they outsourced me to American Airlines. I spent the first hour of the flight wondering if I had booked directly through American Airlines if my flight would have been cheaper...probably.

The entertainment was sucky. My tv didn't work, and neither did another lady's in my row. The flight attendants could give two shits about it and after my first polite complaint they never really came within my vicinity again, unless armed with wine. Well done, good choice. Luckily it wasn't a big deal because the flight wasn't full so me and the other lady both moved over one and still had an open seat between us. Also it was the kind of in-flight entertainment where you have to "catch" your program at a certain time. No pausing or watching a new program whenever you like. But I guess it's better than nothing (looking at you STILL Air Canada).

For your enjoyment....or maybe just for mine...I took a photo of the food too. So in case you've never done an overseas flight, this is what you get with this particular carrier. Pro tip: bring snacks for the plane. And to help with turbulence nerves you can be like me and ALWAYS chose the wine option when offered a drink (it's freeeeee). Though don't ask for breakfast cause then they give you funny looks....
First snack. Wine and nuts.

Winner, winner, chicken dinner. And wine (not shown cause I was chugging. Kidding.).
 Dinner: chicken in a mysterious sauce. Salty and delicious though. Mashed potatoes and I think green beans. Surprisingly good salad cause it was covered in Parmesan cheese. Pepper cream dressing, Gruyere cheese, some crackers, a roll, and a sweet biscuit. It was an okay meal. Better than the crap I've had on other flights that was practically inedible (SERIOUSLY, Air Canada.)
Kind of hate un-inventive breakfasts such as these. Heartburn city too. 
Breakfast was served about 45 minutes before we landed. Something I actually appreciate because once you de-plane you'll be running around for ages trying to get where you're going. You need that energy right before you go. The croissant was warmed, which was a present surprise. There was butter and jam, a sugary strawberry yogurt which I didn't touch and some orange juice that I left as well. And I had quite a good cup of tea with milk too.

Overall, it was an okay flight. I would have really disliked them if it was a full flight, but I was able to snooze with empty seats on either side of me. Really wished I could have been on an actual British Airways flight, but c'est la vie.

Aren't you glad I just did a whole post on my flight? Me too. I always wanted to write one of those. Just like a real cantankerous travel writer. I'm like thisclose to being the next Bourdain.

Next post will be all about what I got up to my first day while wandering around London, fighting off jet lag. (A hint: food.)

Lindsay xx

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