The calm before the storm…

It’s been almost a month since I last updated, and I’m sure you’re all waiting with bated breath to hear what I’ve been up to. Ready? 

not a whole lot. Well. Kind of. It was pretty quiet the first few weeks of my hiatus, just school stuff to submit mostly. Then, last Sunday (the 9th?) I went and picked up a friend from home at the train station! Adam, who went Gustavus (class of 2013) and is now studying and working in France, came to stay for almost an entire week! We didn’t know each other that well at home, but well enough where I would open up my floor to him! :p

I gave him the initial run around on Sunday (walk from Tower of London, across Tower Bridge, then along the south bank and across again to Big Ben). It was a  Sunday, so by the time we wound to Trafalgar then Oxford Circus we decided to call it a day. Monday we grocery shopped then Adam went and wandered on his own while I was in class, same with Tuesday (minus the grocery shopping). We went to a free screening of a movie for my Japanese class, because hey, free movie and snacks. Then Wednesday we got up bright and early to head to Salisbury to visit (other) Adam and Ben. 

Adam warned me of his bad luck with travel, but I didn’t believe the extent of it until we were at the station trying to get our tickets. Apparently, when you get advance tickets online, you need to use the card you paid with to collect them. Not realizing how big of a deal this was, Adam used his French bank card which had some weird security feature for online purchases involving basically creating a virtual fake card to complete the transaction with. Interesting in theory, but in practice this prevented us from getting his ticket printed. We went and talked to a customer service guy who gave us the wrong phone number to call. He insisted we booked via the ‘trainline’ website when I told him explicitly that we booked directly on the Southwest Trains site. So Adam called trainline, who gave him the number for Southwest, but when we called it didn’t connect (I thought maybe we missed a digit?). We looked up the number online, which was the same, then when we tried calling again it worked. In the meantime, Adam lost the post-it that he wrote all the virtual card info on, because it did say on the train site you needed the card and we thought maybe the info would be sufficient. So all of his virtual card info is probably floating around on the foot of a commuter, but at least the card had him set a limit which was like £10 over what he had already charged. After being put on hold multiple times and speaking with probably 3-4 people, they were able to basically unlock his ticket so it could be collected with any card. The real kicker of all this is that you need the card you paid with and a code they send you via email. Why you need both, I don’t know. You’d think that if you didn’t have the card you paid with they’d be able to check an ID, see yep, that’s Adam Nehotte who bought the ticket, and he has the code, so we can give him his ticket. Oh, travel. Lucky for us we could hop on any train headed to Salisbury and they ran every 30 min, so we were only waylaid a little bit. 

Down in Salisbury I had some serious work to do on a paper, which was supposed to be due the Monday previous but had been extended through Friday (oh, procrastination). I set up camp in a Starbucks while Adam took the Stonehenge and Old Sarum tour (I didn’t explore Old Sarum because it was raining when I went). After a few hours Adam Pope came and met me at Starbucks and saved me from writing for a while, bringing me back to theirs for lunch and visiting. When Adam N was done at Stonehenge, we went and picked him up and decided to go on an adventure to Bath! Adam P gave us the whirlwind tour, showing us the baths (you have to pay to get in, so we stood on tiptoes and climbed a wall to see inside), and the Royal Crescent, which is a deceivingly plain looking row of houses that apparently are very expensive. I discovered I don’t really like Georgian architecture as a whole because it looks very plain. The white brick, very uniform style is not my favorite. Then we saw the smallest pub in Bath which was a normal-ish sized pub in my opinion (definitely not the smallest in all of England). 

By the time we got back, Ben had gotten bored with cooking so he added a bit of spice to the otherwise delicious vegetable stew, unknowingly making it inedible for me. So I had pasta instead. Then we had some vegan cheesecake (made surprisingly with avocado and tofu), then went out with minutes to spare before last call at a pub! I also brought Ben and Adam some treats from home (Lucky Charms, SweetTarts, Clif bars, and good ol’ Kraft Mac ‘n’ Cheese)! Thursday I had class at 2 so we had to leave pretty early in the morning, but it was still a fantastic vacation from the city!

Adam did more solo wandering on Thursday and Friday, then Friday night we meant to go out to eat then to the Tate Modern but we were both pretty exhausted so had a night in instead. Saturday we got going a little late, made breakfast burritos, then took a bus up to King’s Cross to see platform 9 3/4 (didn’t want to wait in line for a touristy picture), then went up to Camden for the rest of the afternoon! Didn’t buy anything besides food, but saw lots of cool things! It was a beautiful night out, the full (I think?) moon looked really nice over the canal! Then as it cooled down we headed back, packed up Adam’s stuff, and sent him on his way! As sad as it was to see him go and leave me alone, it was really nice to have my room to myself again (i.e. not worry about wearing appropriate clothes, bringing everything into the bathroom to shower, etc.).

So now I’m enjoying a very brief respite before the end of term, have a big paper due Friday, an exam the following Monday, then a paper due the Sunday after term ends, but Tony gets here the day before that so I’m going to try to have it done! 

Tony and I have settled on and booked a weeklong trip to Crete while he’s here, then the rest of the time we plan on headquartering out of London and seeing things in the city or taking a train out. That was a way longer post than I intended, but you probably won’t hear from me for another couple of weeks (unless I’m seriously trying to procrastinate homework) so enjoy the length of this one! :p

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