Friday, November 19, 2010

We Call This a SUPERPOST!

Okay, okay, I know I owe you a bit of details, gentle viewers, but you must understand that life as a free soul is just hard to put into words! I kid, it's actually quite easy to put into words, it's just finding the time to put it in the words. No, that's complete bullshit, I have all the time in the world, really, I just haven't felt the need to write lately, and let's face it friends, you're on my time now.

A recap is definitely in order, because the amount of content that I am about to force your way is so overwhelming, your head just might implode. We will begin at Via Piana *insert elegant harp music as your imagination brings you along a rainbow to the time and place of which I speak.* Basically, after the whole chicken ordeal, it began to rain an epic fuck-ton. And that's a lot of rain. It poured for the remainder of our time there, which meant no picking olives. Instead, we sanded door frames, doors, window frames, etc. at Via Piana (rather than the Farm Stay, etc.) It was good fun, and we really enjoyed staying there, but unfortunately Wednesday rolled around and it was time for Jacob and I to begin our next adventure.

Anna drove us to Sora around 9:45am to catch the next bus to Rome where we would be taking a night train (which I later composed a song about) to Treviso. We got to Rome at around 11:00am I suppose, but our train wasn't until 10:00pm. Queue the incredibly long wait in really, really cold conditions and the occasional thunder and lightening. We waited our 11 hours, occasionally running to a fruit market to stock up on snacks (where we conversed with the most ADORABLE old Italian couple in the WORLD) or to a cafe where we could spend out the asshole for a 1/4 full tiny cup of coffee and then get KICKED OUT for no reason other than the fact that the girl at the counter was a raging bitch. However, we did make it onto the train and proceeded to sleep.

We arrived in Treviso at 6:45am and made our way to the airport with ease- just had to take a bus. Treviso is an airport town....aka a nothing-town. There is an airport, and maybe 4 really expensive restaurants. Not comforting when you are looking at a 14 hour wait. Yes, folks, our plane was not scheduled to take off until 8pm. Yes, we could have blown about 20 Euro to go "see the sights" in Venice, but it would have cost an ungodly amount of money to even be in the town, and it wouldn't have been worth it for only a day trip. So we waited. When we finally boarded the plane, I fell asleep instantly. No surprise, since I got maybe 4 hours of cumulative sleep on the train. The flight was only two hours I think, with an incredibly rough landing. It was very windy and we hit turbulence on descent, and everyone on the plane was crying or yelling "oh my God!" which would have worried me more had I not been in a drowsy stupor. However, we did land, and all was well.

Filing into the immigration center, we were prepared as well as could be. We had the contact information of who we were staying with, proof of employment when we return, our return flight ticket, and good spirits. By the time we had filled out our landing cards, the place was empty. Gulp. We step up to the plate, and Mr. Immigration Officer throws the first pitch, "What's the nature of your visit?" "We're on holiday." BALL ONE! "Where are you staying?" "*Insert Name & Address*" BALL TWO! "How long will you be staying in The United Kingdom?" "Three months, here is our return flight home." BALL THREE! "You know that you are not allowed to work during your stay in the UK, right?" "Of course not!" GRAND SLAM!!!!!!!! Everything was great, and we collected our luggage (the last one there) before proceeding through to the lobby.

Currency exchange kiosks are for the birds, let me just say. They absolutely rape you. We had 10 pounds worth of Euros (exactly the amount we needed to catch our bus to Nottingham), but they charged us 5 pounds in commission so we were utterly effed. The ATM wasn't reading our debit card, and when we tried getting cash back it didn't work either. Inevitably, Jake's bearded charm got us a half-price bus ticket to our destination, and we were on our way. We were supposed to stay with a very generous couch surfer, but because of our predicament we did not want to have to walk all the way to his house (after arriving two hours late at that) and simply called to let him know we wouldn't be able to make it. We figured we could crash at the bus station and try taking an earlier bus.

We arrived at the Nottingham bus station at about midnight- picture, if you will, a giant green warehouse with icicles for seats, and a cold cement floor. After waiting for about an hour, the night watchman told us that there was a 24 hour McDonald's up the road that might be warmer. Why not, we thought, and began to walk there. Jake had a hankering for fries, but AGAIN had trouble with the machine! Apparently cards in the UK have a microchip in them that US cards DO NOT have which poses quite a problem. However, they gave us the fries for free and we sat there munching for a bit before we were joined by our good friend, John. You see, John was a young man in his twenties who was absolutely drunk beyond all reason. He came to our table and sat next to Jake. "Are you okay?" he asked Jake, "Yeah, I'm good," Jake replied. John gets very close to Jake's face, "You have an amazing beard- use that to your advantage."

We spent the next two hours chatting with John about his status as a Peruvian hate-figure, life in England, and his friend's grandmother in Bath. He invited us to crash on his couch, but we refused for the sole fear that he would wake up sober and have no idea who we were. It was an awesome couple hours, though, and provided some much-needed entertainment. Though, once John left, we decided to leave as well. Returning to our cold, depressing bus station, we curled up on the seats, (since we had been yelled at for sitting on our bags on the floor- "just one of those things," the man said.) which were 10x colder than the outside (where we were also forbidden to sit), and tried to get some sleep. We got 15 minutes of dozing in, here and there, before our bus finally arrived at 7:50am.

The bus ride was great, we fell asleep for pretty much the whole time (the driver even commented on Jake's snoring) except for when we needed to change buses in Bristol. When we got to Bath it was pouring- the storm that had apparently followed us from Via Piana, if I had to guess (though with the amount of precipitation England gets on a daily basis, it was probably just an average thing). We were soon greeted by Seona and here son, Gwyn, and escorted to their car. It was so weird getting into the passenger seat (aka the driver's seat, back home), but so unbelievably comforting to not be driving with a tiny Italian woman on tiny Italian roads. I swear, Rosa created the definition of "bad driver" for me.

And that was last Friday. Wow, it's already been a week! The adventures here aren't as outrageous as they were in Italy, mostly because we are staying with normal people in a country where we can speak the language. It is also amazing because we are staying with the most charming family I have ever met. The children, obsessed with Scooby-Doo, are stunningly adorable, Chris and Jake are so similar that it's almost eerie (from their love of photography, to little mannerisms that Seona and I pick up on), and Seona is just brimming with kindness. While we have been here she has taught me to knit, toted us around Frume and Bruton (where we watched as her and a group of musicians just played music for hours), and has made us the most delicious homecooked meals outside of home.

I really wish there were more to say, but life here is so utterly simple and beautiful, that there isn't much to it. We help the family for a few hours in the morning, just with everyday tasks, and then we spend the rest of the day knitting, drawing, writing, taking pictures, reading, eating....and that's our day. So simple, so awesome.

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