Day 1: The Arrival

Well, I made it here! Barely. The flight to London wasn’t too bad- I took 2 Ambien (sorry guys, I know I promised you I’d only take 1, but that wasn’t gonna happen!), so the flight was nice and smooth! I sat next to a very nice American girl who was studying at Oxford. I told her that I was drugged and to please look out for me- make sure I don’t do anything stupid. So, she kept an eye on me, and even walked me to the bathroom! So, I arrived safe and sound at Heathrow airport and I was ready to take on Europe. Until I got to customs. That’s when the drama started. When I presented my info at customs, the guy began asking me all sorts of questions- where was I going, why was I going there, was I being paid to rescue the animals? I explained to him that I was volunteering and he asked me for a copy of my volunteer agreement.. which I did not have. That’s when he took my passport and told me to have a seat- he would be back in 5 minutes. One hour later, another very official looking customs/immigration officer walked over to me and asked me to have a seat in a room where he would like to ask me a few questions. That’s about when I started sobbing. He asked me if I was okay and I said yes, I was, but I was usually more organized than this, and all I wanted to do was go help the animals! He seemed a bit uncomfortable and told me everything would be fine and that they just had to ask me some questions. So, I calmed down a bit, stopped crying, and began chatting. He asked me what I did in the states and what I was planning on doing after I travel. He seemed genuinely interested in my plans. Was I looking for work? Yes, I said. In the UK? He asked. Sure, I said, I’m open to working anywhere! Oops. Apparently that was the wrong answer! Eventually he figured out that I had no idea what I wanted to do, and the only thing I had on my agenda was travelling aimlessly through Europe. So, he decided I wasn’t a threat and finally let me go! Then I tried to call my mom, who asked me to call her as soon as I landed- which was 2 hours ago- and my phone did not work! I tried to use a calling card and that didn’t work. Tears again. Then I found a card that worked, called home, and spent the next 5 hours looking for the bus to Poole, England. (The Tube was on strike… of course it was!) So, I made it to Poole, where I couchsurfed for the first time, staying with Murat and his brother, Evran. They were lovely people and had a very nice flat, and made me feel at home. That evening we went into town, to a proper British pub and had British ale, and I met some of their friends- a lovely couple from Italy, who, when they found out I was going to Italy, convinced me that I must go to Verona, their hometown. I told them I would love to see the Romeo and Juliet balcony, and they informed me that when I did, I must touch the breast of Juliet and say some prayer- its a tradition. Ok. When in Rome… So after a fun night of drinks and lively conversation, we called it a night. When we arrived back at the flat, Murat and his brother showed me a couple of British comedy shows on DVD, to introduce me to British humor. It was funny, but after 36 hours of no sleep, I was ready to pass out. And I did. I had a ferry to Guernsey to catch in the morning, where I would be beginning the volunteer program at the Guernsey Animal Aid Rescue Sanctuary. I can’t wait to meet the animals!

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