So here I am, in my room in Oxford, one suitcase emptied (but not everything put away), one suitcase full and waiting. I ought to be unpacking, and yet I am not. Rather, I am writing this. I will now begin the official documentation of my journey to Oxford.
My parents and I arrived at the Newark, NJ airport at approximately quarter of five in the evening. Check-in was relatively painless: I swiped my passport (it is linked to the ticket reservation) and used Dad's credit card to pay the $50 baggage fee (because everyone knows it would be literally impossible for me to go to England with a single suitcase). The packing/taking stuff out/adding a little bit back in paid off: my total combine weight of my bags was 76 pounds. I printed my boarding pass, they tagged my luggage, and it was on to security. It was at this point where I weepily said good bye to my parents—twice since I first reported to the wrong gate. Getting through the security check point involved some juggling (a third hand would have been nice as I tried to retrieve my things from 3 bins and place them back into my carry-on) but I made it through without a problem. There was no frisking nor patting down. I didn't set off the metal detector. They did not make me unpack my carry-on. On to the gate.
The gate the plane flew out of was, of course, the one as far away from the security checkpoint as possible. Literally. Gate C86. I briefly took a seat, knowing Tyler would arrive soon. Had I been traveling alone, I am pretty sure I would have been in hysterics by this point. For someone who has never flown alone, much less flown out of the country alone, this was quite an experience. Tyler arrived soon and to my surprise, his mother as well. She was flying back to Florida and was thus able to clear the security checkpoint. She stayed with us until we boarded (around 7.20ish. The flight was delayed since it was delayed in Manchester, thus arriving to Newark late, and therefore was unable to be cleaned and checked in a timely enough fashion to allow us to board at the originally scheduled time). We were seated in row 23 and I had the window seat. I shoved my carry-on beneath the seat in front of my, rather than attempting to wedge it in the overhead bin. I really thought I would be retrieving things from it during the flight but I did not. The airline provided head phones to watch the inflight entertainment (On demand! I watched 'Letters to Juliet.' It was okay). I watched the plane take off before I watched the movie. They did serve us dinner (Highly over processed chicken terriaki with rice, a salad, and Milano cookies). There is something about Milano cookies. Every in-flight meal I've had has included them.
After dinner, I got some uncomfortable sleep (largely because of the inconveniently placed neck rest. It was not made for short people) for at least a few hours. I will sleep well tonight, I think. I woke up when they turned the cabin lights on to serve breakfast (A croissant and the most disgusting honeydew and cantaloupe of my life). I opened the window shade to see the sun just beginning to blush across the sky. We were so high up that when I looked out the window, what I initially thought was the ground proved to be clouds. We were flying higher than most of the clouds. We began descending from our cruising height of 37,000 feet and I was soon able to see the patchwork quilt of green below us. Man, is it beautiful. We landed in Heathrow at about 7:40am (UK time), deplaned, and headed to immigration. Happily, there were no hitches or glitches. I handed the officer my passport, immigration letter, flight itinerary, and receipt proving I have a round-trip ticket. He stamped my passport and advised me that if I travel outside of the UK during the course of my studies that I must bring my immigration letter with me. He also informed me that I did not need to take my medicine over to the customs line (one less headache, thankfully).
Tyler and I went to fetch our bags from the carousel and all of them arrived safely and in a timely fashion—no nail biting and praying they weren't forgotten. In the immigration line, we had met two girls who were also SSO bound so we headed to the train to terminal 1 (And the bus station) together. I got an overpriced Mocha at the bus station and impressed Tyler with my ability to shoulder my carry-on, handle my coffee, and roll both suitcases with only two hands. I'm still not quite sure how I did it. We got on the bus, I handed the driver a £20 note and of we went. The English countryside is beautiful, I must say. There are a lot of sheep and plenty of horses. I got off at the correct stop and met three more SSO students, all from Messiah. We walked to the Vines together and made it in safely. I am in room seven, overlooking the trees and the front drive. There is plenty of space in here, for which I am glad. From where I sit at my desk, I am looking into the canopy of one of the trees (a willow, I think, actually). It's calm and peaceful and the weather is currently beautiful—about 55° and sunny.
I need to finish unpacking now. At some point, I need to plan a trip to whatever store around where I can find the things I forgot. I'd rather like a shower but alas, I forgot a towel. I removed it to take something else out of the suitcase and failed to put it back in! Oops... I suppose I shall have to make due at the moment.
List of things forgotten: