So I am officially living in the UK! As of today I have been in the UK for over three weeks . It was quite the journey for me to get here, nearly 22 hours of traveling from the time I left my house to when I arrived in my dorm! I didn’t realize how completely exhausted I would actually be when I arrived.
My travel started with a three hour car ride to the airport (there were no direct flights from home and I was definitely not adding a 10 hr layover to my trip). The car ride was pretty relaxed, both my parents drove me down, so it was nice to spend that last little bit of time with them before I left. We also made a stop at my aunts on the way (To say goodbye and I needed to pee lol). She was the first one to started crying, which almost made my mom cry but we managed to leave without everyone bursting into tears.
I knew that because of COVID, and travel being restricted the airport would be quiet but I have never seen it so dead. My flight was the only international flight that was scheduled so I actually had to go to the domestic departures for check-in and then walk back. Check-in did not go quite as smoothly as I had planned. Despite starting packing over two-weeks before my flight I didn’t actually finish until the night before and while I had closed up my checked bag and weighed it I hadn’t actually tried to close my carry-on with everything it in …. plus over the span of two week I kept throwing things at my suitcase. Turns out I couldn’t actually close my suitcase so at midnight the night before I was supposed to leave I decided to move everything from my carry on into a second checked bag. I weighed both bags before we left and made sure they were both under the weight limit (well one was just at). Unfortunately, when I went to check in at the airport one of my bags was overweight. I tried to shuffle some things around but my bags were very tightly packed. In the end I said goodbye to my hairdryer, and sent it home with my parents (probably a good thing as I hadn’t actually checked the voltage and it most likely would not have actually worked).
I said goodbye to my parents before I headed through security (everyone did cry at this point). I smiled back at my parents once as I moved through security and once I was finished went to wave goodbye one more time but they were gone lol (turns out they thought I had already walked away).
The flight was more full than what I was expecting, though everyone still had at least one seat between them (I had a whole row to myself!). I don’t sleep well on planes so I watched movies for most of the 8 hour flight and took a short nap towards the end. Once the plane landed in Gatwick (another eerily quiet airport) and I had collected my luggage it was a shuttle and a train ride into London.
I had a little over an hour in London before my next train left so I bought some lunch and a tea and waited in the station. I was very tempted to go explore the platform 9 3/4 shop but there was a line and I didn’t think maneuvering two suitcases and a backpack through a small shop would go very well.
The train ride up to Newcastle was nice and quiet. I spent most of it watching the countryside out the window, though towards the end jet lag started to creep up on me and I started to fall asleep. My plan at that point was to head straight to my accommodation and get some sleep as soon as possible.
When I finally arrived in Newcastle I took a taxi to my accommodation, got my key and headed up to my flat. However, I did not end up crashing as I had planned but rather unpacked my suitcases and stayed up in an attempt to get over the jetlag.
The park outside my kitchen widow allows farmers to graze their cattle in it, so in the morning I get to look out my window and see the cows :).
As an international student I was required to spend two weeks in isolation upon arrival. I actually ended up spending a total of 18 days in isolation after testing positive for COVID. Luckily I had very mild symptoms but I was definitely starting to go a little stir crazy by the end of it. This first time I was out of my flat was actually to go for testing! A few of us were feeling sick so walked to the testing centre together. Shoving a swab down my throat and then up my nose was not a very pleasant experience but at least I got to see a bit of the city!
I have had the chance to start exploring the city a bit more now, so I will do a post about that soon.
If you want to see some videos from my trip don’t forget to check out my Instagram @littlewalletbigdreams