Beginning with a Bang: Europe 2014

Funny thing about human perception... my backpack felt quite light as long as people were driving me to & from the airport in India ('cos then they carried it), but when I started thinking about lugging it around Europe myself, it started to seem heavier & heavier.

I unpacked & repackaged frantically as though that would make a difference,  and left the house in a mad scramble, only to realize I'd left my headphones behind. Argh! I obsessed about it through the drive to the airport & the 30 minute baggage drop line - apparently in India everyone checks in online so the line is loooong.  Also, judging by their luggage,  everyone was relocating to London for good. What only did they leave behind in their houses? (Probably not their headphones).

I finally got to the front of the queue and was told I couldn't get on the flight to Rome. Way to put the (not really) heavy luggage & missing headphones in perspective! Here's the thing they should really write on the British Airways website - it's ok to transit through Heathrow London when traveling to India, the US or Canada (all of which I've done in the past) but you NEED a transit visa if you're touring to a Schengen country. Brand new info for me. Consider this a public service announcement and pass on the word - this is a BA policy not a UK one.

Here's what I learned about myself: when there's no one else around to be calm & mature, I don't burst into tears/cussing. I started planning cancellations & rebooting while the ground staff started asking various senior people if there was anything they could do. Fortunately, since I'm eventually going back to North America, they declared that as my final destination and waved me on my way.

By now I only had half an hour to go through immigration,  security,  AND calling the family to update them. And the entertainment system for the entire flight was down so I watched Hunger Games on loop for ten hours. But I was the happiest I've been in ages. Like I said - it's all about perspective. 

PS: blogging with photos & links via my tablet is more of a pain than anticipated.  So I'll update the detailed guide once I'm back (I'm keeping an offline journal) and do one-off posts like this till then.

The Trip So Far: India

I've no idea where the last month went. Seeing four-five cities and about a hundred people in twenty days will do that to you. It's been so amazing!

I tried to think of highlights for the blog, but the truth is, nothing will capture the melty-butter I'm-HOME!-ness of India. As much fun as I had gossiping with relatives, arranging family reunions, gabbing with school friends, staying over with X/Googlers, checking out Orissa (which is beautiful!), eating the most amazing food, and attending a very pretty wedding; I'll take away the feeling of happy timelessness over any specific memory. 

I'm incredibly lucky to have people and places in my life that don't, in essence, change. It makes it very easy to know where I belong.

The Euro trip kind of snuck up on me while I was distracted by India. My brother was switching channels on the TV, and the Sound of Music came on, reminding me all of a sudden that I'm leaving tomorrow. Not the Annie brand of someday toooomorrow, but the very real, less-than-24-hours-away kind. I would freak out a little, but it seems like a pity to waste any of my time here thinking about anything else. I'll save the anxious excitement for the flight :)

Running, running

I'll never learn not to leave my packing to the last minute. Not even when I'm packing for a trip that lasts two months. So here's all I have time for today.