Saturday, October 14, 2006

8th October, 2006 –Voyage to India

I left for India at 9:30am on the 8th of October, from terminal 3 of London Heathrow Airport. The plane ride was lovely, as there were only two of us in the middle four seats where I sat. I fell asleep even before the plane took off, and slept for almost three hours. The airline was called Jet Airways, and it was a pretty lovely trip. The food was amazing, and got me even more excited about going to India. Their movie selection was also pretty good, and after I woke up I watched a documentary about a trip Aishwarya Rai, who is one of the leading actresses in India (and the lead in Bride and Prejudice), made to visit Indian soldiers serving on the cold, mountainous frontier with Pakistan. That was fun. Then, I watched Jennifer Aniston’s new movie “Friends with Money,” which was an oddball comedy if I ever saw one. It was pretty funny and sad at the same time. I finally gave in and decided to watch “The Da Vinci code” but did not get far into it as we were getting close to Mumbai. I must admit that although there were a number of Indians on the plane, I still saw a lot of Caucasian people on the plane, and was totally unprepared for the sight of many Indian people at the airport. As we walked into the immigration desk, there were transit rooms on our left, and I saw one black person sitting there waiting. I had only noticed that I was the only black person on the plane a few minutes before we disembarked, so I was quite happy to see a fellow black, although she didn’t even see me.

At the immigration desk, the officer asked for my passport and disembarkment form. After checking my passport for a while, he called another officer to come and check it out. They would look at me, and then at my photo, and then back at me, and back at the photo. Then the second officer called another officer to come take a look at me. It was a bit funny, but I was too tired to find it funny. Besides, I had a few other things weighing on my mind, so I had a pretty down disposition. The third officer finally asked me to sign a piece of paper so they could compare signatures. I then offered them a look at my ISIC card, and they looked at it. I think my signature convinced them, and the third officer commented that I looked happy in my passport picture but was not smiling at the moment. I told him that I had been traveling for a while and was a little tired. He then said that I wouldn’t need my red jacket while here, and then they let me go. Everyone else from my plane had already passed through and I was the last person to leave the immigration station.

I got my luggage with very little hassle, and set off for customs. At customs, we had to have our bags screened again. There, one of the officials questioned me about my laptop, and wanted to know whether I had more than one laptop. I said I didn’t, and that it was just some wires, and they let me go. From there I changed 45 pounds to get Rs. 3690 (rate is 1 pound = Rs. 84). To leave the hall, I had to give a customs slip to an officer at the door. I stopped at a booth to ask directions to the domestic terminal.

I had to take a left to get into another hall, where my luggage was screened again, and then I was able to check in. I needed to use the bathroom after this, and I decided to go right then since I didn’t know where I would find the next bathroom. Once I entered, these two women, sensing (obviously!) that I was a foreigner, basically ripped me off. One of them jumped up to wipe the toilet seat (which wasn’t dirty), and when I finished using the toilet, she pressed the soap dispenser for me, and gave me a paper towel to use, all things I could have done myself. I knew she expected to be paid, but what shocked me even more was that the other lady who had just lain on the floor the whole time also stretched out her hand for money. They said they wanted English money. Ha!! I told them I didn’t have any, and asked how much they wanted. They just kept mumbling to each other and stretching out their palm. I finally gave them Rs. 50, and went back into the terminal to wait for a coach that would take me to the domestic terminal. ($1 = Rs. 44.8).

It was on the coach that I broke down and cried, because everything felt so foreign, and I felt so conspicuous and alone. In retrospect, I think I was the only black person on the plane. It shouldn’t have mattered, but at the point in time it mattered a whole lot. Once I had composed myself, I started observing my surroundings. We drove around a cargo yard, with big containers and boxes. The driver was skillfully maneuvering through all of them.

I got to the domestic terminal without incident. The security gates weren’t open, so we (the other passengers and myself) sat down wherever we could find. I sat on the tiled edge of a flowerbed (pretty wide edge). I struck up a conversation with a guy called Sachin, who had come on the same flight from the UK with me and was waiting for a domestic connection to another town. He had just completed a two year Masters Program in Computing at the University of East London. He was planning to move to the US to find a job. I asked him for tips on surviving here in India and how to not get ripped off.

We later moved to quickly grab some seats that had just been vacated, and I did a bit of knitting. I struck up a conversation with a couple due to my knitting, so that was fun. As the morning dawned, people on my flight were asked to proceed to the security gate. I got checked out, but as my backpack went through the screening machine, they tagged it, and asked a female official to search through it. There was no hassle after that, and I proceeded to the seating area, where I waited for about three more hours before my flight was called and I got on the bus. Quite a long day!

1st – 8th October, 2006: A Totally Wicked Week!!!

Twum arrived at 9am on 1st October, which was a Sunday. I didn’t sleep the night before because I was a little afraid that I wouldn’t wake up in time. I had spent the previous day baking about two and a half pounds of cake. Anyway, I got to Heathrow Airport around 9:40am, and made it to the arrival gate. I thought I had missed him, but there was a notice above the arrival gate that said that passengers would appear there at least 45 minutes after arrival. I felt I was well within the time limit, but I was a little worried that he might have come out already. He finally came through the gate around 10:20am, and I convinced him to take the underground with me. We made it to Victoria station with no problem and got to the hotel to check in. Were we in for a big surprise!!

Luke, the guest services manager we had met the first week we were there, had changed Twum’s booking from their sister hotel to the Victoria Park Plaza. Once he had checked in, we were given an executive lounge pass also. Our room was on the eight floor. We thought it would be like the first one, but it as actually an executive apartment!! We had a small stove top with two burners, a fridge (not a minibar!), and couches and stuff. We also had a glass dining table, a microwave, saucepans, lots of plates, cutlery and glasses, and a knife set. It was amazing! We were like little children, moving around and touching everything.

Later that night we went out to look for food and found a lovely Chinese restaurant that served the best fried rice ever (we both agreed on that). As Twum’s mother had provided us with shito, we had a lovely meal. The next day we went over to Kathy’s place in Thornton Heath to collect my stuff, and got a minicab from there back to the hotel for less than thirty pounds. Once we had deposited the luggage in the room, we went out to get some groceries. We ordered two servings of the rice this time, and then went to Sainsbury’s right across the road. As they were about to close, they had cooked whole chicken on sale for two pounds and eighty-nine pence. We quickly grabbed one of those, bought some vegetables and fruit, and juice. We also grabbed a bottle of Sangria. It was one of the best meals ever!!

The next day Twum went to work, and I contacted a number of organizations in the area I wanted to visit. Most of them asked me to call back, and said they would contact me later on in the day. I went back to the room and did a bit of reading. The previous week I had picked up two tickets for the musical “Wicked”, the story of the witches of Oz. We were to go watch it that night, but Twum had forgotten that he had a video conferencing meeting at 9pm that night. We went to the show though, and he left after the first half for his meeting, while I stayed and watched the second half. It was quite a good musical. I wanted to watch it again.

On Wednesday he went to work again and I went to visit my aunt Vivian and her husband David in Milton Keynes, a town/city about an hour outside London. I got there around 2pm. It was loads of fun!! It’s always a perk to eat Ghanaian food, and my aunt made me banku with tilapia and light soup. Oh, it was wonderful. She also called my mom in Ghana, and we both chatted with her. She was having lunch at the time. Later on when her husband came back from work, we kept chatting. When I was ready to leave, they gave me money ( I don’t like it when I visit people and they do that, especially when they had been so nice to me already), and Sis. Vivian packed up some banku and tilapia and soup, beans stew, and chicken stew for me to take with me. She also gave me some fresh ripe plantains and uncooked rice, to add to the stews she had already given me. She also gave me a six-pack of a malt drink. So nice and generous of them! I didn’t know how to thank them, but they seemed genuinely happy to see me, so that was nice.

I got back and wanted to make some of the banku for Twum, but he wasn’t feeling like it, so we decided to have breakfast for dinner, heating up some baked beans, making an omelette full of veggies, with bread and tea. It was a lovely dinner.

The next day I headed to Worthing to visit the WORTH project and say goodbye. I got there around 11am. It was raining and the weather was not particularly friendly, but I went anyway. I took along one of the cakes I had baked, as I knew they had their weekly meetings on Thursday and could have the cake with their tea. I was supposed to go visit the Newham Action Against Domestic Violence (NAADV) on my way back from Worthing, but it would have taken me at least three hours to make it from Worthing to Beckton, in East London. I called them, and they said to come the next day. I called Twum and told him I was done for the day, and headed back to the hotel.

He turned up around 6pm with one of his former interns in tow. The intern, Daniel ( I think), was doing a study abroad term in London, so he stopped in to have a drink with us. We sat downstairs in the hotel lounge. Twum and I were cold so we ordered hot chocolates, and Daniel had a Beck’s beer. There was a man performing at the bar, playing some lovely oldies and classics. All in all, it was a pretty mellow mood. After Dan left, we went upstairs and had fried plantain and beans for dinner. I packed the leftover for Twum to take to work the next day.

The next morning (Friday) I had a 9am appointment, so I was up at 7am, and out of the door by 8am. I had to go to London Bridge to visit the Greater London Domestic Violence Project, to chat with one of the caseworkers at 9am, and another caseworker at 10am. It was raining again, but it wasn’t as cold as it had been the day before. I met Chelsea, a caseworker who had just moved to London from Australia, and she told me about the domestic violence scene in Australia. It was a nice surprise and addition to my work. The other caseworker was held up by the rain and delayed trains, so I couldn’t meet with her. I called the NAADV office and asked if I could come in earlier, and they said yes.

I had to take the Docklands Light Rail to Beckton, where NAADV was located. The platform was so crowded that I couldn’t get on the first train that arrived, and had to wait for thirteen minutes before the next one. I almost didn’t make that one, but I broke free from the crowd and run down the platform to one car that didn’t have many people getting on, and squeezed myself inside. It turned out that most of the people were going just two stops down, to the ExCEL house or something like that, so the train car was pretty much empty all the way to Beckton, the last stop.

I had to do a bit of walking past an ASDA, to make it to the NAADV office. There, I met a lovely lady called Cheryl, who was the adult services coordinator. She gave me a run-down of what the organization did, and how the organization started. It was pretty nice, and I hope to visit again if I’m back in London this year. I was done by 1:30pm, so I left and called Twum on the way. I went into ASDA hoping to get something to eat, but there was nothing there that struck my fancy, and I just bought a cup of yogurt that I ate on the train. I got back to Victoria around 3pm, where I had the banku for lunch/dinner. Twum arrived just a few hours later and had his plantain and beans with the leftover chicken.

We were supposed to go clubbing that evening with Twum’s friend Edwin, Kathy and her siblings. My friend Laura also wanted to have coffee, so I asked her to come over, around 7pm. Edwin also came over around 10pm, and we ended up chatting the whole night till almost 1am. I made jollof rice with the chicken stew and rice, and made a stirfry with the veggies and shrimp we had in the fridge. We all had a bit of that, and had some of my cake for dessert. Laura (she’s Korean born in Argentina, and lives in US. J ) loved the shito we ate with the rice, and kept eating just so she could eat more shito. It was a lovely evening.

Saturday Twum and I just chilled and did our packing, since we were both leaving the next day. Luke took us to dinner at the hotel’s restaurant. It was a lovely meal, and we couldn’t thank him enough for his kindness and the care he had shown us during our stay. He actually hadn’t even know that Twum worked for Google, and was pleased to hear that, since Google had just opened an account with the hotel. We went to bed around 11pm, and woke up at 5:30am to get the minicab at 6:30am, as my flight was at 9:30am. Luke had been really thoughtful and packed us breakfast to go, so I had my breakfast after checking in, and Twum and I chilled for a little while. I went to join the security line around 8:45am, and got to the gate just as they started boarding. My seat was at the back, so I was one of the first to board, which was good.

I called Twum after settling in, and we talked till my credit got finished. I sent a text message to Kathy to let her know I was leaving, and I think I fell asleep before the plane even took off.

Goodbye UK, Hello India!!

24th September – 1st October, 2006: Life in limbo

Early this week I found out that some friends from Amherst were actually here in the UK for various Masters programs. Two are at LSE and one is at Oxford. Emily and Laura (the ones at LSE) wanted to meet up for dinner on Tuesday night. I was hoping to go to the Indian embassy to pick up my visa before meeting them for dinner, since the embassy was in the same area we were meeting for dinner (Holborn. LSE is also located there.). I however did not make it out of Thornton heath in time (as usual), so I got there just in time to meet the other girls in front of the Holborn station and we set off to find a good place to eat. We walked and chatted for a while. Actually, Di, another girl from Amherst who was staying in London with her boyfriend and looking for a job, joined us for dinner. We walked and walked and even saw the theatre house were Ashlee Simpson is playing Roxie Hart in Chicago.

We finally settled on a sushi place, where we sat down and had a lovely meal and took funny pics (they are on facebook for those who are members of that site. I’ll put up pictures later). Di left to give some stuff to a friend, and we the remaining three chatted for a while until Di returned, then we paid the tab and walked around looking for a place to have coffee and dessert. We walked and walked (again! Hehehe…it wasn’t that bad), until we finally settled on this café/restaurant that had seats outside, and outdoor lamps that gave both light and heat. Emily ordered ice cream, Di a coffee drink and Laura and I split a pecan pie with ice cream and whipped cream. It was a pretty fun night.

I left on the underground with Emily, who got off just a few stops from that station (I think we set off from Piccadilly Square. I could be wrong). When I got to Green Park where I had to switch to the Victoria line, I bumped into Kathy who was on her way home from work. (Kathy is the friend I was staying with at Thornton Heath.) We continued the journey home together, getting down at Norbury station instead of Thornton Heath station, and continuing by bus to the house. Kathy explained to me that the Thornton Heath station wasn’t a safe place to stand at night, which is why we were getting down at the Norbury station. And that was the end of the Tuesday night.

I finally picked up my visa and got tickets for Twum and I to go see Wicked , a musical show, next week. I also went to the Victoria STA Travel office to look for tickets from London to Trinidad, and I baked a lot of cake on Saturday the 30th of September. :) I'll put up pics later because they take too long to upload, and it's already pretty late.

Last batch of tour pictures

Here's the last batch of pictures: Westminster Abbey, the Big Ben clock, and the Battle of Britain memorial.

More pictures from the London Tours

More pictures: That's Twum and me on the Thames Boat Trip, The london eye, the tower bridge, the tower of london, and another shot of the tower bridge.

Pictures from London Tour

Here a few pictures from the Blood & Tears Tour, and the Big Bus London tour that Twum and I took. There's the Battle of Britain Memorial, an old inn immortalized by Charles Dickens, me sticking out my tongue during the Blood & Tears tour, a plaque honoring William Wallace (the real Braveheart), and Niketown, a store at Oxford Circus.

15th -23rd September, 2006 – Just chillaxing

Once Twum arrived, I settled into a bit of ADIDAS – eating and sleeping, knitting and typing up notes. I finally made it to the Indian embassy on Friday the 15th and got my application in. I was told to come back in a week’s time to get it. We met one of Twum’s colleagues who gave us his executive lounge pass so we could get free breakfast. Even more, we somehow befriended the Guest Services Manager at the hotel who was really lovely (and proudly gay!) and he gave us executive passes of our own, so we could use the lounge for breakfast and whenever we wanted. (They had free desserts during the day. You know I dropped in pretty often! J. The desserts were to-die-for!)

We spent some time over at Kathy’s doing laundry, and we had dinner over there a number of times also. We even went over with Annabelle to Baba’s Foundation, a Ghanaian restaurant, and bought some dinner. We actually slept over on Saturday night, then left Sunday afternoon to meet up with one of Twum’s friends from Achimota. Edwin met us in Croydon to take us to a sale at Purley Way, where we wanted to get a phone for Twum’s brother at a cheaper price. When we got there we learnt that it was in fact an auction, and that the afternoon section was closed. We decided not to wait for the evening section, and set off back to London. We made plans to meet up with Edwin for a movie that night, but those plans fell through, and we just ended up staying in.

The week went by with Twum going to work during the day and coming back in the evening to have dinner with me. Monday the 18th was my birthday, so I took it pretty cool. We went to visit Twum’s aunt and cousin at Wembley Park later that evening, and bought a toffee sponge cake in celebration of my birthday from ASDA. On Wednesday evening Twum came back from work all pumped up and excited about going to visit some tourist places. We decided to go on a tour, The Blood and Tears London Tour, led by an Irishman called Declan McHugh. The tour was about the different murders and murderers, and the bloody history of England. It was pretty interesting, and we walked for about two and a half hours. The next day Twum and I went on the Big Bus Tour of London, and took a boat ride on the Thames. It was quite a lot of fun. Later that evening we tried to go to Wembley Park to get some stuff from Twum’s aunt Vida, for his parents, but they weren’t around, so we went to Thornton Heath to get stuff for my family and friends. Twum was leaving for Ghana on Saturday morning. (We had actually planned to go to Scotland that weekend in celebration of my birthday, but we couldn’t go because we found out that Twum’s flight was on Saturday morning, not Sunday morning.)

The next day (Friday), I called the Indian embassy and was told that my visa was ready. Since I had about two hours before the embassy closed, I decided to take a bus there instead of the underground. I wish I had known what a horrible idea it was before I did it. But you mostly learn by experience, no? So, I took Bus 8 to Holborn. I tell you, sometimes I act like I’m completely dumb. I didn’t know the bus route, and where in Holborn I should get off. I wasted more than an hour on that bus, and I did not make it to the embassy to get my visa. I finally got down at Bethnal Green, which is pretty far away from Holborn, took the Central Line from there to Liverpool Street, then took the Circle Line to Victoria. I was quite mad at myself. If I had at least gotten the visa after all that trouble, I would have been happier.

Twum left for Ghana early Saturday morning. His flight was at 7am from Heathrow. We had to go get stuff from his aunt on Friday evening, and came back to the hotel around 11pm. We finished packing and took a shower before going to bed around 1:30am. We asked for a wake-up call at 3:30am and took a black cab to the airport. That cost about 60 pounds. Really expensive!!! I stayed in line with Twum and got him checked in, and then we went upstairs to wait for the security gates to be opened. I think they had a specific time, around 5am, when the gates could be opened. There was already a long line snaking down to the arrivals end of the hall. Twum and I spend most of the time observing people, and trying to figure out when Twum should go and join the line. We finally joined the line at around 5:30am, and Twum got in around 6am. He called me on the cell phone, and because he had signed up for the Vodaphone deal where he would pay for three minutes of talk time, and get to talk for 57minutes more for free, I stayed in the outside departure area for a while chatting with him on the phone till he got on the plane and the plane departed. I was quite tired.

I bought some coffee and chocolate cake from the Costa Café in the departure area, but the cake turned out to be dry and quite a disappointment. It tasted like it had been made from a box. I went back to the hotel to collect my things, and then went on to Thornton Heath. Instead of going to bed, I stayed up checking email, browsing the web and watching TV. Later on when the household woke up, Annabelle and Thomas talked me into going to get my hair done that day. I therefore set out with Annabelle to Croydon to a Ghanaian hair braiding store, where I got my hair done by a guy! Imagine that! And a Ghanaian guy no less. So that was my first week with my husband. J

1st -14th September, 2006 – Moving time, and Trip to Cardiff, Wales

I moved to Thornton Heath on the 1st of September. Yup, I’m a month late, but I still wanted to write out what happened to me, because so much has happened to me. My first week at Thornton Heath, I spent most of the time resting from the hectic work schedule and typing out the notes I had taken while at WORTH. That Thursday, I went back to Worthing to interview a lady who works at the refuge based in that town.

The following week I took a short trip to Cardiff, in Wales on Monday the 11th of September. I tried to go to the Indian consulate before catching the train to Cardiff, but there were train delays on the way to Victoria, so I had to go straight to London Paddington station to catch the train to Cardiff. Once I got to the Central Station in Cardiff, it was just a short walk from there to the NosDa Budget Hotel where I was staying. I had booked a bed in a four-bed dormitory. I was the only person in the room when I arrived, so I was pretty happy. However, I had to mail my tickets to Sri Lanka and India to the STA office in Rhode Island that was working with me on my itinerary, so I asked for directions to the post office and walked there. On my way there it started raining and I got a little wet. I quickly dashed into the post office and mailed my tickets. By the time I came out it was just drizzling. I realized then that I hadn’t eaten since breakfast and it was past 4:30pm. I went in to an eatery called Pizza Hot 4 U, and bought chips (French fries) with chicken and salad, chatted with a lady from Turkey and a guy called Imran who both worked there. From there I went to an internet café next door to check email. I also helped a South African woman sitting next to me to get some forms for work, and chatted with a Spanish guy who was sitting on my other side. I also tried to have an MSN audio chat with Twum, but the microphone attached to the PC wasn’t working, so he spoke and I responded by typing.

On my way back to the hostel, I had to dash to another hostel at the corner, Cardiff Backpacker, to use the bathroom. It was quite comical because I went in there and told the guy that I would buy something from the bar if he would let me use the bathroom. He said they would be glad for me to use the bathroom, but that I didn’t need to buy anything from them, mainly because they only served their guests. He was pretty nice about it though.

When I got to the hostel, I went to my room but the light wasn’t working, so I came downstairs to read a storybook lying down in the lounge. I also brought my laptop back downstairs to do a bit of work and met a nice Australian couple who are traveling around and working in Scotland. We watched a show called “Little Britain” and chatted about Australia, compared it to the UK and the US, and also about domestic violence and the role some religious beliefs affect domestic violence. After they left, I stayed up till almost 4am typing out the interview I had with the lady who works at the Worthing Refuge. Interview was on 7th September, a few days before I left for Cardiff. I thought I would be done by done, but it is quite tiring to transcribe recorded interviews. In fact, I should have known that it would be hard, looking at how hard and how long it took for me to transcribe that historical tape about the founding of Hampshire College. I didn’t even get the recorder till I got to Worthing. There were two types available; one that was just a digital recorder and the other that could be connected to the PC so that the interviews could be uploaded to the computer. I was trying to be frugal so I went for the one without the PC connection. Big mistake!! Why? Because if I had done that, I could have just put the interviews on my computer for later, instead of struggling to transcribe them all before the next interview. Twum told me that he had got me another recorder with longer recording time than the one I bought. I also had a long chat with Twum about the focus of my project. It was quite helpful because I was already feeling like I wasn’t getting anywhere and not learning enough. (Postscript: Now that I’m having to type up all my notes and observations, I realized that I have learnt a lot! It’s actually quite overwhelming.)

The next day I walked to the WSU Cardiff office. It was a bit farther than I was told and I got to the office all sweaty. They were however expecting me, so that was nice. The office manager, Clare, showed me around and introduced me to all the staff, and got me a mug of tea. (Yeah, I’ve gotten into the tea-drinking culture of the UK.) I got to chat with the lead caseworker, Liz, who was a bit busy, so after spending about ten minutes with her I moved to the police officer. Yes, they had a police officer on site, and she was very helpful. I was with her for over an hour, as she explained to me her role at the WSU, and the different ways in which WSU was working with the police. Apparently the on site police officer is changed every six months, so that the clients will have a sort of one-stop shop where their questions will be answered in an affirming, supportive way, instead of having to repeat their stories over and over again to different people.

When I left the office, I wanted to visit the Cardiff Castle, but I also wanted to get a bra because I realized I had only two bras with me on my trip. I spent quite a bit of time moving from store to store looking for bras in my size that were not ridiculously expensive. Most of the time I didn’t find anything in my size, and by the time I decided to go to the Castle, the last tour was over. I did buy some postcards though, and spent a bit of time looking for keepsakes ( I didn’t buy any though).

Once I got back to the hostel, a new girl, Niko, moved into my dorm. She was a lovely girl from Germany who was coming to spend a year studying in a Welsh university. Another girl, Sharon, from Hong Kong, joined us in the room. She had just completed a Bachelors in Mathematics at a University in the midlands of the UK, and wanted to visit Cardiff, Wales, before leaving for Hong Kong. We bonded pretty fast, and spent a few hours chatting. We then moved downstairs where I had a soda and Niko had a beer, while we split a (pretty large) piece of Victorian sponge cake. I also split my dinner with Niko (a chicken tikka baguette with salad). While down there we met a British born Pakistani man who was very nice. He asked if we wanted to watch anything in particular, and I told him that we would like to watch the WSU show at 10:30pm. He said he would think about it. J Anyway, at 10:25 he switched the channel to BBC 1 Wales, which is where the program was going to air, and he stayed and watched with us. We stayed up and chatted for quite a while about domestic violence and life in general, and even after Niko and Sharon went to bed, he kept me company for a little bit, then went to bed. I stayed up late (again), trying to finish transcribing the interviews. ( I still am not done. L)

The next day we had breakfast together, exchanged contact info, and I left for work with my luggage. Work was pretty cool. I sat in on a meeting that one of the caseworkers had with a client. The client came with her mother, and it was pretty interesting, especially when the conversation turned to the fact that the mother and her daughter believed that they could see things in the future, and could project themselves into the spirit realm or something like that. However, the woman had recently been given a new house to move into, so that was good news. The caseworker who had the meeting was called Nerys (lovely name) and she taught me how to pronounce Cardiff in Welsh. It was pretty nice.

Later on that day, I got to sit in on a survivors’ meeting that was ran by one of the survivors, a nice friendly lady called Gloria. She even gave me her mailing address and phone number to contact her if I needed anything. I left early in order to go for a tour at the Castle, but I realized that if I did that, I would have to take a later train to London, and I wouldn’t be able to go shopping with Kathy and Annabelle. I still got to London after 6pm, but I was able to buy a few essential things at a store in the station, so that wasn’t a total loss.

When I got to East Croydon, it was raining. I crossed the road trying to catch the bus right opposite the station, but it was only after I had gotten there that I realized that the road was closed. I crossed over to the other side, and decided to catch the 198 bus which stops next to the station. In my exhausted mind, I thought that since the road was closed, the bus would just turn around and head to Thornton Heath. I didn’t even think that there were other people who lived on the route and needed transportation. As I stayed on the bus and it went further and further away from Thornton Heath, I felt quite stupid. I had a good storybook to read so I wasn’t too worried. At the last stop, the bus driver yelled out that it was the last stop. I went up to him and explained meekly that I had picked the wrong bus. He was pretty nice about it and actually laughed at me. Thank God he didn’t chuck me out into the rain. I finally got back to Thornton Heath around 9pm, tired and wet.

I had some dinner, and then stayed up to finish up the red poncho and crochet some flowers to decorate it with. I wore the poncho to meet Twum at the airport the next day. I was a few minutes late because I underestimated how much time it would take to get to Heathrow. I got there and found Twum, and we took a black cab back to his hotel in London, which cost about 50 pounds. Yeah, quite a chunk of change. J (For those of you wondering, Twum is my husband by customary marriage. The traditional marriage was done by our families on 9th September.) That was my first two weeks of September.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Soon and very soon...

I'll be putting up a month's worth of updates. Yup, it's taken that long. I just have so much to tell and I didn't want to leave anything out.

By the way, for those of you who don't know, I'm in India. Kolkata, to be precise. :)

Have a wonderful day!