I was in England and now I'm not. The end.
Yes, I'm kidding.
So I got there on the 31st and Heathrow let me down again - there was supposed to be a wheelchair for me but they only had an electric buggy that took me to just before the immigration hall. Thankfully I didn't have to stand in the line because I'd been bumped to Business Class (it was pretty nice, yes) and you get a special pass to go to a quick line if you're in Business or First. Then I collected my luggage and finally made my way out to Mark and then collapsed for a bit. I really cannot wait until I can make it out of Heathrow without crying. But then we went to the coach and then to the bus in Oxford and finally to Mark's flat and all was better.
That night Mark made me shepherd's pie from scratch and we had mince pies and then champagne at midnight, after which we opened our presents. He got me so many wonderful things - a large Hermione doll, a little Hermione figure (with a white cat?! Poor Crookshanks), a really nice Hogwarts banner, a book of photos of Oxford, a comedic history book called 1066 and All That, and what you can see in my icon - a brooch in the shape of a rose. The rose is amber and the leaves and stem are silver (I took this pic with my webcam, it's better than we managed in Oxford). It's just gorgeous and very precious to me and it's the first piece of jewelry that any guy I've ever been involved with has given me. I managed not to cry, so go me! I think Mark liked his gifts as well, but it will be up to him to talk about them. We eventually went to bed.
Thursday was a day of just being together, watching films and snuggling. Friday eleveninches and her sister arrived, and we sat around talking and then watched a movie (which I cleverly slept through, I am so lame), had Chinese and Mark made m00se for them. The next day we said goodbye to Erin and Meghan and waited for Mark's parents to arrive. I wasn't especially nervous about meeting them (my thoughts on it were that I am ME and I can't be anyone else so if they don't like me... nothing I can do about it, which is not to say it wouldn't be upsetting), and they were very nice. Mark does look a bit like his dad - I could see the resemblance to him more than to his mom, but neither of them are especially tall so I don't know where Mark got his height from! His dad was especially curious about differences between the US and the UK, so we talked alot about that. Mark made spagetti bolognese for dinner and I made pumpkin pie, which his parents had never had before. Then we played Trivial Pursuit, Mark and I teamed against his parents. They won, but only because I forgot that there are TWO sports teams named the Giants in this country and I picked the wrong one. Argh! Still I knew more answers than I expected, seeing as it was the UK version.
The next day we hung around with the parents a bit more and they cooked a lamb roast for lunch for us. I'd never had lamb before (and only had parsnips once), so it was good and interesting. His parents left in the afternoon to visit his aunt in London, and then we watched movies and snuggled.
Monday we hung out and then got ready to meet t00bs. Our cab went the wrong way and was therefore late picking us up - then Cyg called and said that Hollywood Cocktails was closed, so we met at the Duke of Cambridge instead. Luckily they had a half-price happy hour with interesting cocktails so all was not lost. We met malachan, muffinbutt, owlman, kay_taylor, and were later joined by Kay's friend who is an RS fan and therefore I should know her name but I suck, kazzik, pinguthegreek, starcrossedgirl and petulans. We had many interesting cocktails and talked and then headed over to the the French restaurant for dinner. There was lovely food and wine and talking, and we actually discussed Harry Potter at the end! I knew there was a reason I wore my Gryffindor scarf. Then there were lots of nice hugs and some people scurried to trains while others scurried to a car and Mark and I slowly headed to the bus. P.S. to all of you t00bs: Who has pics of us? I want! We have some but it seems there are no pics where we both look good together, except perhaps the smooch pic. ;)
Tuesday there was hanging out and snuggling and I made burritos for Mark and we had trifle which I'd never had before and it was really good. Perhaps I will be ambitious and try to make it here. I said perhaps. :P
Wednesday I had to leave. :((!!! We got up and had crumpets and made sure I'd packed everything, then Mark took me into town to the coach station and we blew kisses at each other as my coach drove away. Got to Heathrow and checked in, then went upstairs and watched lots of people crying as they said goodbye to loved ones. Wah, I was there alone. But I comforted myself by finding Lush and buying things. I got Chai shower gel, Arabian Brights hair stuff (supposed to make your hair red, it's not really dye), and Helping Hands hand cream. When the girl rang me up she gave me a free Ginger Dusting Powder, which is very nice but I have no clue what to do with it. Where do you use powder? Then I went into the departure lounge, had a sandwich and made my way to my gate. I got on the plane - coach as normal, aisle with no one next to me, so not so bad. I watched Cold Creek Manor and if you haven't seen it, don't bother. It was absolute shite and utterly predictable. Then I watched 2 episodes of CSI:Miami, the first 5 minutes of which was better than that entire movie. I still prefer the original CSI but still, good stuff. My stomach started to bother me about 2 hours before we landed, so I was less than happy. There was a wheelchair for me at O'Hare, which made getting through immigration and customs and all that much easier. And then I went outside where it was very cold and waited for my dad to pick me up.
More than two hours after my plane landed, my dad showed up, at just the point where I'd broken down and begun to cry hysterically. By that time, it was 3 am in the UK and it was very cold and I felt ill and I was afraid he'd gotten in an accident on the way to the airport and that's why he wasn't there. As it turned out, he was confused because he dropped me off at Terminal 3 and thought that was where I'd come in - but for whatever reason, even direct flights to London go out through Terminal 3, but arrivals come into the international terminal, which is Terminal 5. So he'd driven around by 3 for an hour, then gone in and asked and they told him Terminal 5, so he took the tram over to 5 and had me paged, but I was outside, so then he thought to look for me outside and found me. As it turned out, I *had* said Terminal 5 in my email to my brother with the flight info and all that, but I guess my brother didn't tell him. We went home and I passed out after being sick.
Thursday and Friday I did not go to work - I stayed home with stomach flu or mild food poisoning or something. Not at all fun.
Both yesterday and today I did pretty much nothing. I don't want to go back to work tomorrow, and I really wish I was still in Oxford with my baby. But there is happiness coming - he is already planning to come here for Valentine's weekend and we have decided to celebrate our anniversary (1 YEAR!!1!) then as well, so I have that to hold onto until I can hold onto him again.