August 5, 2008
Tuesday 1:30pm London time
It’s been quite an adventure! It’s been 24 actual hours since we left our house, and our kids are still snuggled safely in bed (hopefully) as Abuelita sleeps (hopefully) down the hall from them. It’s 5:30am at home. And here we are in London, but I wish I could REALLY see this city! All I see is airport related. In the distance: trees. That’s it. We have those back home, so I feel more like I’m in Ohio than in England. Not that I’m from Ohio. It just seems Ohio-ish. Flat with grass & trees.
One strange storm in Chicago de-railed all our flights. It delayed our SFO departure 3 hours. By the time we got to Chicago, we’d missed our Stockholm connection. And although it was pretty much- “What storm?” because the skies were calm and there was hardly any rain on the ground, we were in for an additional delay before we’d get into the air again.
It was still grey outside, and the ground was nearly dry already despite all the supposed rain they told us about. We made our way to Scandinavian Airlines and they rebooked us with British Airways. Perfect airline to get bumped to! Instead of our direct from Chicago to Stockholm flight, we now had a stopover scheduled in London. We waited an hour and a half to board, and got on to our plane. And no sooner did we settle in our seats, than the storm kicked in again. Lightening and thunder blasted, and rainwater washed in layers over the small windows of our cabin. It would have created a spa-like effect (waterfall sounds and light effects on the), if not for the fact that we were sitting tightly upright, trying to lean our heads comfortably, and trying to stretch out our legs. We waited 3 hours before we got permission to fly off on a route that no longer had storms. We were pretty sure we’d miss our Stockholm connection in London also. And we did. But, they immediately rescheduled us, and it was no big deal. So, we will be arriving in Stockholm 12 hours later than we’d thought, missing one full day of touring around, but that’s alright.
I’m so looking forward to being a real foreigner for the first time ever. When I’ve visited Mexico, I’ve felt more like a sham of a Mexican. Being Californian, I have plenty of white friends that speak Spanish, and here I am, unable to embrace the mastering of my language because I am so terribly embarrassed by the ways I mess it up. It makes it hard to try. Maybe for my non-latino friends, when they speak Spanish, it’s like- how nice! You speak Spanish! Good for you! And they can get the vowels wrong and strain the ears sometimes, but they at least have a breadth of knowledge of the actual words & construction of sentences & understanding of verb conjugation, whereas for me: I can pronounce everything perfectly, and I have the cadence of the language, but the exact words? I dunno. The correct order? Not sure. The verb tenses? No idea. I have this strange internal pressure when I go to a Mexican restaurant. If I say “carh-nee-tas” instead of “pork”, or “torh-teeh-yah” instead of “tore-tee-uh”, or “peen-toh” instead of “pin-toe”, I have a brief feeling of Pride (look at my pronunciation!) that turns quickly into Fear (oh no what if they ask me a question?!?) and Embarrasment (they’re probably laughing to themselves about my whole predicament.)
In Sweden, when I say Hej (sounds like “Hey”), they will be satisfied at my greeting.
Too bad I forgot the rest of the phrasebook at home and that’s all I can say.