Where does the time go, eh? Almost a month has passed since I left for my whirlwind trip to the northern hemisphere…and a whirlwind it was.
I spent ages uuumming and aaahing over whether I should go to the UK or not in July – I had a couple of reasons, but it’s a very long way to go from all the way down here. But then my best friend told me he was getting married and suddenly I had the excuse I’d wanted. Wedding of the Year: UK Edition!
First thought, I flew Air New Zealand internationally for the first time and it was amazing. 10/10. Would recommend. Every other airline I flew was absolute pants but I digress. Because there’s a direct flight from Auckland to Vancouver, I decided to stop off there for a couple of days. I always try to go somewhere new when I travel, otherwise I feel like I’m wasting time somehow? I don’t know. Only so many leave days in the year. Ugh.
Vancouver was very pretty. And very overcast. I could not find a decent coffee anywhere and it made me very homesick, even though I had only gone for two days at that point. What can I say, when you live in the natural habitat of the flat white, you get used to certain standards. And when you’re boyfriend is a barista, it’s hard not to link coffee with fuzzy happy feelings. I mean, coffee has always given me fuzzy happy feelings but that’s beside the point.
My favourite part of my Canadian layover was visiting Grouse Mountain – hopped on the shuttle from downtown and spent a very foggy morning hanging with the two resident bears Coolah and Grinder. It was freezing. Summer is a lie. The fog lifted a little towards the end of my visit but it was actually just really nice wandering around the woods. Very atmospheric. And then I rounded off the day by walking around Stanley Park, a huuuuuge public park that borders downtown Vancouver and surrounded by Vancouver Harbour. In complete contrast to the mountain, it was gorgeously warm and sunny in town. All round lovely day.
I set off to London very little fanfare and spent the flight next to the most annoying man ever who kept turning my overhead light on and off while I was trying to sleep. I’ve decided airlines should let you choose whether you want to sit next to men or women on planes. It’s been my experience that men take up way too much space and don’t even try to fit into their surroundings. It’s tedious.
London was a delightful blur of friends. I caught up with M for dinner on my first night and we also went on the Harry Potter Studio Tour. The Hogwarts Express is there now! I was so excited! Even though I’d been before, it was still a lot of fun. And it was just awesome to hang out with M who’d only moved to London 4 months ago and it really seems to be agreeing with her. Yay!
Of course, on my second day it was time for Wedding of the Year: UK Edition (insert crowd cheering) What an absolutely lovely day. Just perfect for the couple, and filled with so much love and good will, I could barely stand it. It’s like your heart will just burst with the good vibes, you know? Could not wish for a better day for such a great couple and I’m just so grateful to see them surrounded by wonderful people. So thankful I got to share it with them.
And I got to spend loads of time with the groom the following week! Woo! We had pizza and played card games and it was almost like nothing had changed at all. I so desperately wish we could just hang out like that more often, so easy and relaxed, but no, of course we have to be a 34 hour plane ride apart. Life is hard.
I also got to meet my other bff A’s brand new baby boy! You can read all about him on her blog. It was so nice to see her and just catch up. We’ve come so far from where we were when we first met each other what must be 10 years ago but it’s so awesome that we can just pick up where we left off when we see each other. Even if we are actual adults now. The horror.
No trip to London would be complete without a gig – Twin Atlantic at Scala which was effing amazing and intimate and everything I love in life. I managed to catch up with some friends from my former work beforehand and it was so, so nice. It’s weird how you can still get on with people and just really click even though you only see them every two years and maybe exchange a Facebook message every eight months or so. I was also delighted to squeeze in a theatre visit with my friend V who had just gotten back from holiday. We used to be theatre buddies back in the day so, again, just like old times! The play was quite different and I found it fascinating…and it randomly had Matt Smith in it. I miss my UK friends so much. They’re good people.
Because rest is for the weak when on holiday, I crammed in a day trip to Paris because some of my lovely Sydney friends happened to be there and it was J’s birthday. I’ve been to Paris a couple of times so I’m pretty chill about wanting to do things, so I think that helped make this such a great day. I could just catch up with everyone and just go with the flow, really. Plus it was a gorgeous day, sunny, warm, and I love the way Paris sparkles in the sun. I always feel so grumpy when I first arrive (cause let’s face it, it’s dirty and it smells) but then I walk along the Seine and I get to the Latin Quarter, and all I want to do is rent a loft and write for three months. Such romanticism. It doesn’t suit me.
Just like that, it was all over, and I had to come home. Downloading Pokemon Go just in time for the journey to the airport…and the many hours I had to spend there after the flight was delayed. I was so stressed. I had a three hour layover in San Francisco but the delay quickly meant we were actually only due to arrive as my connecting flight was set to depart. And then they had issues with the in-flight entertainment when we boarded and I was about ready to lose my mind. But we got to San Fran and we were met by a lovely staff member who rushed us through security (wtf America, you need to chill) and we didn’t have to collect our bags so I count that as a win. Still had to run to the next gate though so arrived nice and sweaty as the plane was boarding. Who doesn’t love getting on a 13 hour flight drenched in sweat? I have never been so relieved to land in Auckland but alas, my joy was short-lived, cause they promptly cancelled my connecting flight to Wellington. I was so done by this point. I hate layovers and two is too many for me. That last leg from Auckland when you’ve already been on a plane for 24 hours is killer. And it was 5.45am and my rebooked flight was at 1pm. How about no? I managed to get on a 9am flight. Home by 10, collected by the lovely boyf, and at work by 12. Go me!
The whole trip feels like a lifetime ago – it’s just been so manic at work. But it was a lovely trip. After all, what’s better than catching up with good friends?