I'm sitting in a hotel room in Edinburgh where I never intended to be until yesterday. No lie, I booked this room by using a web site called "last minute [dot] com." It figures that the day of my return trip to the states would have to be a Sunday. On Sundays, trains just don't run as often as they do on all the other days of the week, I've found. I have a flight leaving Edinburgh at about 11 AM tomorrow morning, and with all the stuff that can go wrong or slow you down in an airport you're supposed to get there two or three hours early. So my plan was to catch a train from Glasgow to Edinburgh by 7 AM tomorrow morning. But tomorrow is a Sunday, so I wasn't too surprised, despite my disappointment, when I went online two days ago and checked the train schedule only to find that the earliest train to Edinburgh would leave Glasgow at 7:50. That would be cutting it way too close, so here I am spending the night in Edinburgh in a hotel room that I reserved yesterday. Turns out, lucky for me, it's really nice here. The room is lovely. Big bed. Clean bathroom. Lots more space than my old flat. Small TV with its own iPod dock which means I've been simultaneously charging my iPod and listening to some podcasts through the television's speakers. Plus, it's technically a "guest house," so I got a warm welcome on my way in a few hours ago. I didn't really understand what a guest house was up until tonight, but from what I've gathered it's like a larger, more upscale bed and breakfast. Someone answered the door and took me to my room, where she showed my how to use the television, the shower, etc. It was all very friendly and accomodating, and I wish I didn't have to leave in only about eight hours.
I don't have a whole hell of a lot on my mind to say, but I really wanted to post another entry here before my trip back. This is my last blog entry from Scotland, which would be a more melancholy and remarkable event if I hadn't restarted blogging only earlier this month. I could try to tell you what the last five months of my life have been like, but I don't have all night, what with the early flight. I have two flights, actually. The first goes from Edinburgh to London, and the second is from London to Newark. Originally the first was supposed to depart at 11 AM, the second at 4 PM. Recently, though, I got an email alerting me about CHANGES to my return flight in urgent capital letters. I compared my new e-ticket to the old one to find that said CHANGES were just slight nudges in the wrong direction for both flights, such that the early flight is ten minutes earlier and the second flight is fifteen minutes later. This means that, if everything runs according to schedule tomorrow, my layover in London will last exactly four hours. Luckily, Kevin Smith and his network produce, no joke, at least five hours of new podcast content per day, and I have some catching up to do because of my recent week-long final Eurotrip extravaganza, which went swimmingly except for the one night I suffered food poisoning in Cologne. It's okay, though, because of this one joke I got out of the experience: "In Germany I got food poisoning. It was the wurst!" Only trouble is that this joke only works in text form. I couldn't deliver it out loud without winking or something, so it'll never make its way into my always-growing stand-up routine that I'll never perform. My cousin Andrew suggested I put it on a t-shirt, so look for that on sale soon. I wonder if I still have a functioning CafePress account. Is that still a web site?
My mind is being pulled in so many different directions right now, so the question "Wait, where was I?" is pretty much meaningless. So maybe a better question is "Where are you going?" Right now my layover in London Heathrow is occupying my mind almost as much as my return to New York. Last time I set foot in that airport, I felt absolutely miserable after a six-hour overnight flight from Newark on which I couldn't sleep at all. I was so tired I thought I was going to be sick. On the short flight from London to Edinburgh that followed, suddenly I couldn't stop falling asleep. For the rest of the day, the beginning of my study abroad program orientation, I was wretchedly jetlagged. I think I went to bed at 7 PM and slept for about twelve hours. This time around, I'm hopeful I'll have a more pleasant stay in the London airport. I'll be tired, perhaps, but no reason to be jetlagged from my first flight, which is only about an hour. Four hours, though, is a long time to wait for a flight. Luckily, besides a sizeable library of podcasts, I also have this great book joining me on my journey. It's a novel called You Shall Know Our Velocity! by Dave Eggers, who is perhaps better known for his memoir A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius or for editing McSweeney's. I received this book as a gift from my girlfriend months ago, but I only got around to starting it in the last few weeks, and frankly that couldn't have worked out better. Five months ago, I wouldn't have appreciated this novel nearly as much, because of the amount of traveling that goes on in it. So far I haven't been anywhere described, and that's not likely to happen since the characters are visiting some rather obscure, often impoverished destinations, but just the descriptions of their trip planning and their flights and their culture shock and their cherishing a new place has really spoken to my recent experience.
But then, of course, maybe an even better question is, "Where have you been?" My goal for this semester was to stay in ten countries, so with the U.S. and Canada included I could say I've been to a total of twelve. Well, somehow an extra country slipped into the mix (I'm looking at you, Wales), and now I've got a baker's dozen under my belt. Someday I'll likely tell you more about these places, but now is more of a time to reflect on Glasgow, as that's where I've spent most of the last five months and it's the city I'm leaving behind. I've become quite fond of the West End of Glasgow. It was a thrill to study at a school that looks like it could be Hogwarts if you're just looking at the Main Building. I found favorite pubs and restaurants that I may never visit again. And I made some friends, a few of them locals. I spent my last days in Glasgow with my girlfriend, walking around to my favorite places and eating only my favorite meals, taking little video clips wherever we went so that at some point this summer I can create a little video love letter to the city for my YouTube channel. It's an honor to have been a Glaswegian for almost half a year, though if I'm being honest I probably won't miss the accent. Seriously, I can't understand what any of you are saying half the time. I do hope I return, though, someday. In the meantime, please welcome me back in America. I promise I'll go back to saying "French fries," or even "freedom fries" if you should ever insist, though at the back of my mind a wee part of me will always remind me they're called chips.