Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Meanwhile, Further North...

I am back in Edinburgh for Semester two of very serious and important Postgrad work. OK maybe not all serious and important, especially now that I am only a four hour train ride from Allie! But I’m trying to work on that whole balance thing. So don’t worry Dad!

The trip back was fairly uneventful aside from a minor incident where the friendly people at Heathrow allowed me to wander through the wrong gate and only informed me that I needed a stamp from the other gate when I was trying to get on the plane. But minor hiccup, tiny detail. I managed to circle back, go through the correct gate, and make it to my flight just in time.

Anyway the real adventure of the day involved the transport of my bicycle. For those of you who don’t know, Edinburgh is big on societies: Sports societies, dance societies, chocolate societies, if you like it, chances are there is a society for it. I decided to join the Triathlon club. I swim, I run, I have a bike, so it works right? Well in semester one my cycle was conveniently at home in the States so I could be a multi-sport athlete without actually having to work on that third sport. But not this semester! No, this semester I wanted to have a bike so that I could finally live up to the Tri club sweatshirt I’ve already been wearing around.

But how to transport a bike? Well I managed to find a very nice cycle shop to pack it up for me in a large box, to be assembled at this end by whatever friendly cycling shop will take pity on me first.

At the airport, as I hauled the box to the counter, the agent shuffled back slightly and his eyes widened. Who was this little girl and why did she have such a big box? Upon answering that I was the only person travelling, he responded with “You and your bike!” as if to assure himself that he was actually seeing what he thought he was seeing. I checked in and he was even kind enough to ignore my grossly overweight rolly bag, mostly because he was still shooting glances at my bike box to make sure it was really there. And it was, until it was checked like any other bag, through to Edinburgh and life was easy.

That is of course, until baggage claim on the other end. It came around the luggage belt, people following it to see who the serious athlete was, and tilting their heads in confusion as the short girl in sparkly rain boots pulled it off the belt. With the help of a very nice girl I loaded it and my other bag onto a cart and off I went, people giving stepping aside to clear a path for me. Clearly because they were in awe of he ease with which I handled the cart, assuring them of my equal athletic skill when actually on the bicycle. Right? Sure…

Outside after the all too familiar stepping back and rapid intake of breath on the part of all the taxi drivers, I was loaded in and on my way to my flat. Upon reaching the door, two painters asked if I needed help. By this point I felt I was an old pro at manoeuvring the box and suitcase but they nodded at each other over my head and swept the box up to my apartment door.

So maybe I don’t look quite like the cyclist I hope to be by the end of the year, although I’m sure once I’m not wearing sparkly rain boots my image will improve slightly. Still, I’m here, my bike is here, and I’ve already experienced the friendliness of the people here, in thanks of which I can only hope I provided them with a story to bring home at the end of the day.

“Hunny you’ll never believe what I saw today. A little girl, 13, maybe 16 at the MOST dragging a huge bike box through the streets of Edinburgh. No I’m not lying it was twice her size! I agree I wonder that her parents let her out all alone like that…And she had on these rain boots….”

Busy and important Postgrad work aside, it promises to be another interesting semester. And I can’t wait!

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