I woke up snuggled up to a little old lady with curly white hair peaking out from under her hat. I wasn’t just leaning against her, I had shifted in my seat so that I was huddled against her with my face pressed against her shoulder. She was 5’3″ if she was lucky. My almost-giant self had cuddled myself around her. According to her I’d been huddled up to her like that for the last two hours. My bad.
Honestly, when I woke up, I had no idea where I was. I was on a train and…why was I on a train? Where was I going? My eyes hurt, I felt dehydrated, my throat was sore, and I was cold. Where the hell was I?
I sat up, stunned, and checked to make sure I hadn’t drooled on the little old lady and started the slow process of waking up and trying to remember why I was on a train.
Then I remembered! I was on a train to Manchester! I’d just spent the last week in Lampeter with all the friends that I hadn’t seen since June. Way too much happened in that week for me to write about. Needless to say, I had a great week with all the people that I’d missed and the new people that I met. I danced, I drank, I hung out, and I beat Pumba in two games of pool! The first game, I won on my own, but the second game I won because Pumba knocked the white in when he put the black in. I’m still happy that I actually played an almost decent game of pool.
My last night in Lampeter was the Winter Ball. Instead of going to bed, I stayed up until I had to go catch my bus at 7am. From there I hopped on a train and promptly passed out in my seat. My week in Lampeter was nothing short of amazing and I can’t ever express how grateful I am for the people in my life who made my visit what it was. Especially Victoria who let me take over her room for the week. I got to see a lot of the guys that I’d missed during Old Boys, and I got to spend a lot of time with both Pumba and Josh over the week.
It had been a busy week and I was exhausted. My next stop was a two hour stop in Manchester! I’d heard conflicting things about Manchester so I was excited to arrive and spent a little bit exploring the city while I waited to catch my next train. Except I wound up lost after walking around for 5 minutes and spent the next half hour trying to find my way back to the train station. Basically, I went down a street, got turned around, and suddenly had no idea where I was. With no wifi, I couldn’t figure out where I was and was thankful for all of the nice people who helped me find my way back to the station. In the station I found a Starbucks, ordered a hot chocolate, and sat down with all of my stuff. Within minutes a guy had sat down with me and said that I didn’t look like I was from around there. He was a local who worked in the station and we wound up talking until I had to leave to catch my train.
It wasn’t my train though. Two trains were leaving from my platform. The first train was going to Liverpool and I wound up on it. Thankfully a friendly gentleman asked where I was going. After I said I was on my way to Edinburgh, he was nice enough to tell me I was on a train to Liverpool. I couldn’t thank him enough as I grabbed my bags and scrambled off the train. I don’t know what I would have done if I had wound up in Liverpool!
Eventually I got on the right train and at 9pm that night, after 14 hours of travel, I was in Edinburgh! Despite sleeping on the trains, I was still tired. Or I was tired until I walked out of the train station and saw all of the Christmas lights, old buildings, and…everything! Excitement took over. My hostel was a five minute walk away and I quickly checked in, thinking I would shower and then go to sleep.
I didn’t. I was too excited. Edinburgh was one of the cities that 16-year-old me always wanted to see. Instead of showering, I gave myself the excuse that I wanted to buy a razor because I needed to shave and I went exploring. I spent the next half hour wandering up and down the streets near my hostel until I eventually found a little corner shop and bought a razor. I hadn’t shaved in nearly two weeks and all my parts were very Sasquatch-like, but…I wound up torn between exploring the city some more or going back to my hostel and shaving.
By midnight I found myself tucked into a bottom bunk in my hostel dorm. I was shaved, I was excited, and I was ready to…read the book that one of my favourite authors had just released. Nine chapters later I was passed out with an alarm set for 8am the next morning. I had a tattoo to get and I wasn’t going to miss that for anything!