Posted by: gabriellereneeleblanc | June 30, 2012

Countdown to Edinburgh!

Two hours remain of my last day of work.

“Are you just so excited?”

Tomorrow evening, I’ll take a plane from JFK and make my way to Edinburgh, Scotland.

“I am so jealous!”

I won’t be back at work, or even step foot in The States again, for an entire month.

“What an amazing experience!”

I smile blithely and give some response full of disingenuous enthusiasm.

Telling the truth I haven’t slept in two days and have existed in the constant consumption of carbohydrates that is stress-eating only seems to confuse them.

Most seem to see this as some sort of New Year’s Eve-style countdown, an occasion worthy of champagne and streamers. In truth, it’s more like that of a NASA launch. The old ones. Before they’d worked out the kinks. The numbers are being called, the nation watches in gleeful anticipation, while the men down in Houston with their eyes on the monitors are turning blue from bated breath. Despite the beauty of their construction, the staggering amount of finance and fanfare poured into this titanic achievement, they can find no joy in the occasion: they’re simply praying the damn thing doesn’t blow up.

I’m sure those who weren’t boozing it up during Project Mercury were biting into those baguettes, hard-core. (Bread love is real love, my friends.)

Meanwhile, the cheerful send-offs continue.

This one, from my boss, is my particular favorite.

“You’re living the dream!”

Intellectually, I know this to be true. It’s a very rare thing for anyone in this day and financial age to manage to take four consecutive weeks from their working life and travel over-seas for the sheer joy of it.

Mind you, I’ve worked long and hard for the privilege of recording a lovely “0” as total days worked in July. This trip would not have been feasible had I not first logged a staggering “28” in June. That being said, it is a rare thing for both employment and responsibility to allow such an extravagant leave-taking, and for this I am more than grateful. I’m lucky.

So, why am I reaching for yet another dinner roll? And why am I suddenly worried I’m going to take too big a bite, choke on it and die before I ever get to see Arthur’s Seat?

It’s not the impatience factor, I assure you. I’ve been known to enjoy a bit of anticipation, although I do admit to being generally more pleased with instant gratification. What can I say? I’m a hedonist!

My pleasure-loving, adventurous self will take over once on location, but right now this “dream” I’m living feels a bit more like a nightmare. Or the set-up for a horror movie.

Jane Everyteen’s has the perfect life: A loving family, star athlete boyfriend, the love-hate-envy of all her female classmates, and she has just been elected Homecoming Prom Queen President for Life of the Most Beautifully Populated High School in North America. But Everyteen’s life will soon go horribly, horribly wrong.

Cue the ominous music.

As my departure date has grown nearer my stress-level has risen. All through my waking hours, my mind reels with worst-case scenarios.

These range from the typical:

My flight to London is delayed which results in my missing my connection to Scotland and I get stuck in Heathrow Airport during the Summer Olympics for three days.

To the more creative:

The apartment I rented for the month turns out to be only the figment of an internet scam: I’m now out thousands of dollars and forced to use what little recourses I have remaining to book an early return-flight and return to work in disgrace to beg for shifts.

To the sheer fantastical:

Loch Ness has dried up. No monster was found.

All kidding aside…wait, no. Who’s kidding? That would be horrible!

My mother seems to be the only one who truly understands my current predicament. A vivacious visitor of foreign lands herself (and a frequent travel companion of yours truly), she is no stranger to the building tension of a budding trip.

“We start thinking almost like we are playing poker and have a full house, and someone else is going to have a straight flush. But, really, no one is playing against us.”

Why does anticipation cause so much anxiety?

Sorry, I can’t answer with my mouth full of doughnut.

One hour left now.

How has this brief blog taken me so long to compose? Maybe it has something to do with my frequent pausing to add things to ye ole “to do” list Make sure to pack black sweater and shrug hanging to dry over the tub or the stark moments of fear/frustration as I suddenly recall yet another thing I’ve forgotten to do/buy Forgot to print out that last Groupon for Stratford-Upon-Avon…

In less than an hour I’ll be on vacation until August.

All I’ll have left to do is finish packing for my trip, remove my possessions from the apartment I’m vacating, then store my possessions at a friend’s place. Oh, right, did I forget to mention my lease is up, so I’m moving, too?

Nothing like the pressure of moving in Manhattan to relieve that of international travel.

Luckily, I’ve down-sized my collection of crap considerably, so one car-trip will have my “move-out” taken care of.

Then it’s a simple matter of riding to JFK, getting tickets, checking bags, airport security, 7-hour flight, customs, re-entering security, layover, and 1-hour flight until I arrive in Edinburgh.

When are they going to hurry up and invent that teleporter?

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