I thought I'd do best (and be the most accurate) by just copying what I wrote in my journal for each day. I will be censoring somewhat, I imagine, because I did use the time to work some stuff out that had been muddling around in my brain. You know, those things that pop into your head and you push them back because maybe you are in an inappropriate location to deal with the feelings or for some other reason. Or maybe I'll post some of it, who knows
Anyway, don't blame me if you think it's all boring rubbish. In fact, don't even tell me if you think it's all boring rubbish. Just guide your mouse up to that "next blog" button and move on.Sunday, November 12, 2006
Wake in: Cardiff
Sleep in: Cardiff
Today is my first non-traveling day on my own. So here I sit in the lounge of the hostel. I ate a free croissant and I'm drinking some free water. I'm thinking that I'm the only person without at least one traveling partner. That surprised me, and it's kind of a bummer.
As soon as the I think the shops open (maybe 10?) I'm going to walk to Queen Street or High Street and look for a coat. Then I think I'll go to the National Museum of Welsh Life in St. Fagan's. And I'm going to try hard not to wish I weren't by myself! Especially since I have all day tomorrow on my own too.
First full day alone in Cardiff. 10.05 am in Starbucks. Yay! Food and coffee! So this trip was supposed to contain reflection on where and who I am at 30 (well, in 2 days). I think Cardiff is a good place for these reflections, not just because I am by myself, but also because this city holds a lot of bittersweet memories for me. This city was very special to B at a time when he was very special to me. And I think he is somewhere here, in Cardiff, with his wife and that is just...weird. And poignant. And a bit like debriding a wound. B is a large part of my history and, therefore, a large part of who I am now. And this, to me at least, will always be his place.
So maybe I should start with him. What things, good and bad, did B teach me about life and about myself? B taught me that all of life could be an adventure, and that you don't have to settle for the mundane. On the flip side of that, he did not seem to have the capability to be content with home
ever. And from all that I learned that I like to have adventures and look at things with interest and imagination, but that I am, quite often, content with home, hearth, and family. Travel and new experiences are necessary and wonderful, so I don't become insular and ignorant. But I need to know I have a home to go back to.
B was gentle and kind. On the flip side of that, his inability to hurt me short-term mad for what ended up being a long-term betrayal, and that hurt worse. From all of that I learned that I deserve gentleness and kindness, but even my vulnerability deserves honesty. Also I learned that I do
have the ability to read people. I saw what was coming long before it came, but I just wouldn't let go. I need to learn to trust those instincts and not to hold on to things that are really gone, just because they are comfortable.
Today I went shopping to find a coat. I had forgotten how cool High Street shopping can be, although I'm sure the people here take it for granted. In Cardiff (and most other cities that I remember) the High Street is a broad street closed to traffic (in fact there is no road) with shops of all sorts on either side.
What was a bit frustrating...it's always quite hard to find my size in normal shops, but at least at home I know the shops that do
carry my size. Here I don't know what's what. But still, it forced me to explore a bit, and I did find something. I t seemed like every single coat had real or fake dead animal fur gratuitously slapped on it somewhere. But at least the coat that I bought had removable
fake dead animal. I threw it in the hostel waste basket, where it looked disconcertingly like a ferret, curled up asleep.
After I found my coat I was going to go to the Museum of Welsh Life at St. Fagan's but I thought maybe tomorrow, being a weekday, would be better time to do that. So today I went on a tour of Cardiff Castle. It sits in the middle of everything and parts of it were built during Roman, then Norman, then the late 19th Century. [there seems to be some key word missing there maybe "times", or "occupation"] While I was getting my tickets, I met a family who sounded American. Turned out they were not only from Pennsylvania, but from just up the road a piece in Nazareth. The girl, probably in her early 20s, was studying in Cheltenham, and I wished for the millionth time that I had gotten my act together and done that!
The tour guide was Australian, and very knowledgeable, with a comfortable voice. I saw one other person there alone: a guy. I'm quite sure he was British or at least European (some look
is usually distinguishable, yet I couldn't tell you what it is) but he was carrying a few cameras. I
caught him looking at me a few times, especially after I talked to ask a question, but I didn't say anything either, because something about his demeanor didn't welcome it.
[It was weird nothaving anyone to converse with, and I missed it.]
Aside:[I can't remember what prompted this] Everyone here seems to smoke. It seems like the tightening restrictions at home have either a) gotten everyone to quit or b) it just seems that way because there is no where left to smoke. I am especially surprised to see how many women still smoke here.
Anyway, the castle tour was well worth the money, although we weren't allowed to take pictures inside. The family that owned the castle, the 3rd Marquis of Bute, hired an American painter to do some of the walls and the tiles in the children's nursery. You can have
weddings in the huge ornate dining room for 250 pounds an hour, 3 hours minimum. It's the oldest part of the castle, dating from medieval times, although it's been redone by the Marquis and architect William Burgess.
After that I walked back toward the hostel and used my map from my guidebook to find a pub up the road a ways that was also listed in the guidebook. I ordered a roast chicken dinner, which I took a picture of (surreptitiously with my camera phone, though). It was good but I didn't finish all of the chicken, broccoli, or cabbage(?), even though I've been walking all day with only that muffin and coffee for sustenance. Now I"m listening to everyone watching "the footie"-- apparently Arsenal are playing--and enjoying a pint of Stella.
I'll admit that I've left my guidebook out on the table face up, hoping someone would ask me about it, but no one has. Although now I must look intent on writing. I know if I asked for help or a question everyone would be very friendly, but they tend to keep to themselves otherwise, at least here in Cardiff.
Last night I must have slept from what? 8.30 or 9.00pm until 7.45am. It was a good sleep, with earplugs and sleep mask, and I don't feel out of whack at all yet. Hopefully I have escaped the jet lag, at least in this direction. I have to remember tonight to leave my watch on. I don't want to leave my phone on all night [I forgot my charger] but it drove me crazy to wake up in the morning and not know what time it was. I saw daylight and figured I should get up, is all...
I only spoke to one girl in my room (which has 8 beds, 4 bunk beds) and she was only there for one night because she was auditioning for something or other today.
Oh I lied, one girl said goodbye to me as I was coming into the room after going to the bath room in the morning. I think she was headed out. It's only 4.30 now and I've run out of amusements. Apparently all the shops close at 4pm on Sundays.
[a long refection on my work and career and future in that regard come next, which I am not going to post, plus this has gotten really long and I'm sure you all stopped reading long ago. More tomorrow.]