Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Energy in London
I went to London with my friend Alessandro so that he could attend the Pure Bioenergy Training that was being held at the Columbia Hotel, and so that I could translate for him if need be. We negotiated Stansted airport and the airport bus to the hotel fairly well. I would have gotten out at the wrong terminal train stop if Alessandro had not been with me. I have a terrible sense of direction and a deeply ingrained tendency to panic.

I have to say that speaking English does not help one iota when it comes to figuring out how to get around Stansted Airport because there is a serious lack of signage and helpful people in that place. When I went through the passport check, I lost my place in line because no one told me to grab a form to fill out first. Alessandro went through a different checkpoint for EU citizens. The female agent asked me for the address of my hotel. I told her that I didn't have it, but that my friend knew the address. I indicated that he was standing nearby. She had Alessandro come over and tell her the exact location and then she went so far as to ask me if I had a family in Italy. I told her that I have a husband and daughter. She asked me why they didn't come on the trip with me and seemed to imply that I was cheating on them with Alessandro. It was outrageous.

Hi, Alessandro.
This is Kati's where we had amazing dosai with spicy potatoes, eggs, and chutney.

I look like I got up at 3 AM for a reason.

Alessandro likes Starbucks (thank God!)

This guy had the coolest studded pants ever and he let me take his picture.

Here is Zoran, our teacher. It is thoughtful of him to look like Dumbledore, if Dumbledore liked sailing and beer instead of things like, say, peace and muggles.

We did share a hotel room because it is much cheaper to board that way. I already knew that Alessandro is very neat and proper so I wasn't worried about having him as a roommate. Here is one question I forgot to ask before I left: Do you snore? It turns out he does. It also turned out our room looked out onto a street so busy that it might as well have been the highway. It is very counterintuitive to do energy work when you have no energy. I hardly slept for three nights in a row. It was tragic.

Even though we got up at the crack of crack to get in Alessandro's father's car to the airport at 4:30 AM and the bus ride from the airport to the hotel ended up taking two hours plus a twenty minute walk at the end of it all, I still dragged him to go shopping on Oxford Street because I promised T presents and I wanted to stock up on things that I can't find in Lucca like herbal remedies and skin creams. He was a trooper.
This is really too close to be to someone who snores loudly. It was like being attacked by angry elephants. Sporadically.
Alessandro thought the whole situation was hilarious.

I  had a hell of a time going back and forth between the two languages.

I am really disappointed that Oprah is in Italy and yet she didn't respond to T's request on my behalf to come to a fabulous truffle filled dinner at my house. So close and yet so far. . .
The bioenergy training itself was even weirder than it usually is and that is saying a lot. People had come to learn the technique for a variety of reasons from having loved ones who were ill or physical problems of their own to having stumbled upon an advertising that seemed to call to them. A bunch of people had adorable accents so that was a plus. Alessandro really didn't need very much help translating and I kept kind of barraging him and saying "capito?" every two minutes so I think everyone was relieved when mid-way through the day on Sunday I decided to cut class. I walked and window shopped on Oxford Street for three hours and then went to this Mary Poppins-like park with people on ponies and fountains. It was a summery day that smelled like Autumn and the leaves were perfectly crunchy under my feet. It was blissful. When I got back I didn't mind the glares of the students because there is no way that I could regret my solo outing. I was kind of proud of myself because it may have taken me forty years, but I have figured out how to make my own fun.

Here is another thing about Alessandro: He meditates twice a day for at least 20 minutes at a time. I figured it you can't beat him, join him and did the same. The fun part was that when I finished before him or when he wanted to sit in silence while I was starving, I came up with new and inventive ways to startle him by yelling, Oh was that my phone! Or Oops who put that chair there?

We had to get up at 5 AM to get the bus to the bus to the airport. We had these giant cups of cappuccino with no coffee in it, full fat milk, and  powdered cocoa on the top and a lung crushing croissant at a pseudo English pub at the airport only to find that if we had walked 10 more meters and turned the corner we could have whole wheat delightful sustinence and Starbucks. It was devastating. There was nails on a chalkboard type construction going on over our heads while we waited for an hour and twenty minutes for them to announce our gate. I have never been so tired in my entire life. It had taken us a practice exploration on Saturday night for us to even find the right bus stop for the airport bus because I didn't want to leave anything to chance. A couple of nice doormen and a transit worker helped us and I appreciated them in what turns out to be a very un-Lucchese way, as it turns out. Another good thing about this little business trip is that it taught me that I could give less than a cacchio and only slightly more than a cazzarola about fitting in at this phase of my life. I appreciate having friends and making new ones, but if you don't like me, then maybe it's for the best.

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