Friday, August 13 was my last full day in Wales. It was exciting and surreal, but kind of sad. Who knew I would begin to feel nostalgic about dirty, dirty Cardiff? Our packed and smelly vans? Climbing stone spiral staircases in the sheets of rain?
After going to bed super late, I again set my alarm so I would get 8 hours and not oversleep, because I had far too much to do. I got up, had breakfast/lunch, showered and got to work. I spent most of the day working on my textbook, hoping to finish it up, and preparing to leave. I would pound away at my textbook for 15-20 minutes, then allow myself a Facebook-Email-YouTube break once my attention span expired. At several of these different breaks I would confirm plans with my parents to pick me up, chat with my friends and coworkers, or check the in transit status of my Welsh compatriots who had already left for home. This would leave me utterly helpless in the face of my excitement and anxiety about the trip home, so I would abandon my computer for my suitcase. Sorting, folding, throwing away and packing, all while singing and dancing around my room helped me to temporarily forget the ENORMOUS task of the textbook. So eventually I'd feel guilty and get back to it. Only to take an email break and start the cycle all over.
When dinner time rolled around, Jessica, Sam, Gillian and I decided to head to Pucini's, like we did on our very first night. We spent the entire time talking about how things have changed and our favorite days and inside jokes. A good portion of the dinner was spent talking about how no one knew me (I didn't take the prep class and was accepted to the program late, so I literally knew one person - Kayla from Springville High), no one knew anything about me, and that at dinner six weeks ago, this weird tired girl showed no signs of being the crazy, loud part of the program that I turned out to be. I went from being the one that no one knew, to the "crazy inside joke machine" that was friends with everyone. I love that transformation.
We laughed all through dinner. My favorite moment?
"Do you guys have Coke? Ok... I'll take a Sprite." - Sam Parkvold (soon-to-be Manning!)
After dinner everyone who hadn't left yet headed to 57 for the "Friday the 13th" Scary Movie Marathon. Anders and Anna were going to be running a van shuttle service all night, taking people to Cardiff Central and various train stations at 3 hour intervals all throughout the night, so we decided to pull an all-nighter with them.
First we watched The Grudge. I don't care what you say. It's a classic. A few girls didn't want to watch it, so I gave them my laptop so they could watch Hot Rod upstairs. At one point, they climbed down the outside of the house and used the hose to spray the widow and blinds which scared us OUT OF OUR MINDS. There was a good amount of reflex cursing, screaming and jumping. I seriously can't remember the last time I got scared that good. Bravo, ladies. Bravo.
Around midnight the vans took some people home and some people to the train station, then we settled in to watch one of my all time favorite movies - The Silence of the Lambs. You guys know how I feel about cannibals. At 2:15, the movie still had 30 minutes or so, but Anders and Anna had to take a bunch of people to the Cardiff Central bus station (including Jessica), so we just paused it and headed back to Penny Lane. We bid a dramatic and ceremonial farewell to the roommates and set about packing while Gill went to bed. Once I was about 80% packed, I got to work on my textbook from about 3-5 am. Didn't get very much done, obviously, as I was sleep-deprived and crazy excited to get home. Every few minutes I'd remember that I'd be home soon and my stomach would somersault inside me. It wasn't that hard for me to stay awake. But it was hard for me to work. I didn't finish my textbook. Not even close. We had until the following Tuesday to turn it in, and I had a huge layover in Minneapolis that I was SURE I'd use to work on my textbook.... right?
After Anna and Anders took care of their 4:30 am shuttle, they came over to Penny Lane to finish the movie before the 6:30 am Saturday Morning shuttle. My shuttle.
And thus begins my journey home.