Anyways, let me back up a little bit, for those of you who don’t know, Kai is in his 3rd year of law school at Pepperdine. Pepperdine has a London program where about 60 students can come, study, and possibly work/intern in London for the fall semester. We figured it was an experience we couldn’t pass up, so I asked my work and they let me take a 6 month leave of absence (which has been a much needed break for me)!
The plan is for Kai to go to school & do a criminal law internship 3 days a week, and then we are going to use the rest of the time to travel and sightsee. Anyways, in order for Kai to do his internship, he had to get a Visa (that’s another story for another time). I was told that if we are married, I have to get one as well, but I didn’t want to pay to get one since I am not going to be working. Since my passport has my last name as Ige, a lady at his school told him it wouldn’t be a problem and that all we needed to do was go through separately like we didn’t know each other. It seemed easy enough and since customs in Costa Rica was so easy, I didn’t even give it a second thought.
We landed in London and Kai and I walked off without talking. We got in the line and when it was my turn, I went up to the counter and gave the agent my passport and form. She asked me if I was traveling alone, and I said, “Yes”. Then she asked how long I would be there (I told her 4 months) and what my itinerary was (I told her I didn’t have a set itinerary and was going to figure it out as I went along). In my mind, I figured people backpack through Europe all the time and I’m sure they don’t have set itineraries!
Next thing I know, she is asking to see my return ticket (which I didn’t have seeing that it is 4 months away), a bank statement showing I have enough money to be here for 4 months (which I didn’t have and don’t usually carry around), a business card to show I was working (which sadly, I didn’t have), and a London Tour Guide book (which I also didn’t have). I basically told her all I could: I am taking a leave of absence from work and will be here til December 20. I am just planning on relaxing and touring around Europe. I know a few people here, and will probably see them at some point, but I don’t have a set itinerary since I will be here for so long. I told her I could show her my work forms on my computer so she could see that I still have a job and have a set date of return, but nothing worked with her.
She took me to the detainee section, which is like a little blocked off section for all the loser detainees and so I took out my laptop and started to pull up my work forms so I could show her that I am really not trying to stay here permanently, and then this other customs guy tells me to put my laptop away. So I am waiting and I see Kai in the corner (since he breezed through the line) and he is looking at me like, ‘what is going on?!?’ Then 2 other customs agents come get me and escort me to the baggage claim area downstairs so they can search my luggage. I had to re-explain my situation to them and they were really nice. Luckily for me, the luggage was delayed, so they took me back to the detainee section where I waited. Finally, the first lady came back and got me and pretty much told me I was an idiot for not having any documentation with me, but that she would make a note and let me through this once. It was seriously such a relief! I went downstairs and found Kai, who had picked up all our bags (imagine me trying to explain that to the customs agent…’yeah, I travelled alone, but this guy was so nice and picked up all my bags for me!’) and so we were ready to go!
We started lugging the bags to the tube station, which let me just tell you all, 2 people who each have heavy backpacks and have to lug 5 suitcases, doesn’t work so well! After what seemed like forever, we got on the tube and rode to the South Kensington stop. We got off, and had to carry our bags up the stairs to the street level, and then I sat with our bags while Kai went looking for Brian (one of his classmates who gotten to London the week before with his wife, Liz, and their son Porter) who were supposed to meet us there. After about 10 minutes, we found them and started the 1 ½ mile walk past Pepperdine’s building, through Hyde Park, and to their flat. Thankfully, Brian helped us get some bags, so the load was a lot easier to move! We dropped off our stuff, went to look for a flat -- and found one (and I will not complain about California rent anymore), got cell phones, and ate fish ‘n chips (overrated)! By that time, it was getting late, so we grabbed our bags and brought them to our new closet…I mean, flat :)