Me and my ridiculous journey.. where do I even start?
Some backgroud might be appropriate, right?
So, basically, for the past two years I was sure I was going to study forensics in the UK. I attended quite a few fairs, did quite a bit of research. Last November I decided to take the IELTS exam. Big mistake – by the time we applied, that wasn’t compulsory. Thus, I threw away around 400€ or so. But it’s okay, right? I might still use it. An exam is an exam.
The deadline for applications to study was the 15th of January I believe, so I soon started preparing all the documents I needed, asked for references and wrote my personal statement. Eventually, I got the email from UCAS, saying that I had a new status update. After finding out that all 4 universities I applied for were willing to accept me, my confidence was boosted higher than ever! I was really happy about myself!
And I confirmed BU as my firm choice.
I was preparing myself for everything. I started saving money, asked my parents to do the same.
After a bit of time, three months ago, to be exact, me and my pals bought the tickets to Luton. Which meant that I was going to move out. I found myself a great flat share in Bournemouth, the price was okay. All I needed was a job (and as a young enthusiastic girl, I’m sure I could have gotten it).
This takes me to only a couple of days back. The 21st of June, 2016. The day when I was supposed to leave for Britain. Despite a huge fuss going on about the UK leaving the EU, I was sure it would all be fine. So, we left.
After a waterfall of tears when saying goodbye to my parents, I left. Having arrived to Luton Airport, I thought to myself : I want to go home. I thought I only wanted a safe place. I probably did.
So, after standing in a line for bus tickets for an hour and a half or so and having paid £36 each, we left for a 5 hour long journey to Bournemouth.
While travelling I noticed that Britain is actually very similar to Lithuania. Maybe just a tad more grey.
So, we get to Bournemouth.
We come to the hotel we had booked, which was actually really nice. And by British standarts, it was really cheap – around £20 each for a night + wifi and breakfast and it was really close to the beach. But it took me 10 minutes to realise that Bournemouth was not the place for me. The thought of me having to stay there for the three years of study horrified me. I was in hysteric mode. I started crying, I had to get home. I contacted my mum through Skype saying I hated this and I wanted to go back home. After a lot of research (appreciate your help, Watson), I bought tickets for the 23rd of June from Luton to Vilnius, though I paid the enormous amount of 180€+. I was okay for the day knowing that I would surely go home in two days.
After a few kilometres of walking in the city, we came back to the hotel. While walking though, we realised that one of my pals can’t withdraw the money from her account and the other one couldn’t reach it either. So we kind of decided that I’m going home, one of my pals is going to London (since that’s where she always wanted to be) and the other one would go to her mum’s (who also lives in the UK).
Next morning, we had our free breakfast (which was actually really good, shoutouts to the Lynden Court Hotel) and were off to find a hotel to stay in for another night (since we initially only wanted to stay there for one day and then get a proper place to live in). Oh, by that time one of my friend’s problems with bank account were gone, so we went out for a search. And then decided to stay in that same hotel for one more day. The thing is, that the other one’s problems weren’t solved and she didn’t have enough cash to afford another night there. We couldn’t take her into our room, since it was only for two, so we had to send her away with hopes for her to somehow get through it all (which, surprisingly enough, she’s really good at) I’m just going to note here that everything did work out for her but our ways were separated.
So, it was only me and my pal. We went to the train station, since I still needed a way to actually get from Bournemouth to Luton and after my horrible experience with a 5 hour trip by bus, I thought I would pay more, but half the time. So, I buy a travel card from Bournemouth to Luton with a couple of swaps of transport inbetween. Having paid only £33, I was as content as ever.
But that was only me, my pal’s problems haven’t gotten away. She had to find a place to live. She couldn’t waste her mum’s money just like that. After a few hours of no one replying, I figured I could try to make an appointment with the guy I was initially planning to rent a room from. He replies saying we need to be there at 3.30 pm. We look at the time – around 2.30. Okay, we think. We type in the address to see how far away is it. It’s about an hour and a half by feet. Of course, we didn’t know any buses or anything, so we had to leave and waste no time. After an exhausting 5km in one hour, we made it and were only 10 mins late! So, we ring the bell, a man opens the door. ‘Are you Antonio?’ I say. He replies positively. We check out the room. It’s nice. The whole place is really nice. To be honest, he was the most Italian man I’ve seen. Not that I’ve seen many Italians. He was a painter, I saw a lot of Salvador Dali books, he had a ridiculous amount of trust in people, which I assume is a pretty Italian thing. Anyhow, we get ourselves a deal, they decide my pal is moving in the next day and it’s all good.
So we come back home. We’re tired as dogs. We’ve been walking 10 km without too many stops. And that’s both up and downhill. We think to ourselves – hey, why don’t we rest for a bit. And obviously we do so.
But after a bit of time, we realise we’re hungry as dogs as well. So, we head out to a 24 hour shop. We buy nothing else but ramen. Just like proper students. So, we come back to the hotel. We probably annoyed the hell out of the manager with our questions, but he never really showed it. So, we realise we can eat inside the hotel and can use their cutlery as well. Good stuff, we think! We go back to our room, put all the stuff down, take our ramen and we’re headed to the dining area. Side note : to get to the dining area, you have to cross the living area. So, that’s where we’re going. We come into the living room and see a bunch of guys sitting around in blue shirts watching football! That’s ridiculously awkward!
Anyhow, we eat our food and go back to the room. We have been talking about going to the beach since day 1, but we decide we’re just too exhausted for that today. So, we end up not visiting the Bournemouth beach at all.
The night was horrible. I couldn’t sleep because I was so worried about the flight, about getting there in time and all. Also, there were some terrible thunderstorms that night.
I wake up at around 4.30. I’m sure I was annoying the hell out of my pal with all the lights of my phone and tablet. Sincere apologies, Sam. So, I wake up, I start getting ready and I know my train is at 07:59. I’m thinking, I still don’t know how to get through the underground, so I have a couple of things to ask and it takes about 40 mins by feet to get to the station, so we leave at around 6 am. You’d never believe what pain it is to go all the way from the hotel to the train station with your luggage. Bournemouth has hills all over the place, so we’re working our way up and down carrying my stuff. Horrid. Truly.
Anyhow, we get to the station. All the people are really nice and friendly. I’ve cleared everything up, I have no worries, it’s great.
Until the point where it’s not. Apparently the storm ruined a lot of the signals for trains or something and as a result we were 40+ mins late. By the time we got to Waterloo, I was supposed to be catching another train. So, I think to myself. I need to be at the airport at around noon. It’s already almost 11 am. I realise there’s very little chance of me getting there on time if I take a train. I couldn’t risk it. I paid more than 180€ for these tickets. I can’t lose it. So, I go for a taxi. The man says it would be around £100. ‘Damn it,’ I think, but take it. The man was actually incredibly nice, he understood me, listened to me, shared his own story and, most importantly, was there on time. It was only 12:40 when I arrived. I did have to pay £150, but at least I was there. At this point, I’m trying my best to get to the place as soon as possible. I’m sure you know, but if your flight is 14:15, you should be there around twelve. Especially in such a big airport as Luton, London. So, I’m hurrying there and, surprisingly enough, I was through with everything in less than an hour. I’m thinking ‘k, gotta rush to the gate’. And then I see that they just decided to delay the flight. Ridiculous. Absolutely ridiculous. Okay, so I’m waiting. I haven’t eaten pretty much at all, so I buy some duty free food. And I realise that because of all the stress I went through, I can’t eat. So, I just kind of hang around. Eventually, they say we need to go to gate 22. I go there. We wait. And wait. And wait. 15 mins later they decide to start letting us through the gate. Now, I know I paid 30€ to have my bag registered and taken separately (not in the cabin, that is) so I leave my bag to this man, who is putting all of the luggage. He says ‘I’ll take care of it, don’t worry’. So, i don’t. And guess what happens. After we board the plane, they announce that someone has lost their luggage. I’m like, okay. Then they say :’If there’s anyone called Vakare Simanaityte here, come collect your luggage’. I go up to them. I think – maybe they missunderstood something. I try explaining it to the crew, they don’t seem to care at all. Screw you, WizzAir. Screw you!
So, I arrive at the Vilnius airport. I hope with my heart that my parents arrived, since because of wifi not working properly at Luton, I couldn’t inform them about everything being okay. Anyhow, we land. I turn on the signal as soon as I’m able and call my mum. Thank God they came! I was so happy to be in the country where I truly belonged with the people I loved. Actually, major thanks to my family who came all the way from Kaunas to Vilnius lead by nothing but hope of me getting through everything!
I know I’ll be judged by a lot of people. A lot of them will say I’m a wuss for running away, for getting scared so easily. The truth is, I was never scared of work. I wasn’t scared that I couldn’t get by there. I knew I almost had a place to live and could get a job to get me through. The thing is, ever since arriving to Bournemouth, I realised it’s all a mistake. It just felt wrong. But now that I’m home, realising how much some people are going to hate on me or try to put me down, I feel great. I know this is what I should be doing. Even the universe is sending me signs. Not only today is an f1 legend’s, Juan Manuel Fangio’s birthday, which (thank you, Google) made my morning. But it was also declared that in referendum the UK decided to leave the EU. I didn’t expect that at all, I didn’t want that because of obvious reasons, betting companies said the chance of Brexit winning was only 25%! But I did mention to my pals before leaving that if they do leave the union, I’ll know I surely made the right decision. And I do. I’ve never felt so sure about anything. Ever.
Despite me not loving Bournemouth, I want to thank everyone who has helped me throughout my journey. That’s my mum, my dad, my stepfather, my sister, my pals Sam and Watson, the lady who sold the bus tickets, the lady who guided us to the bus, the driver whose accent I couldnt understand properly, the Lynden Court Hotel manager who was probably annoyed to hell with my questions, the guy who didn’t know where train station is, the guy who sold me tickets to Luton, the librarian who helped me print my tickets, Antonio who saved my friend from another £20 per night, the guys who were at the hotel wearing all blue watching football, the lady at the train station who told me of an easier way to my platform, the man who asked to carry my bag for me, the two great ladies in the train who told me I could pay by card in a taxi, the taxi driver who actually got me there on time and understood my terrible position, the lovely couple at the airport who guided me through the que for baggage checking, the guy at a duty free shop who handed me water, the lady at that same store who helped with self service, the Australian man at the airport who was making some jokes about my luggage, the man who was concerned about the time on my phone being two hours late (it was just set for Lithuanian time zone), the man who tried helping me when I asked about tagging my bag, but couldn’t understand me properly and the lady who actually helped me with that.
You see, throughout this journey I spent around 550€, that was earned by hard work of my parents and stepfather. I’m not proud of that. I’m really sorry. I will try to compensate for that somehow. Truly. But I do not regret that. I know that under the circumstances I saved as much money as I could to keep as many guarantees as possible, to have the best possible outcome. Maybe I could have saved more, but in that case my security would have suffered, I would have risked to lose everything I already spent some of the money on.
But I don’t regret taking the trip either. I know that if I hadn’t gone there I’d be wondering ‘what if…’ for the rest of my life, but now I know where I belong.
In case you’re wondering or aren’t sure, it is a 100% true story of my life throughout the 21st – 23rd/24th of June, 2016. Everything is expressed from my point of view with as authentic feels, thoughts and ideas as possible.