Tonight I am leaving for England. The suitcase is not quite packed yet, but just about everything that needs to be rolled up and loaded into it is waiting in or near it. I have successfully checked in for my flight, after a terrifying ten minutes when the AA website wouldn't accept the Iberia reservation number. I have my Oyster card and my British Library card and my passport and my letter of reference and my proof of address. I have a Kindle loaded up with books, and exactly one physical book (I'm finally seizing the time to read Les Miserables in full this summer). Yesterday I bought a new-to-me secondhand spring/fall-weight coat, as well as a new mascara, travel toothbrush, and waterproof toiletries bag. My house is just about out of food; more importantly, my tea stock has held up and I don't find myself without a cup of tea at hand while I write this.
I'm prepared and preparing. I've returned all of my library books (pretty sure the undergraduate workers at the music library are a little peeved with me now). I've been getting up earlier and earlier for about two weeks in an attempt to acclimate just a bit to the time change in advance. My alarm has stabilized at 5:30 am. Some mornings, I managed to be very productive with work. Once I spent an hour making a timeline of editions of my primary source that helped organize months of dissertation research. Once I fell asleep on the couch reading a book. (Oops.) I've started to love these dark, birdsong-filled mornings. They feel still. I'm not generally a still person; like most of my generation I have difficulty being bored. And I like sleep, so on mornings with my early martial arts class, I tended to sleep in as late as I could while still being able to make the bus. I don't imagine that a 5:30 wake-up time will endure next fall, but perhaps getting up at 6:30 instead of my usual 7 or 7:30 can help this feeling of time endure.
I need to pack all the things into my single carry-on suitcase. I need to copy some of my recent recordings for my mum and mom-in-law as Mother's Day gifts. But otherwise, there's not a lot to do. My husband is home visiting, to see me off. I need to take him to a new independent local coffee shop that roasts its own coffee beans; at which I've spent a fair bit of time recently doing dissertation writing. I will spend the hours today enjoying his company and delightedly reminiscing about our favorite places in London.
I look forward to the dark chocolate hobnobs and the Twinings Lady Grey tea that will be the first food items I buy. I don't look forward to the groggy wait in the customs line. I'm so grateful that my host is going to pick me up from the airport, rather than my trying to navigate public transit on little sleep to make it out to Basingstoke. I've got all of the train tickets and housing arrangements I need for my research trips for the first month.
I know where my towel is (waiting to be packed in that suitcase). I'm ready. I'm excited.