Sunday, March 06, 2005

Thoughts in flight

Today has been an amazing day. I'm not even to London yet, and it's been really fun - the energy of the group is astounding.

Some of us are veteran travelers - Supriya has an amazing Indian passport, stamped and things inserted many times. She flies home twice a year. Drea has a Trinidad and Tobago passport, which is drilled all the way through with TOBAGO. Erik has a big sticker from Qatar slapped on the back of his passport from when he visited last summer. A bunch of us have never left America & Canada. I'm glad I've taken a 6 hour flight before, and I'm used to the car ride from Maine to Pittsburgh - otherwise this might feel grueling.

Supriya almost didn't make the trip - as she's Indian, she needs a transit visa to travel through the UK. However, she happened to get a five year UK visa in 2002.

I've been thinking about Krista a little bit on the trip. Walking through the Philadelphia airport was just a reminder of how strong the emotions were between us. We first introduced ourselves at the Philadelphia Airport after Christmas break Freshman year. The travelling group also ate at TGI Friday's in Philadelphia, so I had to think about when she and I ate at Friday's in the Pittsburgh airport before spring break freshman year. So everyone reminding me that I'd find good memories about her - you were right. Thank you for reminding me. So much of what the good memories are is the joy of being requieted; the happiness that comes from successfully pursuing someone. I was so surprised someone so pretty could like someone like me. I'm beginning to understand why more clearly.

I'm currently 1630 miles from Heathrow, according to the inflight map. British Airways does a great job, and having so many British accents around is just different! I was pulling out money to buy a beer on the flight, and they give you beer free - I'm so used to domestic flights charging $5 for beer. Is free beer on international the rule or the exception? The beer was one I'd never heard of before, Grolsch.

I'm also reading Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman, which I recommend for anyone in science. I just read Feynman's Rainbow, a reflection on Feynman's personality by a colleague at Caltech, and it reminded me of that I find fun and beautiful about Computer Science (even though everything was about finding beauty in Physics). Doing science for the love of science, and the love of problem solving, and the love of learning is something I'm rediscovering.

(This was written on the flight, and was posted from Heathrow - so hello from Heathrow!)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It makes me so happy and excited to hear you're having so much fun -- and all you've done so far is sit on airplanes!

I remember the first time I made a trans-atlantic flight alone (I was ... 14?), the stewardess asked me if I wanted red or white wine with my dinner. I was tickled, chose red (I still have no idea if it complemented the meal), and promptly fell asleep. That must be why they serve alcohol for free -- it's better than having 400+ people awake and bitching for umpteen hours.

I knew I was right. :) The joy of being requited is a pretty good one, I'll agree with you there.

I totally pick up the local accent of wherever I go. The more distant it is from my own, the faster I do it. I spent 3 weeks in Dublin after 9th grade at a CTY thing, and when my parents came to pick me up they were utterly confused as to what I was saying.

I think Feynman is fun for anyone, not just people in science. I dunno, he's just really passionate and has a great outlook on his chosen field, which I love hearing no matter what the field is. My parents both missed being taught by him at Caltech by one year, but he still taught while they were on campus. He was basically a demi-god in our household growing up.

I thought I'd get to catch you while you were at Heathrow, but apparently I grossly overestimated how long the Philly-London trip would take. I think this is partially because I'm used to thinking LAX-London. So yeah.

Have fun, get dirty, and wear your pretty clothes, and if I don't hear from you while you're in Qatar (*Schade*), I'll want to hear all about it when you get back.