My plane ticket has been booked! So now it is more than ever ‘official,’ as if I don’t go I will be wasting hundreds and hundreds of dollars. Plus that $10,000 + $1000 scholarship, again courtesy of the Irving K Barber Premier International Scholarship Society in partnership with the Victoria Foundation. Or something like that, the words might be in different orders. Anyway, the flight! We went to a travel agency, the same one that booked my week long trip to London in 2006, and again my 2009 3-week bus tour of Europe (pictures and more coming soon on that). She was very nice and checked out all airline possibilities that flew Vancouver to London directly, no stopovers as firstly I don’t want to stress about one m ore thing, making the connector and finding etc, but then also less chance, not none, but a lessened chance of my luggage being lost.
Comparing Air Canada, British airways, and Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Atlantic has the best prices for everything. Lucky for me then that it was only last month, the end of May 2012, that they began offering a Vancouver to London flight. In 2009 we used British Airways which was very nice though. But a few hundred dollars more expensive. And it arrived in Terminal 5 of Heathrow, whereas Virgin Atlantic lands in Terminal 3, where Trinity Saint David picks up its international students on the 17th of September. Just that alone I think would have made me choose the airline that landed there, as I really do not want to be running around an airport with 2 suitcases, a carry-on, and a violin, all the while being tired and nervous and excited and stressed and relieved and panicky and happy. At least that is what I imagine how it will be like a little bit.
As well, Virgin Atlantic is allowing me one free date change. I need to be there at least until May 23rd, but the latest date that can be booked at this moment is Mid May. And I would probably be there until August anyway, so what is going to be done is as soon as dates in August are available to book, the travel agent will at no extra cost to the ticket. However if I change my mind after it has been booked then it will be $300 to change, which is a little excessive just to change the date of a ticket, but I suppose that airlines cannot possible make any money charging $800 for a ticket on a huge plane with hundreds of people, everyday.
And for luggage with Virgin Atlantic one check-in suitcase is free and a second is $48 if booked online in advance, and the other airlines were I think double that. But they can only weigh 50 pounds, and I don’t know how heavy all my things will be, though hopefully not too over the limit. After all, I need to bring all my kitchen equipment! Forget about clothes, kitchen stuff and shoes and accessories is what is going to take up the most space.
I don’t actually have the plane ticket in physical form, soon we can pick it up though. And then I just have to wait months until I can use it! During those months I will have to get a Visa to go to Great Britain, as I will be studying there for more than 6 months. So I, a citizen of the Commonwealth, who uses money that has the Queen of the United Kingdom, has to get a Visa. Not only get that paperwork done, but they also want your fingerprints and a bio-metric scan of your face. And that is only done in the major cities of Canada, therefore requiring me to go to Vancouver so the UK government can take my information. In the end it will all be worth it, staying in Wales for 8 months and then perhaps working for 2 months after that, and then going to mainland Europe once the Visa has expired, but it is all such a hassle right now. I though I was done with all this bloody paperwork!
And if the previous entry has been read, then yes, all this entry has been me procrastinating instead of practicing the violin. My Grade Six exam is tomorrow, 21st of June 2012, in Vancouver. So yes I will have to go to Vancouver to play a stressful examination and I will not complain too much, but for fingerprints and face scan yes it is too much. We are taking the 8am ferry (the ridiculously expensive ferry that doesn’t seem to understand that high fares = less riders) which requires me to be at my teachers house at 6:15am, as she is the one driving. Well, one way of thinking about it is that I will never do this again. Never again will I do a Grade Six Violin Exam which requires me to get up 5:30. My exam isn’t until 1pm so I hope I will be awake enough by then, and then I will just do what I can.
The worst thing that happens is that I fail completely and mess up everything. And if that happens, well, it is my first exam ever, one of the few times that I have played ‘solo’ (I do have a piano accompanist) in front of somebody. And then it is over, and months if build-up stress will be gone, transferred to another big thing. But it should be fine anyway, I began playing the violin when I was 13, so five and a half years to reach this level is quite good, and nothing more that I can do now. Well, except go practice my studies…