brass whistle necklace - vintage via etsy / braided belts - thrifted / jacket - thrifted / cardigan - H&M / chambray shirt - Banana Republic, thrifted / black jersey dress - UO / striped tee - H&M / yellow skirt - homemade from vintage fabric / seafoam skirt - vintage, thrifted / boots - vintage Nine West via etsy
Warning: This post has turned into a bit of a saga. If you get bored, I promise there are more pictures at the end.
Longtime readers may vaguely remember that my folks attempted to ship a few things to me in the UK, as I mentioned it here a few times. (Ok, more than a few times.) Unfortunately I seem to be under some kind of postal curse - a box I shipped home from Spain took two full months to arrive (ripped open, no less), a package of goodies from Emily is, now at two months, still floating around somewhere in the ether between Chicago and Istanbul, and while this third package arrived in London a mere three days after it was posted in Virginia, it has taken a whopping three and a half months to make it into my hot little hands. (That's not just an expression - they're literally hot and little.)
First it was sucked into the black hole of UK Customs for a month, during which time no one would confirm its exact whereabouts. I'd call Customs, and they'd say it'd been handed over to Parcel Force (the delivery company) weeks ago; I'd call Parcel Force, and they'd say it was still in Customs. I have never spent so much time on hold in my life, nor been so astounded at how little responsibility people can feel to be courteous to paying customers, and to, you know, do their job. (And I've had to go get a driver's license in three states.) With my belongings still in limbo, we left London for Edinburgh and I more or less lost all hope.
But then! Lo and behold, two days before our flight to Istanbul, the tracking mysteriously updated! The package did exist, it had been handed over to Parcel Force and it's location was known! I paid the exorbitant VAT fees online - yes, I'd been charged about $50 for the 'privilege' of 'importing' my own used clothes - submitted an online request for my London friend E. to pick it up at their depot, and arranged for her to meet us at Heathrow during our connection en route to Istanbul. It was going to be close, but it was doable.
The morning of our departure, just on a whim, I checked the online tracking for my package - OUT FOR DELIVERY. Disaster! Despite my online pick-up request, despite my calling to confirm said request, Parcel Force had ruined everything by putting my package on a truck with no guarantee that it would arrive in time to make the Heathrow meet-up. They paged the driver to see what he could do, but no answer. I started trying to coordinate multiple contingency plans with E., frantically calling PF every ten minutes for updates (we don't have phones while we're traveling, so all of this had to be handled exclusively with outgoing Skype calls), all while trying to get myself ready to go catch our morning flight. We finally had to leave the apartment with the situation still unresolved, with E. promising to send me an email update as soon as she got any news from PF.
Once we got to the airport, I waited as long as I could stand it before logging on to an Internet terminal. I checked my email, and couldn't believe it - we had actually caught a break! The package had been delivered to E. and the Heathrow meet-up could go on as planned! I logged off and hopped on my flight grinning - I couldn't believe this was actually going to work!
When we debarked in London, we waltzed through the connecting terminal towards our planned meeting place. Our flight had even arrived a little earlier than scheduled, so we had over two hours - plenty of time to get back through security before our next flight. Things were looking good... except we couldn't quite seem to find the exit. We walked the whole length of the terminal, we consulted an airport map, and still - no exit. Finally I went to the British Airways Customer Service and asked:
"How do we leave the secure area of this terminal?"
"Oh, you actually have to be escorted by a security staff member. They take people out once an hour and you just missed them, but if you wait, you can go with the 3:30 escort. When is your connecting flight?"
"Oh. Well you can't leave the terminal unless you have at least a three hour layover. Otherwise we'll have to have your checked luggage removed from your connecting flight."
"I'm sorry, no. Miss, please stop crying."
There was no way. After all the drama and coordination and emotional anguish, my package was literally in the same building as me and I couldn't get to it. I tried to scheme my way out of it again ("I'll just take the next flight to Istanbul! Tomorrow! For $300! And stay overnight in the airport!"), but it was no good - I had to give it up. I placed a sniffly call to E. and asked her to hang onto it for a few months, cast a baleful look at the Customer Service desk, and wallowed in the utter futility of my efforts as I waited the few hours for my next flight.
Fortunately for my wardrobe (and for those of you patient enough to read this far), this story does finally have a happy ending. Fast forward to a few months later in Paris, and I again found myself within a reasonable geographic distance of my belongings, and after a few more false starts and scrapped schemes, E. was finally able to send my stuff in care of a sympathetic professor who commutes between cities by Eurostar. I stopped by her apartment this morning, and there they were - my clothes! Admittedly with a few rather unseasonable choices (I did ask for these back in January after all), but they were here. I hugged my bag all the way home, and I was so excited that I immediately put everything on at once.
Of course, five minutes later I was so hot I thought I was going to pass out, so I was forced to lose a few layers before going out for the day.
sunglasses - thrifted / brass whistle necklace - vintage via etsy / wood & brass bangle - vintage, thrifted / braided belt - thrifted / black jersey dress - UO / striped tee - H&M / tote - Forever 21 / red t-strap sandals - UO
Of course, given the state of our suitcases these days, I may be wearing that first outfit again for our flight on Tuesday. Plus my winter coat. Hey, layers are in for spring, right?