For three months I have been planning and anticipating this artist residency in Wales. There was so much to get ready for this trip and I was exhausted before I ever began! So many mixed emotions were swirling around in my head... excitement, sadness, nervousness, questioning the unknowns, etc. It was hard to say goodbye, but I knew deep down that it would all be worth it in the end.
When I got to my gate in Newark, I saw the sign at my gate, "Birmingham, England" it said. All of a sudden, I got an unexpected lump in my throat and I started to realize that this was really happening- I was going back home! As I sat down in the plane a conversation started up immediately with the two sweet women next to me. When the words, "rubbish, jumper, and wellies" came out of their mouths i could just taste how close I was getting to England. I told them that I hadn't been to Great Britain for 28 years. We were in the same kind of situation because they hadn't been to the States for over 20 years and they were just returning. I found myself wanting to let my English accent surface as they were speaking which was unexpected for me!
I landed safely but then had a little situation soon after. I went to exchange money at the airport and found that they couldn't take any of my bank cards because they didn't have chips in them. Europe has gone to all chip cards. My husband ended up sending money to me through Western Union and saved the day! Needless to say I was in a panic and almost missed my train. I then boarded a train for Machynlleth, Wales. As we left Birmingham, England and drew closer to Wales, the hills became higher and the sheep grew in number, and I grew in excitement!
Two and a half hours later I arrived. I had just enough time to stop at a local pub to get some fish and chips and pick up some groceries before I had to catch the bus. The pub was everything you would ever picture to be in Wales. Low ceilings with wood beams, a big stone fireplace, and the sounds of chatter at the bar in unique English and Welsh accents. I had a little time to pick up a few snacks at a local shop which included cadbury's chocolate and crumpets of course. By this time my luggage was really starting to feel unbearable to carry. I had an entire suitcase filled with art supplies, a HUGE hiking backpack filled with shoes, clothes, and other things, and a backpack I used as my purse. I was sweating, shaking, beginning to feel like I couldn't make it another step. But I was so close I had to keep going!! I arrived at the clock in the center of town and waited to board my bus.
The bus took me 5 miles down the road to a little town called Corris where I would be staying. I was dropped off at the top of a big hill and made my descent like a mule in Mexico. At last I spotted it, "Stiwdio Maelor" and knocked on the door. A sweet volunteer, Yuki, greeted me and took me for a tour of the place. I wound up the twisty staircase until I got to my room and attached studio. The views from the windows were amazing, all I ever imagined. The stone houses with the slate roofs and flower boxes, the forests above and the wet ground below.
After I loaded all of my luggage in my room, I flopped on my bed in exhaustion... and cried. The fatigue from losing a night of sleep and all the travel left me in a strange place. I didn't know what to do next. My body didn't want to move. I was processing everything and was in a weird place of transition. I unpacked and put on some music. Then I grabbed a cup of hot tea, nutella crumpet, a hot shower and a warm robe. As I stood looking at my neatly organized table of art supplies, I dreamed of what the next day would hold...