So I did it - I bloody well flew for the first time.
And surprisingly it wasn't the white-knuckle scream-fest I expected it to be.
OK, so the emotionally charged farewell with Sparky Ma left me a bit of a teary mess, and then I had to surrender a lovely bottle of shower gel that smelt like macaroons because it was over 100ml, but I was remarkably chillaxed while waiting to board in departures.
What made it really brilliant though was the fact that after telling the cabin crew that it was my first flight and I was a wee bit nervous they took such amazing care of me. And if anyone from Virgin Atlantic reads this, please give Ash a massive bonus because he went above and beyond the sort of care I thought I'd get. How so? The dude came and sat next to me during takeoff so that he could reassure me and explain everything that was going on. Utterly amazing, and I owe him (as well as all the other crew members) a massive thank you for making my first time in the air so smooth and uneventful.
Plus he smuggled me some Hagen Daas ice cream when everyone else in economy had to go without.
So anyway I'm here in LA now and it's ... Well, a bit weird to be honest. I've only met (and even then only briefly) one other person who's doing the training, so I kind of feel like I'm in limbo a bit. Kind of like a very lonely holiday for one. I keep trying to engage the bar staff in conversation just so I can talk to someone.
But registration and orientation is on Sunday so everyone will be here by then and we can get on with the task of learning to be yoga teachers, which I know isn't going to be easy, but will, I'm sure, be a totally memorable life changing experience.
In the meantime, I've made good use of my one full day to be foot loose and fancy free in LA (until mid-June) by scouting out the local shops for supplies, grabbing my first stateside Grande Misto, and jumping on the bus to go to Redondo Beach, where as a massive fan of The OC I made a pilgrimage to the location that was used as the Bait Shop club venue.
I also saw a seal in the bay (I think it actually stuck its tongue out at me - RUDE) and woke a lovely old lady up when she nodded off at the bus stop. Oh, and I've started on my much needed tan (the last thing I want is to get a reputation as London's pastiest yoga teacher).
A couple of other things: everyone here is *so* polite, and the city (at least what I've seen of it) is remarkably litter free; London take note please. That said, the frequency of the buses is bloody awful. I'm never going to complain about having to wait five minutes for a bus in London again (not that I actually use them that much, but still...).
Anyway, I'm not totally convinced I'm actually going to get used to being in this place, but we'll see. I just want to get going with the yoga please!