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Q: What would you get if you put three women with very different personalities on a hectic three-week holiday?

A: Cat fights. Bruised egos. Possibly, sabotaged wardrobes?

Happy campers, lazing about the Alnwick Castle grounds.

Thankfully, neither of my traveling buddies have big egos. And hopefully, they didn’t think I did either. Yes, we’ve been friends for a long time and are well aware of each others’ quirks and mood swings. We’ve also had many a sleepover at the AIM Conference Centre whenever I’m in Manila but this trip was the first time we’ve ever been around each other 24/7 for an extended period of time. It’s a fact that being in such close proximity could put a strain on even the strongest relationships. Just think Amazing Race but without the frantic running around (at least most of the time).

A well-fed Frankie is a happy Frankie. Having chicken and rice at a Chinese take-away shop in Paddington.

But there was something that Frankie had done that I believe helped us cohabitate harmoniously. Months before our trip, she wrote us an email outlining what she would be like as a traveling companion. We found out that it’s important to make sure she’s fed on time, among other things. Don’t make her hungry. You won’t like her when she’s hungry…

In turn, Abbey and I made our own lists. Being

Me want coffee at The Elephant House in Edinburgh! And I’ll have cake and eat it too.

forewarned of what we might be like as traveling buddies made it easy to adjust to each other. For me, it was important to always have coffee. If you didn’t want to starve Frankie, you didn’t want to deprive me of my early morning caffeine fix.

Of the three of us, Abbey was probably the most adaptable. Her one thing was that she’ll take the longest to shower and get dressed, but since we already knew that, we just had to make sure to give her plenty of time to prepare in the mornings. πŸ˜‰

Freshening up at Bancroft Garden, Stratford-upon-Avon.

Did Abbey just punch Frankie outside Shakespeare’s Globe in London?!

I know most of you would be wondering: Surely they had little misunderstandings? Of course, we teased each other relentlessly on some days but it never came to the point that made us want to kill each other. I could be wrong, but I’ll let to girls clarify that. To be honest, I’m trying my very best to recall if I got irritated with either Frankie or Abbey. Or maybe a time when I got on their nerves. Only two instances come to mind and I don’t even know if they’ll remember these.Β The first one was on our way back to Edinburgh from our Rosslyn Chapel and Hadrian’s Wall tour. We had stopped at this town called Jedburgh. The town’s parking lot had free wi-fi and Frankie went off on her own and was Plurking away. Abbey and I went to the toilets but I came out first and just wandered mindlessly around the block. I didn’t think that Abbey would struggle to find us as we’d just been around the corner so when I asked where she’d been, she said something to the effect that we’d just taken off without telling her. I think that was the only time I heard her genuinely miffed. The second instance was when we were on Oxford Street and Abbey had to go buy some football memorabilia. I went with her to the shop while Frankie opted to go to a bookstore nearby. As soon as we descended into that sports shop, I wanted to get out. The smell of the plastic and rubber all around made me nauseous and I wanted to faint and throw up at the same time. I hastily told Abbey that was going to wait for her outside. I thought it would be a quick 10 minutes and she’d be done so that we’d have time to go clothes shopping but she took longer than expected and I was starting to get impatient. In hindsight, I should’ve just gone back down and told her I was going to another shop. And why I didn’t call her or text

Payback time. I think Frankie was trying to strangle Abbey at Alnwick Castle.

her, I don’t know. It would’ve prevented my being annoyed for a full 10 seconds. Thankfully, good sense took over and I rationalised that maybe the line at the register was long. Not wanting develop a sour mood – self-inflicted, I might add – I decided to amuse myself by people-watching. I saw a Hari Krishna group chanting as they went along. I smiled at other people standing around also waiting for friends until I was the only one left. Eventually, Frankie found me and we hung around for what seemed like another eternity. It was getting close to 5PM and by this time Frankie would be getting hungry. Finally Abbey emerged from the store. As it turns out, the register was broken and that caused the major delay.

Respecting her need for alone time but not her need to sleep in a quiet environment. Tee-hee.

Just a couple of jesters at Stratford-upon-Avon.

Ah, but pretty much every night, Abbey and I doubtless get on Frankie’s nerves. You see, Abbey and I like to stay up late and I mean very, very late. Some nights, we don’t sleep until well past 1AM and we talk and giggle and generally make some noise that would disturb Frankie’s slumber. How she managed to get a decent night’s sleep with us around, I don’t know. It was a good thing that she had her own little room when we were at Castlemount. At least she could close the door at night. Sure, we had to enter her room to get to the bathroom, but at least she got a little respite from our midnight giggling. πŸ™‚

Teeth and claws bared at the British Museum. We’re Gryffindors, not catty b*tches. Rawr!

So did the claws come out at all? Personally, I don’t think so. Because when I’m friends with someone, I let things slide. (I can only pray they are forgiving of my shortcomings as well). Annoying little things are annoying, for sure and for someone like me who’s very set in my ways, it can be very difficult to adjust. But this trip has proved that it’s not because they’re my friends that I am tolerant of their shortcomings. It is precisely because they are my friends that I don’t see any shortcomings.

Cheers to friendship intact! Drinks at the New Moon Pub to celebrate Abbey’s birthday.