Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Most stressful day ever

Yesterday was the most stressful day I've had in a long time.

Quick recap: So Monday night was when Gregorio and I found out that our Iberia flight to Paris had been cancelled due to Spain's general strike (huelga general) taking place this Thursday the 29th.

We're expecting most grocery stores, banks, etc. to be closed tomorrow; and my Mon/Thurs teacher has told me not to bother coming in (because no students will come).  Thirty percent of the metro and autobuses must run between the hours of 6 and 9am, but apart from that public transportation will be slim.  Iberia has cancelled 222 flights of the 342 scheduled flights tomorrow.  A list of the cancelled flights can be found here.  Other airlines affected by the strike include but is not limited to: Air Europa, Vueling, EasyJet, and BritishAirways.

That's the scene.  Gregorio sees an Iberia flight that leaves today, Wednesday at 17:35, when I'm normally teaching my afternoon classes at my Tues/Weds school.  This means I'd have to check with my afternoon Tues/Weds English teacher, Clara, and with Paloma, my Thursday morning English teacher to see if I could miss class for the flight.  I sent out an email to Clara on Monday night, since it was too late to call (oh, and I was also without a voice.  Side-story: I was sick this weekend, then lost the voice between Saturday and Sunday.  On Monday afternoon when I went to teach, Paloma told me to go to the doctor.  So instead of class I went to the doctor and he wrote me a prescription for some antibiotics.  End side-story.)

If Clara said yes, only then would I ask Paloma about Thursday morning, and then we could change our ticket.  It was a race with time, as I figured seats would go fast on the flight.  Tuesday morning I anxiously checked my email.  Nothing.  I didn't have Clara's cell phone number, so when I went to my Tues/Weds school on that morning, I asked the am English teacher for Clara's number.  Even though I barely had a voice, I called her.  No answer.  So I sent a text, asking if she could respond to the email asap.

By 1pm I still had no response from her.  I'm talking to Gregorio on the phone and we're talking about our options.  I said he could probably just make the change and get the tickets, and the teachers would probably say it was okay once I got a hold of them.  "But what if they say you have to be here?" Gregorio asked.  And then gradually we accepted the fact that we might not be able to go to Paris this Semana Santa.  He suggested we might be able to go in July when I'm done teaching, if he can get the days off work.  The other factor in this decision is that his work schedule for April doesn't come out until Thursday morning.  He had asked off through the 5th, but wouldn't know for sure if he had them until Thursday.

So he told me not to bother asking the teachers, this was a lost cause.  I'm about to hang up the phone and then BAM: 1 new message in my inbox.  Clara told me: Go for it! Buy the tickets! Don't wait!  She said we could arrange something for me to make up the time later.  I relayed the message to Gregorio and he said alright, but what about your Thursday morning teacher?  "I'll call her now!" I said.

I called my Mon/Thurs school and asked for Paloma.  She's already gone home for the day, they said.  Could you give me her cell phone number? I asked.  No, they didn't have it on them.  I explained the situation to them, and how it was a matter of time before the seats got taken on the flight.  I gave them my home number and the school said they'd try to reach Paloma at home and have her call me.

So close.  My heart was beating faster by this point and I'm super stressed.  On top of it all, if you recall I'm moving this weekend, and needed to pack up my room before I left for Paris on Thursday.  But now if we got this flight, that'd mean I was leaving the very next day, Wednesday.  I was making myself sick to my stomach with worry, hating the uncertainness of it all, but I couldn't calm myself down for a nap.  I started frantically packing up my room while I waited for a call back from Paloma.

Twenty minutes later I got a call from the secretary at my Mon/Thurs school and she told me Paloma said to take the flight and don't worry about it.  Fantastic!  I call Gregorio and tell him to change our flight.  He hangs up and calls the booking agency.  I start packing a bag as I wait for his call back.

When he finally calls back, he says it turns out that flight was for business class only, so we couldn't swap it with our original outgoing flight.  #$%&!  But there was a flight we could take at 14:25 on Wednesday, which means I'd need to be at the airport by noon.  This is during my Wednesday class with the morning teacher.  She's a bit more of a rule-follower, but I called her cell to explain the situation.  She said it was okay with her, but she couldn't give me permission; I'd have to call the jefe de estudios and talk with him.

Alright, so I call the jefe de estudios and explain the whole situation again.  He also had wanted to pay me for March before the week-long Semana Santa vacation this first week of April.  So we decide I'll come in at 10:30 Wednesday morning to get paid, then book it to the airport for this 2 o'clock flight.

I call back Gregorio -- okay.  Book it.  And there he goes to call the booking agency again.  I had to wait a long time before I heard back from Gregorio.  In the meantime, I'm still packing up my room and a backpack for Paris.  I boxed up all of my food from the kitchen cabinets.  My room is a disaster.  Finally he calls back.  His voice didn't sound too cheerful.  Uh-oh.  It had taken 4 calls (and lots of waiting) before he got to an Iberia representative, and they took down his name and number to call him back later.  The 2 o'clock flight was either only business or full, I don't remember which, so he had booked a noon flight.  This was getting too early -- I told him I had just made plans with the jefe de estudios to meet with him at 10:30 the next day, etc.

We decided this was too much running around and stress, so he'd call back to cancel the change request he had made for the noon flight (for which we didn't even know if there would be seats left)  We considered other options.  We could drive there on Thursday, depending on his work schedule.  Or we could just go another time.

I took a much-needed nap at 5:30 that afternoon when all of the phone calls and uncertainty were over.  Such a range of emotions that day.

I haven't talked with Gregorio yet today, but there's a small possibility that we'll go in car on Thursday.  It depends on his April work schedule, and if he's up for it or not.  So I still might be leaving tomorrow, which means I'll need to finish packing up my room before then (it's still a disaster-zone).  But until then it's off to my Wednesday afternoon classes, then frisbee practice tonight.  Stay tuned!

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