Rookie Mistakes, Problem Solving sans Tears and Hitting the Ground Running
6 flights, 5 bags (including my purse), 4 days. To say it was a journey to get here would be an understatement. Things were going fairly smoothly, though I am super grateful for some travel tips I follow and kicking myself a bit for some rookie mistakes that I made:
- How is it that I've gone this long without a travel pillow? My neck and shoulders are not pleased with me.
- Weigh your bags. Weigh your bags. Weigh your bags. I was so used to domestic travel and underpacking that I skipped this one, especially weighing your carry-on. Mine was 14kg, it's only allowed to be 8kg. Oops. I looked like Joey from that Friends episode when I got back to the counter. (I had taken a few things out of my bags to redistribute weight and was going to leave a few pairs of jeans, shirts and shoes that I was taking to donate. I asked the ticket counter agent if they would be donated if I left them behind, he felt bad and alluded that if I stuffed them back in my carry on, I'd be ok.)
- Melatonin. I tried you once and you failed me. I tried you again and you did me right. Let's see how you deal with this jet lag (though I did force myself to stay awake as long as I could on my overnight flight to sync up with the new time zone.)
- When you have as much luggage as I did, booking a shuttle through your airport is a convenience you'll give yourself a high five for figuring out.
- Do you always go home with foreign currency from a trip? I do. Usually it sits in my drawer, collecting dust because I'll forget it's there for my next trip to that country or it's a country I won't be returning to for a little bit. (Anyone need Hungarian Forints?) This time, I remembered my Turkish Lira and my Euros, woohoo! Thank goodness because the ATM machine in Thessaloniki ATE MY CARD. I went to withdraw funds and when it came time to take my card, it barely spit it out (wasn't able to catch the edge), so it swallowed it back and said it would retain it. ...I'm sorry, what? This was the card associated with my travel account (no foreign fees) and where all my donations are being deposited into. Almost cued the frustration tears. Fortunately, Charles Schwab has awesome customer service so I'll get a new card sent to me next week and I have a backup debit card. Moment of panic occurred, no tears were shed, crisis solved
A hot shower and 6h of decent sleep later, it was a new day and off I went to Lesvos! A few more inconveniences later, (my bag didn't show up on the carousel--when I went to file a claim, it was randomly sitting by the office? My taxi driver also almost dropped me off at the wrong place, and then I think he pulled one over on me with the fare. Ugh.) I met up with the volunteer coordinator, met my roomie and was shown to the flat I'll call home for the next month. It's basic but will do the trick! By now, it was about 5pm. Either I could go to my place, settle in and rest up, or do something else. I naturally opted for something else and decided to head to Moria to check out the camp.
I took some melatonin 30 minutes ago and it's kicking in, so I'm going to call it before I make a post I'll regret. I'll leave you with this picture of the camp though. I took it around sunset, 5h ago. I went to the black barn in the photo, where the clinic is, to say bye and found myself rolling up my sleeves and jumping in to help. I also met the most precious baby ever. Details tomorrow. Oh and if you still want to donate, you can! Check out this link to contribute today!