Right now all of my American Dreams should be coming true. I should be at home with carpet and Mexican food and animals and my wonderfully amazing friends and family (i didnt mean to leave you guys out in the last blog – aren´t you kind of a given??)
Instead I´m sitting at a hotel computer in rainy Barcelona. My Tuesday morning flight was canceled due to all sorts of nasty snow in London. This whole ordeal really only confirms my disdain for snow and cold weather in general. How many flights do you see getting canceled as a result of perfect sunshine – not too many. If anything, those flights are just empty because all of their passengers decided to stay at the beach instead.
LeAnn pre-four month trip to Spain would be throwing a nasty fit with lots of tears, curse words, and probably an obnoxious claim about how I´m going to spend Christmas by myself crying and eating eggs. Actually, that claim isn´t even too far fetched since that´s exactly how I spent Thanksgiving. But that´s beside the point…I´ve tried my best to roll with the punches, and despite staying in a hotel room the size of a closet with a bed that might be considered a ¨twin jr.¨ I´m doing just fine. These accommodations are far lovelier than fighting over the last muffin at the London Heathrow airport while sleeping on my luggage.
I would love to say that this flight debockle (sp) has been the first of my beauracratic nightmares this week, but unfortunately I´m the kid with a wedgie and a rolley backpack who the cool kids (beauracracy) like to pick on every day.
The first of these recent troubles began when I needed a teensy bit more money to get through my last four days – oh, and i don´t want to hear any lessons about budgeting. I think I did pretty damn well, especially when I compare myself to my roommates who ran out of their own money around the middle of September.
Margie Buffington, being the wonderful mother that she is, tried to get me access to these funds as quickly as possible. We figured a money wire transfer would be the quickest and easiest way to get me access to money. Bank of America doesnt have a branch in Spain, so we went with Western Union instead.
I can´t remember if I discussed my Bank of America troubles in my last blog, but they shut off my debit card on day 5 of my nine day vacation. Even though I called and told them where and when I would be traveling, they considered my bank activity suspicious. It took me four days AFTER I returned home to get it turned back on. I used lines such as ¨you are a multinational corporation. I can´t fathom how there isn´t a supervisor above you. Unless of course I´m speaking with the CEO¨and of course, ¨I am a student alone in Spain with zero access to money and you are telling me I have to wait another 48 hours? I´ll spend my time drafting a letter to as many newspapers as possible about how your company left me stranded eating nothing but bread for 4 days in a foreign country.¨
Besides a little brush up on my argumentative skills, my hours spent on the phone with Bank of America accomplished nothing. I still had to wait until I could fax over proof of my identity. I have a slight feeling their customer service for customers with less than 500 dollars in their account isn´t Bank of America´s main concern.
After that ordeal, I was happy that I was now working with another bank. Basically I had to go to one of a number of different locations that did Western Union transfers. A lot of these were supposedly Internet cafes or other banks or copy stores. I had a nice long list to search for…Five wrong addresses later, I was a little frustrated. While I walked around searching for the next mysterious location, I stumbled upon a Western Union…like an actual Western Union.
My first thought was, ¨Why in the world wasn´t this address listed when it´s the actual bank¨ Then I thought, ¨It´s 930 on a Monday, why isn´t it open” In typical Spanish fashion, Western Union was running a bit slow that day. They finally opened a little after 10. And by ¨open¨ I mean you could talk to someone behind the counter, but if you wanted to actually get money, that wouldnt be available until noon. This was ooohh soo reasonable since it´s not like the main function of a bank is the giving and receiving of money.
The woman sent me to the post office, where apparently I would be able to get my money right away. It was 1030 on a Monday morning, surely this be quick. I forgot to consider that Spaniards don´t really like working and would rather spend the beginning of their work day at the post office. So I joined my 30 closest friends at the post office and waited for my number to be called. I took the ticket marked for Western Union customers. 30 minutes later I was informed that was the wrong ticket…so typical. By the time I left, it was definitely after 12. I guess waiting for Western Union would have been the smarter decision…
After all of these bank troubles, I figured it was Barcelona´s sneaky little way of making me angry with it, so I wouldnt be sad to leave. Apparently Barcelona still thought I loved it too much, so it made sure to irritate me further by canceling my flight. Nice try Barca, I still love you…but really, I´m ready to be home.
–oh, i apologize for the typing-spelling errors. Spanish keyboards are confusing.