I don’t know about you, but I am having quite the day. I flew back to Germany from Spain on Saturday afternoon with what I thought was just a particularly aggressive cold, until I woke up on Monday unable to talk bc of how bad my throat was hurting. Fab, right? So, to the doctor I went. Mind you, I had already booked my ticket to England for the next day (today), so when the doc said the bloodwork showed I had strep, I was not excited. I called Sassy and Becks to discuss the new plan seeing as I wasn’t trying to give anyone my plague, but they both said they were still good with me coming in, so I'm crossing my fingers I don’t get them sick and feel like a horrible person.
So, this morning, I woke up at 5AM to catch a bus to the airport for my 8AM flight. Naturally, I couldn’t find the correct bus station, so I called my roommate around 5.45 (she’s a morning person, don’t worry) and she sent me in the right direction. On arrival at the airport, Ryanair had me check my bag for FIFTY EUROS bc it was like 1 inch bigger than regulations allowed – fantastic – and shortly after, announced that we had a flight delay. This is not a surprise, bc my flights are always delayed, bc the universe doesn’t want me to get cocky. I get it, it’s cool. Our flight went smoothly, but we arrived in Manchester half an hour later than anticipated. Why is this a problem? I did a thing I almost never do and booked my bus ticket in advance (Becks lives a few hours outside of Manchester and I’m headed to her first). Why did I book in advance when I can’t even remember the last time I did that? Bc I’m sick and my brain is fuzzy, leave me alone. I deplaned around the time that I should have been almost to the bus station, and I didn’t get through customs and pick up my bag from baggage claim until the time my bus was scheduled to leave. Mind you, there was still a twenty-minute train ride and ten-minute walk between me and my bus. I trekked to the Manchester Airport train station, which is INCREDIBLY inconveniently placed as an agonizingly, unnecessarily (and potentially currently exaggeratedly) long walk away from the airport proper, already having accepted that I’d missed my bus and would have to pay to get another ticket to Becka in Durham.
In following with how the rest of the morning had been going, there was a massive line to buy train tickets. So I waited, knowing the only other bus to Durham for the day wasn’t for another five hours and I had all the time in the world. It wasn’t until I bought my ticket that I had the revelation. Now I don’t know if you know this, but there is a one-hour time difference between Germany and England (as in Germany is an hour ahead). Another bit of noteworthy information is that USUALLY, my phone updates the clock to the new time zone automatically after being restarted upon landing at my destination. As such, I assumed my magical phone clock was up to date bc big brother is everywhere and the little FBI agent in my phone was helping me out. I assumed wrong.
So like I said, I bought my ticket. Oddly enough, it said I was taking the 9.30 train to Manchester Picadilly. 9.30? How could that be, when it’s 10.25? I checked the clock on the wall. 9.25. I texted Saskia to see what time it is in England. She says 9.25. And then it hits me. My phone is wrong, and I can STILL CATCH MY DAMN BUS. It was quite a moment for me, considering the rough morning I’d had, and I booked it to the bus station (all while dragging my poor rolling bag across the cobblestone and gravel streets of Manchester) to make it with 5 minutes to spare.
Side note: this bag is like freakin’ Flat Stanley, it’s been all over the damn world, and I have this growing (and legitimate) fear that it’s just going to explode and all my shit will literally be in the street, rather than just metaphorically.
But anyway, as of right this moment, I’m on a bus-change in Leeds that was supposed to last 45 minutes and will instead be at least two hours, bc of course it will. No complaints here though, I’m just happy I caught my damn bus bc ya girl is too poor to buy another ticket.
So why the over-exaggerated, excruciatingly detailed account of the unfortunate series of events that was my morning? The lesson is this, folks: sometimes you just gotta go with it. This morning was a rough one in pretty much every fathomable way, in addition to the fact that my throat feels like Rocky Balboa has been using it as a punching bag and all I can eat is hot tea and soft croissants (talk about an extreme diet). My point is, there was nothing I could have done about anything that happened today. I couldn’t have convinced them not to charge me for my bag (though maybe I should have tried), I couldn’t have prevented the flight delay (bc fixing planes isn’t really in my bag of tricks), I couldn’t have made the customs line shorter or the train ticket line go faster, and I can’t make my connecting bus get here any faster than it’s already going to (trust me, I’ve tried). I could have spent the morning stressed and irritated and upset, but to what end?
There was nothing I could have done to change any of the factors at play. Everything was actively out of my control. And don’t get me wrong, my family and friends will be the first to tell you that if I can do something to improve a situation or make things go the way I want them to, I will. Like I said before, if life gives you lemons but you’re craving orange juice, figure out a way to make it happen. But there is a balance – you must understand that there are some things that are simply out of your control. And sometimes, a lot of those things happen in the first 5 hours of your day. And that’s okay. But you gotta go with it, bc worrying about every minor inconvenience that comes your way isn’t going to get you anywhere.
The Germans have a phrase for this, whose closest translation would probably be something along the lines of “when it rains, it pours” but theirs is a little simpler. It goes “wenn, dann richtig” or “when, then really”. The English translation doesn’t exactly make it sound like the most insightful thing anybody ever came up with, but I swear it loses something in translation.
I’ve had a lot of friends tell me in the past that I’m one of the most optimistic and slow to anger people they know. I don’t know what it is, I don’t know if I’ve always been like that or if my travels have made me more relaxed (a strong case could be made for Spain and Southeast Asia as being two of the regions with the biggest impact on my ability to chill the hell out bc before moving to Spain I was aggressively compartmentalized and ambitious and before traveling Southeast Asia I still cared - at least a little - about having some form of a plan or schedule or structure). So maybe if you’re a little high strung or easily frustrated, the best advice I could give you is to move to Spain or backpack Southeast Asia for a few months… but in the event that you’re not interested in uprooting your entire life or if for whatever reason that’s not an option for you (strange considering how totally easy and accessible both of those places are to most of you in the States), I would use the following as general rules:
Life is to short to worry about the flight delay or the change of plans or the missed opportunity. Work with what you’ve got and take everything as it comes. There’s not enough time to be upset when there’s so much world to see and memories to make and moments to take in and enjoy.
In closing, I would like to express my apologies for turning my hectic morning into a soapbox soliloquy… but I had a bus delay and a whole lot to say (surprise). What can you do.
So until next time folx, XOXOX
About the Author
Mouth like a sailor, great lacker of empathy, paper cut survivor, avid arguer, harsh critic of people who put clothes on their pets, easily distracte
USA, Mexico, Iceland, Austria, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Morocco, Malta, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Ireland, Denmark, Czech Republic, Hungary, England, Poland, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Scotland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Croatia, Greece
The Baltic countries,
if Covid allows for it (Latvia, Estonia, maybe a stop in Finland)
(in August in the US)