13 August 2009

To Münster, with... love?

As departure time for an upcoming trip draws nearer and nearer, life begins to blur a bit; tunnel vision sets in; anxiety flares; lists are made and items are checked off; and then ultimately, after staying up for two hours longer than you should’ve, nothing else exists in the world except for leaving on time, and remembering to bring everything.

That’s about the time that I start playing a little game that has developed over the course of my extensive travel experience (I’m not boasting. My parents live in the U.S. and Jasheen’s parents live in Singapore.; We have to travel to a staff conference once a year that’s typically somewhere that’s not Britain; we have good friends in different parts of Europe that we can usually get to for pretty inexpensive airfare – like £0.01 sometimes – all that to say, we have a lot of stamps in our passports). Anyway, as I was saying… It’s about that time that I start playing a little game called, “How far into the trip will we get before I come completely unglued and make Jasheen revisit her reasons for marrying me.” It’s not nearly as fun as it sounds.

Before I share at which point in our travels the wheels came off, I’ll just detail the outbound leg of our journey:

· Taxi (from home to Glasgow Central Train Station – 10min)

· Train (from Glasgow to Prestwick Airport – 45min)

· Airplane (Glasgow/Prestwick to Frankfurt – 1 hr 30min)

· Foot (Frankfurt-Hahn Airport to My Place hotel – 20min)

· SLEEP – 5 hrs

· Car (Frankfurt to Münster – 3 hrs 11min – not including stops)

This journey began at about 5.30p on Tuesday evening and commenced at about 4.30p on Wednesday afternoon. And in case you’re wondering, we wash, rinse and repeat on Saturday – yippee. To be fair, our little girls were amazing. I mean, amazing in the way that makes you look at your kids, then look at your spouse, then look back at your kids, then look straight at the audience and ask in external narrative, “who are they and what have they done with my kids?”

(Right before we left the flat, I jumped on the computer and frantically sent out an email to our beloved eNewsletter list requesting prayer for the conference we’re at, and travel mercies for our girls – who typically are NOT good travelers. It wasn’t very far into the trip that I noticed that people had responded. The way Gabrielle and Isabelle held up on the journey is inexplicable apart from being bathed in prayer.)

Ok.. so now that you know the timeline of the trip, we can get back to where this all started, my fun little game. I won’t keep you in suspense any longer. I left the flat feeling surprisingly good considering the upcoming journey that lay ahead. Jasheen even made a point to say, “Wow, you’re relatively relaxed,” something that was clearly uncharacteristic. And I felt good. What could go wrong?

When we arrived at Glasgow Central and were about 30 yards into the station, Jasheen exclaimed, “Oh! I don’t have my license!!!” (for the record, this is the point in the trip where my little game ended – I made it about 15 minutes into the journey) The license she was referring to was her driver’s license; the driver’s license that we would need in order to collect the rental car because we rented the car in her name since my license is expired; the driver’s license that was, at that moment, in her purse at home behind our locked front door. And there wasn’t enough time to return home, get the license and get back to the station to catch our train.

“Seriously,” I asked, “you don’t have it???” I wasn’t angry at Jasheen, let’s get that straight right off. I began to play out the potential scenarios of how this could effect our trip, none of which ended with us actually getting the car. So with the first leg of our trip done and dusted (the taxi), I launch with this zinger, “I’m honestly considering punting the trip and just going home.” Jasheen’s eyes got really big, but not in that ecstatic, you-just-gave-me-a-diamond-ring kind of big… more like that, I-know-donkeys-with-more-sense-and-class-than-you kind of big. And at that point I had effectively ruined Jasheen’s trip until around the time we landed in Germany. It’s a gift.

Needless to say, we carried on with our trip with the plan that we hoped the person at the rental car desk simply wouldn’t notice that my license expired in 2007. No such luck. After spending the night in Frankfurt, we proceeded to the car rental desk… and after being denied we were once again faced with the option to return home early.

Having assessed our options, Mike and Carol Kurtyka, whom we were traveling with, offered to rent the car with one of them as the driver. Problem solved. Reflecting back on the journey, I can’t help but review the trip in Billy Joel style, a la We Didn’t Start the fire fashion:

Got a taxi, Got a train,

Forgot a license, went insane,

Caught the airplane, Ryan Air,

Walked to hotel, didn't care

Gabrielle wet the bed,

Jasheen started seeing red

Tried to rent a car, got blanked

Thought the trip had finally tanked

Carol drove, Sophie chucked

Now our trip was really… well, not that bad.

Arrived in Münster half past four

Room was on the 2nd floor,

Now we’re here, where we belong

Traveled safe, but a bit too long.

Can’t rent a car you liar!

Your license is expired

Your ruse is oh so tired.

Well, we're here... in the land of bier, schnitzel, bratwurst, and the autobahn. It's so great to be back in Germany after so long. I revisited Munich in 1990 after returning to the States in 1989, but have long waited to return. Two more days and then we're back to Glasgow. Can't to see what adventure that brings!

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