Hello everyone. I’m sorry for going missing these past few days, everything has just been beyond crazy. I’ve been working days and sometimes nights, I’ve travelled, my immune system had a breakdown so I caught a cold. I’ve been popping pills and drinking 20 cups of tea everyday, so I can get better and be at 100%.
I was at home Wednesday night, relaxing while watching a TV show, unsuspecting of the storm that was about to come. I got a phone call at about 23:30 from a colleague, telling me to pack a bag and bring it tomorrow because I’m flying to Bristol. I had been working on a presentation for about a week, thinking we were going to present it on a conference call, when they decided it was best if I presented it in person. I got out of bed, a little confused, and started packing what I thought I needed for one day in Bristol. A lot of warm clothes especially, because it’s colder by 10 degrees there. It’s always winter in the UK!
I got to work the next morning and went on with the presentation. We were supposed to leave around 15:00, so I had to make sure I added all the finishing touches. My bosses were on their own business trip to Paris, so they were going to check the presentation later that evening.
The two other colleagues I was leaving with started fiddling around me at about 15:15, telling me to shut the laptop down and hurry, because we’ll be late. That’s when I started hearing their conversation about passports. And then it hit me. I don’t have a passport. Not since I was 14 or so. It expired and we entered the EU, so I didn’t renew it, because I knew I could travel mostly anywhere with just my ID. I didn’t figure I was going to Asia any time soon, so I thought it would be enough. I told them hesitantely… “You know, I don’t have a passport!”. Panic started setting in. What if I can’t go? Romania isn’t in the Schengen space, so I was kind of unsure whether I could leave or not. And so were all the others. People started calling travel agencies and friends to inquire about the situation.
We didn’t have time to find out because we really had to leave if we weren’t going to miss the plane. We were going to find out sooner or later anyway. On the way to the airport, I realized I left one of my two phones at work, because of the hurry. The smarter one, meaning the iphone. The one I could use to connect to a wireless network and write to everyone where I am and what I was doing. I also left my laptop charger. I was a disaster.
Luckily, the airport people said I could go. So, in case you were wondering, yes, you can travel to the UK with just your ID. That still didn’t stop all of my colleagues to scold me and tell me to get a passport ASAP! Apparently, I’ll be using it a lot.
We got on the plane and I switched off my other phone, the one with the Hungarian number in it, as you’re supposed to. We continued to work as soon as the “no electronics” sign stopped blinking. We checked the spelling of the presentation and any other mistakes, with screaming gypsy children right behind us. We all agreed that it would be good if children had a mute button, or that they should fly with separate air planes or something. Especially since we weren’t the only ones trying to get work done, so was half the plane. I had never experienced something like that. Usually, I just read or something. It was a first.
When we arrived, the first thing I wanted to do was to turn on my phone. Guess again, little kid! I had another surprise coming. I had no idea what my PIN number for that phone was. It was written on a small card, in a small drawer in my Budapest apartment, and I was the only owner of a key set. Well, me and my real estate agent, but I didn’t have her number anyway, and I didn’t think calling her at midnight would be such a good idea. So I was lost in space, basically. The only thing that saved me was a free SIM card I got on the plane. It was an O2 sampling, they gave free SIMs to everyone. Not that it had any kind of credit on it, but at least I had a phone number where I could be reached.
Next, we got on a taxi to take us to Bristol. The fancy kind. The kind with wireless inside. I never knew that was possible, to have wireless in your car. All three of us were tapping away on our laptops, sending e-mails and presentations and putting together file lists and to do lists. The taxi ride to Bristol took about two hours, so by the time I arrived at the Marriot I was so exhausted, I only wanted to crawl in that big bed of theirs. Their wireless network didn’t work anyway, so I was lost in space once again.
The best part of the trip was probably the breakfast. A huge Swedish buffet with anything you could imagine. All kinds of omelettes, sausages and beans, fruits, salads, breads and muffins. I got a tiny bit of everything and enjoyed it since I still had a long day ahead.
Client presentations and meetings lasted until the end of the day, but I had to leave early because the taxi was picking me up to take me to the airport. I was flying alone this time, since the others had to stay until Friday. I had a fun conversation with the taxi driver, who always drives people from my company from London to Bristol and back, so he had a lot of tales to share. I don’t want to get him in trouble, but he knew all the good gossip. We also talked about VAT, expenses, driving on the right side of the road and being in long distance relationship. Now he can tell gossip about me to other people. The 6 degrees of connection, that’s what it was.
After wasting time at the airport for about an hour and a half, I finally sat down on a bench to wait for boarding. But as it usually happens when you’re exhausted, sick, and wishing to arrive home, the plane had a 1 hour delay. So I entertained myself by having a conversation with to other Romanians who happened to sit right next to me. That conversation is a different story and I will share it some other time.
Now I have a good reason to be happy, since my boyfriend is coming by in a sort of unexpected visit! They left the Golden Drum festival and will be pit stopping at my place. I can barely wait. It’s been 35 days, as you might have noticed from the title.
I’ll be back!