change of plans

Let me take you back to November 2009.

My mother and I came up with a genius plan to tour the South of Spain for two weeks in early July and then take a 10-day trip to Israel before returning to the U.S.  That left me two weeks between when I finished work and when my mother arrived.  I thought about using those 2 weeks to visit Jessica Lee at Oxford, since at that point I didn’t know she would come to Morocco with me and I didn’t know when I would see her again.

Then we found out that my sister was pregnant and was due in early July.

Wanting to be home for the birth of her grandson and my nephew, my mom and I nixed the Israel trip, condensed our Andalucia trip to 10 days, and pushed it up to June 13, 2 days after I stopped working.

I planned this trip down to the tee.  I made a 10-day itinerary detailing what we would do each day, I booked all the hotels, and I reserved the rental car.  I haven’t gone to Andalucia at all (minus a morning in Sevilla) in anticipation of this trip.

Last Tuesday, my sister found out that she would have to have a c-section on Friday (yesterday) due to small complications in her pregnancy.  What!  This baby was coming over 3 weeks early!

I skyped with my mom Wednesday night and she still intended to come on the trip with me.  But Thursday I skyped with her again and she had changed her mind, feeling more comfortable staying in Houston with the new baby.  She suggested doing the trip in the next few months, but the thought of returning to Spain after I had been living here for 9 months sounded horrific.

There were a good 5 hours where I was clueless as to what I was going to do.  I was angry that my mom was backing out at the last minute and further frustrated by the fact that I couldn’t be angry at her about it.  I had a Lufthansa ticket leaving Spain on June 22nd, and I didn’t want to stay in Miranda 10 more days.  I thought about doing the Andalucia trip by myself, but I didn’t really want to end my time in Spain solo.  And yet, for 7 months I had been set on going to Andalucia and couldn’t imagine leaving without being able to see what Spain is so famous for: flamenco, Seville, the Alhambra in Granada, the Mezquita in Cordoba, the gorgeous coast, etc.

When I got home from work a few hours later my mom and my sister had both written me emails–my sister insisting that she wished my mom wasn’t cancelling and my mom proposing to come to Spain two weeks later than she planned.  I skyped with my mom and she said that as long as the baby was born healthy, she would come around June 25th.

So that still left me wondering, “What am I going to do until she gets here?”  And I think that thought that I had abandoned so long ago popped back up in my head, and I realized that I should go to England!  Not only was Jessica Lee there, but Hannah was also going to be there visiting some friends.  Much better to spend my time traveling with friends than to go somewhere alone, even if I had already been to England. I’m usually down to travel alone, but it’s been such a long year and I’d rather be around friends. I also thought I should take the extra time to see Valencia, a city I had wished I would have had time to see. Wonderful.

The problem was, I still didn’t know if my mom would be coming at all.  If she wasn’t then I wouldn’t reschedule my June 22nd flight and would consider shortening my England trip in order to squeeze Valencia in before I left.

Now, keep in mind that I also had about 10 reservations in Andalucia that I either had to cancel or change depending on if my mom didn’t come or just came later.*

I was, in all respects, waiting for her word.

My nephew, Ezra, was born Friday afternoon (my time) perfectly healthy.  He’s much cuter than newborns usually are and I can’t wait to hold him.

My mother was at the hospital sending me pictures from her iPhone, and I kept pressuring her back to let me know if she was going to come to Spain or not.**  Well I went to bed at 2 AM Friday night and still hadn’t heard from her.  I was a little peeved because my England/Valencia trip would be starting in 2 days and I wanted to book the flights and hostels.  I also wanted to get the ball rolling on the Andalucia cancellations/reservation changes because our trip was originally supposed to start on SUNDAY and as of Saturday morning I still didn’t know what we were going to do.  Sobre todo, even though I didn’t create the situation, I was the one who had to take care of business.

Upon lukewarm encouragement from my mom, I went ahead and booked my flight to/from England, my bus to/from Valencia, and the hostels in both places, pretty sure that my mom would be coming since Ezra was born healthy.

Finally, we skyped again at 5:00 PM and she started out with, “I’m trying to gauge how you would feel if I didn’t come.”  Well whatever.  It seemed to me like she simply just didn’t want to come at this point in time and I was sick of fighting it.

Since I had already booked my trip to England for the 14-21 and to Valencia for the 22-24, I didn’t think it was worth it to pay to change my Lufthansa ticket just to go to Valencia.

In the end, I lost the money I spent on the bus to Valencia, but I could still keep my England plans.  An added plus was that it only took me 40 minutes to cancel all the reservations for the Andalucia trip.  And after getting used to the constant changing of plans, coming back to Spain in a few months to go to Andalucia doesn’t (at least at the moment) sound so bad.  And when we come back, we’ll have enough time for me to add Valencia to the itinerary.

So, as planned, I’m coming home on Tuesday, June 22nd.  I’ll see you then!

*I had also spent around 200 euros of my money in the reservations and had, that morning before I talked to my mom, just closed my bank account.  Therefore, how would they be able to refund me if the credit card they had charged no longer existed?

**I only pressured her in 2 of my response emails.  This took a lot of self-restraint and compassion.


1 Comment

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One response to “change of plans

  1. Ilya

    Wow! First of all, Mazel Tov on your new nephew! That is very exciting news. Secondly, I applaud you for your self-restraint and compassion in dealing with this situation. It sounds super stressful and frustrating, and I am impressed with the way you dealt with it. I think you will have an excellent time in England and it will be a nice way to end your year abroad. Andalucia is really a different world from the north of Spain, so it doesn’t matter if you see it now or in a couple of months (or years). It is definitely worth seeing, but maybe you will appreciate it even more if you take a little break from Spain and then come back after some time. Anyways, considering the circumstances, I think you made the right decisions, and I look forward to speaking to you after June 22nd to hear more about your year and your impressions of Spain. All the best! -Ilya

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