If all had gone as per plan, we would have been on our flight to London right now. And in a few hours, we would have connected to a flight to Athens and met Tara’s grandparents there for a vacation that took four years to materialize, and a few months to plan.
But nothing went as per plan. And I am here, typing away on my laptop, from the comfort of my home.
So what exactly happened – We needed two visas – UK visa, since we were planning to a short stay in London before returning to SF; and a Schengen visa for Greece. Now we are not newbies when it comes to visas. We have done this drill several times over. But this time, a chain of events, led to a mega screw up that led to a collapse of our well intentioned and much awaited travel plans. It was just not meant to be.
Agam’s passport was up for renewal. It took a few weeks longer than expected. But we still had time. So we started with the UK visa. We got an appointment for biometrics. When we went for the appointment we were informed that the application center in San Jose is not accepting any applications. No new date was provided. We were asked to check the status on a website. And so we did. A week later when we found out that our new biometric date is three weeks after the original date.
So we called the Greek Consulate for a visa appointment and they told us to come in June. I laughed at the receptionist since by then even camera’s my reels would have developed. She did not get the joke. So we ditched the idea of a Greek consulate appointment and started looking for any Schengen country that could give us an appointment. We landed with an appointment with the French Consulate for May 1st.
We were certain that we will get our UK visa before that and that we have 20 days to process a Schengen visa. It was close but not impossible.
But then UK Visa took three weeks longer, and only arrived on May 14th. There was no way for us to secure a Schengen visa. Disappointed, and exhausted, I canceled all flights and reservations for our leg of the plan.
And then we decided to convince the grandparents to go. By then the over all morale was so low, that the entire plan collapsed like a house of cards in a few days.
We could have gone to UK, but again, we have been to London twice and I was only going there to eat at Dishoom, for the third time. So we let go of it all. And we accepted our fate.
Sigh! For the planners, here’s a lesson – It doesn’t matter how early you plan, your plans can come crumbling down, for no fault of yours. In that moment you realize how little your contribution matters. And you settle your losses and book yourself eight days in paradise with the funds you recover.
More than the effort and the money, what crushed us was how we had planned for this milestone celebration for so long. And how, for the worst predictable reason possible, it all came crashing down.
Regardless, we learnt our lessons. Tara gave me grief about not getting to see Dadu and Dadi in Greece. And I pledged to never go to Greece. No thank you, I can go without seeing those ruins for a lifetime.
We really needed this break. But here’s a silver lining. And I am a queen of silver linings. As per our original itinerary, we would have spent our ninth wedding anniversary on a return flight to SFO. But now, on June 4th, we will be in Wailea 🙂 We have hardly ever traveled on our anniversary. Since Memorial Day is usually the weekend before that, we usually travel on that weekend. So this year, for a change, we will be together on a vacation, on June 4th 🙂 [I don’t want to jinx it yet].
In another news, and on a topic as depressing as canceled travel plans, being an ENFJ is hard on you! I sometimes wish I could ignore the constant sensing that I am engaged in. The extraverted sensing part of an ENFJ comes with a lot of cognitive stress. It is the joy, and yet the burden. It is like a magic trick you wish you did not have. Just like you cannot unsee what you have seen. You cannot ignore what you have sensed. And especially when your mind has trained over the years to be pretty accurate with your sensing.
My compass has shifted. It is that time of the year when I know I need to make some conscious decisions about my year, before I let the time start running against me. This time, I am more resolute. And I am not going to convince myself out of the challenge I am setting up for myself.
Let’s go find this joy that has gone missing. But first, a pit stop in Maui. Since all good things start in Hawaii 😉