16 May 2012

Hi, Mom, I May Be a While

This week (week 20) on the BootsnAll Indie Travel Challenge: Difficult Travel Moments.

I've been pretty lucky in my travels...there have been a fair share of issues -- like the trip where I couldn't find two of my hostels so had to wing it and hope for the best, or others where I had to manage through weird European strikes -- but nothing compared to what I ran into on my Argentina adventure in 2005.

The day after I was supposed to leave
The whole trip had been a bit rocky. The weeks leading up to it were crazy at work, so my research was minimal. I didn't realize it would be winter, so I showed up sans jacket. I also showed up a bit hungover from my friend's wedding, a bit worried about my dad being sick for the first time ever that I remembered (he had a mursa staph infection), and without the memory cards for my new digital camera.

Luckily my brother was there for the first two days of my stay, and had an extra jacket I could use (being that he is almost a foot taller than me, it was a little big, but it worked). And I was able to pick the memory cards up at the airport. And, after a few days there, I figured out some things to do, including visiting Mendoza.

Mendoza was probably my favorite place on my trip -- the weather was a little warmer than Buenos Aires, and the city not so overwhelming. I got a little sick, so likely hopped up on cold medicine on the flight back to BsAs. Who knows...the day I left was a long one; I had an early flight and forgot my bro's jacket at the hostel, so had to book it back there and get back to the airport before my plane took off. What I do know is that on that flight, my passport disappeared from my possession -- I think I maybe put it in my pocket and it fell out, or I meant to put it in my purse and missed.

The topper? I realized it was gone on a Friday night. My plane was to leave on Sunday afternoon. This was a problem.

Now, remember...2005. Pre-smart phones. Pre-camera phones. Pre-everyone owning a scanner and it being easy to get a copy of your passport. 

I call the U.S. Embassy in a panic. To this day I don't know how they understood me...I was practically hyperventilating! They told me I needed to file a police report (Hola, Senor Officer...estoy tonta y perdio mi pasaporte.), then go to the consulate Monday morning. Yup, the day after my plane was to take off.

Still a mess, I called home. My brother was the one who answered, and somehow he figured out (see: hyperventilating) that I needed him to please try to find, scan, and email me a copy of my birth certificate in case I needed it. My parents were likely up at the River, so could he please call them that I wouldn't be coming home as planned? 

Looking back, and in the grand scheme of things, I think this was such an ordeal because of all the stress I had arrived with. It all worked out -- I got to spend a little more time getting to know the city, and learned I can take a good passport picture -- and I was only delayed by one day...How lucky is that? There are so many worse things that could have happened, but at that moment, I had no perspective. 

Most importantly, this experience was the catalyst I needed to start a job search -- showing me how being unhappy in that very huge part of my life just wasn't healthy, and could affect the parts that should be fun, fun, fun!

Lemons & lemonade, no?

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