Friday, November 11, 2011

It's a Wonderful Life

Yeah, ok, that movie.  I know.  But this really is a wonderful life.  When I tell people about my lifestyle hopping around the world, it seems that it couldn't possibly be real life, even to me sometimes.  But it is real life.  It's my super-fabulous, real life.  By the way, I'm going to London on Friday.  You're rolling your eyes right now because you want to hate me for saying that, but you just can't stop reading, right?

A few weeks ago, I had a conversation with a student while on a program day trip that went something like this:

Student: Where did you live at BU?
Me: I was an RA in Stuvi.
Student: Oh, you're so lucky.  How much did that coffee cost?
Me: No idea.  Ask BU.
Student: Ugh, you're so lucky.
Me:  Wait, I'm confused.  Do you hate me because I lived in StuVi, because I lived there for free, or because your tuition is paying for my coffee right now?
Student: Wait, what?  Want to go to Portugal with us?
Me: Yeah, totally!  But I'll be in London that weekend.  Another weekend?

Ok, perhaps I shouldn't have said that, but I couldn't resist.  It was too perfect.  I realize that I have a pretty sweet life, and I don't take it for granted.  When people seem amazed and ask how I could possibly get a job out here, I simply answer, "I applied for it.  You could learn Spanish and apply for work out here too."  Really, why not?

Last summer, Marissa decided my theme song was, "Hello," by Martin Solveig.  Here's a fitting quote from my new theme song, "Good Life," by One Republic:

"To my friends in New York,
I say hello,
My friends in L.A.,
They don't know,
Where I've been,
for the past few years or so,
Paris to China to Colorado..."
"Oh, this has got to be the good life,
This has got to be the good life,
This could really be a good life, good life."

Yep, that pretty much sums it up.  That being said, I will admit that I have not been to China...yet.  Hey, the sky is the airplane's limit, right?  If it weren't, I'd book a trip to the Moon.  Don't laugh, you know I'd do it.

At times, I feel like I'm on vacation.  A vacation which is sprinkled with extra weekend vacations.  Sometimes I can't believe this is my real life.  Today, I had a bizarre moment of memory failure, saw that a friend was spending a weekend in Paris, and thought to myself, "Oh, how lucky.  I wish I could do that.  Sounds really nice."  Then I remembered I'm going to Paris in December, right after my trip to Amsterdam.

The funny thing is that casual comments like, "Oh, I think I'll go to Morocco in December," just keep slipping into conversation because there's always an upcoming vacation.  I look at google maps constantly, maybe obsessively, to select my next travel plans, and it's not just wishful thinking.  I really will take these trips.

P.S. I have a few extended weekends next semester and am considering traveling to: Dublin, Istanbul, Athens, Budapest, etc.  Any suggestions on these places?  I was also thinking of Santiago de Compostela, Bilbao & San Sebastian, and La Rioja on some 3-day weekends.  Maybe the Canary Islands for my birthday?

-ONE WEEK LATER-

My life just gets better and better.  I can´t believe it sometimes.  Here´s the story:
After my fabulous 5-day trip to London (read the London blog post), I was informed by very unhelpful Iberian Airlines staff members at Heathrow Airport that my flight was overbooked and I could not fly back to Madrid until the following day.  Sounds terrible, right?  

Here's how to turn the lemon into pink lemonade: Get a copy of the airline´s "Passenger Booklet of Rights," read what happens when you´re denied boarding, and then go to the counter, booklet in hand, and politely request everything in it.  It totally works - for some reason, they get nervous when they see you holding that booklet.  In any case, Iberian Airlines put me up for the night in a hotel, gave me dinner and breakfast vouchers, transportation to and from the airport-hotel, a few international phone calls, and reimbursed more than the cost of my entire round trip flight.  It pays (in cash!!) to know your rights as a passenger.  The hotel they chose would have normally cost $520/night.  For dinner, we had a 5-course Chinese food meal.  When I finally landed in Madrid, they handed me a pile of euros to keep me happy...Iberian Airlines basically paid for over half of my fantastic, 5-day London vacation.  Excellent.  Like I said, life just gets better and better.

Oh, btw, I just decided to take a trip to Salamanca next weekend.

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