Friday, 23 May 2014

Travel, study, pack, enjoy!

At the moment it seems that life leaves little or no space for blogging. In the last couple of weeks in Korea I was finishing three pieces of work for my research methods module and packing up our flat (annoying as we're going back but weren't allowed to keep the room). The packing really put into perspective how much stuff we humans accumulate in life. Just six months of being in Korea resulted in boxes and boxes of stuff to leave there for the summer! You have to wonder where it all comes from and why we really need it.

We stopped off in Amsterdam on the way back, but not without hitch. One of the things I'm beginning to realise about travelling so often is that it results in fairly frequent (and expensive) f*ck ups.

So here's the story:

Our boss booked the ticket through a travel agent, with a change in Amsterdam on the way to Birmingham International. After deciding we wanted to stay in Amsterdam for a couple of days, we phoned KLM to change the second ticket, but they said only the travel agent could change it. We couldn't get in contact with the travel agent, so we bought another ticket instead, with another airline.
At Seoul airport we were told it was against the conditions of the (first) ticket to pick up our bags halfway through the journey, therefore our bags would be sent through to Birmingham, despite us not wanting them to. Pretty annoying when the journey has been paid for twice! The robotic 'customer handling agent' refused to do anything about it, but said maybe in Amsterdam we would be able to stop our bags.

11 hours later, at Amsterdam airport...
We were told it was impossible to give us our bags, but if we didn't board the plane then our bags would be offloaded and held until we paid the release fee of 275 euros per bag. Which was obviously insane, not to mention more money than buying a new flight. So we bought a new flight.
We went back to Birmingham and left one bag in the lockers there. The wait time for the flight was four hours, which we spent mainly in the airport bar. This resulted in us drinking too much and (Lee) telling far too many people that we were on our way to Amsterdam, "but had already been there once today."

What a crazy world.

Amsterdam was, of course, wonderful, and I hold out hope that we'll be able to live there one day, when we make our millions. I love the bikes, the canals, the friendliness, the relaxed atmosphere. I love the cafes and the red light district. I love that every bar has a resident cat! We went to Anne Frank's House, which was interesting, being something I've known about and seen pictures of for as long as I can remember.

And now, once again, we're home. It always feels so strange in that all the waiting and missing everyone fades to a distant memory, as we seamlessly slot back in. As always, it's like we were never away.

This summer is set to be busy and extremely fun. Plans include meeting two very important babies, going to a very important wedding, writing a very important dissertation, clearing out my very important (not really) stuff, helping my parents with their very important move to Kent, and going to Brazil for the all important World Cup!!!

And now I'll leave you with a picture of dear Coventry on a lovely sunny afternoon. It's not all bad here!