Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Back to my first Georgian mantra

Did I say that I am not surprised by anything that happens here in Georgia anymore?

I lied.

I spent a lovely day in Tbilisi on an architectural tour, a stop into the National Gallery, and a walk around the old town. I got to go into a church that I had been wanting to see and had a friend light some candles for me in another church since I wasn't dressed properly at that moment to go inside. I turned in my phone at the Ministry of Education, had my last lobiani (bean-filled bread) from my favorite lobiani stand, and went back to my hostel to make sure I had everything ready to fly out.

Another teacher was flying out at roughly the same time as me, so we asked the guy who runs the hostel, Misha, to call a taxi for us to come pick us up after midnight.

About 10 p.m., I was online looking at a map of Warsaw in preparation for my 10-hour lay-over there. There are some great sights that I am excited to see.

Suddenly my Yahoo! Mail tab displayed a "(1 unread)" in bold letters. I clicked that tab and was surprised to see an email from TLG Flights. I almost didn't click on it. My first thought was, "I already have all my flight information. I wonder why Alex emailed it to me." But I hovered over the [No Subject] with my pointer for only a moment and then clicked. This is what I read:

Dear Stephanie

I’ m very sorry

Travel agency called me now and they told me than ticket was canceled…

Your flight delayed until June 23 4:40 AM

I’m sorry again
Please please confirm email.

I’m very sorry again.

Please call me tomorrow any time



I had to read the message a couple of times before I realized what it said -- and that it wasn't a joke. Everyone in the common room in the hostel that I had been chatting with read my incredulous expression. They knew that something very unexpected had happened. The utter shock registered on my face loud and clear. Misha was sitting next to me on the sofa and looked at the email displayed on the computer screen. He said, "Oh wow." I read the email aloud for everyone. Exclamations of disbelief bounced around the room as everyone expressed their horror at my news. Misha poured me the glass of beer I had refused earlier and put on another of the extreme mountain-biking videos we had been watching on his laptop. It was just what I needed to detach for a few minutes while the news processed in my brain.

After a couple of glasses of beer and a few awesome downhill-biking videos, I sent a reply email to Alex. It read, "Okay. I'll come by the office tomorrow to get my new itinerary." Misha said that my bed from last night was still available -- good -- I'm going to need it. I gathered up my laptop and stepped out of the room to call my brother who would be picking me up in California and my mom who would worry if she didn't know what was happening.

Back in December I wrote a couple of posts about the time zone that Georgia operates in -- GMT -- which everyone lovingly refers to as "Georgian Maybe Time." It was at that time that I adopted the mantra that kept me sane for the first few months while learning to deal with the lack of regard for time and details and planning: "Flexibility and spontaneity." I have learned to go with whatever comes my way. No problem. No stressing out. No freak-outs. But this one was almost more than I could handle. Thanks to deep breaths, calm words from Misha, and my mantra, I didn't stress out or freak out. It's out of my control. Tonight I will sleep and look forward to an extra day in Tbilisi.

Who knows what tomorrow may hold?

(Hopefully, a for-real plane ticket home.)

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