Schedule Shutdown and a Traumatic Trip

It’s been quite a busy week at Inkreadable this week. With things deteriorating Covidwise in the Netherlands, we took the Writers Group online at least until things calm down a bit. Since Jasper is diabetic, I have also decided to ask that only people who have been vaccinated come to my house once things open up. I think it’s an easy enough ask. What I am not sure about is how the unvaccinated people that I know will take that. One person in my Writers Group has used the term apartheid to talk about vaccinations. While I am not concerned about friction now, as this past Thursday’s meeting went online and there was no issue, the lockdown ending may have a different result. But it looks like I may have some time, as I’m not convinced the lockdown is going to end after three weeks.

Looking back over the week now, I’ve been wondering if the beginning of the week wasn’t a harbinger. On Monday, I arrived at Piet Hein To find that all but two of my students weren’t going to be in the class. I learned that one of the kids In my class had tested positive for Covid so the whole of his class, which included two other kids in my class, was in quarantine. My fourth student has only shown up to two of the sessions. I let Amardip know and he advised me to ask the teachers at the school about the student so that we can at least cover our bases. But things were about to change rapidly.

We had recently learned that my aunt was quite ill with cancer. They did not have a diagnosis of the type as yet, and I was waiting to hear about a possible prognosis. On Tuesday we received word that In all likelihood she would pass away either that day or the next. Knowing that I started making arrangements to head to the US. It was a lot more complicated than I thought it was going to be. I was not able to find any tickets that were direct to Washington from Amsterdam and everything else I found with connecting flights, was in the thousands of dollars. My sister contacted me and she was able to find me a ticket for quite a bit less. The catch? I either had to fly to London or Dublin. I chose London as I am a bit familiar with the airport. The next step was to figure out what I needed in terms of Covid for each leg of the journey. For London, I need a passenger locator form and proof of vaccination. For Washington, I needed proof of vaccination, an attestation form, and a rapid test. The time running short, I made a reservation for a rapid test at 8 o’clock in the morning on Wednesday.

The next step of course was to rearrange my schedule. I knew that most people would be willing to cancel and wait for me to get back. But one of my students wanted a substitute teacher and so that needs arranging with the English Center. Because I had prepped a lesson already for Friday, I was able to give it to the teacher who would do the substitution. The student also wanted to continue with the other teacher. While I am upset at losing a student, the customer experience is what matters. And I will probably get more students. I also had to arrange my other English Center students which were easy enough. A little bit more difficult was The Conversation Playground, But I was able to enlist Erica’s help and get her to take the class for me. We also had a conversation early on Monday morning to go over what she needed to expect.

On Wednesday, I ran to get my PCR test and then go teach in Amstelveen. It was a fraught morning worried that I wouldn’t be able to get to the lesson in time. But I was there with about 10 minutes to spare. Harumi decided that she wanted to wait until I got back. While I know that I traveled due to circumstances beyond my control, and most people are understanding, I still have a lot of guilt. I think I have come up with a way that everyone gets their lessons when I go to to Greece in December (which is the source of my guilt). I am going to offer online lessons to those students who wish to continue while I’m on holiday. Since most of my students are online anyway it shouldn’t be a problem, the only worry is my in-person Student in Amstelveen. Still, it’s a problem for when I get back.

I got to the airport on Thursday and presented my documents to the airline. I had filled in the incorrect airline number on the UK form, so I had to redo it. Once I got to London, the layover was so short that I got to the gate in the middle of boarding. When I presented my boarding pass and passport, I was pulled aside because my passport had been flagged. It was either a random check or they thought I was a person of suspicion. Lesson learned? Avoid Heathrow, whenever possible. On balance, I am glad that I came and was able to spend a little bit of time With my family, and of course, I got to see my aunt. It was also nice to see my sister and my dad who I haven’t seen in two years. The trip was the right thing to do. The bonus was that I was able to get some things done with my apartment here in DC. I am looking forward to returning to Amsterdam at the end of the week,

That’s all she wrote for this Inkreadabe installment. But stay tuned. As always there is more to come.

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