Lovely Lessons, Fraught Flight, and Stressful Stateside

While I love to travel, dear reader the lead-up to any trip can be quite stressful. Luckily the trip itself isn’t. Normally. In terms of work, I had two English Center lessons and my private clients in China. Greek is on hold until I go back to the Netherlands. Xander is on a hiatus until June, but my new client from Taiwan will start on Monday next week. I had my last lesson with ShinWei and continued lessons with Harumi and my Greek client Galini. Before I left I was able to coordinate with my Palestinian girl’s dad and they will be back on my schedule on Sunday. I hope I am not too jet-lagged. While I’m in the states, I only have two lessons scheduled, one with Lillian, which took place on Saturday, and one with Galini, which is scheduled for tomorrow.

We left on Thursday and while Schiphol Airport is usually efficient, you could see that they had staffing shortages throughout the airport. Usually, you wait about 15 minutes to go through security, but we waited for about 40. But the trials and tribulations weren’t to end there. Once at the gate, I had a text from KLM on my phone that said my information needed to be updated. When I got to the counter, it was not to update information, but rather I had been selected for a random security screening for explosives. This was my first experience with this kind of screening. They basically take a swipe of your hands and have you take off your shoes and do a pat-down like at security. But you’re not allowed to go back to your traveling companions. You are then boarded first. I can’t say it was fun but it was certainly interesting. Once the randomly selected people were boarded, on came the rest of the passengers. That still meant that Jasper didn’t appear for about 20 minutes after I had been boarded. The flight was fine for the first four or five hours and then things got surprisingly turbulent. I am not a frightened flyer, in fact, I quite like it, but this was just a shade too much. The other lovely occurrence on the plane was that I thought I had lost my wallet. You can imagine my sense of panic. Luckily Jasper’s preternatural calm helped me find it. But I spent much of the flight annoyed with myself. The annoyance only got worse when we landed.

The flight arrived on time at about 3:35 in the afternoon and then we discovered that the TSA was also having staffing issues. It took us three hours to get out of the airport. I was out of the passport control line sooner than Jasper and had to wait for him for 40 minutes. I felt particularly bad for my dad who was waiting for all of that time. I don’t remember travel to the US being as difficult when we came in February, or at any other time, for that matter. And that was in addition to all of the covid stuff that we still had to comply with for the US as they still have a testing requirement. Luckily, when we go to Greece in June we will not have this issue as it is EU and we can travel freely without a testing requirement. If you’re planning a trip to the US anytime soon and traveling through Washington be prepared for long wait times.

Of course, for me, the running around started on Friday morning having to deal with various issues at the two apartments I have here in DC. I had real estate agents help me rent my apartments and the first one went very easily but the second which is older and hasn’t been renovated in 20 years was a bit harder to rent. In fact, it took almost 6 months. The larger of the two apartments we had rented in October of 2021 needed to be registered as free of lead paint and so I needed to do an inspection so that was my first stop on Friday. Then I went to the smaller apartment to meet my tenant as well as take a look at what furniture was in there and how best to move it. To do that I found a junk hauling service and had them come and give me a proposal. We agreed on today as the move-out date because my tenant is moving in and we can share the elevator. I absolutely hate it when I don’t have all the information that I need when dealing with my Apartments. I had never had to test for lead in the seven years that I owned my apartment so you can imagine my surprise when I got an email from the Department of the environment for the state of Maryland saying I needed to do just that and that I had a deadline of May 23rd. Luckily I was able to coordinate everything from the Netherlands so that it was in place when I landed but for me, coming to DC is not a vacation. Hopefully, the move-out will go smoothly especially as I was able to find homes for some of the more interesting pieces that I own. It’s been said that moving is one of the most stressful things, on a level with divorce. I’m not sure how true that is but sometimes it certainly feels that way. I’m not looking forward to when I eventually have to find a house in the Netherlands with Jasper. Which by the way we may have a deadline for. My landlord tried to raise our rent by 200 Euros in defiance of the rental cap which is no more than the CPI plus 1% which puts you at about 3.4% in the Netherlands. He had been a fairly reasonable landlord in the past but I was angered by his attempt at trying to get more money than was allowed. As a result, I would like to have a place bought and moved into by the time the rent goes up again in May of next year. Because I don’t want to deal with his BS.

I kept tabs on the writer’s group a bit, and Mark was at the library all by his lonesome on Thursday. Not a single solitary person showed up. He was pretty positive as he got a lot of good writing done. We’ll see what happens this Thursday. That’ll be my last full day in the US as we leave on Friday. So the session on the 26th should be back to normal.

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

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