I’ve been back in Galway for about a week now, and I finally feel like I’m in a place where I can sit down and update my Irish adventures.
I use the word adventure, because that’s exactly what it was like trying to get here for this summer. My original plan was to arrive in Ireland a few days prior to my required attendance, and ‘tour de Galway’ with one of my roommates – the universe, however, had other plans.
My routing for this trip was to take a flight from Dallas to Los Angeles and then Los Angeles to Dublin. Though not the most direct route, it was a route I had taken before and was the most cost effective at the time. I also liked that I would get to have dinner with my husband in Los Angeles, as he was already there for his own work.
As I leave my Dallas apartment, I get a call from my husband asking if I had heard any information about my flight because he just looked online to see when I would land, and my flight was listed as cancelled. Naturally, I had not heard anything about my flight, but it was too soon to panic. I arrive as the Dallas Love Field airport and approach the ticket counter – the agent tells me my flight has indeed been cancelled, but it appears I’ve been rebooked on a different airline! The only catch – the airline I was rebooked on flies out of DFW – a different airport than the one I am currently at…
The ticket agent so kindly orders me an Uber to get me across town (during rush hour) to DFW so I can catch my new flight – a little apprehensive, but not panicking yet.
I arrive at DFW and attempt to check in at the self-serve kiosk (with the help of airline staff) and we get an error message about my ticket – which I expected. I am instructed to go stand in line to wait to be helped by a ticket agent to get it sorted out. I wait in line about 10 minutes and now I’m starting to watch the clock as my flight is posed to take off in just over an hour. I kindly ask if anyone at the service counter can help me, and I am told to just wait my turn. Annoyed, but not quite panicked yet.
It is finally my turn to be serviced and I explain to the ticket agent what happened – my flight was cancelled, but I was told I was rebooked, and I give them the confirmation number the previous airline had given me – no dice. The ticket agent tells me that I have no ticket for their airline. Some panic now. I am thoroughly confused as to how I can have a confirmation number, but no ticket. The ticketing agent tells me I need to call the previous airline and get my ticket number – no problem.
After spending 20 minutes on the phone – to which I now realized I’m probably missing my opportunity to make this flight – the agent realizes they did not rebook me, it was the travel agency I had used to purchase my original trip and I need to call them. No problem. I call half a dozen times and am never able to speak to a representative – I get sent to voicemail every time.
After being on the phone for nearly 45 minutes, it is now clear that I have missed my flight, but I still have time before my connection leaves for Ireland. I ask if there are any other flights I can get on that would get me to my connection in time. There is one. Sweet. I ask if I can just purchase my own ticket and deal with the airline later. I can. Sweet. Only one problem – the flight is sold out. I ask if there are any other flights and there are not. Full on panic mode.
As all this is occurring, I simultaneously have my husband trying to contact airlines and his connections in the airline industry to see if anyone can get me to my connection in time. After 3 hours at the airport, numerous phone calls and a whole lot of frustration – I am officially grounded.
My husband was able to talk to an airline representative and was told they would get me on a new flight for the next day and I should receive an email “in 30 minutes” with the details. To make a long story short – 48 hours later, dozens of phone calls and as many more voicemails, after lots of arguing and frustration and I still haven’t be reissued a new flight. I’m still in Dallas.
Finally, my husband and I decided to just book me an entirely new trip to get me to Ireland before my classes will start. I arrive just in time, and have been having the time of my life since.
Now I tell this story for a couple reasons: first, to air out frustrations; but second, because there is a lesson to be learned here. I find myself using this ‘adventure’ to practice something I preach to my students – to practice one of our IB learner profile traits – and that is reflection.
As I reflect on this experience, I focus on one thing in particular – how did I respond to all these obstacles? I know when life throws you a curveball or puts a roadblock in your path it is incredibly easy to lose control of your emotions, to take out your anger and frustration on others and to make the world around you a generally miserable place to be – but, at the end of the day, we have the power to control that in the way that we respond.
A friend of mine once taught me the following:
E + R = O (Event + Response = Outcome)
The basic idea of this formula is that every outcome you experience in life is the result of how you responded to an earlier event in your life. Ultimately, you control the outcome by the way you respond to the event.
While I will readily admit, this situation did cause a meltdown or two, I did work very hard to focus on how I was responding throughout this process because I knew that my response to each situation was going to determine the outcome. I know we have all, at one time or another, been taught to ‘control the things we can and let go of the ones we can’t’ – but that is easier said than done. Ultimately, the universe does its best to let things work out in the end, though it may not always be the way you wanted or intended them to.
As I continue throughout this Irish adventure, I try to remind myself that the way I respond to various situations will determine how they turn out. It’s okay to get stressed, it’s okay to get upset, it’s okay to get frustrated, but E + R = O and that is a lesson I will carry with me throughout the summer and beyond.