The “Little Things” Add Up, Too!


Happy Hump Day, Y’all!

Life has lots of lessons … for me anyways.  Some folks ignore the lessons while others make excuses for not learning the most basic lessons that “life” teaches us.  You know, that thing called experience!?  “Experience is the best teacher!”  Have you heard that before?!?

Most of you who know me realize that I try to learn from everything that I experience.  I don’t have the “money”, so to speak, to “buy” my way out of problems.  So, I have to figure a lot of stuff out … on my own … connect the dots type thing.  When I was leaving Ft. Lauderdale to come to Barcelona, thanks to two magnificent friends who got me incredible Delta flight tickets at half price, the same day … the IRS took nearly $200.00 of my SSA monies for back taxes! (It’s going to be that way ’til I die!)  I had already budgeted down to the last quarter, had my flight information in hand AND my bags packed, I wasn’t about to turn around now! I had gotten a small loan to help cover the costs of my round trip tickets to and from Barcelona and had to leave room in the budget to cover that once I got here … that’s where I am now … on the second leg of the trip … Valencia, to be exact!  I pretty much figured out how to move forward from there.

The flight was good, I had booked a place in Sabadell through AirBnB and had my cell phone set up for “World Calling” with Metro PCS at an additional cost of $10/month … When I got off of the plane in Barcelona, I had no coverage on my cell phone!  You get what you pay for!  But that’s all I could afford … I heard about “unlocking” your cell phone and buying a “SIM” card in wherever I was going to be in Europe, but that was a little more expensive and complicated than what I wanted.  A guy at the “Oficina de Tourismo” in the airport got my cell connected to a free WiFi network there in the airport and I was able to read my e-mails, still no calls, but I could see and send texts with my “World Calling” plan … I saw a text from AirBnB saying that they had cancelled my booking in Sabadell.  I also had a text from Vicky Lao, where I ended up staying for a little over two weeks, saying that there was a problem with my AirBnB reservation … Not only am I sweating bullets, I was in a city I did not know and had no idea of what to do.  Finally, after a back and forth of texting with Vicky, she agreed to send me the address and directions to her place!  Divine intervention, indeed!

I got lost on the trains due to jet lag, a new language, Catala … which is written and spoken differently from standard Spanish, and ended up in a place called “Badalona”!  It had a beautiful beach, which became my place of refuge later during my stay in Sabadell, and I had gotten off of the train to catch a taxi.  I stopped a taxi after walking up and down a few streets in Badalona with my over-sized rolling duffel bag, a suit bag, my laptop over my shoulder and another gym bag that I was carrying with the same hand that my suit bag was thrown over my arm!  I began sweating bullets again.  I gave him Vicky’s address, and he said, “That will cost you E50 (Euro) …”  I had it on me since I had exchanged like $400.00 into Euros, but that is a lot of money for a taxi ride!!  Vicky was texting me reprimanding me for getting lost and this guy was trying to get 50 Euro for what eventually cost me 3.50 Euro on the train!  Frustrated, I told him to take me back to the train station, started asking more questions in my Castilian Spanish and finally got onto the right train.  When I did, there was a most beautiful gorgeous young lady on the  same car of the train … and I stopped and stared for at least 5 minutes.  My frustration had left me … and … I had all these bags, my Princeton 40th Reunion Beer jacket on and matching Princeton cap.  Our eyes finally met … I walked over to her to tell her that her hair was beautiful and asked her if she spoke English or Spanish.  She said English … I told her that I was lost but just looking at her for 5 minutes calmed me down so I could figure my way to my destination!  I thanked her … she smiled, fanned herself elegantly with her own hand … and at the next stop, turned to say good bye and got off of the train!!  It’s the little things that add up, you dig!

I got to Vicky’s place in Sabadell, she called AirBnB and they went back and forth. AirBnB called me on my cell phone … it worked … and they asked me to upload my driver’s license from Florida again … and again … and again.  They had taken the money from my account and said that they couldn’t read my license and was going to return my money.  Vicky agreed to let me pay her directly, AirBnB returned my money after 5 business days, I paid her and we had a great 16 days together, including her dog, “Steppy” and another guest from Argentina, Christian Eber.  I switched to for my trip to Valencia, where I am now at a college dormitory!  It is huge, well furnished, a/c and a lovely campus which I haven’t visited yet since I love and need the beach more and am still learning my way around the neighborhood for food and stuff.  Besides, college is out for summer and there are many guests using the dormitory for lodging.  I had another episode with lodging which I am finalizing now, with a booking I made with a hostel in Amsterdam for early September, but I’ll fill you in later!  I need some breakfast …

Have a great day … remember the little things add up, too!


John I. Cook, Director



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