The Lounge Life

It is a little later than usual, but I have finally reached the moment of Spring Break. That means leaving those books and papers behind, and spending time exploring the world. A typical conversation that is had among teachers at international schools is where they will be traveling during the break, and of course that always leads to conversations about airports and the pains of commuting. It used to be one of the things I dreaded the most during the travel seasons, but since I have gained access to the lounges in airports, it has made the layover part of traveling less burdensome. While I wait for my plane to arrive at the gate, I can enjoy a comfortable chair, a buffet featuring the cuisine of whatever country I find myself in, and a couple of free drinks. It has made life so much better, and I will always get on that plane feeling a load lifted off of me as I make my way to my final destination.

I have recently found out that this privilege is not given to people of all countries. Colleagues of mine from Ireland, Australia, and Canada are not able to obtain those credit cards that give them access to these oases. It made me feel a little bad that I brought up these locations to my friends. While I was departing from Amman and sitting in the comfortable lounge there, they were only granted access to a few restaurants, most of them slapping together a quick meal that they still had to pay for. It is not like they do not deserve this luxury, and I do hope that things can work out for them so in the future they can. It still seems a little absurd that these places only give access to people from certain countries. I would hop that in this day and age that we would no longer see this kind of restriction, and hopefully we can work to making this less of a problem in the future.

Though I do like the fact that I am able to enjoy my time at the airport in a comfortable space that is free from the masses, I do believe that it should not be so exclusive so certain people from certain countries can never gain access to them. I am told that it is because there is not the competition among banks and credit card companies in certain countries, therefore, there is no reason for them to offer these kinds of benefits to their customers. In a way, it does make sense, but still, if a person flies on a regular basis, they should be allowed to have these privileges. It makes me feels a little bad that I am relaxing in a comfortable place; whereas, a friend of mine, who travels just as much as I do, who happens to be Irish, can’t come up because their bank won’t allow them to. Maybe, these privileges should not come from banks, but through the airline instead. They are the ones who would know the frequency of travel from some people and offer them that option. It would make more sense to me then what bank someone belongs to, but the world runs through banks, and until we figure out a way to work around them, we will always be under their rules.

Until then, I will continue to enjoy these spots. They are great, and I hope to one day see you and everyone that travels a lot there, so we can enjoy the space together.

The Long Day

Airport travel.

I know what a lot of you just did. You screamed loudly and clicked off of this blog post because there was no way that you ever wanted to read a long post about traveling through airports. It is the comedians cliche. It is the third topic that should never be spoken about at bars after religion and politics. It is something that nobody ever enjoys, yet there is always a large group of people congregated at the airports around the world looking to shift their location from one place to another. And this time of the year seems to bring a bigger group of people to these places.

But do not worry. I will try not to bore you with the details. There were the typical delays. The lunches being held down on the shaky approaches in. And of course, there were the long hours wandering around the airports, looking for ways to make the time go quicker. But there was a certain excitement in the air as well that I had not felt before a long airplane flight for a very long time.

It could have been that I had just finished one of the hardest semesters I have ever been through in my educational career. It wasn’t because my students were cruel, or because administration was always breathing down my back. In fact, in both of those cases, they were both some of the greatest students I have ever had the pleasure of teaching, and after a couple of stumbles with a new administration, they are finally finding their stride and making a community at the school that makes a great environment to teach and grow in. It was just the fact that I had taken on a little bit more than I could chew, and it really ran me ragged. This break was something I was looking forward to, and the vacation would be one that I would take full advantage of.

It could have been that I took the school bus out the airport as soon as the last day of school was over, and I had an opportunity to visit with people that I usually do not get to hang out with, due to the fact that we live in different parts of the city. The extra time that I got to spend in the airports was actually fun, and added to the excitement that I would be traveling to a different part of the world for the holiday season.

But I think the real reason that this trip was not that I was dreading so much was that it was a last minute decision to go home for Christmas instead of spending the holiday season in Vietnam and Thailand. There were certain events happening in that part of the world that required our attention during the break, and it made sense that we would be down there then. But then the situation suddenly changed, and it didn’t make sense to go down there anymore. We were left with the option of picking from anywhere in the world. Of course, we only had two weeks to really decide where we would go, but only one place really made sense, home. I know we spent the holiday season in the States last year, and it wold be like going over the same routine again, but there is really nothing like spending the holidays with the people you love. It brings with it the warmth and joy that you always think of when you think of the holidays. It was in anticipation of this warmth that made the twenty-four hours spent in the world’s airports and planes worth the time. The delays, bad food, and turbulence could not bring me down as I slowly made my way home, and now that I am here, I can just relax and enjoy a much needed break.

So for all of you that will be going through the same experience in the next couple of days, try to find that joy that you know you will eventually get to, and do not let the long time that airport travel forces you into bring you down. It will make everybody else’s experience even that much brighter, and this holiday season will be a joyous one for all.