17 August 2012

Baggage Disaster

I've been back in Berlin 4 days.  I understand more German than I thought I would, my flatmates greeted me with a spectacular breakfast, I have gotten to spend a lot of quality time with Robert, and I have obtained a fabulous blue leather couch, which I'm sure I'll post a picture of at some point.  I have hung out with a few of my favorite people in a few of my favorite places and enrolled in an online TESOL course which I hope to complete in under two months, therefore increasing my potential for finding a job while I am learning German.  That's all the good news.
As far as my luggage (i.e, everything I own) goes, this proves to be a stressful disaster.  The first thing that went wrong in with my baggage seems to have happened at SFO, when the person checking me in to my flight did not give me my luggage receipts, making it more difficult to trace my luggage, which was lost.  When I arrived at Tegel and my luggage did not show up, I had to go to the lost and found, where I described my bags.  The woman behind the desk assured me that indeed, I would have my luggage by the next day.  I was given a phone number to call so I could track my luggage, which of course does not work.  Also, the woman at Globe Ground Berlin (the company that handles Air Berlin's baggage) told me I could check my bags status online.  Of course, this website has not been updated for days. 
After 2 days of freaking out, trying to call again and again, I finally went to the airport yesterday.  I talked to a woman at Globe Ground.  She made some phone calls.  "Sorry.  We don't know where it is." 
"Find it."  I am trying very hard to remain friendly, but I'm starting to lose it.  She makes some more phone calls.
"It's here.  You can pick it up now." 
I am by myself at the airport and I am expecting three very heavy bags, only one of which has wheels.  "I was told it would be delivered." 
She makes another phone call.  "You will get your bags today."
So I go back to Robert's and wait for Katha to arrive with the rental van so we can move the couch.  My bags come around 19:45.  But there are only two of them, the large rolling bag with my painted box and some clothes and my new Doc Martins, and my sewing machine case that I had packed books, shoes, and some fabric in.  Lucky I did not check my sewing machine through, as the airline broke my case.  Assholes.  And where is my black duffel bag?  No one knows.  This is the bag containing the majority of my clothes, more fabric, all of my chargers, my electrical converter plug and all my socks and underwear, not to mention a lot of my artwork.  I paid almost $200 to check all of these bags.  And now this one is- who knows?  So I call the toll free American Airlines number from my Skype account, thus making it free.  Of course, since I flew four days ago, they no longer have the tracking numbers which they neglected to give me in the first place.  The extremely unhelpful gentleman on the phone gives my three numbers that might be linked to my lost bag.  Now I get to go back to the horribly unorganized Tegel airport AGAIN and try to find my bag.  Hopefully I will come home with it.  Then Robert and I will go swim naked in a lake, so at least that is nice.
I'm trying to not be materialistic about this, but the fact is that replacing all this stuff would be expensive.  Checking the bag was expensive.  I want my stuff.

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