Paying for Errors
This is going to be somewhat a ranty post because I’ve been rather stressed lately because of the symposium I’m about to deliver in Yogyakarta.
I started my DAI week pretty good as I’ve been hired as a freelance craftsman at a leather designer bag brand called Maria Jobse. The ‘interview’ went really well, we immediately hit off, Maria and I think quite similarly in terms of worldview, work ethics, life patterns and so on. I would be able to start working around January which is great because that is about the time I would really hit the bottom of my bank account. So the job part is settled.
The following day went completely haywire. I don’t know how to describe it and it was also beyond comprehensible. I had sufficient sleep but I woke up uneasy and super intense knowing I’ve yet to finish my paper. I was pondering over comments on my paper made by Moonis and also discussions surrounding topics of art and social change, decoloniality and modernity in class, headed by Nick Aikens, Charles Esche and guest, Will Bradley.
The story began when I left my phone on the hostel bed that morning, I returned to find my phone untouched. Then, I thought I might be too late for class, so I decided to take a bus to the center. I checked out of the bus when I got off and headed towards Van Abbemuseum. When I arrived, I realized that my wallet was missing. Panicking, because the class was about to begin, I thought I must have just misplaced it. When the class ended, I tried to trace back the route I took early that morning but I had to just accept that I have lost my wallet. Aldo (a DAI schoolmate) helped me to purchase a new ov chipkart (the transport card in the Netherlands).
Back in Arnhem, I went to the bank and they told me that I cannot take out any money because I don’t have my passport with me. The ov chipkart office did not allow me to block my card because I could not provide the address that my card was initially sent to, which is the address of a graduated DAI student, Sebastian who had moved to the U.S. While trying to contact him on Facebook realizing that it was still early in the morning on the east coast. I saw a message containing a picture of the cards from my wallet!! And it was sent at 9am in the morning but filtered because I have no connections with this person, Talal Fayez, a Palestinian.
I called him and thanked him, then he said that he cannot speak English and knows a little Dutch. I passed my phone around to Kim and later he said he speaks Arabic. Mira spoke and arranged a meet up for me and I was beaming at that point because I had also spoken to a staff from the international office on the consequences of losing my Dutch residence permit-ID). The damage would be over €300 to get my card replaced. After much chat, it was finally decided that I would leave to meet him right away, which was in the town of Maarheeze, 45mins south of Eindhoven. This was when the horror began, all my trains were disrupted and/or delayed or simply too full to get in — all of them. I wasn’t the only victim, at least 2 trains full of passengers were waiting to board and most of them were going to Eindhoven airport. Many of them must have missed their flights. I managed to get into one train with an American couple beside me trying to catch their flight, frantically trying to check the next connection from the next destination.
Arnhem to Eindhoven is a simple one-hour journey with a transit in Den Bosch. Due to the disruptions, it took me roughly 3 hours including 20minutes of walking, to Talal’s house in Maarheeze. During my journey, Talal was messaging me asking me where I’m at, making me so anxious and stressed. At some point, I even regretted making this trip because I could very well get my cards replaced but because I’m leaving the Netherlands in 3 days, I had to return to get it. Upon arrival, this kind soul invited me to his house, made me sit down, wanted to charge my phone that was at 1% and wanted me to stay for dinner at his house. He called his friend who was able to speak English to translate what I had to say to him. At that point, I was wanted to return to the DAI. I felt so rude to reject him over and over again and he was very very persistent. Later, he even walked me to the bus stop.
I was tired, battered and hungry. (Again) I could not get on the train I was supposed to when I arrived in Eindhoven so I took the chance to get myself a Burger King meal. I finally managed to fill my stomach, got on the train with the remaining food. Right before the train departed, the American couple whom I stood beside with dashed in and saw me sitting there munching. We looked at each other and started sort-of laughing and exclaimed, “oh god, this is not happening”. They sat down and I offered them fries. We exchanged stories and really started chatting away. They were going back to Nijmegen since they missed their flight and I was returning to Arnhem, which was the stop before. We really exchanged our stories, talked about education, philosophy, economy and American politics and it was such a great conversation. We were so glad to have bumped into each other and kind of mutually comforting each other after such a terrible day.
Without Aldo’s free student subscription ov chipkart, I would have spent more than €60 just to retrieve my wallet, which would have been cheaper to really have my cards remade (€7.5 for bank card, €11.5 for ov chipkart, €15 for gym card). When going towards Maarheeze, I was also illegally using the 40% discount for joint travels, cause I was alone. I used Aldo’s free subscription for the bus ride since the chances of getting caught was slim to none. Of course, whatever it is, I got my wallet back, I’m gonna try to minimize the damage by submitting a refund request from the train companies for all that disruptions. I left the DAI at 2:30pm and returned at 8:30pm, completely missing the first class of Casco.
I have since returned to my stressed mode, trying to finalize my paper that I have to deliver on 29th in Yogyakarta. In a strange way, I am ‘glad’ to be stressed, as compared to what I had gone through that is still beyond my comprehension.
Signing off from Arnhem, I will report from Yogyakarta next week, after the Equator Symposium!