Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Hello, Can You Hear Me?

One of the hardest parts about being far from family is not being able to communicate when I need to. Right now, I'm booking a place to stay for a friend's wedding. My whole family is going to the wedding because my brother will be a groomsman and the family of the groom are like family to us. Somehow I volunteered to book accommodations for the weekend since we'll be driving the 8 hours down and will need to stay 3 nights somewhere. I'm in Lebanon, my sister is in Taiwan, and my mom and brother are in California. The wedding is in California. . .

First, I did my research, looking on airbnb, hotels.com, and with a FB group that was similar to couchsurfing. Most hotel rooms were too expensive, the FB group didn't have any hosts that had large enough places to stay, and while I found a really cute cottage by the lake on airbnb, it was 45 minutes from the wedding venue so I decided not to book that. It took several chat messages in 3 different time zones to decide that we would indeed book in a hotel that was close to the wedding venue.

I realized I needed to ask the hotel a couple of questions before I booked, so I filled out the online email contact form and sent it off. Two days later I still hadn't heard back so I asked my brother, who was in the same time zone as the hotel, to call them. He got me the information and I prepared to reserve the room. Then my brother said not to worry about asking for a rollaway bed. He, comfortable with roughing it, said he could just bring his air mattress. I, on the other hand, wanted him to be comfortable and thought it wasn't a big deal to pay the extra few dollars and get the rollaway. He had called during his lunch break and even though my final argument was sent just 3 minutes after his last reply, the chat message stared up at me, no Read 1 in white letters to the left of it.

I waited. I opened another chat application and messaged a friend, my mom's coworker, to ask him to ask my mom to check her chat messages. The message delivered but the two tick marks didn't light up to blue. Frustrated, I tried to reason out whether I should go ahead and make the request for a rollaway or just leave it and then have my brother call in the request at a later date. But it had been a long day in the office and I was too tired to decide.

Then I looked at the chat messages. Now it had Read 1 by the side but no reply. Finally, 30 minutes later, my brother replied. We sorted out the dilemma and, with a sigh of relief, I booked the room. Wedding gift bought, room booked. One more thing checked off the list. Once more, we had accomplished the joint task across oceans and time zones successfully!

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