I hope none of you have felt the intensity in which my heart sank when I got to Cork February 21st. I should start by specifying that I had a great time in Cork, and that this unfortunate event has a happy ending!
I left Dublin early in the morning and took a bus towards Cork. I had planned to meet with my cousin Danielle and her family after I had checked in at my accommodation for the night. Instead, as I got off the bus to fetch my backpack, I instantly knew it was not there. It’s hard to miss a bright green backpack. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath telling myself this wasn’t happening… that it was all a terrible dream that I would wake up from any moment now…
If it had just been clothes, water, snacks… That kind of thing, I wouldn’t have cared that much. Don’t get me wrong… I would still have looked for the bag and would have been upset if it had been gone forever. It’s a great backpack! Unfortunately, the possessions were slightly more valuable. For starters, the bag contained my electronics. iPad, keyboard, iPods, Kobo, etc. There was some cash in the bag. Not a huge amount, but around 300 euro. But the biggest loss was the documents. All of them.
International Driving License Papers
Ok. I know some of you are losing your minds at me. I can hear it now! “Why didn’t you have them on you!?” “HHOOWWHHAATT!!??” “What were you thinking!?”
Shhhhhh…. I know. I know. I asked myself those same questions. Here’s the thing. When the bus was boarding, I realized there was going to be a LOT more people on the bus than any other trip I had taken up until then. It was a last second decision to put my bag under the bus. I had a couple other bags with me, so space would have been a real concern should I have had to share a seat.
ANYWAY! Sinking feeling. Disbelief. Holyshitness.
I got back on the bus after everyone had left. All the bags had been retrieved, mine was not sitting on the pavement. I asked the driver if any of the bags had been moved. I was keeping it completely calm. Inside I was not calm. At all. But my face was a poker face (If you have spent any time with me at all you know I do NOT have a poker face in my body. At all.) I didn’t have a poker face but I wasn’t pulling out my hair… So, basically the same thing.
We went to the inspector’s office, and I gave my bag description. They asked me what was in it, and when I told them, the lady’s shoulders sank and her head hung forward before she kept writing. She apologized the best she could, and when we finished filing the report with the bus company, the inspectors suggested I walk to the Garda (police) station and fill out report because of the nature of the bag’s contents.
I left the bus station, FaceTimed my parents as I walked towards the Garda office, and let the tears make their appearance. I was losing my mind. I kept telling myself that it was okay. I had copies everywhere. I was here long enough that I had time to get the documents replaced. This wasn’t the end of the world. But I was concerned, so my parents were concerned, and I had about 2 minutes to have my meltdown and pull myself together again before entering the Garda office to file an official report.
There was a lineup to speak with an officer, so I patiently queued up. While I was waiting, my cousin Danielle and her family walked over. Fate had it that we ran into each other in the most unlikeliest of places. They patiently waited with me while I waited.
My turn to speak with the officer, and I explain the whole situation. She pulls out a note pad, stamps it, and starts writing out the official statement. As she’s writing, I get a phone call that says it’s from Cork. I take the phone call, and the lady on the other end explains that she’s from the bus company and they found my bag. I nearly cried.
Everyone was happy. I was elated, clearly. The Garda officer scratched out the report, the person behind me in line waved me off, and Danielle and her family no longer had to wait around for me. Oh. And the bus station wiped the sweat off their brow. For sure.
The likely situation was that when someone got off at one of the stops on the way to Cork, they removed my bag from the bus to get their bag, and failed to put mine back on the bus. Frustrating, but it happens. A bus driver coming through that stop later noticed a lonely bag on the pavement and picked it up, put it on his bus and brought it to the Cork bus station.
I hope I come accross that man in a bar at some point. I don’t know his name. He doesn’t know mine. We will never know that we had connected paths somehow in the past, but I still hope I buy that man a beer.
The bag was intact. All documents, cash, electronics, shirts, pants and delicates present.
Believe in the goodness of the world and the people residing in it. It exists.
Next blog post… Cork! The great parts of it!