Tuesday, day 3 hails a beaurocratic adventure! Our pets Boris the Cat and Widget the Dog arrived! NaI were very excited to see them but we were also a little weary of our first official business in Tenerife, where we would likely encounter non-English speakers.
We got to enjoy a beautiful morning on the roof top terrace with the sun shining and not one cloud in the sky. We last saw our pets on Saturday night when we left Reading and left them at The Household J (Nick’s Mum and Dad). Household J also dropped the pair off at the airport for us for a 6 am flight (I am not a morning person so I can not express how grateful I am) and their flight landed just after 1pm. On my part, there were a lot of causes for nervousness- we hadn’t seen the pets in a few days says so I missed them; they had never been on long journeys, the dog had been in a car for two and a half hours including two pit stops, and the cat’s first five minute journey in a vehicle was to Household J as the vet was only two minutes away; the dog is a Jack-Russell cross Chihuahua with huge ears (those ears are why she has her name (Gremlins reference), and apparently the name comes with the personality…) so I was wondering if we KNOW if dogs ears pop on planes; the dog’s personality combined with serious small dog syndrome I.e. Barking; the cat is a cat – and that’s just the animals! We also had to look forward to the language barrier that would come with this task, considering we didn’t know where to start.
Once we decided to move to Tenerife, I downloaded an app on my phone to start learning Spanish. I’m going to be here for at least 6 months so I want to make the most of it. As such, learning the language is important to me. I haven’t made as much time for it as I would have liked, however, I didn’t have much time to spare. Just thinking about how much we got done in the month before we moved around full time jobs is enough to make my back ache. Despite this, I think I’ve done well. I haven’t quite got to the level of being able to ask about paperwork and forms, nor can I understand anyone who is in full flow, but I knew the words for cat and dog (un gato y un perro) and I downloaded Spanish Google translate and I was ready to make this happen.
Nick handled the first interaction – straight to the info desk, asked if the guy spoke English and he did. He also sent us to the airline helpdesk. So far – I could be in Antwerp. We got to the airline and Nick was lucky again. She only spoke a little English. She spoke enough to understand Nick telling her our pets are arriving today. She shook her head and said, “Not possible. Not with us.”
I think I experienced tunnel vision as my heart dropped and I started wondering where in the world our pets could be.
As Nick started to repeat himself, sounding as shocked as I felt, she said, “Cargo! All the way to the end, pink building! Get car. Drive. End. Pink building. Cargo!” We took a moment just outside the door to discuss the devastation we experienced because of the miscommunication and laughed it off, but it was no joke folks. I will need at least an extra hour in the pool just to be able to mention this to Nick. The other fact we discussed was these were customer service people. They are employed to be helpful.
We were going into civil servant territory.
These people have systems to follow and jobs to do and they owe you nothing. I think that’s an international sentiment. We found our way to the purple building. (Pink, purple, whatever. This an inconsequential misdirection – at this point we’re just glad that it is indeed possible for our animals to get here). Here, Nick was lucky third time in a row. A pleasant woman told us we needed to go to the back building (2 purple buildings so not as dodgy as it sounds). So off we went and but we’d used our 3 English speaking wishes. The people behind the counter didn’t speak English. So I got stuck in with the very little Spanish I had, starting with, “Tengo un gato y un perro”. He repeated it to his colleague and she typed away and said Mr Nick… And he spoke at me for a while, I said “vale” a few times and laughed when he did. Some joke about a cat and dog and my Spanish being “un poco lento”. I understood him so I’ll take it.
Between his little bit of English and my un poco español, he told us to go away for an hour as the flight was just about to land. We wondered off and had some drinks while driving around another bustling area with car dealerships and a busy high street. We came back on the hour and were told that we needed to come back the following day to get a stamp on the paper work before it can be filed. The stamp is acquired in the front building, but they close at 3 and it was now 3:15.
That tunnel vision started to come back.
Then he told us to sit for 5 minutes. And that’s all it took for us to be reunited with the herd.
It was fairly painless and both of them are happy enough! Boris is going from exploring every corner of the house to find a way out, to hiding under the covers. Widget has always been a sun worshipper and she loves it here.