The last day of April and Taina‘s last Friday theme is: How embarrassing! That was not an easy subject, especially not to illustrate… However, I will tell you one of the most embarrassing things that have ever happened to me:
The summer of 2006 I had a very intense travel and work period; we had a wedding in Zaragoza at the end of June, in July a visit from my Swedish best friends to Brussels plus one week in Sweden, back to Spain in August for one week’s holiday and a wedding, one week later a 24-hour trip to Italy for a wedding, three days later I went to Malta for a week for work, one or two days after coming home from Malta we headed to the north of Sweden for another wedding (actually my 5th wedding that year as I had also been to one in France in May) and spent one week in Lapland and Lofoten (in Norway), and one day after that holiday I was supposed to go to Israel for a 3-week mission* for work.
As you can imagine it was a bit stressful with all this travelling, but also fun. However, between Malta – the north of Europe – Israel I only had 2-3 days at home and this posed a certain laundry challenge! The first stage of the unpacking, washing laundry, drying and repacking went smoothly, especially as the temperature difference between the Mediterranean and above the polar circle is quite high so the same clothes were not needed. When it came to underwear I was running out though and had to pack some old pairs (that I had not brought to Malta).
When coming back from Lapland I managed to wash everything but since we didn’t have a tumble dryer, not all my laundry was dry when I had to repack the next day… I decided to pack all the wet items in a plastic bag and to try to remember to hang them up once I had arrived to the hotel in Jerusalem. Since I was going for three weeks and I knew that it wouldn’t really be possible to do a lot of washing, I really had to bring all my underwear but with a mental note of throwing the oldest ones away at the end of my stay in Israel.
Monday morning, I went to the office with my suitcase and met up with my French boss with whom I was travelling. He had been travelling back and forth between Brussels and Jerusalem for a few months already and had left most of his stuff at the hotel, and was just bringing a half-empty bag. When he saw my big suitcase, he offered to take some of my things so I wouldn’t have to risk paying for an over-weight bag at the airport. I opened my suitcase and since my wet laundry was on top in a plastic bag, I gave this to him and explained that I hadn’t had time to dry my clean clothes.
Off we went to Israel, flying via Vienna and arriving in Tel Aviv after midnight. A driver picked us up and drove us to the beautiful hotel, The American Colony, that would be my home for the next 3 weeks in Jerusalem (I will have to write about it one day). Arriving at the hotel at 03 in the morning, and considering that in the last 3 days I had travelled by boat from the Lofoten islands in Norway, plane from above the Polar Circle to Stockholm, attended a 30th birthday party in the Swedish capital, back to Brussels to unpack/repack, and then to Israel I was quite knackered to say the least. I checked in, got the key for my hotel room and said goodnight to my boss who was staying in another part of the hotel.
Just when I had climbed into bed, under a traditional Swedish painting (!!), I realised “Oh no, my wet laundry!!!”. Oh well, there wasn’t much to do, I had no idea which room number my boss had, I was in my PJ’s and I was very, very tired. With a little prayer that my boss wouldn’t open the bag of wet laundry, I fell asleep. The next morning I met with my boss for breakfast and I had forgotten about my clothes… We walked to the hotel across the street where our offices were and then I remembered the bag that I hadn’t recovered from the other one’s suitcase!
A little embarrassed I said to my boss; Hey I need to get my laundry back from your suitcase because it is still wet and I need to hang it up so it doesn’t smell… What do you think he answered me? “Pas de problème, j’ai étendu tes vetements dans ma salle de bain” (No problem, I have hung up your clothes in my bathroom). OMG, I wanted to die, how embarrassing!! My BOSS has been hanging up my OLD UNDERWEAR!!!!
Can you imagine my embarrassment – this was not any new and shiny underwear**, these were my old cotton underwear that I was going to throw away before going back to Europe!! Of course I felt a need to explain my old, not so white anymore panties and mumbled something about it all going in la poubelle (garbage) at the end of the mission, and hoped that he hadn’t inspected them too closely. I actually don’t even remember how I got them back, but I guess neatly folded and dry, ha ha!
The same evening we went out for dinner and my boss suggested that I should start stop saying vous (polite form of you, “ni” in Swedish) to him and that on peut se tutoyer, non? (use the more informal form of you (“du”). I refused!! It was enough that he had seen my underwear and I guess I was trying to draw a line at the intimacy between us… a bit too late though.
We did sleep in a beduin tent together in the Jordanian desert a few weeks later but fortunately there were some German tourists sharing it with us and I avoided (??) another embarrassing situation when in the middle of the night I tried to sneak out for a pee under the stars (no toilets of course), and my boss asked me if he should go with me – NON MERCI!!
Other embarrassed Friday theme participants:
Anki, Anna, Anne, Anne-Marie, Annika, Bejla, Desiree, Erica, Helena, IamAnnika, IngaBritt, Jenny, Mais-oui, Mrs Clapper, Musikanta, Nilla, Olgakatt, Petra H, Pettas, Saltis, Strandmamman, Sunflake and Taina.
And speaking of embarrassing, I just read in the Swedish newspaper that more than 100 drunken and unruly Swedes had been rounded up and sent back to Sweden from Denmark tonight. How embarrassing!! People used to do this in the 1980’s when the alcohol was so much cheaper in Denmark, but it is 2010 for goodness sake!
*) A so-called mission as it is called in international organisation lingo… My father always questioned if we are missionaries 😀
**) The question is: if it had been sexy – would that have been more or less embarrassing?? I mean he could have wondered why I was bringing sexy underwear for a work trip!? Oh well, the best would have been if he had never seen my underwear, full stop!!