The Price of Platinum Status

Hello Dear Readers!

So. I have done some silly things for status. I think we can all agree on that by now.

But I have a story for you here. And it is a silly, silly, story.

Once upon a time there was a girl named Carissa who was nearly a Platinum Elite on Delta. In fact, she had earned 73,000 miles, and needed a mere 2,000 more in order to qualify as Platinum for the year of 2018. But she only had until December 31st, 2017, in order to qualify, and she had no more trips planned.

So she did the only thing she could do.

She booked the farthest, cheapest flight she could find. She booked this on December 12th, flying the 13th, and returning the 14th.

And that is how she ended up in Nice, France, for the night.

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I’ll admit to you guys, I was feeling all kinds of smug waking up on the beach in France on a Sunday morning, having a cappuccino and a croissant, watching the poor schmucks running by in the rain.

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And I will tell you, I felt decidedly less smug when I arrived to the airport that afternoon for my flight.

You see, my final exam was on Monday.

And when I arrived at the airport, my flight was just…delayed. Indefinitely. It wasn’t cancelled, it just simply had no time at which it was going to take off.

No matter, I thought. It was noon, and I had all the hours in the world to make the plane, fly home, and head to my exams the next morning.

Three hours later, I was still in the airport in Nice, pacing as I contemplated the fact that my connecting flight had most definitely taken off without me.

Another two hours and I had downed two more cups of coffee. I stood anxiously in front of the flight departure board, begging boarding to begin on a plane that hadn’t even arrived yet.

One more hour and the flight finally arrived, disgorging its disgruntled passengers as the whole lot of us crowded at the boarding gate, clamoring to get on.

So we did. And we flew on to Brussels, where the plane landed without a hitch.

It was now 7pm, and my connection was due to take off at 3pm.

So I stood in line at the Brussels airline counter, checking my watch repeatedly as I contemplated the 200 angry passengers in front of me who had also missed their connections.

It was at this point that I happened to glance up, and miracle of miracles, saw my flight to Edinburgh, not yet departed, making its final boarding call.

It was the last flight of the night.

It was beyond passport control.

It was in a different terminal.

And that is the story of how I raced through the entire Brussels airport, slamming my passport down at border patrol and wheezing that my flight was about to leave.

It is the story of how I arrived to my plane, dripping sweat, with my backpack on my back and doubled over gasping for breath, in order to be the last person to board.

It is the story of how I made my final exam the next morning.

Don’t be like me. Don’t fly right before your exams.

-Carissa “But, Like, I’m Platinum” Rawson

Chrissy Wuz Here!

Hello Dear Readers!

Continuing in the same vein as yesterday, boatloads of photos with friends! This time, Chrissy (of Mexico fame) came to see me, and I showed her all around Edinburgh:

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Afternoon tea at The Balmoral, where J.K. Rowling finished the 7th Harry Potter book
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Drinks at the Dome, because obviously

Before we headed down to London, going to see…Harry Potter and the Cursed Child!

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It was excellent, as you would expect. Katie and Shuaib flew down from Edinburgh for the weekend as well, and we all had a blast at the show.

Of course, we went and saw all the good touristy bits too:

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Me, immediately after getting to Big Ben and realizing it’s closed until, like, 2019.

Chrissy and I then went to see an interactive version of The Great Gatsby, in which she was hit on by one of the main characters (Tom Buchanan, the sly dog) and I chased after her in heels to save her virtue. I’m such a good friend.

We also got to stand in as background scenery simply because we were so good looking. True story.

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Hot enough to be props!

I love getting to see all these people that I care about, because while travel is amazing and fun, it’s the people you love who make all the difference.

Until next time.

-Carissa “Am I Popular Yet?” Rawson

Scotland: Friends Friends Friends

Hello Dear Readers!

Now, it may come as a surprise to you all (and most definitely to me), but I’ve actually managed to acquire quite a few friends, despite the fact that I’m bouncing all over. It must be all my witty charm. Or my lounge access. (I’m looking at you, Shuaib). In either case, I spend a lot of time being social and hanging out with some really great people.

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“Great people”

As I mentioned before, my friend Katie came all the way up from Brighton in late to November to visit for the weekend. We had an excellent time, and you all will be pleased to know that I’ve acquired a membership the the Historic Scottish Monument society, simply because I’ve visited the castle approximately 1,000 times since arriving.

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I feel like this is an accurate representation of our friendship: Shuaib front and center, and the rest of us squeezing in where possible.

We also spent a ton of time at Camera Obscura, taking a boatload of photos and being silly.

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And obviously, we went to the Christmas markets, because duh it’s Edinburgh, they’re great!

– Carissa “No But How Many Photos of Myself Can I Fit In Here?” Rawson

Israel- Bits and Bobs

Hello Dear Readers!

We left off most recently with trip reports on Israel, talking about venturing to Sderot and seeing how the people there live their lives in one of the most fortified cites in the world. It’s now been a few months since my (most recent) visit to Israel, but I’ve still got a ton of photos left, so you guys are in luck.

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Harrison made reservations for us at Yudale, the cool little brother of Machneyuda
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Machane Yehuda market at night
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“Dumpster cat,” as Harrison affectionately named him, was missing half his face!
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Seriously, where is his face?
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We spent the weekend in Tel Aviv, which looks nothing like perpetually rainy Scotland

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We even went out to the Imperial Bar, which is literally the best bar in the Middle East/ Africa, and one of the top 20 in the world.

-Carissa “Not Even Slightly More Tan” Rawson

Israel- Sderot

Hello Dear Readers!

This next post is a little different. Rather than heading down to Sderot because it sounded fun, I went there on the recommendation of Harrison, who suggested I go check out the fortified city in order to better understand more about the Israel-Palestine conflict. So off I went.

I’ll admit, it makes a pretty powerful story. There’s only one person who runs the tours down there, a Jewish guy with American parents who runs a non-profit documenting life under constant fire.

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A collection of old rockets, kept at the police station 

He took me around the town to check out all the different bomb shelters, including one at a playground, which the people of the city have painted to look like a giant caterpillar.

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Visually, it is very compelling. And from the perspective of the people who live there, live under fear of constant fire has got to take a pretty severe psychological toll. I hear that. I understand that.

What I didn’t understand was the desire for the people who lived there to…well, live there. Who would voluntarily subject themselves to that? Such was the question I posed to my guide, Noam, on multiple occasions. Essentially, he told me, it came down to finances. Many people from North Africa were settled here in refugee camps in the 50’s and never had the ability to leave. Now, people come because the housing is (understandably) cheap.

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An abandoned school building (so abandoned because there weren’t enough bomb shelters for all the children)

It was an enjoyable day, and I appreciated the opportunity to see a bit of the other side. Of course, with any tour, (Palestinian and Israeli alike) you’ve got to take what they say with a grain of salt.

But I particularly enjoyed the lunch we had. Since our tour group consisted of me, and, well, him, we ended up going to a house of a friend of his, who gave us a massive spread for free! Delicious. I also had a look at the border walls separating the Gaza Strip, though wasn’t able to see much of Gaza itself, since “tensions” had forced any viewpoints to be closed for fear of snipers.

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All in all it was a good day. Politically charged? You betcha. But informative and unique and something I’d recommend anyone to visit. Here’s the contact link, if you’re interested.

-Carissa

I’m 28!

Hello Dear Readers!

So many things to celebrate these last few weeks, including the blog turning a year old!

But more importantly, it was my birthday on the 10th, which everyone recognizes as the national holiday Carissa is the best person ever day.

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Proof.

I’ve spent the last 4 days in the Maldives, a trip I’ve been planning for over a year, and I can’t wait to show you all the photos. In the meantime, here are some tasters:

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-Carissa “Help Me I’m Nearly 30” Rawson