Excess Baggage

Before I begin my story, I would like to thank everyone who stayed with me online, offline, and in prayers when I landed myself in a tight spot before my departure from London. Raising £170 in just about 2 hours would not have been possible without contributions from Ms Foo, Mei, Q, Ivan, Ms See, and Ting Ting. I have never felt so touched by responds to my status on Facebook.

Thank you all so much.

My room was still a mess when I called the taxi to transport my belongings and myself to the train station. Earlier I nicked the weighing scale from the bathroom to weigh my luggage. Initially I had only one box, one medium sized luggage, and a small luggage to hand carry onto the flight. The total weigh of the things intended for cargo was just under the 30kg baggage allowance.

As the taxi was called for I realised I still had quite a number of things to bring with me strewn across the room. Panic mode: ON. My train was due in half hour. I grabbed the more necessary items and stashed them into my backpack and spare bags. The rest I swept into a large bin bag to discard. I left behind two foldable umbrellas (I had a total of six umbrellas) and three huge sets of colourful post-it notes as public property on the table in our puny common space. I discarded the less competent free pens from careers fairs and events. I left behind many spoons, my pan, a saucer, a mug, a jug, a large towel, a small towel, and a list of small miscellaneous items.

When the taxi arrived I was bringing down my luggage, cleaning the room as much as I can, and somewhat still packing, all in succession. I was literally jogging with an average of 10kg weight lifting up and down the stairs 4 or 5 times.

I left my keys at a friend’s asking his favour to help me keep the Quran ( I COMPLETELY FORGOT ABOUT IT >.< ) and a bit of cleaning up. If you’re reading this, I’ll return the favour whenever I can, alright? Sorry for causing trouble!

I first made a trip to a friend’s house to deposit a borrowed coat and books before rushing to the train station.

I almost, almost gave up carrying my things at the train station until one of the staff members offered to help. I missed the train which I booked tickets for, so boarded the next one.

About ¾ of the journey to Reading I was hunching over my bags at the space between two carriages. Thank goodness the officer who checked my ticket did not notice or ignored that the ticket was only valid at the booked time. *Phew*.

I asked and was given a bin bag from the guy behind the counter at the food carriage and threw more pens, a notebook full of separation process notes (I know in which book to find the same information and in more detail), a towel, and a t-shirt. By this time I knew I would have to pay for the excess baggage because I didn’t know what else to throw out. I sent out my first S.O.S on Facebook to get someone to alert my mum of a quick message I posted on her wall (my current phone plan does not allow international dialling).

My mum handles all the financial arrangement for my tuition fees and expenditures while I’m studying in UK, naturally she is my first port of call. Adx called my mum and thank goodness she picked up after  several missed calls. Mummy explained that even if she is to put a standing order at the time (it was almost midnight where she is) the transaction would not go through until the next day. The remaining options were to borrow money, or put her over the line at the check-in counter and pay by credit card.

I thought I had overdraft. I knew I had overdraft, but just wasn’t sure how to use it. I tried calling the bank but it didn’t go through as I cannot remember my telebanking security number.

Oh boy.

I recalled reading the price list for extra baggage on the airline webpage so I approximated having to pay £150.

“Desperate mode : ON.

Peeps, I need to raise £150 in the next two hours. Will pay back in the next couple of days. Anyone willing to help please let me know I’ll PM the account details.”

N N. 12th June 2012, Facebook.

Within minutes I had five respondents requesting for my account details. At Reading I had to switch trains and was lucky to have a member of staff helping me out with my belongings as it was peak hour when people are making their way home from work. From Reading to Gatwick I was making calls and replying messages in one of the best fundraising effort to date. £170 in about two hours, I get paid 15x less per hour for my part-time job.

During a short break between influx of communication I thought that if charity bodies adopt a more entrepreneurial approach, that is to apply for start-up funds and make more money out of it people would be more willing to contribute as in a way it showed that the contribution was a worthwhile investment and the charity body is sustainable. I didn’t get to brew the idea longer as after that spark of thought I had to concentrate on the matter at hand.

Never in my life had I thanked God so many times in a day.

I thank God for the helpful station staffs that helped with my luggage.

I thank God for the people who had genuine concerns and I am ever so grateful to have them as friends.

I thank God for the couple who held the lift doors while I try to get all my things into and out of the lift.

I thank God for the security people at the doors for holding the gate as I doubled back to get all my things together.

May God bless you all.

At the check-in counter, the total weight of all my things was still over the overweight. After a short nagging by a senior-looking lady I repacked my things and threw up more t-shirts (the ones I had for free), a discounted dress from H&M, a Primark shirt, torn jeans, and pyjama pants that hung an inch above my ankles. Brought the total weight down to a fairly acceptable level and paid the £140 levy. I arrive at the departure gate 10 minutes before the closing time. The moment I stepped on board the plane I felt like I’ve completed a leg of Amazing Race – Mambang version.


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