I have finally changed and finalized all of my flight plans. Next Wednesday, I am flying to Germany. I will arrive Thursday and stay there until the following Tuesday. That Tuesday, 1 June, I will fly to Spain to see my dear sister and her beautiful 4 month old daughter. I will be there until 6 June, when I will fly back to the states. On 9 June, I fly to DC for India orientation. We fly to India on 12 June and arrive on 13 June. I will be in India until 21 or 22 August.
I got an irate email from my scammer this morning demanding that I wire the $ today or face legal recourse. Sure. Whatever.
See, I had already sent the emails from "paypal" onto the real Paypal fraud detection department. They confirmed my suspicions. Phishing. Go me. Screw you scammers and your stupid fake emails with atrocious grammar. I am not that dumb. I am not dumb enough to wire $500 of my own cash to a "pickup agent" with an address in London. I don't think so. Not that dumb.
I also filled out a form with the FBI fraud service, giving them all 3 email addresses that were used, the name and address of the "pickup agent", etc. I feel righteous, in an annoying way. I hope they catch you. That is all.
In the meantime, still trying to sell the car. ::sigh::
I got all of my paperwork together (finally) and sent it all in to the Indian embassy. It seems that every single piece of it was a total ordeal. Still, it's in. I won't have it back in time to go to Austria, which is fine - I had to change my tickets anyway. If all goes well, I'll have my visa back my a week from Monday. I have one tiny hiccup in the paperwork - I don't actually have a utility in my name. So, we switched one in the house to my name, but of course I don't have a bill yet. So, the utility company faxed me a printout of my account information - name, address, account number - for inclusion in my packet of documents. I sure hope they accept it.
Assuming they do, I'll get my passport in just enough time to board a plane for Germany for the conference, which starts a week Tuesday. For safety, I'll probably change my ticket to Wednesday and miss the first day of the conference. I'll be there for a week, fly to Spain, meet the niece, visit Gibraltar and Alhambra, fly home, unpack, re-pack, and fly out 3 days after I get back.
In order to help fund all of this loveliness, I've put my car on the market. Trouble is, I'm pretty sure someone just tried to scam me. It all sounded fine at first - the person wanted to pay for the car via paypal and had arranged for someone else to pick it up. Fine. Whatever.
Then she "transferred" more money than I'd been asking for the car into my paypal account, and asked me to withdraw the extra and wire it via western union to the pick-up person. Huh. THEN I got an email, which I've forwarded on to paypal's fraud department, because it indicated that the money for the car wouldn't be credited to my account until after they'd gotten confirmation that I'd wired money to this third party. Riiiight. AND the grammar was REALLY bad. I don't think so, Tim. Do I look stupid or something? Do people actually fall for this kind of stupid crap???
So, yeah. Car not sold yet. Still, I only listed it 24 hours ago, and I've had 5 inquiries. Trying to stay hopeful.
So, assuming I can get all of my paperwork together, I'm going to be spending 10 weeks in a land of squat toilets where toilet paper is seen as unhygienic. Huh. That will probably be worthy of a blog or two. ;)
Blargh. So, I was informed today that if I cancel my trip to Germany, I will have to refund my school the cost of the ticket. So, if I change my ticket, it will cost me almost $1000. If I cancel the trip, it will cost me almost $1000. Seriously. There is apparently no winning at this. Either way, I'm screwed with my pants on. I'm not entirely sure what to do at this point. To be honest, I don't have the money either way. Not that that matters in real life. :'(
Well, after trying to work out the airfare thing, I've decided that it's just not possible. I have a timing conflict with my two planned trips: I'm meant to be coming home from one on the same day that I MUST start the other. I called the trip planning people to see about changing my return flight from Germany so that I have a few days before I have to leave for India. No such luck. It can not be done without wiping out my whole bank account and then some. Oh well. So, I am backing out of that trip and just going to India. I will miss presenting at the conference, but my name will still be on the research and the paper. I won't see Austria, Germany, Spain, or France. I will see India for 10 glorious weeks. I won't see my niece. That's the killer for me. Everyone else in the family will meet her in July when her parents are bringing her stateside. Not me. :( I will be about as far away on the globe as it is possible to get. Almost.
I'm sad that it can't work both ways. No one gets to have it all, though, right? India is an amazing opportunity and I would be incredibly stupid to pass it up. The only thing I'm really losing is snuggle time with Isobel. Steep price, but an opportunity like 10 weeks in India for free doesn't come around every day.
Yesterday I got some exciting and also terrifying news. Someone dropped out of the India program. I'm in. Seriously. I'm going to Chandigarh, India for 2 1/2 months this summer, from June 9th until August 22. I can't believe it. Not even a little bit. Holy freakin' cow.
I am flying to India in 4 week, and am going to spend 10 whole fabulous weeks learning Punjabi. I can't believe it. I'm excited and scared, all at the same time.
The program is sponsored by the US State Department. Each summer they give grants/scholarships to about 500 college students and they send us overseas to one of 26 locations to study 13 different "critical languages". So, I will be in Chandigarh with about 20 other students learning either beginning, intermediate, or advanced level Punjabi. I, obviously, will be in the beginning category. I wish the scholarship people would send out a list of things I need vs. things I definitely don't need. I have questions, you know? Should I bring my own school supplies, or will they be provided? Should I bring and English-Punjabi dictionary? (did you know there was such a thing? Me neither...) Should I get a phrase book? How much time should I spend learning a few basics? WHICH DIALECT WILL WE BE LEARNING????
So many questions. I have to replan my Germany trip, because right now, I'm scheduled to come back from Europe the same day that I need to be in WDC for the pre-departure orientation. The plan is to cut out Austria before hand, so I have more time to plan and organize, and cut out Paris afterwards. I'll do the conference in Germany, then fly to Spain to visit Jess and Isobel, and fly home directly from there. I'll be home for 2-3 days, turn around, and fly right out for the India program.