check in was at 3:00, so naturally i, punctual paula, arrived ten minutes prior. i had somewhere important to be at 4, after all.
at 3:10, i was told by the man at the front desk that i "should go down the street and stay at the hotel that accepts cash".
you see, days prior to this, i had put just enough money on my pre-paid credit card to cover two hotels; one in toronto on christmas eve, and the other in brampton on christmas day.
only, i didn't account for the $250 incidental fee [which so happens to be more expensive than my room was] that was required at check in, and truth be told, they couldn't use my card any ways has i loaded it because there would be no way of putting the money back on my pre-paid card when they realized i was a responsible adult and didn't break anything.
look, i understand policies [or paulaC's as i like to call them], i really do, but i don't understand why he couldn't give me the room i already paid for, and be mean about it, especially at christmas, and especially because i had enough cash in my wallet [baller] to cover the fee. his solution? either call someone who, on christmas eve, had time to print out [and fill out] an authorization form, and send it back to him, or, as i mentioned above, "go down the street and stay at the hotel that accepts cash".
i ended up walking out 40 minutes later without a room and with tears in my eyes. here i was trying to be intentional about enjoying a christmas that could have potentially knocked me off of my feet, but instead left feeling stressed and upset. i took a deep breath and made a few phone calls, and thanks to a great friend having the time to fill out that stupid form, checked into my hotel just under two hours after i had stepped foot in front of the check in line the first time.
i looked around, threw my stuff into my room, and rushed to regent park, where i was expected an hour earlier to help serve dinner.
thankfully, it didn't take long for things to turn around. church - well, this church - is my happy place. i come alive when when i'm there and feel like i belong.
a few hours later, i stood at the back of the church and belted out some christmas carols with tears rolling down my face. come let us adore him. immanuel, God with us. frosty the snowman. just kidding.
but seriously, these songs have a way of into my heart, reminding me that God is ever-present in my life, and throughout my grief.
sometimes, he 'shows up' through the lyrics of a song - or through a tug on my heart - or, through one of my personal favourites, people.
shortly after the service ended, my friends, who just so happen to be the pastors of the church i go to, hung out with me for a bit, showered me with gifts, and bought me groceries for my hotel before dropping me off at the room i almost lost hours before.
but you know something? my day may have started off rough, but i sat in my bed that night with a sense that everything was going to be 'okay' this christmas. and it was.
stay tuned: part two coming at you soon.