Friday, June 8, 2012

This is why it's hard to be poor.

Remember when I said yesterday was the total final deadline for getting the engine for my scooter? Well, as of 8:30am this morning, Ninja Serwis received the engine, worked on it all day, and fixed the dang thing. Guess I can stretch it a day. Didn't expect this! Good news.

Went to the bank at 4pm on Friday to get some cash to pay them. I had 500 zloty ($140) in my wallet and needed 1750 zloty ($550) total. I paid off my Mastercard's cash advance (plus hefty fees) and luckily it had gone through, so I was able to withdraw $500 again.
... except it was denied. What!

Luckily, I had my Visa card too, and that has only a $250 limit, but maybe I could scrounge together enough extra cash. ... but that was also denied.

(My debit card, you may remember, is not working, because my bank got bought by another bank and they canceled all the existing cards. My new debit card is in the transatlantic mail as we speak, thanks to my wonderful parents.)

Turns out I never set up a PIN on my Visa. Note to self (and everyone else): set up a PIN on your credit cards. It's sort of stupid that this isn't automatic, but it's not, and you have to request it and then they mail (mail!) it to you in 5-7 business days. Argh, etc, but "not possible".
As for my Mastercard, general fraud alert on the account. Apparently one cash advance in Poland doesn't trip their system, but two does. At least this was fixable via a phone call.

Oh, one more thing? My helmet. I thought I had left it with Ninja Serwis, but it's not there. Our current hypothesis is that I left it with Skuteromania (the first guys who took a look at my bike). So first thing tomorrow, I'm going there to try to find it. Second thing, I'm going back to Ninja Serwis to (hopefully) pick up the bike. Third thing, I might actually get back on the road. Fingers crossed.

Where did the title come from? Why is it hard to be poor? Because your problems are all super urgent. While I've been traveling, I've had to deal with issues like "where will I sleep tonight?" And even so, my problems are easier than a poor person's problems, because even when I run into money problems (like now) it's just because the money is in a different place, not because it doesn't exist. Imagine being poor, and every night you have to worry about where to sleep. You can't concentrate on other stuff. You can't think about making a resume and wearing nice clothes and getting a job because you have to worry about scrounging together a few dollars right now to make rent, so you don't get kicked out on the street with nowhere to go. You have to worry about actually going hungry today.


  1. Sounds very difficult! I like your musings on what being poor must be many people don't understand how hard it must be. "Oh why don't they just get a job" kills me every time. But enough of that. Glad you are ok despite your troubles.

  2. Bikes and motor vee-hickles are good, when they work. I used to work on mine when I was poorer, but it took forever. Not sure I'd tackle an engine replacement :-0
    You have a spectacular outlook and cope extremely well. I would be in a Polish jail by now.