The lost day

2 Jan

NYE, 2000.  I was all alone, in a hotel room in Canada at the age of 17.  My parents had driven me there the day before, stayed the night and then left on New Years Eve.  I think I went to sleep at about 9:30.  I’ve never been a late night person.  In the morning, I got my breakfast at the hotel, made sure I had everything in my giant suitcase, nothing left behind, checked out, and got the shuttle bus to the airport in Vancouver.  Check out was at 10.  My flight wasn’t until 8pm.  Sigh.  At least I had a good book.  Ok, I don’t really remember, but I must have, other wise I would have gone crazy waiting that long in an airport with no one to talk to, and I don’t remember having a terrible time, so deductive reasoning tells me I must have had a good book.

Finally people besides myself started to arrive at the departure gate.  Seems my flight was full.  A girl nearby spilled her coffee all over herself and the floor.  “Can you watch my stuff while I go get some napkins?”  She asked me.  Maybe I looked like a nice person or something because I wasn’t the nearest person to her.  The thought that she could be doing something sinister or have something sinister in her bags didn’t cross my mind.  I was 17 and naive.  She finally came back with some napkins.  The flight was already boarding and I was starting to think I might have to ditch my post and get on.  I rushed to get on the plane as soon as she got back.  Turns out she had the seat right next to me on the flight and we got along great.  It was good to have a travel buddy when the total travel time was 25 hours, with a stop in Honolulu, Rarotonga, Auckland, and finally on to Sydney.  I guess you get what you pay for.  This crazy long flight with Canada 3000 (now defunct) was something ridiculous like $400 return including tax.

Sure it was a big trip for a 17 year old all by herself, but I’ve been flying by myself since I was 9.  I used to fly from Washington to Minnesota in the summer to see my cousin/best friend Jennifer.  I didn’t like anything they served on the plane.  I used to be so picky.  I didn’t think to bring any snacks.  I figured if I didn’t like what they had on the plane I could buy something at one of the numerous airports we stopped at.  Good theory, not so good in practice.  When we got to Hawaii, it was the middle of the night and none of the shops were open.  Not to mention we weren’t actually allowed in the airport, only a little transit lounge.  Rarotonga (Cook Islands) was a tiny little airport that consisted of one little open air building and a moveable staircase to get you on and off the plane.  No food stores in sight.  I tried to buy the only thing resembling food I could find, a bag of chips, but they didn’t take US dollars, Canadian dollars, or credit/debit/eftpos cards.  Only whatever currency that they use, which I didn’t have any of and they didn’t have any money exchange.

I can’t remember why I couldn’t get any food in New Zealand, but I couldn’t.  Finally I arrived in Sydney, to an excited Lauren and my new Exchange family.  I smelled like B.O. I was greasy, and I was wearing way too many clothes for the summer weather.  Oh, and I really needed to eat.  I left on 1 Jan and arrived on 3 Jan.  I missed an entire day with all the different timezones, but it didn’t matter because now, I  was officially an exchange student.

I saw a McDonald’s and got really excited.  Finally I could eat!  I don’t know what my host family first thought of me when I arrived, after not having a shower and travelling for 2 days, but they were (still are) awesome.

10 years later (tomorrow to be exact), I am still here.  Happy  Decade to me!  Now I just have to get my citizenship.  I can’t really put it off much longer, my visa runs out next month.  Well, not my whole visa, I can remain in Australia indefinitely, I just can’t leave and come back.

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2 Responses to “The lost day”

  1. Daddy John January 2, 2011 at 2:43 pm #

    Sheri,
    Uhmmm? You can’t leave and come back without becoming an official citizen. Perhaps you should come home for a visit — yeah, that’s a great idea.

    Don’t worry, they will let you back into the country.

    Or you, Aaron and Hannah could live in the U.S. for ten years.

    Also, you left out the part about Canada 3,000 going bankrupt BEFORE your flight. Remember, we had to beg and plead to get you on another Canada Air flight without them charging a fortune. Luckily they did and your mom was refunded for the other ticket because she used a credit card to purchase the ticket.
    DAD

    • Sheri (Mommy Stuff Blogger) January 2, 2011 at 7:57 pm #

      That was before the second time I came out, not the first. I flew out with them just fine the first time.

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