Tag Archives: exchange student

A post for my Dad

2 Sep

Today is Father’s Day. Well, it is over here. Not so much in the U.S.A., where my father actually is. But since I haven’t lived over there in nearly 12 years, I celebrate Father’s Day today, and my Dad gets his token “Happy Father’s Day, Dad” email from me on my Father’s Day, rather than his.

Anyway, in honour of Father’s Day, I thought I’d tell you a story about something great that my Dad did for me 11 years ago. Something that, if he hadn’t done, my life would probably be very, very different.

My Dad. I stole this picture from his Facebook photos. He’s obviously a good fisherman, and is pretty famous in fishing circles in the U.S.

It was November 2001. I’d been home from my student exchange in Australia for 4 months, and was a couple of days away from flying back to Australia. I was spending Christmas with my host family, and going to schoolies. For those four months, I’d been working 40-60 hours per week as a school portraits photographer to save enough money to get back to Australia (and have enough to live on while I was there).

My friends took me out for a goodbye dinner. We had a great time chatting and laughing.

When I got home, my Dad was sitting on the couch. I knew something was wrong the minute I saw him.

“The McMurray’s called, they said Canada 3000 went bankrupt. They’re not flying anymore.” The McMurray’s were my host family. I was supposed to fly out from Vancouver on Canada 3000 in 2 days. I guess the airline collapse didn’t make our news in the Seattle area because Cananda 3000 didn’t actually fly there. I always flew out of Vancouver to Sydney because it was cheaper. And it only took a couple more hours to get there than it did to get to Sea-Tac.

My face went white. I nearly fell over. I didn’t have enough money to buy another plane ticket. Especially at such short notice when lots of seats would be booked out and ticket prices higher. I was only 18 years old. I didn’t make that much money even though I had been working my tail off.

“It’s ok, I’ve been on the phone for hours, I got you a ticket on Air Canada, and you fly out the same day you planned to. We just have to pick up your ticket when we get to the airport.” It was still paper tickets back then. Ugh. E-tickets are so much better!

The Air Canada ticket was at least twice the price of the Canada 300o ticket, but my dad didn’t hesitate. He paid for that ticket without second thought, and never asked me for a dime of it back.

What if he hadn’t? I wouldn’t have been able to go back to Australia for a long time (until I saved up a lot more money), and then who knows if I would have missed out on getting back together with Aaron.

So Dad, what you did that day for me set the course of my life. I can’t imagine myself without Aaron, Hannah, and Daniel. Thank you so much for sorting my flights out for me. And also, HAPPY FATHER’S DAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I don’t have any digital photos from 2001, but this one is Aaron and me on Christmas day 2002. Awwwww….

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Flashback Friday: The Bra Incident

3 Jun

My very first flight to Australia when I was 17 years old, took a staggering 25 hours.  Yeah, 25 hours to get to Australia.  That’s what happens when you fly Canada 3000 from Vancouver to Sydney via Honolulu, Rarotonga, and Auckland.  But hey, I was paying for it myself, and it only cost me $600 return, so I didn’t really care.

My host family picked me up from the airport and when I got to their house, I had just enough time to shower away 25 hours worth of sweat and unpleasantness from so much travel before the party started.  They had another exchange student leaving the very next day and she was having a going away party.  She was in the room I’d be in, so I had the den/study for the night, which happened to be downstairs right near the kitchen and living room- the party area.

I made the rounds, meeting everyone, declaring my sobriety and making a bet with someone for $50 that I wouldn’t drink the entire time I was in Australia.  Ha!  That didn’t happen!

I must have needed to get something from my temporary room because I went in there for some reason or another.

My host brother Dean must have wanted something out of there too.  It was the study after all.

As I walked in, his face went bright red.  Someone else was in there too.  I can’t remember who 10.5 years later, but there was someone else there.  He looked guilty, but I wasn’t sure why (Maybe because I’d been flying for 25 hours was in a new time zone, and was pretty much a zombie by that stage).

Yeah, I had permed burgandy hair, so what?

I gave them a funny look and they quickly scrambled out of there.

I didn’t get boobs until I was 18 years old.  Yeah, 18.  When I was 17, I was 98 pounds, still flat chested and could buy bras in the tween section.  Doesn’t sound very exciting, but tween bras are awesome!  They are sparkly.  They are funky.  I’m pretty sure they have the awesomeness to make you feel better about having absolutely no boobs. They make you feel a little bit better about it.

One of my awesome sparkly funky tween bras was sitting at the top of my luggage.  Hmmm…Maybe my host brother and friend saw it and then got embarrassed when I came in?  I didn’t say anything.  My bras were awesome, I didn’t care who saw them!

It wasn’t until later that my host brother told me that he had actually picked up the awesome sparkly bra, held it up, and showed it to his friend.  I apparently walked in on it, but was too oblivious to notice him quickly dropping my bra back into the suitcase.  He thought I had seen him with the bra.

I wish adult I-actually-have-boobs-now bras were as awesome as tween bras.  I miss the tween bras.  Humph. But I do like having boobs….

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