I have traveled to Asia, Europe, and around North America, and have never experienced anything like I did on this trip last week. My journey from Oklahoma City to Winnipeg, Canada was wild and crazy. . . but the destination was well worth it.
“The use of traveling is to regulate imagination by reality, and instead of thinking how things may be, to see them as they are.” – Samuel Johnson
I will preface this tale with a few details of the back story.
- When I was 27 years old I created a “30 Before 30” goals list. Since I turn 30 this coming November, I want to cross off the last few things. One of my goals on this list was to see my two sisters I had not seen in 16 years, they live in Winnipeg, Canada.
- Since I travel for work sometimes, I thought it would be a good idea to travel for pleasure to see them for even one day so it would be cheaper; the company pays for most of the trip and I pay for the ticket from OKC to Winnipeg.
- I am an extremely punctual person that creates lists and is nearly always prepared. I have never missed a plane of my own accord.
- Ironic fact: on Wednesday March 2nd, 2016 we had some clients in the office that were flying back home that day; I told them that the TSA lines in Oklahoma were simple, never super long and they could go even 30 minutes before their flight and still make it with time to spare (irony coming soon).
- Below is my horoscope for the day that wild and crazy travels happened. I don’t really believe that I can be told how my day will go from these things, but weird, right (read first, then judge)?
Causes and conditions came together; my company had a show in Massachusetts that I was asked to present at, so I asked if they would fly me from Winnipeg, MB instead of Oklahoma. “Sure, no problem” was the response. So I paid for my one way ticket from OKC to Canada. I was going to mark off my goals list of the the things I have wanted to do for so long; see my two sisters in Canada that I have not seen since I was 13 years old. Sixteen years had passed between us and now I would spend a few hours in Winnipeg with them. My itinerary said I was to arrive in Winnipeg at 11:30 AM on Thursday March 3rd. Ok, I will take it!
Thursday March 3, 2016 – The wild and crazy journey to Canada
Today was the day! My flight was taking off from OKC at 7:10 AM to Minneapolis St. Paul, MN — the first of two scheduled aircrafts to Winnipeg. My husband drove me to the airport, we left at 6:00 AM (we only like 15-20 minutes from Will Rogers Airport); but then I realize. . .
- I forget my cell phone at home.
So we turn around, get it and head back to the airport with 40 minutes or so to spare. When I get to the airport, I did a self-check-in with my passport and then stood at the back of the. . .
- SUPER long line to TSA security.
It took 30 minutes just to make it to the maze where people actually lined up in for TSA. While I was waiting in line, I saw a police office walking back and forth with a passport in his hand. With MY passport in his had.
- I dropped my passport after checking in.
I yelled “hey! That’s mine!” Oh man, “good” way to start a day. I am glad I got that.
While I was in the midst of the middle of the maze, I heard my nae being called over the intercom. Last call for boarding my flight, and I was 10 minutes from being done in TSA. One person left me get in front of them and as soon as I was done in security, I grabbed my belongings and ran barefoot to my gate. From there. . .
- I missed my first flight. I saw it pulling away from the tunnel as I approached.
I could not help to be sad; I tried holding it together, but the tears came anyway. I knew that I was going to get to Winnipeg either very late or not at all that day. The flight they scheduled me for next left in an hour and a half and it went to Atlanta, Georgia. Ok, I would get to Canada at 7:30 PM at this point — it could be worse, right? Right.
While I waited in my OKC gate area I saw a man walking around that looked like “Silas” from the movie Da Vinci Code. You guys see that? The Catholic albino monk? Anyway, he ended up being my seating partner, right next to me on the plane. I also met a nice Turkish Muslim woman as well, and her baby. After boarding the plane “Silas” was next to me as I said. I had the window Exit seat on the left wing, and he had the isle. What did he do immediately after putting his seat belt on? Pulled out a Catholic rosary and began praying out loud. Crazy. Ok, no problem though. During the flight this gentleman read comic books called “Babel” and “Lazarus” in which I caught some of the text and it looked weird.
We were about 20 minutes from Atlanta flying at cruising altitude; it was stormy outside, clouds, some rain, etc. When. . .
- The wing I was sitting on was stuck by lightening.
I nearly jumped into the guy’s lap next to me. The sound was like Thor’s hammer on the wing and then there was a huge flash of fire. People screamed and cursed and jumped when it happened. I was sure we were just going to go down. About 5 minutes following the lightening strike, the pilot came on the intercom and told us what happened and that we were ok. Soon though, we landed in Atlanta, GA and instead of going directly to our gate, had to stop and get checked out by the fire department. Make sure we were not going to bring anything we should not with us to the airport building. Like a fire. Since we had to stop and get a once over from the fire department, we were late coming in and. . .
- I missed my connecting flight to Minnesota.
Luckily they put me on an acceptable alternative that would get me there at the same time. So, on my way I went.
The flight from Minnesota to Winnipeg was pleasant. Weather was great, it was comfortable, I was happy, and sat next to a couple of great people. An older woman and younger man that were polite and friendly. The day finally got better. So I thought.
I used to live in Canada and have been there quite a few times. I love Canada. I love Canadians. I love the air, and the company and hockey. I love everything about Canada. So with this great feeling that I was about to see my first sister, and this tough day was finally over, I bee-bopped with a smile over to the immigration counter to answer the usual questions, “what brings you to Canada,” “how long will you be staying,” and so forth. But it didn’t stop there. I proudly declared I was coming to see my sisters I had not seen in 16 years and they replied with, “and you are only staying one day?” I said “Yea! It was a great opportunity to fly in between my business trip,” etc., but the woman was still suspicious. I went to the next officer that told me to go into a room where an immigration officer would speak to me. I waited for about 10 minutes before the next immigration officer came into the room, told me to leave my things there and come to his counter.
- Held up by suspicious Canadian immigration.
I’ve seen the movies. I was just hoping I was not going to be detained for hours. I didn’t have hours! I was schedule to leave for my business trip first thing in the morning. The officer began his questioning, the same as the ones above did, but this guy took it steps further. I had to explain what I did for work, why I was only staying one day, show him messages of my sister and I making plans to meet, show him my itinerary (which did not match my story since I missed a couple flights), show him a photo of my sister so he could go find her outside waiting for me and question her to make sure out stories matched up, and then he finally let me proceed into Winnipeg. This process took about 35 minutes.
It did not occur to me until all was said and done that my entire story, that I did also tell to the immigration officer, sounded like a ton of BS, but that also I guess visiting for one day did seem weird if I had not seen them for 16 years. I suppose I could have told them I was goal-oriented and didn’t care if it was 1 hour to see them I would be able to accomplish a goal on my 30 Before 30 List. I just didn’t have it in me at that point.
Seeing my sisters was well worth anything that happened though. It had been 16 years too long, and a few hours too short, but we hugged and talked and ate. All seemed right with the world.
Sunday March 6, 2016 – Going back home; the people I met
The remainder of the trip was ok. I sat next to some interesting people on the way back to Oklahoma, but nothing as eventful as the first part of my journey. Some people I sat next to included: a conversational, friendly guy that was from Tennessee I think and went to Canada for some engineering business. A man that was so large my arm rest was taken up by his stomach and his leg had no choice but to touch mine and make us both sweaty. Another flight had a couple more guys; one to my left that looked a bit hillbilly-ish, but was reading some sophisticated book. He ended up telling me he was an ex ranger from Alabama and heading down to Lawton, OK to do some contract work. He was finishing up a laser that was built to shoot down drones. The guy to my right was a little more creepy. Off and on throughout the flight he was looking at nudey pics on his cell phone, and had a close-up photo of a womans face for his screen saver, wide-eyed and screaming it appeared.
Random Trip Pics
Here are just a few random pictures from my trip.
A short note about the lasagna. This could be another bullet point for my wild and crazy journey, but I originally ordered a salad and mushroom soup. I a vegetarian of 16 years and as far as I can remember mushroom soup has never had meat in it. Well, this mushroom soup had a ton of beef. I called them back asking if I can trade it since I could not eat it. They recommended the $24 vegetarian lasagna. It took another hour and a half, but the salad tied me over until then. Unfortunately, the pasta dish looked great, but was not so tasty. However, it was food and I got to eat so I can’t complain.
Without complaints, enjoy the ride and accomplish all your goals. Don’t let time go by without showing those you love that you care, even if it is just a simple cup of coffee or phone call.