Sunday, 12 February 2012

Thursday February 9th - Saturday February 11th: Departure/Arrival

     Woke up at 8am in Grandma's bed, in my old bedroom, in the basement of 123 Thrasher Road, likely for the last time. Finished packing ahead of schedule and under weight limits. I must be missing something if I am this lucky. I can't go for a sleep over without 3 bags and forgetting something important so to have this be simply means something must have gone horribly wrong I just know it. Left home at 10am made it to the hotel by the airport in Toronto in great time, dropped mom and the bags off and headed to my apartment to get the last of my junk. Matt was there to help, =) unexpectedly, before he was supposed to be in class but had skipped because he work up "feeling like death" but something tells me at least his level of illness may have been a little contrived.  This time I didn't cry, but smiled and laughed knowing I had people in Canada waiting for me to return with open arms and eager hearts.

     We went back to the hotel, collected mom and when to the airport on the hotel shuttle, as it was free and after we placed the last of my crap in the CRV, via my father and I's amazing Tetris skills, there wasn't enough room for the three of us anyway. Waited in the wrong line for a bit until we found the right one, however when I say that, I mean my dad waited in line with all of my luggage as my mom and I bought AUS$. (Which is now officially called the Roo, {it's not really but I intend on starting that trend, can you imagine? It be great for tourism: "G'day, Mate! Can you spare a roo? I'll pay you back in a fortnight!" [and saying fortnight is not me being old Englishy, it's actually a thing down here, seriously.]}) When we got through check in, mom filled out my customs form for me and we said out goodbyes. We'd gotten in line to go through the doors of US customers (my first flight was to LA) but it was moving far too fast for a real goodbye so stepped off to the side and had a little cry. Finally I walked through the doors ready to be interrogated for being a Russian/Canadian double agent trying to infiltrate Los Angles while Mom stayed at the doors for as long as she could see me, waving every time I turned around. I miss her already and I tried very hard not to cry.

     We arrived at the airport at about 2:50pm, I had the aforementioned exchange and made my way through customs and baggage check, sending my bags off with a longing "Come back to me!" (They didn't listen) as they were carried away into the dewy decimal like system of terror and secrecy what is the airport baggage system (for further understanding of this comment see: my crippling fear of libraries.) I had my carry on x-rayed and walked through the beeping archway without issue. I did not get frisked or wanded  or body scanned or strip searched and after all the fuss I've heard about it I'm very disappointed.

     All this took a grand total for 40 minutes. I'm now at my gate, waiting for my flight with a bunch of people who are waiting to the flight that takes off 2 hours before mine from the same place. I mean great timing but how does that help me at all? I now have all this time to kill in an airport, the ~happiest place on earth~! So what do I do? As any good Canadian student would in such a situation and just because it happened to be at the bottom of the stairs when I got out of customs - beer pub.

     I sat down and ordered a beer (the most fitting brand for this situation if you will note by the photo), one that ended up costing me $10.75 but the only thing I'm going to need CDN money for the next 5 months is showing it off to Australians anyway so nbd. The guy sitting next to me saw me taking pictures of myself and offered to take one for me, it didn't turn out and we just ended up talked about his job and where he was going, he gave me his card "incase (I) needed any mining work done while down under." I smiled and took the card and willed him internally to stop picturing himself drilling me.

     After he left I read a well wished happy thought and cried again, the waitress told me not to because I was going on an adventure. That's what everyone has told me and of course I know that, but it's still hard to leave the ones you love. I have all the strength in the world to be here and to go on this adventure but it's hard to leave. I bought a magazine (which I will begin to read once my computer dies) and racked up my Canadian phone bill. Then I met up with another York exchanger named Lori who offered me a ride from the airport once we got to Melbourne. We had a nice little chat and boarded in plane, she was sitting a few rows behind me and on the other side of the cabin. Once we had all got settled it was 5 mins to take off, I sent my last texts made my last phone call, shaking and gasping for air, turned off my phone and... "Our apologies ladies and gentlemen; there is a mechanical error with the plane and we must take it into the hanger for repair. Please exit the plane go back inter the gate and we will get you to a new one." ~Great.~ Just when I'm all settled. Get off, get shoed off to another gate and our off the tarmac time is pushed back by an hour. Take off was fine, I clutched everything I had close to me and now have the imprint of a D20 in my palm.

     The kids sitting behind me (aged 15) were also going to Melbourne on exchange, I'm sorry did you not notice their age? 15! They're not even old enough to get their drivers permit and they're going on exchange in Gr 10/11 I couldn't believe it. I certainly couldn't have done it at age 15, but they had each other and mummy and daddy's money (private school, you see) so they were not so impacted by what they were doing. They were also on the same connecting flight so we at least knew someone else was stressed by the delay of our departure.
The guy sitting next to me was very nice, we chatted, his name was Robert but I didn't find that out until the end of the flight, in my head I'd named him Phil. I didn't realize why until half way through when I remembered he said he was from the Philippines. I thought it best not to tell him of my internal inadvertent racial error. He shared his very expensive pizza with me which was very nice but made me feel very sick. I got to use the bathroom in first class and had business men and trophy wives sneer at me for entering their sacred ground. Having used the bathroom for the pleeplanders later in the flight these are the things that I can tell you about the differences:

1st Class

Smells like lady parts (really, not bad lady parts, just very specifically, female naughty bits)
Has hand soap and moisturizer


Smells likes, just spilled beer
Just soap

     That's it. So if you only want 1st for the bathroom, don't bother. Get back here with us nobodies.

     I also got some acetaminophen for the headache I'd had since the gate because I'd not eaten anything for days due to nerves and sickness and the Molson went right to my head. I felt much better after that and the rest of the flight when long but fine.

     The on board movie selection was without excitement. I watch Arthur (the Russell Brand one)  a couple of episodes of something but I honestly cannot remember what due to my head hurting so badly and some of Real Steel. Nothing to report other then why did it take us this long to find Helen Mirren, would should have had her for years.

     Made it to LA, the kids behind me asked for my help getting on the next plane and it was nice to be needed/thought responsible/like I knew what I was doing. Re checked in with QANTUS (was on Air Canada) gave them my baggage information (as Air Canada told me to do) went through customs again (had my favourite bracket break, AGAIN,  just as I was taking it off to go through the metal beeping arch, and spent 15 minutes on my hands and knees picking it all up again with the help of 3 border patrol officers (looks like they had a lot to do) and went off to find food. LAX is MASSIVE, it's terrifying large but for some reason, unlike sensible Canadian airports when you get though customs to wait at the gate, instead of all of the food places being at your finger tips, there were none. None, okay, well one but it was crap and I spent 10 dollars on a salad I ended up eating half of and picking through the rest to find anything edible. There was very little after that and then it was right on board the most massive plane I've ever seen. Actually the most massive commercial jet anyone has ever seen: the  A380. See below.

     This is not exactly good picture of me and okay you can't really see the plane but I post it to show you the forced smile and utter terror and reluctance in my eyes. It has two stories of seating arrangement and they still crammed us in like sardines. Above me were the super important people that got to lay down as they slept, I am so jealous. The in flight movie selection was much better in this plane, I made mental lists of films to watch and expected to get sick of watching things very quickly even though it seemed like a good time. However halfway through Drive I fell asleep for 10 of the 15 hours. They had to physically shake me awake for dinner. The guy next to me commented on what a heaver sleeper I must be. I blame my dj sized headphones and the anti stress sleeping aid I took. :P After what was actually a pretty solid airplane dinner I put on a playlist Evan made for me called "dusty...the trails" and fell asleep to Kings of Leon and The Kooks. When I work up we had about 3.5 hours left to go, had another solid airplane food breakfast (to clarify, if I had paid money for this at a restaurant I would have been displeased but in terms of food prepared in the air (or at least kept warm while flying,) this was pretty impressive, plus it had mushrooms and bacon and that is how you will get me to fall in love with you. From there finished Drive (enjoyed it), watched The Iron Lady (also enjoyed it but have a lot to say about it, in depth discussion to come) and the watched the first 3 episodes of the new season of Two and a Half Men jut to see what they did with it after Charlie Sheen was let go (which I also have a lot to say about cause I think that was a dumb choice). Then I arrived. Hoarry! Look! We landed (people don't clap anymore when planes land, what is that?)! I'm in Australia! I did it! it actually happened! it wasn't just something I talked about or something I said just to have something to say, I actually did it!


There's no place like...

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