You’re grounded, mr!

Well Well. Right now I should be over the pacific ocean, or the north pole, or wherever it is I’m supposed to be now. But, I’m in Vancouver at the Radisson. Why, you ask? Ok.

My flight from STL to Denver was flawless. We left on time and got in early. I thought to myself, “what was I so worried about? Flying is a well-oiled machine.” Too bad I jinxed it. The flight from Denver to Vancouver was delayed, and so I missed my flight to HK. BAH.

Let me back up. I had three fears about the entire studying abroad trip:

1. That my checked bag would get lost in transit.
2. How do I get from airport to hostel? I don’t have exact address, nor can I speak Canto or Mandarin.
3. That one of my two connecting flights would be delayed and everything would be ska-rewed.

Well, one of them happened. Hopefully #2 won’t happen and #1 probably not since I’m on the same airline the whole way now, with plenty of layover time for those scrubs to properly send my bag to the right place.

The entire time I was sitting on the plane on the Denver tarmac, I was pretty worried. I knew I was going to be cutting it close, and I then thought that I could make it. Towards the end, however, I realized that it was totally out of my control and if I made it then I made it, and if not then no dice.

Then the flight attendants started to hand out customs declaration forms, and I realized, while simultaneously becoming aware of the fact that I was in the very last row of the plane, that I wasn’t going to make it. I was still going to hustle through the gauntlet of Vancouver Int’l (haha). As I got to the gate, a worker asked if I was from Denver, and I said yes. Thus began a two-hour ordeal of testing my patience. First, I had to find the united airlines ticket office. Then, I had to find a way to talk to someone without going through the MASSIVE ticket line. I eventually did so, and a nice French-Canadian woman helped me book a flight to HK tomorrow via San Fran. Also, a room at the Radisson for free, which is where I am at now. Then I had to retrieve my checked luggage, which was more waiting. Waiting waiting waiting. But the two French-Canadians who helped me were nice and very helpful, so that was good. Vive le Franada

Which brings me to a (good?) question: what would you do in this sort of situation? Don’t I have the right to be indignant at United for bonking a flight (we were delayed because of some mishap with the luggage on board)? at Expedia for illegally booking a layover so short (apparently, according to the united ticket woman, it’s illegal to book a layover with less than an hour)? at myself for thinking an hour was enough? at the people handling my bag, who took about an hour to find it?
No? I should just be patient, especially when it’s out of my control? So shouldn’t I receive some sort of award, or recognition, or pat on the back, for not being a “typical” American who freaks out and is angry at the wrong people? No?
I haven’t even left the continent and I’ve already learned my first lesson. We shouldn’t be good people (e.g., following the virtues) because of the rewards. Lately, I’ve been thinking about this a lot, and it just keeps on rollin’. I told myself that when I pay stuff forward, I don’t want a reward or recognition. However, I think deep down I still wanted recognition. I see now (or, I begin to see, as how can one really ever see, etc etc) that some things aren’t going to elicit words of affirmation from others. That’s not to say that people don’t notice, but nevertheless, some things you should do because there’s nothing else to do.

Mm I hope this makes sense because I’m dead tired. Also I don’t want to come across as arrogant or, “look at how cool I am.”

I took a break to go look for some food. I walk out the door and down the street and what do I see? An Asian supermarket. Canada rocks, eh? Vancouver is the perfect city for white people! Maybe its just the neighborhood I’m in, or maybe it’s just that I’m from STL and not used to seeing more than 2 Asians at a time, but there are so many Asians here. And it’s in Canada. Reference #1Reference #2Reference #3 … I was thinking about being an expat to someplace in Asia, but now I see I can be much closer to home and still be an expat in Asia!
But seriously, though, I walked into the supermarket and was smashed by a wave of seafood smells. It was so fishy I thought I’d died and gone to heaven.

Anyway, I didn’t have much monopoly money so I only bought fruit, fruit, and crackers. Hopefully it’ll last. I just ate one of the asian pears and it was the best I’ve ever had.


But just to close…Vancouver is unbelievably beautiful with the snow-capped mountains in the distance, the trilinguality, the harsh winter sunlight…Also, customs was a breeze. I went through it twice and took less time than the time I went through US customs in New York. Hopefully I won’t have anything to complain about with San Fran, although, knowing the US and rules, I probably will.


3 thoughts on “You’re grounded, mr!

  1. Caleb, we LOVED Vancouver when we were there a day before we left on a cruise down the west coast…it is a fabulous city and one, actually, I could easily see you living in! Yes, they do have a large Asian population, it is very much like Toronto and very multi-cultural. I can’t imagine you not liking it….too bad to hear about your travel troubles, you just have to have patience, and yes….I would contact Expedia and see what they might do since there wasn’t enough time between flights…..part of that is up to you also…always expect something will happen and be surprised when nothing does! We always like a nice window of layover time just to cover all of the “what ifs”! You should have the exact address of the hostel you are heading to, just Google it and something will surely come up….I wouldn’t worry too much about the language once you get a cab, they probably speak enough English but if they don’t, head to a large hotel and visit their concierge service, that might be a good idea for you! Are you staying with a family or do you have to stay in a hostel the entire time? Watch your wallet and something your Grandpa always said that I remember when I travel, always act like you know where you are going! I know it sounds dumb, but it really helps! Keep up the posts, you are an excellent writer!

  2. Caleb…I loved reading your post. Please keep this up. I will feel like I’m right there with you. When things don’t go as planned try to look at it as an exciting adventure. You never know what you will see or who you will meet. Just look…now you know how beautiful and interesting Vancouver is! I love you!

  3. What an amazing young man you are. I am so very proud of you. I hope this is one of many exciting adventures you have in your life. I agree with Aunt Vicki, keep up the writing and I’ll feel like I’m right there with you. LIVE AND LEARN and that’s exactly what you are doing. Try to get some sleep on the plane if you can. I love you more than there are stars in the sky.

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