adventure, Food, Life, Long Post, Picture Post, Short Story, travel

The Half Ginger Goes To Japan (Part 2)

(…And now we return to our tale of adventure…)

I call my mother for the millionth time that morning. She’s at work, I’m not sure if she can hear me over the machinery at her job, but she tells me to use her credit card (which I have in case of emergencies, it’s usually something I ask tot take on long trips, just in case something happens and I don’t have the funds to cover it) to get a hotel and go have fun. And after talking to a very tired Patrick, who I woke up with the call after I missed my flight the first time, I decide it’s time to leave the airport and get somewhere else, anywhere by this airport.

I push my way out of the airport. My bag has been cutting into my shoulder for almost four hours at this point. Someone tells me that I need a jacket because of how cold it is outside. I dismiss them. I don’t have the fortitude to talk with anyone. I don’t think it can be that cold. It was about -20F when I showed up that morning, but the sun has been out, it has to be warmer. It’s now -13F out and I’m wearing a dress with leggings. I don’t even feel the cold. I feel my boots loose traction on the sidewalk as I slide over the concrete. I just want to sit down somewhere safe and be alone for a few minutes.

It doesn’t take me very long to reach my truck. The truck that I’ve already said goodbye to, sweet Beverly. I unlock the doors, throw my stuff in the back, and go to find a hotel. Except I’m in Canada. I can make phone calls and send texts, but I don’t have any data. I sigh heavily, my breath is super scratchy in my throat, I haven’t had any water to drink in hours; and the windshield frosts over where it hits. I’m not sure how, but the air in the cab is significantly colder than the air outside and it’s starting to sink into my sink and make me shiver. I tell Beverly that I’m sorry. That I thought she was going to have a vacation and that I’m sorry that I have to get her to work on such short notice. I’ve said this out loud. The sheer silliness of it makes me laugh. I finally dig into the cookies that my mother had made for me, start the engine (takes a bit longer because of the cold), and plug my phone in. Once again I try to pull up an app that needs data and get frustrated as I remind myself YET AGAIN, that I don’t have data. I decide to find a place with free wifi and find a hotel. I drive around until I find a Tim Horton’s, they require a passphrase to sign in. I don’t have one and I’m not interested in going in to get it. Another few sighs later and I find a McDonalds. The signal is weak and keeps disconnecting on me. But I find a hotel in my Expedia app and call them. I pretend to be my mother, I’ve decided to listen to her and use her credit card to get a hotel. I need sleep so badly. When they pick up the phone, my voice cracks and I barely make a sound. The woman on the other end of the line is patient with me, and I’ve never appreciated it more. I explain that my ‘daughter’ missed her flight and needs a place to stay for the day and the evening, she has my credit card. The woman tells me that all ‘I’ need to do is fill out a form that they’ll email to me that authorizes my ‘daughter’ to use the card. I have them email it to my mother, tell my mother to forward it to me, and I’ll send it back to her, and she’ll send it back to them. My reason for this? Because somewhere in my brain, my brain decided that it needed to make this process harder because they will be tracking the email and make sure that it’s all coming and going from the same address and if we don’t do it this way, I’ll have to sleep in my car and I’ll freeze to death. Insane I know, but I’ve been up for way to long. We get the paperwork out of the way. and I pull up the GPS get directions to the hotel and drive over there. I’m talking to myself in great length or maybe I’m talking to the truck, don’t know, don’t care, to tired. I’m laughing at my own jokes. I’m crying a bit.

I pull into the hotel parking lot and it is much nicer than I thought it was going to be. The hotel that is, not the parking lot; most of those are pretty standard looking. I pulled into my space and took a few moments trying to figure out how not to sound like the voice I had used for my mother on the phone. I tried to say a few words and it wasn’t happening. I decided that it couldn’t have been the same woman I spoke to over the phone and headed inside. It was totally the same woman. Thankfully she just went with it. I told her that my ‘mother’ had called me and had said she set this up for me. The woman told me they had a double queen room available at that moment and that she would get me into that one. I hand her my passport and my mother’s credit card. She rings me in and tells me about the bar they have in the hotel. I’m sure I acknowledged her at one point. After check in she points to the lift, I get in, go up to my room, and I am met by a rather wonderful room.It’s so clean and nice that I forgot for a second about how tired I am. But, there is a better part of the room.

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THE BEDS LIGHT UP

No, seriously, the beds lit up. It seemed a bit shady at first. Why would I need neon mood lighting in a hotel room. What sort of skeeze stays here. I explore the room a bit more, and it turns out, it’s just a light up bed. In fact it even has patterns. I couldn’t believe how cool it was. So much in fact I took a video. It was a very large room too. In the future when I am writing this, I’m a housekeeper for the summer, our double room don’t even come close to how big this one was. And I paid less that $100 USD for this room, our rooms at my current employer run for about $200 USD a night. So, I was super happy. Oh and each queen bed, HAD SIX PILLOWS! So guess who had a twelve pillow night? That’s right, me. Patrick would have hated it. I changed into my pajamas, grabbed my bear, and fell asleep is a super deep and comforting sleep.

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I fell asleep around 11:00 am and woke up around 6:00 pm. I hadn’t slept that well in a very long time. My body was still very tired, but I needed food and a shower.

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And man what a shower

Do you know how nice it was to have that shower? It was like a movie shower. So nice. I also had a television in there. So I was pampered.

I decided to order dinner from the bar downstairs. They don’t deliver to the room, so I changed clothes, waltzed downstairs, and gathered me delicious poutine and sandwich.

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I ate the poutine to fast

It was so good. A french dip. That’s all it was. But it was amazing. I learned during this that American poutine is way to salty. Like, seriously. Canadian TV is about the same though, but there are many more french programs. I didn’t understand a single one.

It’s now 11:00 pm. I find myself getting very tired again, I’ve done all that I can do. I set the ten different alarms on my phone so that I am up and ready to go at 3:00 am, so that I don’t miss my flight again. I have weird dreams about flying and I wake up in a panic because I think I’ve missed it. I get up and try to decide what I’m going to wear for the flight ahead. Something comfortable. Something… adventurous.

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I used to be an adventurer like you, but air travel exists in my world…

End of PartII

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adventure, Life, Long Post, Rant, Storytime, travel

The Half Ginger Travels To Japan (Part 1)

Loyal Readers! Let me take you on a true and whimsical adventure of danger and excitement! Gather ’round to hear my epic!

So I am definitely late posting this, as it happened in March. But for Spring Break I traveled to Taito-ku, Tokyo, Japan and stayed in a little hotel in Asakusa. But, it was quite the adventure getting there so let’s jump in.

I drove to my mother’s house on Friday March 10th and didn’t sleep at all that night. I was too excited. My mother had to work, but had offered to make me cookies if I stayed until about 8:30 pm and I decided that that would still give me enough time to get to Calgary and catch my flight (a 5 hours drive). She asked, while the cookies were coming out of the oven when my flight was leaving, and I went to check my email to find a new email from United (I knoooooow) telling me my tickets had been cancelled. Not the flight mind you, for weather or anything, just that my tickets had been. So I called Expedia, because I booked through them. They told me that because they didn’t have my birth date, they cancelled my tickets. They hadn’t called me, emailed me prior, or anything of the sort. Just cancelled my tickets. I asked them to re-book it and they told me they’d have to refund it and wait for it to process back to my credit card, then charge me again. I told them that that wasn’t possible, my flight left in less than 10 hours. I needed it processed now. The woman told me that she would ask to see what we could do. I was on hold for a hour and a half. It was now 10:00 pm. I had even less time than I had given myself in case of construction or bad traffic. They finally got the ticket reprocessed, told me that I was back on the flight and that everything was taken care of. I flew out of my mother’s house and hoped in my truck. Called my dad on the way there to tell him what I was doing and I was ecstatic. I got to the border in about forty-five minutes. The border guard was really cool, wished me a good trip, and as I readjusted my American sensibilities to kilometers; sped into this new foreign country. I was about 50 km in when I noticed that the temperature outside was below freezing, I didn’t think anything of it. It was March, it still got cold in Montana, I wasn’t worried.

I should have been worried. I took the windiest road I have ever been on. In a blizzard. In an active avalanche area. With traffic that didn’t comprehend that I had never driven in Canada before. It’s different, I don’t care what anyone says. Charter buses DO NOT care what the speed limit is. So, the speed limit drops down to 40 km (25 mph) due to the weather.  Or at least that’s what I thought the sign said. I was sliding all over the road, I wasn’t doing more than that. I glance at the clock and it says 12:00 am. I have enough time. My projected arrival at the airport was 4:30 am. Flight left at 6:10 am. I was five by five.

I took the wrong highway. I took Alberta Highway 22. It’s a highway, I know it is. But it’s also two lanes. It goes through farm land, it’s max speed was 70km with blind corners and scary hills and TONS of wildlife that just wanted out of the blizzard. I could barely see. Now I took this highway because GPS told me to, I wasn’t going to question it because I had never been to Canada before. What I SHOULD have done was taken Highway 3 instead of turning onto 22. It would have led me to 2, and it would have been a straight shot on a proper road with a higher speed limit (I think, if I remember correctly). I couldn’t go 70km because of the blizzard. The wind gusts alone hit my truck so hard I thought I was going to die. Not even being dramatic there, I thought that. Or I was going to get into an accident that mangled my body and no one would be able to use my phone because Canada (my plan does cover it, but still) and I would just disappear into the blasted frozen wasteland that I had surrounded myself with. 2 would have been plowed at least.

For those of you reading the dates and realizing what day the Sunday was, yes, it was Daylight Savings Time. I lost an hour when the clock switched to 2 am and then immediately 3 am. My projected time of arrival was now 5:30 am. I had to be at the desk to check in by 5 am. So I did the unthinkable (Don’t read this part mum). I sped through Canada, literally sped. As fast as my anxiety would allow. There was no one on 22. No one at all expect the occasional semi-trunk, who I would like to think were as nervous as I was and also didn’t want me to be doing the thing that I was doing. 22 led to a country road, that led to another one. I could only rely on my GPS to not get me lost. I was taking hills like a mad man, blaring on my horn when I couldn’t see houses, hoping to save any sort of animal that dared venture into my path. I finally found the highway, but I was still running super late. At this point it was 4:30 and I had 60 km to go. I have to be there by 5:00 am. I drove so slow earlier in the night that making up for lost time seemed impossible. I got stuck behind cars that all decided that the icy roads were more of a awkward zit on the shoulder blade than anything that could actually do someone harm. I’m doing 120km in 100km areas, and I’m still going to slow for most of traffic. My eyes are glued to the road, the signs, and the clock in my truck all at the same time. My heart starts to sink into my chest as I realize I’m not going to make it.

Cue Optimist Me, always ready to cheer myself on when I panic (sometimes to cheer myself into a deeper panic). Telling myself that, no, I am going to make it. I am going to get there. I follow GPS to a T, I’m not getting lost, NO WAY. I’ve come this far I’m getting to the airport. I pull into the parking lot, it is 4:55 a.m. I get my things, get out of the truck and run (in boots and a skirt) into the airport, lugging a heavy-ass bag and my carry-on. ROLLING LUGGAGE FOR LIFE. Seriously, the duffle bag cut into my shoulder, bruised my collar bone, and was hard to run through an airport with. I’ve never walked so fast in my life, because airports frown on you running. I check my phone, It is 5:08, I am almost there. I’m sure that if I explain what happened they’ll still let me board.

I stop to ask for directions to the terminal. It’s at the very end of the building. I am not going to be beaten by this. My boots are ticking on the floor as I pull myself around to the check in desk. I tell them my name and they give me the look. You know the look. The look that says “You’re wasting my time. You’ve missed your cut off.” It is 5:12 a.m. Cut off was 5:10 a.m.

I ask if there is anything they can do. They tell me no. At one point I’m pleading with them. I drove all night I tell them, the weather was terrible, my ticket had been cancelled and I needed to get it re-booked and that took time. The woman has heard all of this before. She isn’t going to budge, she can’t she tells me. Policy that check in ends an hour before take off. I tell her I understand that but I got here as soon as I could. She says to me, and I’ll never forget this “You should have made plans to get here sooner.”

I lost my mind for a second, mind you, I haven’t slept for over 24 hours at this point. I shouldn’t have been driving. When I say I haven’t slept, I hadn’t. At all. No naps or anything I was too excited. I’m frantic. I’m crying. I’m an adult woman crying in the airport because they’ve just told me that the flight I’ve been waiting my whole life to take isn’t going to happen, because I was two minutes late to the gate, and now they’ve embarrassed me. I’m asking about other flights. They offer me one to Houston, but I’d have to stay the night in Houston and then leave for Tokyo the morning of the 14th, which means I won’t get there until the 15th. Which kills my entire trip. They refuse to put me on a flight to LAX, which has a spot but they can’t upgrade my to the seat that is available. They won’t put me on the flight to Chicago (which is strangely a direct flight). They refuse to help me. (Uniiiiiiiiiiited).

I call United, they can’t help because it’s booked through a 3rd party. Took them an hour to tell me that. I call Expedia. They (after another hour) put me on the Air Canada flight to LAX (or San Diego, it was one of them) and then I’ll fly out of there. I’ve told my story so fast and so many times that I’ve lost my voice. I go to the Air Canada desk, happy that I have a solution, I have 30 minutes to check in for the flight. Air Canada tells me they don’t have me, and that United does (12 minutes). I go to United, same women mind you, they tell me that they can see it but I have to go to the Air Canada desk(10 minutes). I hurry off again (because the gates OBVIOUSLY can’t be near each other). I now have to wait in line. I get to the front, explain the situation to the very rude french woman at the counter who then tells me that I am a MINUTE past check in time. THE MINUTE I TALKED TO HER, WHILE SHE HELD MY PASSPORT, AND DIDN’T SCAN IT. She then tells me she doesn’t have me in the system anyway. That I’m not in their passenger list (She didn’t even type my name in, didn’t even open my passport). I have the conformation number and emails stating that I am. She tells me that there is nothing she can do and that I need to leave her desk, because I missed the check in time.

I’m dejected. My bag is cutting into my shoulder, the pain is intense. I can’t feel my arm at this point. My phone is almost dead. I’m tired. The lack of sleep is catching up to me. I go back to the United desk. The women are not happy to see me. I tell them again, what had happened. She sighs and brushes her hair out of her face. I hate her face at this point. I hate the other woman too, but feel like we would be friends if our circumstances were different. She’s sweet. Not like the woman and her stupid hair poof in front of me. I ask her what my options are. She gives me the same options as before. I ask, the life probably drained from my eyes at this point, if I can be put on the flight I missed, but for tomorrow. Meaning I would miss a day in Japan, but would not have to go to Houston. She looks at me like this is a new concept to her. The manager is called and after some more bush beating, I’m on that flight. I ask them to upgrade me, they do. I ask them what I should do around Calgary, trying to make the situation light. They eye me and say “What do you mean?”

I tell them that it’s my first time in their city and they seem shocked. They thought I was local. They tell me this holding my American Passport. They tell me this after chastising me for not being on time. I don’t hear what they say, but I know what I plan on doing. I’m going to find a hotel, and go to sleep. Because this nightmare has to be over eventually.

 

End of Part One

 

Life, Picture Post

Oh Man I Am The Worst Blogger

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Hey Everyone! So, I haven’t posted since my birthday, which is a little sad because I’ve done a lot with every intention of posting what was happening. I posted a short fiction piece but that is about it.

First off to get this out of the way, I’ve changed majors again. I know, I know! I said I was going to keep with engineering, but as it turns out you can’t just wish yourself good at maths and have that be your one plan. So, I’m changing to English (for the 3rd or 4th time). But with that, it means that I’m not going to be in school for 7 more years, I’ve got a year and a half or so and I’ll be graduated. So that’s super fun. I’ve made a few contacts in my field too, so that’s also good for once I’m done. I know I’m not the best writer on the planet, but hey, it’s what I love to do. So I’m going to do it. It opens up positions in Japan as well, which is nice. I don’t need a teaching certificate, just a degree. I’m excited about that.

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7 classes, ya’ll!

Speeeeaking of Japan, that is where I spent my spring break this year. Could barely afford it, but I made it work. The ticket and hotel was less than 1000$ so guess who doubled down with their tax refund and took a trip? I did. I will save that for another post though, because I took pictures and videos. For those of you that went along the journey (via Facebook, Instagram, and/or Twitter) I want to thank you all for your support and love while I traveled. Without a lot of you in my life, I wouldn’t have bit the bullet and done it, so thank you.

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The SO and I finally took a trip together too, out of the country. We just went up to Calgary for a comedy show (We haven’t missed a John Mulaney tour since we got together) and crossed the border together. I think it was the first time he’s ever been to Canada, so that was a fun milestone. We got into a huge fight on the way home, but obviously we worked through it. Our hotel was so nice and we had a lovely sushi dinner that I will also be posting about in another post.

 

I don’t have a few fun posts planned for the coming months (granted I remember) and a few adventures planned elsewhere. I’m working on a few creative projects with a few friends, my Twitch channel should be going live soon, and hopefully I get my Youtube channel off the ground (this century). But school comes first. And then when I’m done I get to start paying off all those loans that I love so much.

I’m still here lovelies, and will eventually get back to this blog regularly.

Life, Picture Post

A New Phish, Downsizing, and Figuring Out Life

So, it’s been a while… and in the past I have said that a lot.

courtesy of Huperbole and a Half

I love that thing. But, life hasn’t done much, and that probably had to do with the fact that I haven’t told it to do anything. Applied to college at MSU, going for Engineering and computer science (double major) with a minor in Japan Studies. I’ve been working much harder on my Japanese than I have been over the past 10 years. I have several conversational partners and I use an app when I don’t speak with them. I also broke down and bought Rosetta stone, which I have found out really helps with my pronunciation. One of my partners said that the phrases I’ve learned through that program are wonderful. I’ve got an American friend over there too. She is from Texas and she helps me figure out A LOT (see above). She understands how my American brain processes learning and knows how hard it is to learn that language. But I’ve learned a ton of stuff from her and from my partners.

 

So, I have a new fish. He is a betta and his name is Phish.Griff (fish-point-grif).

phishHis name is Griff, because he is red. If I have to explain it anymore, you don’t get the joke. I also added a ‘f’ to his name because I like to misspell things. So yea, he’s hanging out with me right now. He is super shy, but he is bubble nesting so that is a good sign. He is sitting on my side table in the sun so that we can hang out while I’m on the computer.

 

I’ve downsized over the past month, and I don’t just mean that I’ve lost weight (and I have). I had my appendix removed two weeks ago. So that has been fun. Took us a month to get there, and it took three doctors visits to get someone to understand that I wasn’t faking the pain in my side. Thankfully there was nothing wrong with my appendix, but for now the pain has subsided and hopefully it doesn’t come back. If it does we will handle it then.

 

I have a few plans laid out for my life, because anyone that knows me, knows that I must be prepared for everything and if I’m not I panic. First plan: I got back to school next fall, study in Japan my junior year, graduate, and then move to Japan to work for an engineering company (not to bad, a little bit of a reach.) Second Plan: Move to Poland. That’s right readers, I’ve applied for work in POLAND. THE COUNTRY! Still waiting to hear from the company, but I am definitely looking forward to working there. It’s such a once in a lifetime opportunity. If I don’t go to school then plan three is that I move back to Portland and just do my own thing there. I miss that city so much and I feel like I fit in the best there. Maybe it’s Powell’s Books that I miss so much, or the locally brewed ciders… or just the fact that I didn’t ever feel the need to be embarrassed about myself because it’s Portland and no one cares.

 

So that’s how life has been. Still crafting and writing. Now that I own the domain again hopefully I’ll update more often, but hey, who knows.

 

Later, Peeps!