Monday, May 4, 2009

Trip to Canada!

10:00 a.m. Port-au-Prince, Haiti
The house is spotless, the suitcases are packed, and the fridge and freezer are stocked with meals for Jason . I check the clock one last time, and then go through my lists. Yup, I think everything is done. Daniel, the MAF driver should be here any minute so I help Jayden put on his shoes. “Outside?” he asks, oblivious to where we are going. “We are going to the airport, in a BIG broom, broom,” I answer. He looks at me for a second and then points up. “Broom, broom?” he asks. Yes, I say, and he smiles. Just then I hear the beep beep of a car horn, Daniel must be here. Denise and Anoud help me carry the suitcases down the stairs and then it’s time for goodbyes. Anoud shakes my hand and smiles, but Denise fights to keep her composure. I know that I will miss her too and I give her hand a final squeeze before I get into the truck. As we leave the vehicle is surrounded by a group of little boys, I smile and wave and off we go. I no longer brace myself for the deep ruts in the dusty, rocky road, but let my body rise and fall with the flow. Jayden is sitting on my lap, something extremely illegal in Canada but widely done in Haiti. Traffic is so slow, even if we did hit someone or someone hit us it probably wouldn’t cause more than a dent. With my suitcases on the back seat, there is just no room for him there. An hour and fifteen minutes later we finally arrive at the airport. Now we just have to wait.
11:30 Port-au-Prince, Domestic Terminal
We are waiting at the domestic terminal for Jason. Since our flight doesn’t leave till 3:00 he promised to take us out for lunch at a little nearby gas station. Since Daniel had other things to do later that morning and afternoon the only time he could pick us up was 10:00 a.m.
11:45 a.m.
“Dada, Dada” Jayden is pointing to a group of people coming through the doors from the tarmac. Sure enough, there he is. He wipes the sweat from his brow and when he spots us his face lights up. I know I’m going to miss him a lot. Once he’s finished some paperwork we drive to a little nearby gas station and enjoy some sandwiches.
1:00 p.m.
We are back at the Port-au-Prince airport, this time now in the international terminal . I hug Jason goodbye and then he hugs Jayden. Minutes later he’s gone and I’m left all alone. I push Jayden’s buggy to the check in counter and pull my two suitcases behind me.
2:00 p.m.
We are now sitting by the Air Canada gate. Our flight will board in half an hour. Jayden is sitting quietly in his stroller playing with his ball so I strike up a conversation with the guy beside me. He looks about 18 or 19 and says he’s from India. After a few minutes he asks me if I can watch his duffel bag because he needs to ask the attendant something. I eye the big red bag and for a second wonder if there’s a bomb in there! Then I laugh it off and tell myself that’s a terrible thought to think. Thankfully he comes back a minute later!
2:40 p.m.
A heat blast hits me as I push open the glass doors and step onto the tarmac. I can’t help but smile as I see the giant Air Canada aircraft in the distance. As we walk towards it strains of “O Canada” swirl through my head and it takes all my self control to keep myself from singing out loud. I discreetly look around and then not seeing anyone close by I start singing away. Who cares if people think I’m crazy. It just feels good to sing.
2:55 p.m.
Ready for take off. I slip my seatbelt on and hold Jayden securely on my lap. I like the thrill of getting pushed back onto my seat as the plane takes off. Jayden likes it too, and we smile at each other.
8:15 p.m. Montreal, Toronto
“Wow, wow,” Jayden’s nose is pressed against the glass and I lean past him to see what he’s looking at. “Wow, wow” he repeats again. I take a moment to absorb the beauty. It’s 8:15 p.m. and we are just coming in for landing at the Montreal airport. The sun is setting giving the peaceful landscape scene a golden glow. “Wow”, I say. There really is no better word to describe it. Purple, pink clouds tinged with gold dot the iridescent blue sky. Row upon row of perfectly square fields touch the horizon. The traffic on the roads is almost non-existent. What a world of difference. A rush of excitement fills me. “Oh Canada!”
8:40 p.m.
I’m still waiting for my suitcases. Since we need to clear customs I have to collect my suitcases here. Finally, after almost giving up hope I see them coming down the conveyer belt. Since I don’t have much time till my next flight I’m in a rush now. With one hand I push Jaydens’ stroller and the other hand I pull the baggage cart loaded with my two suitcases behind me. It’s quite a sight and everyone stares, but I don’t care. There is just no other way to do it.
10:00 p.m.
We’ve cleared customs and I’ve even been able to quickly buy “real chocolate milk”. Jayden and I enjoy this tasty treat and then it’s time to board. The flight is practically empty so we have lots of room for ourselves.
11:20 p.m.
We’ve just landed and as we landed Jayden has finally fallen asleep. Since the flight was so empty the stewardesses have allowed me to take my stroller on board. I carefully fold it open and then place my sleeping baby into it. He’s so tired he doesn’t even stir. I follow the few other passengers down endless long hallways in hope that someone will be going where I’m supposed to go. The beauty of the sparkling hallways and massive windows hits me, and I can’t help but stare. Has it really been that long since I’ve seen beautiful buildings??
12:01 a.m.
Where to now? I’ve been able to locate my suitcases but I don’t know where to find my next check in point. It’s midnight and the airport is deserted. Even the lights are dimming. Pushing a baggage cart, and a stroller and carrying a heavy backpack on my back is getting tiring, especially when you don’t know where you are going. Finally I find a security guard in a bathroom and ask for directions. “You’re here all by yourself? With a sleeping baby? Pushing a baggage cart and a stroller? And your next flight doesn’t leave till 7:00 a.m.? Where are you going to sleep?” She looks at me in disbelief. “You’re just a little girl,” she says and shakes her head. I almost start feeling sorry for myself too. I’m so tired, I fight back tears and say with the strongest voice I can muster. “I’m 23, I’m married and I’ve traveled lots of times, it's no problem”. She shakes her head again and the takes the baggage cart from my hands. I smile thankfully. The stroller and cart keep wanting to go in opposite directions when I push them, so an extra set of hands is a good thing. “Where are you planning to sleep?” she asks again. “I was just hoping to find a bench somewhere,” I say. She mutters something under her breath, and then points me to the restaurant section. “There are some benches in there,” she says. “Since no one’s there they probably won’t mind if you sleep there. It’s right close to your gate too,” she points. “Thank you, thank you”, I say and then push my stuff towards the bench. Thankfully, Jayden’s still fast asleep, so now it’s time to get organized. I make sure our passports and cash are safely in the pouch that I wear under my T-shirt. Then I surround us and our suitcases with a row of chairs, this way in case anyone moves them I will wake up. Finally I tie Jayden’s ankle to my wrist. I really don’t want to wake up and find him gone! As I try to find a comfortable position, I can’t help but smile. I’ve always wanted to experience what it was like spending a night on a bench.

1:00 a.m.
beep, Beep, BEEEEP. I struggle to open my eyes and try to identify the noise. Lights are flashing and the screeching beep is getting progressively louder. It’s the fire alarm, and I groan. Unless I actually see smoke I’m not moving, I decide. My body is just too tired and how can I possibly move all this stuff? Thankfully seconds later it is announced that they are simply testing the fire alarm. I cover my ears and moan, great timing. Thankfully Jayden hasn’t woken up. I try to get comfortable again and doze off once more.
5:00 a.m.
Jayden and I are both wide awake. I loosen my braid and re-braid it in hopes I’ll look a little more presentable. At least I’m able to check in my baggage now, and then we go on a hunt for a Tim Hortons. Finally we find one and we order our very first bacon breakfast sandwich. It’s been almost 6 months now. “Wow,” Jayden says and I have to agree.
7:00 a.m.
The flight is packed and we are getting ready for takeoff. Jayden doesn’t want to sleep and there are no extra seats so I spend the next four hours trying to keep him entertained.
9:15 a.m.
Vancouver, our final stop. I collect my suitcases once again and then head out to find my sister-in-law Leanne. At first I can’t find her, but finally we spot her and the kids. We hug each other. It’s great to see them again. Soon I’ll get to see all my family and friends as well.
10:30 a.m.
We’re driving back and are in awe of the straight smooth roads, the beautiful green grass, the small amount of traffic and the clear blue skies. The air is so crisp! I take a few big breaths, and it feels good. Everything looks so clean, and organized! It really is great being able to come and visit!
11:15 a.m.
We finally arrive at my parents. In Haiti the time is 1:15 p.m. This means that our total traveling time was 27 hours!


  1. What a brave young lady, Will! Indeed a trip and a half.

  2. You my dear, need to get a hotel room on the way home! My word, what an experience! Enjoy your stay, was hoping to chat on Sunday morning, but so was everyone else! Take care. Luv steph H

  3. Yes Will, you are an amazing girl to do such a trip by yourself. I thank Jason for letting you go even though he dearly misses you and Jayden and missing out on the wedding. Wishing you the Lord's blessing on your journey back home.
    Mom Krul

  4. Will, if you are flying back with Air Canada and you have conecting flights from toronto or montreal I have some free passes into the Air Canada lounge. free food and drinks. i would be more that happy to give you some passes.
    Call your Father in Law for my cell number, if you could use them.
    C & J den Hertog