Good night all!
I hope everyone has been well. I have. In the interim since I last posted back in May 2015 I went on vacation to Miami Florida for Spring break weekend and what happened to me caused me to learn so much about myself. It literally changed me as a person. Let’s start off these series of catch up posts at that point since I think that’s a great point to begin on whats been happening with me since then.
In January of this year I told myself that I was going to fly somewhere…anywhere as long as I got to leave the country. You see, it had been 5 years since I left Canada and traveled on a plane anywhere and I felt like it was beyond time for me to go and see the world a lil bit…even if it meant just flying south. There is something to be said about saying something out loud and telling yourself your going to do it and watching the universe move and align to make it happen. I sat at my desk at work beside my friend Petal, a cute Asian girl whose tall like me (5’8.5) who is so pleasant to be around. I loved hanging with her and just talking; she was so amazing. Anyhow, she and I sat there and I relayed to her how I want to go to Miami. She shared with me how she had flown out and traveled by herself all over Europe and how life changing it was. I sat and listened wide eyed; half because I was astonished that she was so brave to travel on her own and the other half wondering if I too could do the same. I didn’t think so but I listened anyway and took her advice on the best sites to book my trip and accommodations from.
20 minutes later, and a quick phone call and there I was on Expedia, credit card in hand booking my trip to Miami. I got such a sweet deal on the flight there and back because I was booking so far in advance of flying out in May. That’s the trick everyone! If you’re going to fly out in the summer book your flight from January or February to get the best bang for your buck. $380 there and back WITH travel insurance. Sweet! My friend was supposed to come with me; a girls trip if you will. She told me she couldn’t book her flight as yet because she just used her credit card to fix her car but she was going to book in April. Looking back that should have been my 1st warning flag. We planned to share a Air BnB together; a nice flat in downtown Miami, close to all the action. It was perfect…until she lost her job in April and promptly pulled out of the trip.
I was devastated.
I now was faced with flying by myself, something I’ve never done before. What sucked even worst was that I changed my flight to accommodate her ability to fly out with me. When I called my booking agent he told me I would have to cancel my flight then re book and pay $100 more than what I paid in January. It was now April my flight was a month away and I had no one to fly down with and no accommodations booked. What the F** was I going to do? I was angry but I had no time to dwell on it. Luckily I had a guy friend going down the day before me staying 30 mins outside of Miami City and he offered to split the room. Every BNB I looked into in April now had sky high prices and or were booked up. My spending budget and “what if money” was now going to be significantly cut into for accommodations. WTF! Reluctantly, with what felt like no real choice I agreed to share the room with him. I did not feel comfortable with this arrangement. He was a friend yes but I didn’t see him in that way. He’d flirted in the past but I had ZERO intentions of sleeping with him. After a week of sleepless nights and what felt like major anxiety I called him up 3 days before we flew out (him in the morning, me in the evening thanks to flying to accommodate what would’ve been her flight time) and told him how I felt. He understood and told me he had no intentions of trying anything and I shouldn’t worry. He understood my circumstance and wouldn’t try to take advantage of me. Let’s hope he was right…
3 days later I left to Pearson International Airport with my dad (he drove me there because the MetroLinx Airport Shuttle wasn’t going to be up and running until June for the 2015 Pan Am Games). Getting through Canadian customs was quick and interesting. One thing about Pearson Airport is there are A LOT and when I say A LOT I do mean A LOT of OPP Officers, Peel Regional Officers, Toronto Police and SWAT walking around. You can’t walk a few steps without seeing at least 2 or 3 of the above. I walked up to an OPP Officer who directed me to where I could check my bags if I was flying to the US. He was nice. It was all smiles going through the Canadian side. The Black lady who scanned my carry on smiled at me when she stopped on my baggage and saw all my beauty products and my huge make up bag. Hey, if they lose my checked bag then at least I have the tools for a full face beat, extra panties, a bathing suit, skirt, toiletries and a flat iron to hold me through till they find my bag. We both gave each other that knowing look like, “yep, I see what you got here girl”. That was cool. Like I said the Canadian side was all great till I got to the American side where the American Officers talked to me like they just knew I was up to something nefarious. The Asian officer who was my final step (of interrogation) before I could go wait on my plane practically grilled me like he just knew he was going to be a hero that day asking me questions like:
“Why are you flying alone?”
“Why are you going down to Miami and not anywhere else?”
“Whats going on in Miami?”
“Who are you going to see?”
“Oh friends? Why aren’t they with you?”
“When will you be back?”
“Do you plan on partying and bringing anything back with you”
“What do you do for a living?”
“Is there anything you not telling me?”
“Do you have food with you?” Why would I have food with me?? Like Miami doesn’t have food!
I smiled and politely answered all of his questions. At one point he wanted to smile back at me because I was so pleasant despite his demeanor, but as the smile crept onto his lips he remembered his tough guy act and he forced it away quickly. After he was done questioning me he stared at me for a few seconds in silence as if he was searching my soul before handing me back my passport and telling me to have a good trip.”‘Don’t party too much” he said as I turned to walk away. It was now my turn to compose myself. I was too afraid of being down there on my own and living in an uncomfortable situation for 5 days to think about partying. I took my passport, gave a quick smile and briskly walked away. I wondered if he saw my fear.
As I walked into the new part of Pearson I noted how light and nice it was. Terminal 2 used to be so ugly, damp and dark. It felt like it was falling apart but now it was a bustling hot spot of latte’s, waiters asking if you wanted a drink and a menu, and lots of natural light coming in thanks to the beautiful glass arched roof, shops, pets and Starbucks and Tim Horton’s cups rushing past me. I smiled to myself as I made my way over to my boarding gate. I had 45 mins till my plane left so I decided to I sit and call my mom to let her know I made it through the interrogation and I was now waiting on my flight. I called said friend who bailed on me and she surprisingly sounded all “don’t worry you’ll be fine. This will be great. You can reinvent yourself down there to be anything you wanted. Its going to be totally awesome”. I thought to myself, “I’d like to be anything but down there alone” but I agreed, told her I’d call her when my flight landed then hung up. Called my other friend and we joked about how she wanted me to get a tan down there and not to run away from the sun. I’m the poster child for skin health and sunscreen lotion. I told her I bought SPF 60 and coming back with a tan just wasn’t gonna happen. She laughed and at the same time was disgusted that I would purchase the highest SPF she’d ever heard of. I laughed too cause only I would find the highest SPF she’d heard of and bring it with me. It made me feel better.
Boarding time then we were off!
5 hours later and some mild turbulence due to a thunderstorm, my flight landed and I quickly regretted my long sun dress as the sheer humidity of the Miami climate filled the plane like a heavy fog. I was sweating before I could reach up to pull down my luggage. It was about 10C/50F in Toronto when I left but in Miami it was about 30C/86F with a humidex (feels like due to the humidity) of 35C/95F. I couldn’t wait to get off the plane, pop my ears and make my way to pick up my rental from Enterprise. The walk to the rental area was like a jaunt across the country. Miami Airport is MASSIVE! After 15 mins of what seemed like walking forever I got my rental and made my way down to the car pick up.
There I met a tall handsome Puerto Rican drink of water named Chayenne.
“Hi My name is Chayenne, welcome to Miami. Let me help you today”
Hi Chayenne. Maybe this trip by myself won’t be so bad after all. Or so I thought.
Part 2 will be up Nov 9th!