Saturday, August 14, 2010

I am the Circus at the Airport

All right, I'm going to be making two posts consecutively; this one is obviously the first one. The next one will detail my first day in Thailand, while I try to explain to all of you the gong-show of my plane travels.

Alright, I left you all with the description of my transitions from Fort Nelson to Vancouver. Well, afterwards, I packed up and went to the information desk just to see where luggage storage was so I didn't have to keep my eyes glued on it for the six hours. Well, she told me that instead of midnight, I could actually check in at nine, and I was like "oh, yaaay. I love you, lady~". She then told me that the luggage storage was bottom floor, and I did all that jazz. Btw, four dollars per hour for luggage isn't as cool as I thought it would be. -.- Twelve dollars!

Haha, checking in was actually very confusing for me. There were three lines: first class, business, and self-check in. However, I knew I was in economy, and it was completely empty, so I was soooo confused. After trying to wait in the line, I decided it was a waste of time and so I joined the self-check in line. That was the right place to go, haha! The lady was very kind and curious about my exchange, so I shared some information about that with her, and she told me that even though I'm using a different airline when I get to Bangkok to go to Chiang Mai, she could check my luggage all the way through so I wouldn't have to worry. That turned out to be a huge help, but I'll explain that when we get to Bangkok.

So, finally I went through security, easy breeze, and found a comfortable spot by subway where these adorable Philippine kids were sitting beside me. I stayed on the computer to keep myself entertained, as many people in the airport are very grumpy, haha. I would just like to note that I could not stop smiling, even when I was over-tired!

Anyway, the six hours passed quickly and soon I was boarding my Cathay Pacific flight to Hong Kong. Let me just say this: WOW. It was huge, and all of the flight attendants were dressed in these chinese outfits with the hairstyle. It was just phenomenal, and they were very, very pretty and friendly. (However, their outfits were red, so my red blazer made a lot of people think I was a flight attendant, despite me wearing jeans.) So, flight to Hong Kong was 13 hours. There was a baby in the row across from me, and she was so adorable! I guess I'm just not a crabby person when it comes to babies crying, haha. I was very lucky that no one was sitting next to me, so I sprawled out and slept for nine hours, which by then my body desperately needed. It would have been perfect, if it weren't that four times during my sleep one of the attendants had to shake me awake to put on my seatbelt because we kept hitting turbulence. The last four hours passed with me attempting to watch Kick Ass (I love superheros, but I was not comfortable watching this movie), and absolutely loving How to Train Your Dragon. TOOTHLESS IS ADORABLE!

When we landed in Hong Kong, it was five in the morning local time. I was refreshed and smiley, and I met a very cool girl named Grace who had shared my flight. She just returned from a year of school in Vancouver, so we spoke in English and that was really nice. She was going home to Changsha~. Again, security was easy and then I said goodbye. Finding my gate wasn't difficult either (I got to take a train!) and the airport is definitely larger than Fort Nelson! But China was so gorgeous~! I remember flying over it and thinking "man, I wish I could spend a few days here".

My only troubles within the airport was trying to find an outlet. When I eventually did find one, it was a Chinese one, so I was doomed. I then found a telephone booth, so I tried to use my credit card on that, but it failed on me, too. By then, I was just laughing at myself. You can't get angry over things like that. So, I then decided to try and find me a currency exchange so I could get some Chinese change and make a phone-call to my mom just to let her know I was safe. The lady there, again, went beyond my expectations, and sold me a phone card plus some change. (Chinese coins are so cool!).

I had 7 mins 28 secs to talk with my mom, and we spoke right until it clicked out. There was a guy standing beside me who apparently knew English and thought my conversation with her was hilarious. I'm funnier than I realize, haha.

Anyway, I returned to my gate and just curled up with my DS for the next two hours. I met a lady there (I can't remember her name) but she's a handbag designer from London was on her way to India for some business. It was very nice to talk to her and hear about her experiences. This time, when we boarded the plane, it was much crappier than the gorgeous one I had had originally. I suppose because it was a long flight they had these amazingly comfortable seats, but for only three hours you get a very sore butt. I had a Chinese couple sitting beside my this time, and the woman seemed to be terrified of me. At one point I really wanted my camera, but when I reached down to get it, she freaked out and jerked away. I straightened up and decided I didn't need it that badly. And sure enough, for the rest of the flight I had to make sure I barely moved. I'm lucky I didn't need the bathroom, and I was very thankful when we landed in BANGKOK~!

Wow. Flying over Thailand had me almost in tears, because I was just too excited for words to describe. It is just beautiful, even when you're 40,000 feet above the ground.

However, BKK airport is an entirely different story. The Thai workers were very smiley and friendly, but it was so huge and a tad confusing to navigate. I had to keep running back and forth to get my ticket for Chiang Mai and then when I did, I had to fill out this residency card and go through passport check, and I was just trying not to fall asleep, haha.

When I finally was in the domestic departures sector, I decided I was starving and wanted to eat some food. Unfortunately, all of the Thai restaurants were on the other side or something, because I only found Burger King, again. It wasn't too bad, but I was hoping for some authentic Thai food. Anyway, finding my gate was a HUGE battle. I walked around that airport for two hours. I was so exhausted and my feet were cramping, but I kept smiling and trying to ignore all of the stares. Being white and wrapped in a red blazer is just not normal for them, hahaha. I finally found the gate and sat down to relax. I did a quick fresh up in the bathroom. These two little girls who spoke French kept staring and saying how weird I was. Yeah, I can understand you, children, but I smiled at them anyway.

Anyway. This time, I could actually plug in my laptop, but I couldn't just connect to internet like in Vancouver. I had to purchase it from an information desk, and by then it was only two hours until my flight. I decided I was too tired to make another step, and just used this phone to call my mom with some baht I received through Burger King. Again, we had an interesting phone-call, and I assured her I was alive and well. This time, I met a 21 year-old woman from Korea who I was so sure was my age. She's living in Chiang Mai with her aunt, so she and I exchanged information so I can contact her. She's very, very sweet, and gave me perfume as a gift. I felt so embarrassed that I literally had nothing on me. We couldn't sit together on the plane, but we did wait together and took some fun pictures which I will eventually get to posting.

Afterwards, my flight to Chiang Mai was only an hour! My heart was so erratic at this point and I kept taking pictures of everything as we started to descent. I actually flew over a lot of places that I eventually drove by, and that was exciting. As we landed, a huge bumblebee swept past my window. I only mention this because it really was HUGE.

Anyway, I stood up immediately to grab my belongings and say goodbye to this nice lady I talked to who had been living in Chiang Mai for six years, though she's from the UK and US. I eagerly left the plane and grabbed my luggage, and this is what really made me annoyed: it was totally trashed! Brand new luggage set, and both of my tags with my contact information have been ripped off, one of the zippers missing, one of the locks is broken, and there's dents all around it. Not happy, Cathay Pacific or local Thai Airline. Not happy with that.

However, customs took about two seconds. Once again, I was very fortunate with security, though they did want to search my bag with all of my gifts, but after a quick glance, they let me go. During all of this, my host family was standing right at the entrance, waving and shouting my name...

I will tell you all of this in the next post. :)

Sawat-dee ka~!


PS: I calculated how long it took me: 38 hours!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

And I'm Stuck Beside Burger King

This morning was very early for me. I woke up at seven, too excited to sleep any longer even though I had only rested for about five hours. Katelyn and my sister, Katelyn, (too many Kate's, haha) joined me in my room for the night, so when I woke up, they had no choice but to join me. We finished cleaning my room, my mom helped me packed, and then I prepared for the journey of a lifetime.

I went to say a few goodbyes. It was very emotional, but I managed to contain my tears. My overwhelming excitement was definitely a primary contribution, because when you're going on exchange for ONLY ONE YEAR, you really have no time to be sad! :D

Anyway, afterwards, we loaded up the van with my luggage and everyone else and headed to the airport. I met Kathy and Dr. Mostert there, and I was really happy to see a few Rotarians before I left. As a side note, I'd like to mention that I will be corresponding with the Fort Nelson news every two weeks to share my experience, so that's very exciting as well! :D

Anyway, the plane left at 1:10, and so I said goodbye to all of my family and my best friend. Again, I held in those tears, but it was a lot more challenging. I will surely miss everyone, but I know I'm ready for this new chapter in my life to begin.

The flight itself was not difficult whatsoever, either. I seated myself beside Ms. Mercer, which I thought was very fortunate on my part, as it wasn't so lonely. The trip to Dawson Creek was only fifty-five minutes, and then security, then right back on that plane again. This time, I managed to fall asleep, before our ascension had even completed. This flight was about an hour and forty minutes, but it didn't feel long whatsoever. Upon landing, everyone departed the plane and I followed the crowd to baggage claim. It was only a few minutes before our luggage arrived, and just like in Dawson Creek, mine was one of the first. That usually never happens! :D

Then I had a tiny, tiny challenge of finding the International flights. Following the sighs was easy, but then they lead up a staircase. I'm currently using one of those carts to help me with my luggage, so that wasn't possible. Thankfully, after walking around like a blind tourist, I discovered an elevator and went to check-in.

Then the only bad news: my flight it as three in the morning (specifically 2:45 a.m.) and Cathay Pacific apparently doesn't allow check-in until three hours prior to departure. I just had to groan and then put on my Rotary smile. What can you do, right? :) A kind lady directed me towards a food court where I fed my famished stomach and now I sit here, typing this. It's now six hours until I'm able to check in. I'm actually not too concerned about this. I'll find someway to amuse myself until then, while battling the urge to sleep, haha.

That's really all for now. :) I hope to have a new installment with pictures included later on tonight!

Sawatdee-ka, Fort Nelson~ <3


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Time Never Slows Down

Well, I'm in a for a personal shock.

There's only 8 days until I make my departure for Thailand.

I finally received my guarantee form about a month and a half ago, and so I booked all of my flights. I'll be departing Fort Nelson at 1 p.m. on August 12th, a Thursday. I'll have a ten hour layover in Vancouver, then I take a flight to Hong Kong--again, two hour layover---then Bangkok, and then the lovely CHIANG MAI.

There's only 8 days!

I can't describe this excitement to anyone!

I've been in frequent contact with other students exchanging to Thailand. There are some amaaaazing people I will be enjoying this adventure with, and I can't possibly be more thrilled! This girl from Mexico is probably the one I speak to on a regular basis. It'll be fantastic when I finally see all of them in person! :D

Tomorrow, my official "one week til I leave", is the date I have chosen to begin packing. I don't believe I'll be as neurotic as some fellow CS-ers, but I'll in no doubt be repacking constantly just to make sure everything is right. I'm thankful I still have eight days to get everything prepared, though.

My laptop is still in confinement, but hopefully the screen will arrive soon! I need it for my ten-hour layover in Vancouver!

I don't have much to say either than that. The date is fast-approaching, and I'm almost entirely prepared.



Friday, May 28, 2010

Ohh, Thailand, you had me worried there~

So, Thailand was misbehaving there for quite a number of weeks, but once Super Nanny got down on them, the Red Shirts smartened up and all is well in the land of smiles now~. I was consumed by fears of having my country switched, but I've been assured by numerous folk that I still get to go to CHIANG MAI!

Ohhhh, dreams do come true~! Thank you so much, Disney! And Rotary!

So. I've been in contact with my host family. They are gorgeous, wonderful people. I have my father and mother and two sisters. However, the sister who is my age is actually coming to our Rotary district and will be living in Fort McMurray~! My actual host sister, Prae, is 13 years old, loves Justin Bieber... AND IS SO AWESOME! I haven't stopped corresponding with her since she added me to MSN/Facebook (internet is a blessing~). I already love her. I'm very fortunate, I would think.

I'm going to include some of the pics they sent me, including a view of my ROOM. It's GORGEOUS, but you get to see for yourself and judge. ;) I'm hoping for some AC, because if there is one complaint that is repeated over and over it's the fact that Thailand is HOT! Luckily, I adore the heat. I've learned to crave it after living in a town where the snow lasts for eight months of the year. ;)

I suppose that's all I have to squeal for right now. Still no guarantee form, but it should be arriving ANY day now! How exciting!

Thai Uniform~ That is essentially what I will be wearing all next year during school. I'm actually excited, because I've never had to wear a uniform before. Experiences~~~

MY HOME! It has a gaaaaate! That's awesome!


My gorgeous host family! Order is: mom, Prae, Ploy and then dad. I SO CAN'T WAIT TO MEET THEM! <3

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Initial Post

No, I have not yet departed for Thailand. I'm still unaware of which city/town I shall be living in, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed for Chiang Mai~! This is just something to have here. Instead of space.

So... no grasp of the language yet. Mom ordered me a Thai children's book. Guess which one it is? WINNIE THE POOH! BE JEALOUS! CHILDHOOD GOD!

I don't think my posts in Thailand will be this hyper [They so probably will], but I'm just so excited right now. 8D

Oh~! Friday I'm meeting the only Thai lady in Fort Nelson; I hope she agrees to help me! Apparently, she wants to meet me as well and offer her support. That sounds great to me~

Sawat-dee ka!