Sunday, June 27, 2010

World Traveler

Here's the story:

When I was a sophomore at Brigham Young University, I decided that I was going to volunteer to teach English in China for a semester. I applied and got my assignment. I bought some cassettes to teach myself a little Chinese, got my passport, and prepared to leave in early January.

Chad was coming home from a mission for our church (in Santiago, Chile) in late December. Despite two years of dating prior to his mission and being totally crazy about each other, our relationship was very much up in the air as I prepared to go. I had been dating other guys (maybe dating isn't even the right word - "hanging out with" is more like it) and neither of us could really say what things would be like between us after two years of not seeing each other.

I would be leaving days after Chad came home. My decision to go was a little bit of a pulling away from the relationship. I knew it and he knew it, and after all he had put up with from me already, I knew that my chance with him might be past when I came back.

In November, I was thinking it over and started to have some strange feelings.

Feelings that, although I hadn't seen him for two years and felt a little anti-men at the time, I really really needed to stick around instead of going to China.

Basically, I felt strongly that I was going to marry Chad.

I prayed and I canceled China.

Chad came home December 28th. We got engaged February 2nd, and married April 26th. It was fast, and a little scary at times, and I have to admit that if I had only made the decision with my head, I don't know what I would have done.

It was the best decision I have ever made.

My passport expires this year and it has never been used.

I love my life and the road that I have chosen,

But sometimes I feel a little like a country bumpkin

A 29 year old who already has three kids but no stamps on her passport.


I have never in my life left the country, even though I grew up near the Mexican border in a time when it was very easy to cross.

So when I heard that the house we were renting was a mile away from the Canadian border, I said,
"I'm crossing! I am GOING to Canada! I don't care if I go alone, I am going!"

And then amidst all the list making and packing for everyone and myself, I left approximately three minutes for finding my passport, and of course it wasn't in our files where it should be (and really, where should an unused passport be anyway?). So I left without it.

I was undeterred.

"I will hike into the woods and across the border if I have to!" I told everyone. My brother-in-law Bill, who served a mission in Canada, felt the same about getting across, even if it was illegally.

When we got to Idaho, our turnoff for Fliegerhaven was right before the sign that said, "One mile to Canada" but there was a river and mountains between us and the border. Gulp.

After a couple of days of looking at maps and seeing Border Patrol driving around, I pouted to Chad that it just wasn't going to happen.

I had given up, and then on our last evening Bill called to Chad and I and asked if we wanted to go check out the border. We hopped in the car, leaving the kids with the grandparents, and took off. The plan was to see if there was some sort of turn-off close to the border where we could at least get a picture with a "Welcome to Canada" sign.

There were several duty-free stores, a US Customs office, and a post office before the Canadian border inspection, so we parked the car and started walking in the direction of the border, very slowly, waiting to see how far we could get without getting yelled at.

With no one really even eye-balling us, we started strolling along the empty street when we noticed, right in front of us, the US/Canada boundary marker.

Right there, free from any border patrol officers, and yards away from inspection. Was that really the country line?

Sure enough, we glanced to our right, up the mountains, and the boundary was marked all the way up.

I ran over the Canadian side laughing, raising the roof, and had Chad snap my picture like the country bumpkin that I really am, hair undone and not a stitch of make-up on. Then my sweetie crossed over to Canada with me.

I fully realize that Canada isn't exotic or exciting, but Canada plus Chad for all eternity? Wooeeeeeee, baby!


Ashley said...

Woot woot - way to go!

Kelly said...

Way to go! I think we both know you made the better choice. The squatty pottys in China are disgusting.

Olivia Carter said...

That's so cool! I remember going to your reception & I said something like, "Good luck tonight!" meaning good luck with the rest of the reception but I was like, "Oh no, is she going to think I meant TONIGHT, TONIGHT. Awkward!" It was that awkward time in life for me.

Congrats on being a world traveler! I did go to china but I wish I had traveled more before I had babies- however I want to be like Scotts family- when the kids are old enough we start traveling all together (he's been to a ridiculous amount of places with his family).

Christie said...

LOL I walked across both borders before there was any hassle about it...the Canadian one during the summer of 2001, in fact.
So glad you got to at least have that little victory. You know I have to crack up about you not being able to find your passport for the trip, though!

Em said...

this is officially my favorite post of yours. the time you cut your own hair has moved to the #2 spot. you rock.

Jamie Martin said...

Thats the best!!

Audra said...

My nephews (on my side) just came back from a scout camp in the wilderness by the border. They said they crossed the border by a few yards and one kids caught a Canadian bass. I asked how they knew it was Canadian, did it say "eh?" I am a dweeb.

I gots a soulution for ya! Adopt internationally! Grow your family and get an exotic trip... all in one! Haha!

Honestly, there will be plenty of time to travel later... there are times and seasons. And this is family time and later will be travel time.