Free Write: One Stamp Away From Vancouver

It was a warm, sunny day in August of 2018 when I was getting ready to go to Vancouver. The place was suggested by my dad, who had been there multiple times for his business, and he said that it was a lovely and beauteous place. I packed my suitcase with everything I needed to bring for the week-long trip. I was so thrilled, and could not wait to explore the beautiful wonders of the new, unknown place to me. 

It was 5 in the morning when my mom shook me awake from my slumber, telling me that it was already time to leave for the airport. I immediately got up, rushing to my bathroom to get ready for the day. I loved traveling to new places, especially ones that were out of the country. I brushed my teeth and got dressed, wearing leggings and a jacket since I knew it was going to be cold outside. Once I was fully ready to leave for the airport, it was already 5:20, and our plane would leave at 8. We immediately got into the car and started for the John F. Kennedy International Airport. I had slept for most of the car ride to the airport. The darkness of the highways and the bright lights of the few cars still out calmed me, and it did not take long for my drowsiness to get the best of me after a few minutes of coasting along the peaceful highway. 

It was about an hour into the drive when my mom awoke me. We were finally at the airport. I instantly jumped up from my seat and rushed out of the car to retrieve my suitcase. I could not wait until I was finally on that plane, observing the beautiful features of the sky from my window view. Flying is one of my favorite parts of a trip. The experience of being in the air is just so exhilarating yet calming. I ran towards the airport entrance, yelling for my parents to hurry up as well. The warmth of the airport suddenly filled my body as I stepped into its embrace. The sounds of the busy airport wrapped around me: the suitcases being rolled around, the quiet chattering between the travelers and the airport workers, the noises of an airplane about to take off on the runway…It was all so soothing.

We finally arrived at the airline check-in counters, a woman in her 40’s greeting us with a smile and a wave. She had short brown hair, round glasses, and big brown eyes. I rushed up to her, my parents following just behind me. As soon as we approached her, she asked how she could help us. My dad responded saying that we were flying to Vancouver and that we needed to get to the boarding area on time. She then asked for our passports, as it was an international flight. After my parents had handed her our passports, she then asked my parents for their VISAs. VISAs are actual or electronic stamps that give people permission to visit a different country. We had not been on a trip to Canada for years, and the last time we had gone we only needed a passport, so we did not know that we needed one. My heart dropped when my parents told her that they did not have the stamps. I knew that without them, we would not be able to go. The woman said that a passport was not enough to fly to Canada, but offered that they just apply for one and wait for a response. Even still, thoughts invaded my mind. What if we were not going to be able to make it? What if my parents could not get the VISAs on time? I knew that my questions would not be answered any time soon, but until then, the only thing we could do was wait and hope for the best outcome.

Minutes after minutes of waiting with worry and hope until it had been a whole hour. Time seemed to drag on as slow as a snail. My parents and I were patiently waiting for a call back from the VISA company. We had been longing for a trip to Vancouver for weeks, planning it and finding a variety of things to do while there, and now we were not even sure if we would still be able to go. Then finally, after waiting for what seemed like an eternity, it came: the loud ringing of my dad’s phone sounded through the airport, and I could not have been more relieved and filled with joy. My dad picked up the phone, and after about a minute of talking, he hung up, a big smile on his face. I waited anxiously for what he was about to say next, although I already had a guess on what it was. We were going to be able to go to Vancouver. I immediately ran towards the check-in counter again, pulling my suitcase behind me as I ran. It was the same helpful woman who we had talked to earlier that we approached again, letting her know that we received the VISAs and could now travel to our destination. She asked us for our flight information, which we told her was the 8AM United Airlines JFK International Flight to Vancouver. She then typed some things into her computer, and at this point I was ecstatic, already imagining all the fun things I would do during my trip. But then, she stopped typing and looked back at us with a slight frown. The next words that came out of her mouth were not what I expected to hear.

“Your plane seems to have already left.” Right away the words hit me, but I could not fully process it. We had gotten the VISAs, but it was not enough. The plane had already left. We were not going to be able to make our trip to Vancouver.

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1 thought on “Free Write: One Stamp Away From Vancouver

  1. Hi Julia!
    I really liked how you took a personal memory from you and put it into words. I feel like I can better understand you when you talk about your personal experiences. Great dialogue by the way.

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