October 15th, 2017
SARA: The whole week before our departure, I felt excited, nervous and scared. Scared of not being prepared enough, scared of being away from my family for so long, scared of the unknown. I was riding an emotional roller coaster. Despite all of my worries, I knew I wanted to do this. To grow as a person and experience this journey away from home.
Here we are, October 15th, having a delicious breakfast with family friends (from Vancouver) who had kindly let my fam and I stay overnight. We get ready, say our goodbyes and drive to YVR as international travellers are expected to arrive and check-in three hours ahead of their scheduled flight. So, here I sit on a bench with my freshly printed ticket in my hand, waiting for Kisa to make her appearance…
KISA: Today’s the day! It’s 8 o’clock and I wake up from my chamber of dreams and carefully check my phone making sure I do not disturb anyone else. As I sit here quietly and legally downloading movies for the flight, my mom rises out of her hotel bed and loudly makes her way to the washroom to take a shower, not even noticing that I’m awake. Once we are all up and half decently ready (mom, cousin Rylin and brother Jai) we slowly make our way to breakfast and continue with a leisurely stroll into a few stores for some last minute items I might need or maybe some early Christmas presents (Hey, aunty Narel, you’re getting a broom from the Dollar Tree). We were in no rush, we have all the time in the world as my flight is at 5:30pm. We arrive at the airport four hours early…
SARA: Finally, Kisa arrives to where I’ve been waiting. She prints her ticket and we make our way to the luggage drop off. As we stand by the security line up, Kisa’s mom asks if we should all get coffee and visit a bit before going through. My family and I stood confused. “We have a lot of time to spare, the flight is at 5:30pm, Kisa told me”, added her mom. With a stunned look on our faces, we replied, “No, departure is at 2:20pm.” Kisa had read her flight schedule incorrectly. She had looked at the LAX arrival time. When she said that, I had a little internal panic attack. What if she didn’t come on time? What if she missed her flight? I calm myself down, there’s nothing to worry about. Soon after, we all have a good laugh. Kisa is special.
KISA: And so it was time for goodbyes. I quickly hug Rylin and pretended I care then hug Jai believing that I might actually miss him. I move on to my mother who leaves me soaking in a pool of her tears. As I pry myself away I realize I was a little sad about leaving my family but not enough to stop this woman on a mission.
SARA: As I hug my family I feel tears coming, but I quickly fight them back. My mom gives me a few words of encouragement and I smile. Time to move on. Next was the security checks. All is cool and surprisingly they are letting Kisa leave the country. We make our way to our gate and wait for our flight to Los Angeles. The flight to LA is only three hours. Time to board the plane, Kisa and I get comfy in our designated seats and watch Burlesque on her iPad.
KISA + SARA: We land at LAX, hop off the plane and leap on a bus to get to the other end of the airport. This place is huge but we manage to easily find our gate and now we’re off to get some food. We choose a pizza restaurant and order wraps. We have six long hours to kill so we take our time to eat and send messages to our family to let them know that we landed safely. Now, done with the food, we go for a stroll, check different stores and people watch. I, Sara, FaceTime my family a few times to help make the minutes go by faster. Six hours between flights is way too long. There are lots of Kiwis waiting for the same flight heading to Auckland. We chat with an older lady for a while, we love her accent. She was very nice and told us she was visiting family from Canada.
KISA: Finally time for our 13 hour flight to Auckland, where I find myself dining on steak at midnight-ish and watching The Big Sick. I didn’t get to see the end of the movie because I passed out.
SARA: The Big Sick. Such a funny movie!
So, the show ends and I fall asleep. It’s a crappy sleep because I’m sitting in the middle and I have no room. There’s also this guy, sitting in front of us, snoring like an old congested moose. I now regret leaving my earplugs in my checked luggage. Bad move. Sitting for 13 hours, with barely any sleep just doesn’t agree with me and I feel sick.
October 17th, 2017.
KISA: 8:40am. We land and proceed to go through eight years worth of security. The biosecurity officers asks us to leave our tents for a thorough cleaning. This helps limit invasive species coming into New Zealand. We get phone plans with SPARK at a booth located inside AKL and text our people to let them know that we’re still alive. I pay for Sara’s plan as well because her credit card isn’t working. No stressing, we got it figured out. Moments later, we meet with Justin, the guy who’s house we will stay at while in Aukland. We all head back to get our tents from the biosecurity. The tents are clean and shiny and inside out and not at all in the bag!! Those people didn’t even attempt to put our tents away… i-d-i-o-t-s!
SARA: We have to carry a mess of a tent and poles to the car, in our arms. After a short drive, on the wrong side of the road, we arrive at Justin‘s house and meet his wife Leeann and baby Carter. Following a much needed nap, we go outside and Leeann takes us around her neighbourhood.
KISA: It’s so pretty, even though it’s a city, the trees grow like a forest so green and fluffy. Kind a like pretty broccoli. We walk with Leanne down to some shops. It’s a pretty cool little place, can’t wait to see the rest. We go back to the house to hang out with their daughter, Annika, who now is home from school. She’s pretty crazy but very cute. We have dinner and play with Annika for a bit before we settle down for the evening. Once in bed, I get hyper… “Sorry Sara!!”
SARA: “Kisa calm down, I’m trying to write in my journal.”
- Best thing today: Arriving in New Zealand
- Worst thing today: Six hour layover and 13 hour flight.
– Kisa + Sara