Disclaimer: I don’t own anything from SQ and I certainly wasn’t paid to do this. It’s just a way to spread the word. (They have excellent customer service 😉
Traveling is really something else. It adds color to your stories, wisdom to your years, and humanity to your soul. I learn a great deal when traveling — I count it one of my life’s greatest experiences and blessings.
For the third time consecutively, I took a close to a month-long vacation to the States. My parents initially wished to visit New Zealand and drive down the highways encompassed by endless lush greenery, dotted with white specks of wool. Oh and don’t forget the seemingly unending, towering and magnificent mountains & rivers. However, we took into account that our visa is going to expire in 2018 and that we wouldn’t have an opportunity next year to go because of national exams. Hence, we decided to embark on another long-haul flight to America (otherwise known as the land of the free, epitome of democracy, among others)! The bubbling anticipation is unexplainable. I rejoiced at the prospect that we’re traveling again after almost 10 months of school and what not.
Oftentimes, most travel blogs mention every aspect of their destination, even their journey to and from the country, but they fail to write about another, rather imperative factor of their travel: the excitement and joy when perhaps they have some remaining leave they have yet to clear or that it was a long school break hence they’re able to travel again.
I couldn’t imagine that I would have the kind of opportunity to travel again. Ok so let’s be frank: My family isn’t a wealthy, tycoon/ mogul, kind of family. We’re your average, normal, kind of folk — we do simple things, so a trip to America (and every trip at that) is a huge blessing.
I fell in love with America ever since I heard stories of it from first; my Chinese textbook and second; from my other textbooks and story books and online blogs. The captivating stories of the war of 1812, from the first non-partisan president and the following 43 presidents to the stories of heroism and bravery and gallantry from World War II. (I’m not an ardent geek of wars and stuff, but I do love history.) The first time I came to America was when I had just shortly turned 12, after yet another national exam (yes where I come from it’s just exams after exams). We covered most of the major cities: San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York City, Boston, and Houston. We also stopped over at other cities which have unfortunately slipped to the deepest depths of my memory. However this time it’s different from the other two times that we came to U.S. We still did a stopover at places like Dallas and Atlanta, but we also made it a point to stop by smaller towns along the west coast. If you think that there’s pretty much nothing left to my story, you’re sadly mistaken. That simply was my introduction.
It was early November 2016. I came back from school (from another crazy and hectic ‘cram school’-like program for us), with a smile on my face and a small humming sound on my lips. The following day we left immediately for the airport, but due to unforeseen circumstances, we were forced to take a night flight — in the same class! For someone who is used to long-haul flights, the 13 hours and 10 minutes (plus and minus a few minutes for smooth and not-so-smooth air traffic) flight flew by in a breeze. ( See what I did there? ;). Three-course meals were served, one in the first leg of the flight, another towards the end of the flight. Snacks were frequently available, but almost four and a half hours prior to landing, the only snacks left were apples and grapes. I would also like to take this moment to appreciate the other fliers of Singapore Airlines of the not-economy-class cabin: Thank you for finishing up the snacks. My sympathy to the others similarly afflicted— know that you’re never alone. Moving on. I thoroughly enjoyed my flight. I had uninterrupted sleep on my fully-flat bed and watched all the movies that I missed the past five months. My definite all-time favorite would be the recently remade film ‘Ben-Hur’, produced by Roma Downey. Although some people would beg to differ, I think this one was way better than the original 1959 film. As we came to the last bit of the flight, dinner was served. It was going to be around the evening when we land, hence the choice of naming the meal ‘dinner’ instead of breakfast. I probably consumed more lattes and teas than I could count and had so many peanuts that I couldn’t eat down my main course.
Airplane food is notorious for its bland and tasteless food, but what I didn’t expect is that it would be difficult to swallow it down. My so-called ‘baked’ salmon was so difficult to cut through, and its skin was as though I was eating crackers. Despite my disappointment in the taste, I was satisfied with the presentation of the dishes. At least it looked appetizing and made me want to it eat instead of gagging out the whole thing.
After several adrenaline-stirring turbulences and multiple trips to the lavatory to fully utilize the amenities (lavatory was stocked with amenity you can find in a typical woman’s handbag), we finally touched down. There was no way I could mask my apparent excitement. It just seemed to bubble out of me. However, here comes the worst part about traveling: dealing with long immigration lines. We waited for almost an hour and a half and the wait was excruciatingly painful. We wasted a good hour and a half to queue up while it could be spent getting my Jamba Juice smoothie. I was deeply disappointed, but I guess nothing could overshadow my gleaming smile. 🙂