Continuation of Things Can Only Get Better …
A long line was forming now, cheerful voices lifting about them. I joined that line, felt people moving in behind me, left the line, walked around and finally went back to it. I couldn’t help but think back to 2010, to the hell I went through. The line was getting shorter all the time; this was it, do or die. I cleared my throat, smiled convincingly and handed my credentials over to a young lady, who checked them through, smiled back and wished me a pleasant flight. I almost fainted, felt my legs turn momentarily to jelly. I had made it, had really made it, was on my way to the American dream. It sure looked that way, at least. Again I had a window seat and now I had a six hour flight ahead of me. I was on my way, was actually on my way! The plane took off and I said goodbye to Europe for the first time in my life. I couldn’t help but wonder if I might be back the very next day though. I tried to settle myself, watched a movie; ate, tried to get some sleep. Sleep was an impossibility; Iceland far behind me, I could clearly see huge ice packs, a stunning patchwork of white on sun spangled blue. Greenland looked so picturesque, far below a fine scatter of fluffy cloud cover. This was my first ever, long distance flight.
Greenland left behind me, a vast desert of blue reached wayward. I was so tired and yet, so wide awake, just couldn’t wait to see the North American Continent first hand. To the west, thick clouds were swelling, so I didn’t really see much of Canada. We were all handed papers that had to be filled in before landing. Through cloud cover I descended, America spreading out in every direction. I had made it. Surely now, I could say, I had made it. Well, yes…but not quite. From the speakers, a lady abruptly spoke. Just because the plane had landed, didn’t in any way mean I was on American soil. She told us to leave the plane and follow the arrows to the arrivals area, that as long as we were on the carpet, we were not on American soil. Now I was wondering again if I was going to make it to America. In 2010, I hadn’t been refused entry into America, had just not been allowed to leave Europe due to my passport not having the electronic chip. The thought on not getting in after all I had been through, the past three journeys, was almost too much for me to bear.
The plane was at a standstill, the familiar clicks of seat belts opening, people climbing to their feet, searching out hand luggage and waiting to join a long line. It wasn’t long until I was in that line, gradually moving forward all the time. My mind was in a daze, my nerves on the outside of my body. There were two lines now, two long lines, both leading to two passport officers. I took the line to the left, tried to appear calm and collected, as if this was something I did every day of my life. I had with me, a passport, my ESTA, American dollars, plus a letter that Rosie had written, should any problems arise. The letter was endorsed by a lawyer’s office in Minnesota. I wasn’t supposed to show it though unless I really thought it absolutely necessary. The line was getting shorter, and I was becoming more stressed by the second. I busied myself by watching the people ahead of me, noting how they handed their passports over, placed their thumbs on a scanner and answered a series of questions. I could do this. It would be like a run in the park, I thought to myself. Yea, right!
One more addition to follow.
Have a great day!