Wow, hard to believe that 4 months have already passed. Feels like just yesterday I arrived in Middle Earth to finish my teaching diploma. Instead, the last few days were the reverse; heading back to the Great White North. Ok, so I’m not writing this post while in transit; I didn’t have the time and energy between flights. I tried to get some sleep while in flight but my body didn’t like sleeping upright.
Anyway, I woke up on the morning of June 16th, took a shower, got dressed, and finished packing my suitcases. Next was removing my bedding and vacuuming the floor of my room. Since my flight wasn’t until the afternoon, I wasted time playing the waiting game, checking my email, chatting with my roommates who were studying for exams, and reserving a taxi. When it was time to go, I locked my room, and returned my key & keycard to the main office. I bid farewell to my roommate Ben (who had helped me with my luggage) before entering the taxi.
The first flight was from Christchurch to Auckland and was an hour long. Once in Auckland, I exited the domestic terminal and walked to the international under the evening sky, carrying my backpack & laptop. Once inside, I safely passed through security and waited for my 8pm flight to Vancouver. An airport hobby of mine is to search the Duty Free stores for the most expensive alcoholic beverage (just to see, not to buy). In the Auckland International Terminal, it was a custom made French cognac set for $2650NZD! An employee explained that they only sell one or two a year and that the purchasers are invited by the manufacturers to tour their facilities in France.
The Auckland to Vancouver flight was llllooonnnnggg. Twelve and a half hours through the night. On the positive side, I had an aisle seat meaning easy access to the washroom. I spent most of the flight watching movies (Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, District 9, and Full Metal Jacket), and playing games such as Asteroid, Invasion, & Tetris. Sleep was out of the question because a nearby senior citizen snored loudly. Thankfully, turbulence came to the rescue and kept him awake for the later half of the journey. For dinner I had a lamb meal with complimentary Riesling wine, and for breakfast I had scrambled eggs with complimentary champagne.
Finally, after leaping into the past by crossing the International Dateline, the Air New Zealand plane touched down in sunny & warm Vancouver, Canada, at 2pm and taxied to the international terminal. Getting through customs was a pain because of the long lines and having to listen to one child that wouldn’t stop crying. I had to pick up my suitcases and transfer them over to the domestic loading carousel. Unlike my previous experiences at the Vancouver Airport, I successfully transferred both of my suitcases and made it to my Ottawa flight on time.
The Air Canada flight from Vancouver to Ottawa was the best flight because there weren’t that many passengers onboard, meaning less noise. Plus, the seat next to my window seat was empty, enabling me to stretch. It was after midnight when the plane landed in Ottawa. The landing was a little eerie because the approach was covered by fog. I didn’t see the ground until seconds before the plane touched the runway. By the time I made it home, it was close to 1am.
And so, my 2010 Study Trip to Middle Earth is now over. I have thrown my BLOG into limbo once again. Depending on how I ‘play my cards’, I’ll either return to Middle Earth in early 2011 to teach music/history/social studies or stay in Canada . . . to teach music/history/social studies. Until next time, read about my previous Middle Earth adventures spread across 103 posts.