The journey, part 3

To read what happened before read here and here...

So there she was in the departure hall full of waiting people while she had no more time to wait. While fighting panic, she ran into the little Asian woman again.

"Please help me, I am missing my flight!"


Without more explanation the lady opened an unused check-in desk, took the luggage and started hitting the keyboard after which she handed her a boarding card. Pheww, her angel. Behind her a long line started to form but the little Asian woman closed the desk without pity. Then they both ran towards the gate. The little Asian woman wished her good-luck and disappeared again.

Since it was already past boarding time, she ran immediately to the desk to ask the air canada hostess whether boarding had already started.

"We'll start right away, can I see your boarding card?"
The hostess studied her boarding cards and said "oh but you have to sit down anyway since you have a 'standby' ticket. You'll have to wait if someone does not show up because the flight is fully booked. I will call you at the end of the boarding process. There is 2 more people waiting."

Whaaaat? No no no nooo, that was impossible. She stared at the boarding card where all of a sudden the words 'standby' were marked. She could not miss her flight. She did not where to go in Vancouver and what to arrange to switch flights. How could she reach her host family that she didn't even know and who were waiting for her in another airport in Canada? She was totally devastated. First the long line at the immigration services, then the check-in, now a stand-by ticket. It was not meant to be. She gave up and went to sit down waiting for her last hope: three people had to be missing so she would have a seat.

A minute later the hostess walked up to her seat.
"Can I have a look at your boarding card again?"...while she took it, she switched the card and they looked each other in the eyes. "We'll start boarding now, you can come to the gate".

There was no more 'standby' marked on the new boarding card.

While boarding, the stewardess pointed her to a stewardess seat in front of the plane facing the other passengers. All passengers were staring at her while she was leaning forward during take-off. They were still staring at her while leaning backwards during landing. But she didn't care: she was on the flight! She had made it and was about to arrive at her destination!!

The local airport was much smaller than she had imagined: one simple building and a landing strip next to it. She had never seen such a small airport before. They had to walk towards the building and she noticed an elder couple waving wildly through the window while holding a big sign "Goofball". These total strangers which she had never met would be her parents for the coming months. She gathered her luggage, took a big breath and went through the door into the arrival hall. The man and woman ran to her and embraced her with a big hug.

She had arrived. She was a Belgian exchange student in Canada.

If you want to read more soap opera stories, check out Brillig or walking kateastrophe, to find other participants.


nell said…
Glad you made it! Di you ever find out what the heck really happened with the Asian woman and the standby boarding pass? That's weird.
secretagentmama said…
Wow! Can't wait to hear more about it all. :D
I'm so glad you made it okay. That's a tough start! As I've said, I've worked with many exchange students over the years and I'm not sure any of them had such a dramatic start as you did. You were one, brave girl!
Brillig said…
Oh wow! What an incredible journey! I'm glad you made it!!!
You were so nonchalant describing this last month! What a ride.
Fourier Analyst said…
Sure glad it all worked out. Must have been so scary though. I remember travelling to California on my first real interview trip. I was 24 and still scared!! Great SOS.
Thalia's Child said…
I'm so glad you made it - now, it sounds like you've described *my* airport! (I live in BC) - Can I be so nosy as to ask where you went for exchange?
Luisa Perkins said…
Whew! I'm so glad you actually got there!
Dedee said…
You made it!!!!
anno said…
What a relief! I'm so glad to hear you made it -- that was a wild ride!
Goofball said…
@Nell: no I have no idea what caused the 'standby' boarding card. I have always assumed that the Asian lady had made a mistake, since she is not truly used to do check-in. I don't know.

@Jen: well brave? I did not have much choice, did I. I felt quite in panic multiple times, I was at the edge of crying multiple times, ... I think I was simply brave enough to ask for help multiple times and to look helpless enough to get the help I needed. Not sure if that is being brave :p

@Thalia's child: I flew to Cranbrook since I lived in Creston BC for a year, right at Kootenay Lake! Yeaaah the beautiful Kootenays!


Yep indeed what a nervewracking ride. I was also very very glad that I had made it :), so the best year in my life could start.

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