Hello, lovelies. I hope you’re having a wonderful Saturday, wherever you are in the world!
I’ve settled back in Canada. After recovering from jet lag and travel exhaustion, I’ve gotten right to work on Anime North stuff with my ladies as well as art. Here’s the story of returning home.
Our last night was spent in Birmingham, dodging the raindrops and enjoying dinner and dessert at Wagamama and trying to keep our moods up. We knew it would (hopefully) be the last time we would be forced apart, and that was something to celebrate. We’ve come so far and we don’t have far to go now.
After desperately trying to cling to every moment but having each one slip between my fingers, we continued to hold each other as we fell asleep.
5:30am came very quickly.
My iPod alarm woke me, and immediately that familiar old pain and dread and fear slammed into my guts like a ton of bricks. Before I turned to wake Jon, I slipped into the bathroom and sobbed into the towels, letting out as much of the pain as I possibly could so I could survive the day. Once I could compose myself I started getting ready, getting Jon up in the process. Then we checked out of our hotel and headed to Birmingham Airport in the grey light of a drizzly morning.
It felt rather strange to have a British customs agent drilling me about Canada and the UK and looking at my passport before I could even check in at the Air Transat counter. She put a security clearance sticker on the passport and let me through, smiling genuinely when she said my choice to move to England was a good one, but it was just slightly anxiety-inducing because of my intense fear of agents and borders and all that (I’ve had negative experiences with both Canadian and, surprisingly, American guards).
Because it was only two hours until boarding time, I thought I should get through security right away in case it was terribly slow. So Jon and I said our goodbyes, and I felt like my stomach was suddenly being scooped out of my body. It was so hard to break away.
Jonno looked at me, his smile pained. “God damn it, I can’t let you go.” And he kissed me again as though he was making the feeling burn into his mind.
But he had to let go. I went through the security gates, and right before I turned a corner I looked around and saw him still standing there, and we waved to each other. Then he was gone, and so was I.
I forced back the misery and emptiness I felt. I quickly got through to the lounge and shops and saw that my gate didn’t even open for another hour and fifteen minutes. We COULD have had more time together.
But there was nothing we could do about it. So I bought food, a magazine and lip balm at W.H. Smith’s, then sat down and started texting my husband. Chatting with him made me feel so much better. And soon enough, the gate opened and I headed down, and then it was time to board.
The woman at the gate stopped me because of my American passport and said I needed special permission to enter Canada. She briefly thought my passport might be fake because I look VERY different to the picture inside, which was taken in 2008 when I was thin. Then she saw the visa in my passport, which was given when I became a resident in 2010, and said: “Um, this has expired, you can’t enter Canada”. I pulled out my permanent resident card and she thought it was fake because apparently she hadn’t yet seen one of the new cards, which look quite different to the old ones! She then compared it to the initial visa and said they didn’t match up. But I simply explained that the card was a renewal and was one of the super-plain new ones, and then she finally let me through to the airplane.
Canada’s entry-by-air laws have changed a little, but this doesn’t affect citizens or residents. And if you’re a visitor and don’t have “special permission” (which is simply a little thing you go onto the government website and get in the space of a few minutes, I believe), there’s a grace period until September where they’ll still let you through, as they figure most people won’t actually know about it right now.
My flight was actually quite pleasant, for once! It remained an agreeable temperature in the cabin (I usually get very hot on planes). The food was delicious. We were ahead of schedule and the hours passed quickly. There was very little turbulence, and what we did pass through was minimal. I caught a glimpse of the Atlantic, dark blue and appearing matte under the breaks in the cloud cover. There was nobody in the middle seat, so I got to spread out a little in my aisle seat and felt quite comfortable. My English seatmate at the window didn’t talk much, but when he did he was very lovely and we talked about travel and British weather and the places and things we’ve seen. He wished me a wonderful life upon my return to England. We flew over Toronto and I saw the metro skyline and the lake, both shining silver under the hazy sky.
I got through Canadian customs very quickly, as the plane didn’t have many citizens or residents on it and there weren’t any other arriving flights coming through at the same time. I got my suitcase, and a 52 bus arrived within minutes of me arriving at the bus stop. At first it was just the driver and me aboard, and he was awesome and very talkative. We talked about where I’d been, we talked about how spring was slow to come in Canada, we talked about crappy drivers, we talked about how he lived in Germany for four years and drove all over Europe, then how he drove trucks coast to coast in Canada and the US. He congratulated me on my marriage and wished me all the best for my life in England.
After a full day of travel that included a train, an airplane, a bus, a subway train, and another bus, I finally got home and collapsed.
The last few days have been surprisingly fine. My spirits have been pretty high. My husband is still mine despite the distance.
So I’m going to fully enjoy my time back here with my best friends, because nobody can ever replace them and I love them dearly, and I will sorely miss them when I move away.
Love and light,