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Friday, August 3, 2012

Take Off...

Most people who have met me know that I have a mild obsession with Canada.  It began with Anne of Green Gables, and more recently was kicked up due to a class I took my last semester of college called Cinema of Quebec.  I’ve been to Niagara Falls, Quebec City, Toronto, and cut through Canada on our way to Michigan when I went there for college back in the day. 

I love to travel, but had never been anywhere that required a passport.  The times I went to our Northern Neighbours were before a passport was required.  So, in March I finally bit the bullet and applied for a passport.  It came Easter weekend, but I never used it until last night.

I have been antsy lately, and needing to just get out of my little life for a few hours.  Yesterday, I went for a little walk in the woods, but that didn’t cut it.  I went out to dinner with my parents, and my mom randomly gave me $20 and told me to treat myself.  Little did she know…

I decided to take the long way home, opting to drive out of West Lebanon via Route 10 through Hanover, then out the back road that would eventually connect me with the road to Hanover Center, taking me home.  Somewhere along the way, though, I decided I was just going to drive north and finally go to Sherbrooke, Quebec.  I drove out to Orford, and crossed the bridge into Fairlee, VT, stopping at a Cumberland Farms to use their restroom and buy some coffee.  Then it was off to the races.

At the border headed into Canada.

As I approached the boarder off of I-91, I got excited.  I was going to use my passport.  Finally.  When they asked me where I was headed, I responded “Um… Sherbrooke?  Yeah.  Sherbrooke.”  The guy asked me what my plans were, and I told him honestly, “Not sure, probably just gonna grab some food and head back.”  He either didn’t believe me, or thought I was crazed because apparently driving from New Hampshire to Canada for a bite to eat is just not done.  But ok, I was in.  I followed my GPS to a movie theatre in Sherbrooke, stopping only once to use a bathroom at a gas station.  I turned around and kept on driving.  After passing a Tim Horton’s, I got super excited, but realized that my debit card is low, and I only had an American $20 bill.  Also, my French is rusty.  I didn’t want to be an Ugly American, so I called my Dad (I don’t even want to know how much that cost me) and asked him if he knew where I could go to exchange my money at 10pm in Quebec.  He assured me I could pay with my American money, so after a little more driving around, I decided to go for it.  I pulled into Tim Horton’s, took a deep breath, and went in. 

There was a group of people ahead of me, so I had a chance to check out the display counter.  Of course, everything is in French, but I can sort of sound out what I want so I don’t have to just point.  The people behind the counter smile at me, and timidly, I squeak out “Parlez-Vous Englise?”  They smile and nod, and I ask “Can I pay with American money?”  Smile, nod.  But first, they inform me, I have to wait for the people before me to finish paying, even though they had already gone and sat down.  Ooops.  OK, I order, and there is some confusion about how I want my coffee, and the girl asks me if I’m traveling through Quebec.  “Nope,” I say, “I just randomly drove up here!”  She smiled, but I could tell she was thinking I was crazy.  Well, maybe I am.

So, I sit down and enjoy some delicious coffee and a donut, use the bathroom, and take off.  Like the hoser I am.  Oh, for fuck’s sake, look it up if you don’t get the reference.

Everything is all good until I get back to the border.  This is where I learn that randomly going into Canada because you can, doesn’t mean you should.  Yup.  I got detained and had my car searched.  I tried like Hell not to laugh uncontrollably as I waited inside the border patrol building, lest they think I am truly insane, and not just a little eccentric. 

I completely understand their suspicion – a woman, traveling alone with a big cardboard tube containing movie posters in her back seat late at night who went into Canada and out within two hours is fairly odd.  I didn’t give them any issues, explained what I was doing, and while I think they kind of believed me, they also thought I was crazed.  Which, ok, I am.  But I don’t really care.

I got home around 1am, no better off at clearing my head or figuring out my life, but having had an adventure that will be a fun story to tell down the line, and having finally tasted the awesomeness that is Tim Horton’s coffee and donuts. 

So, on that note: have a good day, eh! J

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