A Trip to The Other Side of The Earth

December 19, 2021 • Travel

About early 2021 I finally got issued a visa to Canada. However as everybody knows, we were going through the second year of the pandemic, and the cases were still high and international borders were restricted.

Unsurprisingly the trip was not as smooth as I hoped for, as there were many hurdles along the way.

Firstly, the Delta wave came which also struck me while I was preparing for the trip, so it had to be postponed.

Then the difficulties of finding a suitable route as some Singapore puts a travel ban at that time and I wanted to avoid transiting in countries which require me applying for another visa.

Also, from my experience it usually is cheaper to withdraw money from overseas ATM at bank’s rate plus 2.5% fee than exhanging at local money changer, only to get two of my cards blocked and having to sort it out with the bank by phone. It’s been quite a while since I used my cards overseas.

But hey I made it!

I got my cards unblocked and here I am in Montreal.

The flight from Jakarta took me about 36 hours including transit. That’s a whopping 3 days! But because I was flying to the west, it took only 2 calendar days. It felt weird because we departed at noon but 12 hours later the sun was still up there. My whole body was confused.

So that is how jetlag feels like.

Despite many hardships dealing with all the uncertainties, I am very grateful to overcome and made it to Canada. I don’t think I would make it if it is not because of supports from Ken and his wife in making sure that I had a safe trip and completed all necessary paperwork, also thanks to Eric who introduced me to them.

Being alone coming to a totally new and different continent was not an easy matter. Everything seems different, even how the shower works at the studio I rent is totally different than any shower I have ever used in my life.

As long as I am taking things one by one these differences becoming more and more interesting. I know that people drive on the right, but who knows that here pedestrian is prioritized above cars. Back in Indonesia, I always have to wait until the road is clear before I cross the road. But here there was a time I was standing still on the roadside to let a car pass by, but instead the car stopped. I was waiting for the car to go, but the driver was also waiting for me to cross.

Cultural gap is real. And this not only affects how I do things, but also how I socialize. In Montreal almost everyone speaks French first, and with masks and physical distancing requirements, it adds barriers to making new friends.

That is when I realized how precious it is to have close friends and a lover who care and whom I can not only exchange morning greetings with but also stories and being affectionate with. It’s not ideal being apart as I can’t share my excitement and experiences in person, which is important to me, still I am thankful of them of their presence.

And by the way that is one more reason to ditch the superficial social media.

As I am getting used to the daily life in Montreal and getting my paperwork sorted, I have been joining hangout events and gathering. It is nice that the government has been relaxing pandemic measurements as more people are being fully vaccinated, and business and people are returning to daily activities outdoors. I can’t wait to experience and see how my new life in the upcoming months unveil.

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