Cold. Ottawa, February 2015
Cold. Ottawa, February 2015

It’s itchy. Like, really itchy. Will someone notice if I…

I glance around me. At 1 p.m., the rush-hour crowd has already grabbed bagels, venti and cake slices and returned to the office. There are just a few students with their laptops sitting in the corner, and they are too busy not studying to pay attention to anything but their Facebook page.

I need to do it.

I pull my left jeans leg up—not an easy task, skinny fit plus boots—to reveal my calf and I scratch, a silly smile plastered on my face. “Aaaah…”

And then, as I’m scratching some more, I notice that the barista is staring at me.

This is the same barista who turned down the Argentinean peso I gave by mistake, thinking it was a quarter.

Shit. He must think I’m crazy. Who is scratching a mosquito bite when it’s -22 °C?

Well, someone who still has mosquito bites (and hopefully not dengue fever or yellow fever or another feverish exotic disease) from Iguazu.

Yep, we are back in Canada.

The flight home was torture. Scratch that—pun intended—the whole trip back was torture, including the idea of coming back.

The flight was scheduled at 5:30 p.m. from Buenos Aires, so we spent most of the morning and early afternoon wandering around the centro and San Telmo, already missing the sun, the heat and the medialunas (okay, I was the one almost crying in front of the pastries).

Ezeiza Airport was much quieter than the last time we flew back in 2009—where were the travellers? We changed in the airport’s bathroom into warmer clothes and checked in our bags. Then, we tried to find a way to spend our last pesos on overpriced airport food since we didn’t have the chance to eat lunch. Four facturas—that’s all we got.

When I’m on my way home I’d rather the trip to be quick to just be over with, a bit like when you pull a bandage off fast, or a strip of wax. Hurt, done. Ta-da. On the way there, I welcome delays and other adventures. On the way back, I cry if the airline runs out of my meal option or any other stupid reason I can find to justify my tears.

This journey back home rubbed salt in my wound. First, we had to stop over in Chile, like we did on the way down there. They don’t call it a stopover and it is not mentioned on the itinerary. It’s a … what did they say? A “station stop” maybe? I’m sorry, but if you have to leave the aircraft, go through security and wait for 90 minutes, it’s a bloody stopover, Air Canada.

And I was there, in Santiago, standing where we had stood a few weeks earlier, wishing I could just run away and not come back. I loved Santiago.

Somehow, I still came back on board. Way down the aircraft, row 60.

When we stepped back on board, one of the stewards decided to check my boarding pass one last time (it’s not like three other crew members just did this…) and I needed both hands to rummage through my bag. Mark, the veteran traveller and stubborn toddler (his new favourite sentence is “I do it!!!”) decided it was the perfect time to run away from me. I sped inside the aircraft. I thought someone would stop him. No one did. For about sixty seconds, I had no idea where he was, and Feng was still at the gate with the stroller.

“Mi hijo,” I said completely panicked. The steward cut me off. “I don’t speak Spanish.”

“My son just ran away!” I called. The steward was still blocking me. “Well, he can’t go far, he is in the plane…” he said.

“He is two years old!” I shouted back.

Mark had made it all the way down the aircraft and no one had stopped him. I was very mad at both Mark and the passengers. Seriously, if you see a kid alone, just pause for a second. Come on!

The rest of the flight was just meh. We were cold (and no, it wasn’t psychological), food had almost run out by the time the steward reached us (I wanted pasta, okay?) and we slept very little, if at all.

At 5:30 a.m., we landed in Toronto. Our 7:30 a.m. flight to Ottawa was cancelled and we ended up catching the 9:30 a.m. flight, which was also delayed (Air Canada had figured that since the plane was full and on the tarmac, it was the perfect time to … change the tires).

Home. Shower. Fill up fridge. Deal with Mark. Laundry. Empty bags.

I know the drill now.

Could someone invent a fridge that replenishes itself with the most-craved foods, please? I’d pay in dollares, not moneda.

I’m tired. And I can’t be, because there are tons of things to do.

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  1. Holly February 7, 2015 at 1:12 pm

    I wouldn’t mind one of those fridges! Welcome home – it got even colder while you were away! Enjoy :p

    1. Zhu February 7, 2015 at 10:54 pm

      Maybe we should start a self-replenishing fridge venture?

  2. Martin Penwald February 7, 2015 at 8:37 pm

    Hey, you’re back.
    Happy -20°C !

    The end of t

    1. Martin Penwald February 7, 2015 at 8:39 pm

      [Zut, fausse manip]

      The seats at the end of the plane are the best : they are the one which gives you the better chance of survival in case of a crash. Good choice, then.

      1. Zhu February 7, 2015 at 10:53 pm

        But… but I don’t want to survive! That must be awful. I mean, everyone interviews you, you feel like crap for the other who didn’t survive or even worse, you end up on a desert island.

  3. Isa February 9, 2015 at 4:34 am

    Ugh. Getting home sucks. I can’t imagine how it must feel like to lose 40 degrees in just one day. Courage courage !!

    1. Zhu February 9, 2015 at 10:57 pm

      It wasn’t so bad the day we came back actually, it was *only* -7C. Now it’s cold… really cold…

  4. Jennie February 9, 2015 at 5:26 pm

    Courage! Going back to cold temps must be difficult. I may be moving back to North America this year, but at least it will be during the summer so I can ease into the cold winter temps.

    1. Zhu February 9, 2015 at 10:59 pm

      Oh, really? That would be quite a change for you!

      1. Jennie February 10, 2015 at 3:53 pm

        I may have no choice; my visa expires in October and it’s looking unlikely to get a job before the PhD is officially conferred, which in my case wouldn’t be until August or so… I’m looking at going to Ontario for another MA so I would have more points to apply for permanent residency in Canada. 🙂

        1. Zhu February 10, 2015 at 9:47 pm

          Ugh, sorry to hear about the red tape issue. Well, you are always welcome in Ontario!

  5. Lexie February 11, 2015 at 2:26 pm

    Poor you! Tu t’es remise depuis?

    1. Zhu February 11, 2015 at 10:09 pm

      Euh… ben non, en fait, pas encore!

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