Tuesday, January 04, 2011

The Arrival

Let's begin by referring to today as 'Day 1'. It is 5:30 AM on January 3, 2011 and I am waking up beside my girlfriend Amanda. We both know that today is a sad day for us both; well I mean, most couples I know wouldn't be looking forward to a 4 month separation period. My bags are laid out in front of me completely packed from the night before (I finished packing at 2:30 AM so at this point in time I'm still quite fatigued). I wake up Nathan (my airport taxi driver) and head downstairs to pack a delicious lunch consisting of Swiss Chalet chicken and their signature sauce inside a hot dog bun (3 to be exact). I eat my makeshift breakfast of champions consisting of an apple and nachos with Heluva Good onion dip. After my meal, I head upstairs to wake my parents to say my goodbyes (and pawn some pairs of thermal socks from my dad). Before I know it, I'm standing at the front door, my two luggages are in the car, and my family stands before me to bid me farewell on my travels. It is now time to hit the road and make my 9:00 AM flight.

The drive to the airport went smoothly. Amanda sat in the passenger seat with Nathan in the back while I drove and we played a skewed version of 'Scene It?'. Essentially, one person describes a movie or part of a movie that is distinct while the other people guess what movie it is. The description should be unique to only (hopefully) that movie yet it should be vague enough as to not easily guess the movie. Example: In this movie, eggs crack and jump out of the carton onto the counter and start frying (Answer: Ghostbusters). Anyway, we are now at the airport and I find myself inside the entrance of the departure terminal and I can't seem to let go of something. I stand there and try my best but to no avail at first. I finally bring myself to releasing Amanda from my grip (for clarification, no she is not in an abusive relationship) and we make our last kiss goodbye for awhile. We part ways and the last I see of her is the automatic doors crushing her silhouette.

Airports are boring places especially when you're by yourself. I wait in line to get my boarding passes (Toronto to Vancouver & Vancouver to Whitehorse) and tags for my luggages only to finally get to the touch screen machine and receive one boarding pass and an error message. I then wait in line to check in my luggages and receive my other boarding pass just to be invited by another line to get through security. I get half of the way through this line only to be cut off by airport staff and sent downstairs with many others to wait in a new line because apparently "the line was too long". So I wait in this line until I get to the point where it splits into multiple lines going through 3 doors. I wait for the 'Door 3' line while I watch numerous amounts of people who were once behind me being checked through the 'Door 1' and 'Door 2' lines. Now, I'm not in a rush to go and wait to board the plane because I'm nowhere close to being late. However, I still couldn't help but feel frustrated at this point in time. I was a bit relieved to know I wasn't alone when the guy standing directly in front of me turns around and says "it seems like you always choose the wrong line". It wasn't too long after that I finally found myself taking my belongings after being x-rayed while the friendly security girl recommends that my apples and Pringles which showed up on the scanner aren't a good combination. I didn't exactly know what she meant or if she had an experience doing the same but I had a feeling she was bored. She tried making a joke that "you're not allowed to bring food on flights anymore". I was about to gorge what food I had at that point in time since, at first, I didn't know I was being trolled by this girl. It just caught me off guard since every other time I've dealt with airport security they always seem angry at something and I would take anything they say seriously. Anyway, I moved on from there to my gate and proceeded to board when it was time. As I boarded, I was mesmerized by the first class seating (pictures below). It looked like I was inside the USS Enterprise (the Star Trek starship not the aircraft carrier).

I continued to proceed to my seat only to trade it with somebody so that they could be with their wife and baby. Before I knew it the plane was taking off and I was watching a documentary about bees; that is until I passed out and woke up to the Rockies greeting me at the plane window. 5 hour flights go by fast when you're sleeping. It is 11:20 AM PST (Pacific Time equals Eastern Time subtract 3 hours). I left the plane and headed to the gate to await boarding my Whitehorse flight. The time came to board and I stared at the plane I was about to board and was almost surprised at the size. I say 'almost' because after a couple seconds I justified that with Whitehorse having a population of 20 000 (compared to Toronto with 2.5 million), it's no wonder that I'm transitioning from a completely full 300 passenger plane to a three quarter full 50 passenger one.
I board the plane and take off 25 minutes later than the expected departure time due to a 'no-show' passenger delay. As soon as the seatbelt sign turned off, I busted out my laptop and played Plants vs. Zombies for the whole flight. It is 3:15 PST as I arrive at Whitehorse airport. A guy from the Whitehorse office of my new employer (EBA Engineering Consultants) picks me up and briefly describes some features of Whitehorse. Up until now, everything has gone smoothly. Don't worry though because Air Canada decided to ruin my successes by losing one of my luggages. I wouldn't have minded so much but any piece of clothing that I had brought with me was inside the one they had lost. I discuss arrangements for picking up my luggage when they track it and I leave hoping for a phone call within the next 24 hours saying I can pick it up. I am driven to the EBA office to meet some people and pick up the fleet vehicle that I will be driving for the next 4 months. I leave there and head to my new residence to unpack and get settled. I am greeted there by the person I am renting the room from and she shows me around the house as we tell each other things about ourselves to get acquainted. She then offers to drive me to the grocery store and to show me around town - an offer I can't refuse in my opinion. I get pseudo-familiarized as she drives and shows me places around the city. We head to the grocery store, I pick up the essentials, and we are on our way back to the house in good time. After unloading groceries and chatting a bit more with her, I head down to my room to finally get some sleep after the long day (at this point in time it is 10:00 PM PST but do remember I got up in the morning at the equivalent of 2:30 PST). All times I will refer to from here on will be assumed to be PST. This concludes Day 1.

Day 2 consists of me waking up and putting on the same clothes as yesterday and getting ready for work. I plan to arrive at work early my first day to make sure I'm not late and to get a feel for my developing morning routine. I drive the fleet truck to work and it is 7:45 AM. I await outside in the truck for someone to arrive and open the door and I take a picture of my new workplace with the 'morning' sky in the background.
This day was 'Onboarding Day'. Lots of reading and modules and policies and quizzes and certifications and signatures and filling things out and meeting people and touring the office and I think you get the picture. On the non-repetitive side of things, Air Canada called me and I was able to pick up my luggage at lunchtime where the sky would actually be as bright as expected anywhere else. There isn't much exciting detail I can go into about today but essentially I got a feel for my new office and stayed in front of a computer screen all day reading until I felt my mind was mush. By the time I left at 5:00 PM, it was as dark as it was when I arrived and here begins the challenge to stay psychologically intact with this sort of environment. I'll be a bit more thorough describing Whitehorse and its people later on but for now I'm all typed out and need to go do something else. TTFN.

P.S. - I felt like this first post took me quite awhile to prepare so I wouldn't expect anything  near as long as this for my future updates.

1 comment:

  1. Does anything ever go smoothly with any sort of flight? Stress, stress, stress. Anyway, get pictures of vampires up ASAP.