Peter and I went on a mini-vacation yesterday. Between the time he got home from work at 3pm and the time we had to be at Bible study at 7pm, we had a holiday. That might not sound like enough time to go on vacation but we managed to make it to another country and back again. And we were a little late for Bible study.
Where we live now is only about a 30 minute drive from the Canada/USA border. The border crossing takes approximately ten minutes and since we’re not suspicious looking people we can jaunt back and forth across it. (Well, we drive in our car but we do it quite jauntily.)
In reality this was only the second time we’ve made this crossing since we moved here but it’s nice to know it’s so close. One of the routes we take in to the city sometimes takes us directly along the border. We drive through farmland with a different country on each side.
Yesterday we were on a mission: to pick up a pair of rain boots I ordered on-line. The company I ordered from provides free shipping within the U.S. but expensive shipping to Canada. So we found a place near the border we could ship them to and saved a fair bit of money.
The thing is, even though we were technically just running an errand, it still felt exciting. We crossed a border! Signs were different! People looked different! (Not really.) My debit card didn’t work! (That’s true.) Alcohol was sold in grocery stores! (True. Plus, photographic evidence.)
Every time Peter and I have gone to the states together we like to go to grocery stores and pick out candy or snacks that we can’t find at home, like PayDay bars or (yesterday’s choice) cheddar cheese Pringles. We also brought home a six-pack of one of our favourite beers. We discovered this stuff in Portland on our honeymoon. So good.
I have to laugh at myself because every time I cross the border I start to get nervous. Does anyone else experience this? Your heart starts to pound a little and you become convinced that the border guards will find apples hidden in your trunk. I’ve never even accidentally smuggled something yet I always fear that they’ll find me guilty of something. I think it has to do with the fact that they never smile. No matter how friendly you try and be, a border guard has to respond like a robot. When Peter and I returned to Canada after our honeymoon the border guard asked us the reason for our trip.
“We’re on our honeymoon!” we exclaimed, all sweet and in love.
“Congratulations,” said the border guard. No inflection, no emotion, just a completely deadpan “congratulations”. And that was the most emotion I’ve ever seen from a border guard. (He was Canadian, obviously.
I think the most disappointing time though is when I’ve flown home from other countries. After a 10+ hour flight, I’m always excited to get home, to land in a familiar city and be in my own bed soon. What I really want is a customs officer with a big sign and a cheery “Welcome Home!” Maybe a maple-flavoured cupcake. What I always get is half a dozen questions that seem to hope I’ll contradict myself. One summer I was on 11 separate flights and was pulled aside for a “random” search every single time. It was always me and some Middle Eastern looking guy.
Well, it’s raining and I have some puddles to jump in. Hope you’re all having a splendid weekend!