Thursday, October 9, 2014

USA. Day 1. The beginning of all things.

Day 1.

Yeah. This sounds a bit like when God made the world in 7 days, ‘cause that’s how it looks pretty much. I’m building a new world in my life through this trip. Hopefully.

Keeping it simple. I did not sleep at all. I was too afraid I wouldn’t wake up. I have been waiting for this trip to happen in forever. My first trip ever, alone, overseas. And not just overseas. But to the country where my soul belongs. I’ve planned every little detail and still some things changed the day before I left because I have planned so many things on such a short time that it was impossible for some of them not to shift as I went along with the planning. But that’s alright. I’m handling some business and pleasure (haha) in Houston (at this point this is my most important part of the trip), then meet Julia and hopefully some people from the Boston University on the 9th, then James and Nadia’s wedding on the 10th. More friends afterwards while I’m New York.

So about three days ago my Knight, who happens to be on a continuous quest at all times, almost changed half of my plan for Houston. Yes, I’m gonna call him Knight, because that’s what I call him anyway and I like it haha. His my “mystery” man whom I’ve shared with just a few people and will leave it to that for now, because I’m enjoying him too much and sometimes some things are better left in private so I can savor them properly. You know, it’s like when you eat in silence and focus on the food alone, instead of watching TV and getting distracted with whatever it’s on instead of what’s in your plate. So my plate is pretty full right and I’m going through the menu to discover everything and I’m taking my time with it ‘cause this might actually prove to be one quality meal. Would be a waste not to enjoy it completely haha. Plus obviously, I am breaking my own rules of privacy, because I couldn’t possibly write this blog without mentioning him at all as he’s with me for the entire stay here in Houston. But we’ll try to keep it low haha

Note: I guess I can tell you the story behind the Knight so it’s not totally weird haha I mean you probably wonder why I’m no calling him babe, or handsome (I do haha!) or simply by his name, which rarely ever happens. So we were chatting one day and his battery died and he went MIA for a few hours. I write “Where has my knight in shining armor gone?” Several hours later when he charges his phone he goes “I’m right here my Queen” So we’re left to that. Knight and Queen. Don’t try to understand it. We match in this weirdness of ours and trying to put your finger on it and find the logic behind it would be useless haha. But at least now you know.

So anyway, three days ago Knight says, something came up and I have to go to Dallas at once to deal with some urgent matters and I cannot delay it. I probably won’t make it back on time to pick you up from the airport. No biggy I say. I am a big girl and can manage things on my own. Plus the hotel where we are staying is not very far away. Yesterday he comes up with a different plan. He wants to take me with him to Dallas for a day after I’m done with my appointments on Monday. So it’s an 8 hour drive back and forth between Houston and Dallas, but who cares. He’s the kind of guy that I can go on adventures with. I’m thinking I’ll change my fancy office clothes for a pair of shorts and a t-shirt in the back seat of the car as he is driving. Give him the chance to indulge his eyes in one of those Hollywood kind of scenes where the driver stares in the mirror at the girl in her bra changing clothes in the back haha. And we would have been back on time to continue my other appointments. So it didn’t sound all that bad of a plan.

He had a day to basically put everything together. Eventually he reached the conclusion that this would be too much for me after having just flown in for like 16 hours the day before (which is today haha – confusing isn’t it?) and so he decided he’d go to Dallas alone as initially planned and I’d find my way around to the hotel by myself. But, I don’t call him my Knight for nothing because he holds true to his name. He changed the hotel reservation all together, canceled the one I had made which was a bit more further away and he got a more expensive one that’s closer to the airport just to make sure I’d make it there in 5 minutes safe and sound, especially that I landed rather late in the evening.
So we spent the rest of the day putting together the last details. Houston is hot, 31 degrees while I’m there, while Boston and New York merely reach 22 with some rain drops here and there. So I had to put in clothes for summer, fall, a wedding outfit and an outfit for my meetings. That’s a lot of crap to fit together and a lot of things to carry around in three different cities, not very close to each other. But I managed to fit everything together in a staggering 18kg bag plus a carry on I got from Jim (thank you so much! Such a life savior that one!!!) weighing about 8kg, holding mostly papers, the camera, the laptop, my trinkets and lipstick haha. The flight from Bucharest to Boston appeared to be uneventful even from the beginning as I did the check in one minute and all was good. The flight from Boston to Houston gave me a headache and I couldn’t figure out why. First I had to wait till like 2AM Bucharest time so it would be 24 hours prior to take off Boston time. And then when I did the ticket I did the Romanian version of the name and put my first name instead of the last name and vice versa so hopefully that won’t be a problem!!! I eventually called those people and did the check in, now fingers crossed that they realize this is me even though my name is in its European version. Sad face.

But basically I’m done. Both myself and my sleepless Knight are excited with the preparations and ready for this thing to happen. We are both looking at a long day ahead of us. He’s going to work first then off to Dallas while I’m gonna be on flights all day. As you’re guessing I’m on a plane right now writing this. I did the first part Bucharest – Paris and now I’m on the long ass 8 hours flight from Paris to Boston. My tail bone right down my spine is yelling and bitching at me with having sat down for so long. Another 2 hours and 12 minutes. At least that’s what this monitor on the seat in front of me says.

But let’s start with this morning. As I said I did not sleep at all last night because I was too afraid I wouldn’t wake up. Plus this past week has been atomic, so friggin’ busy, handling work and assisting Jim and Eileen with their last minute preparations for the wedding, guests and whatnot that I basically managed to take care of planning my own trip during the very last two days. I am so so so unimaginably lucky to have good friends. I got the suitcase from Adinut, the carry on from Jim, the girls backed me up at work while I went to look for things because I didn’t have any time left. I got calls from everyone, including at 4AM this morning when I was checking in at the airport, wishing me a safe flight. A simple call changes everything.
Mela and her tea at 6AM in Bucharest still.
Entering the airport went pretty smoothly because I had the boarding pass printed and all. Jim and Eileen were flying out with me, only that they were going Lufthansa to Philly and I am going KLM to Boston and they were scheduled to take off an hour ahead of me. But because I’m a slick little lady I managed to catch up with them half an hour before they boarded so we had a little family reunion in the business lounge at like 5:30AM. They took off from gate 7. I had an hour and a half left to wait at gate 9. Eventually we boarded, no delays. Pretty smooth stuff. I got a very French breakfast and slept some. Hell, I think I fell asleep before we took off. I remember the plane “driving” through the many runways until it halted to stop preparing to take off. I remember doing the sign of the cross mumbling something incoherent for God to remind Him he needs to watch for my ass ‘cause He knows just how important this trip is for me and then blacked out before the plane actually ran its engines. I woke up about an hour later, wrote a bit, ate, slept some more.

View towards Paris

Loved that winged horse on the plane. Reminded me of Geek mythology somehow haha
I landed in Paris and immediately contacted Jim to see if they had made it to Frankfurt. They had been there for two hours. Plenty of time between the connections. Found my terminal E gate M27 for my Boston connection, took the train there and before I knew it I was to the second plane. I was so excited with things and trying to call mom and send one last message to my Knight on the other side that I used the wi fi from the airport off the laptop and checked in immediately. Without buying anything to eat. I did not even have a coffee, just some tea in Bucharest. My tummy, even though I have finished my treatment, is still sensitive so I avoided having coffee on a basically empty stomach. Even though God knows I need it! I should get one now. Lemme see, where is that button that calls for the flight attendant? I always wanted to do that anyway! Haha I’ve eaten a good healthy lunch now so I could risk that coffee. Plus I have another 4 hours on the third plane and about 3 hours to spend in Boston airport. Yeah. It’s like I’m flying to goddamn India!!!!
Paris airport bathroom. Best place to take a successful picture haha
2 hours and 1 minute. What do you do when you can’t get off this means of transportation? Is not like when you’re on a train or a bus and you get tired and just decide to get off and explore, or even move outside the compartment and chat, smoke a cigarette. Anything. You can’t do shit. 8 hours of sitting in a chair, walking to the bathroom and back and feeling like an idiot for making the other two passengers in the seats next to you get up every time you want to stretch your bones. I took the window seat on both flights so far. Anyway, it’s so hot outside the window panel is hot when I touch it. Can’t even look outside the window because it’s too bright. I pushed the buuuttttoooonnn!!! For that coffee. See what happens. I almost feel bad I’m bothering those nice ladies when they probably took a break from the 400 people they have to look after. But yeah. I’m one of them. Better than me trying to crawl my way out of the seat again. The lady next to me is really nice but keeps to herself. Her husband and daughter are seated in the row in front of us. An Indian young man from the looks of it sits at the isle. Very nice guy. Helped me with my luggage and we had small conversation here and there when I avoided stepping on his foot a couple of times.

Actually these two are much much better than what I had for the first flight. There was this guy next to me, he was surely Romanian. But maybe of a different religion. Or he has spent too much time abroad in a different culture, I don’t know but he was weird. Oh wait, wait! She just came in to ask me what I need! Mwwuahaha! Coffee with milk please! Yum yum! Ok, back to the first flight. So they brought us the food and he kept his and just stared at it, literally with his fingers crossed underneath the little table and I was wondering whether he was praying. Maybe he was Catholic. Some of them pray before meals, which I always do with my Catholic friends when we dine together. But it took him forever and we didn’t have Thanksgiving Turkey in that plate to require such a long mass! Anyway. He ate slowly and completely silent. The lady next to him, an older French woman was a 100% French and old; but not the usual, cute, sweet, pinkish cheeks old French lady with a benevolent smile on her face, looking all stylish. Like the one I’ve seen on the Leonardo Express in Rome when we were going to the airport. No, this was one of those ladies who kept her sunglasses on her forehead, ate as if she was lunching at the Ritz yet slept in a very common way with human snores and bouche ouverte. Yeah. No one sleeps stylishly haha.

The surprise with this flight I’m on now was that I expected a larger plane, the double deck ones, or the Boeings with a “hump”. This one is big, no doubt about it, but no double deck, therefore seems smaller to me. But still plenty of space to stretch my legs underneath the seat in front of me. The blanket, the eye cover, the ear plugs and the pillow were all there. As I said they served a really good meal. Oops, plane is bumping into some stronger winds out there and I’m going a bit unsteady. There are times like this when you don’t want to remember you’re on a plane haha. Anyway, I watched Toy Story 3 (again!), Planes 2 and I tried another movie actually, but I was soo sleepy that I didn’t understand anything. Thank God I managed to sleep. All in all I think I did a pretty good 4 or 5 hours sleep on these two flights which is great because I don’t want to be a total zombie when I get to Houston. I already took the shape of a chair, I should at least look and speak coherently haha.

All I have to worry about is getting through the customs in the States and wait for my luggage. Please please have my luggage there KLM, I don’t want any problems with that. Haven’t seen my luggage since checking in this morning at 5AM in Bucharest. So they’re supposed to have moved it from one plane to another and I should retrieve it in Boston. Ah, the coffee is here. These ladies are awesome. She goes, is this enough sugar for you, if not I’ll bring you some more? I’m like let me taste it: It’s perfect. I burned my damn tongue ‘cause it was hot, but I smiled haha. Then I asked her, have you brought those forms to fill in for the customs? (non American and Canadian passport holders need to fill in some forms for the customs when landing in US). She looks at me, pausing, and says. Aren’t you an American citizen? (I desperately cry and yell for a second in my head!) NO NO I am not! But I keep smiling. She brings me the form. One day, I shall not need a damn form anymore! A little girls’ dream you know. Damn turbulences, messing with my coffee.

I was windering whether that little whole in the fuselage was supposed to be there. haha





Well, it looks like I’m up to date so far. I took some pictures that I’m gonna add to this when I get to the hotel. Meanwhile I’m gonna borrow a pen from my neighboring lady and fill in this form. Shit. I need my passport. Passport is in the carry on. Carry on is up with the luggage. Indian guy is not gonna love getting off his chair again. An hour and 39 minutes left! I should do it to keep me busy ‘cause I have grown so impatient, I can’t take it anymore. All I’ve seen is clouds for the past seven hours and a half. Here, I’m gonna take a picture of my precious coffee.  Haha

Ok guys. I’ll continue this on the third flight. See what I get out of that. I think that’s like 4 hours. God save me! I am so looking for a bed to lay flat and tell my spine that yes, normally that’s how it should be and not like a curved pretzel. I also need to charge my laptop somewhere for a bit. One phone is down to half battery. The other one is a bit better. Gotta call my man and let him know I’ve landed. Boston is an hour ahead of Houston. He should be at work by then. Ah, this coffee is good! I’m sorry part of this blog sounds like Mela’s To do list haha, but I have to remember what I have to do. Plus I’m not going to see him until late at night when he gets back from Dallas. Oh well, at least I’ll have the time to look presentable. Right now I am proud to say my make up holds beautifully. But then again I always look my best when I mad, tired or sick hahaha. That’s why no one believes I’m going through a bad time when I actually am.

Ok, I’m gonna give these people half an hour more before I get up and scavenge in my bag for the passport to fill out this damn thing. I think I also have a pen somewhere in there with the lipstick. Ok ladies and gents. I shall be back. Gotta switch positions in this chair now! 1 hour and 30 min sharp left. YES!

Boston.

Yeah I’m here. On the last couple of km I realized the plane literally does about 100 km in like less than ten minutes. That’s cool. I want one. Haha. Anyway. We landed and let me tell you. Every time I see the American soil, no matter what city we’re talking about I get weak knees and my heart melts, literally melts. My eyes absorb everything in a different light, everything feels and looks different as if I had reached the gates of heaven. It’s hard for some to understand. I cannot explain it any other way than that I have somehow been born here in a different life and I have unfinished business and I must return and finish them. I was simply born in the wrong place and I am attempting to go back where I belong. Most people look for a logical reason behind a move so drastic; behind a desire so illogical with no solid foundation in real life. No, I’m not looking for a better pay or a better life. Nor for any materialistic things. At this point if I ever considered any of those it would be for my kids. If I ever have any and I have them in the States I’d be happy to know they have far much better opportunities and support than I ever did. At a personal level, I just need to be here because this is where I belong. Has nothing to do with the mentality, the economy and so on. This is just my place. There’s bad and good here. Like everywhere else. So it’s not about that either. It just is.

So I see Boston for the first time. And I could spend the next few pages to describe how my eyes bathed in the image of the many little islands sprinkled across the golf with the ocean waters enveloping them. With boats roaming around the many lighthouses placed on many of these islands and they are like rock soldiers scattered across the bay. It was an astonishing view. Especially that I have started working on one of my screenplays called the Boston Light and it is about the oldest lighthouse in America which happens to be the Boston Light here in… you guessed it, haha, Boston. So seeing it right there before my eyes was fantastic. Such a peaceful full of sunshine view. A swell greeting from America to Mela on her first solo visit on the promise land of her heart. Then right after landing I made my way through the customs. I always go a bit excited about that. You never know what questions those people are gonna come up with. Not that I have something to worry about, but they’re the kind of officers that inspire you to keep quiet and don’t smile while you’re under their scrutiny haha. But there was barely anyone there so I get one of these guys who’s in a joking mood and we chat for a bit while he scans and finger prints me. This is America ok? You get scanned and finger printed no questions asked. I pass by easily and then I wait for like 20 minutes to pick up my luggage. Then off to find the check in for Houston.








As I said, I thought I might run into problems because I wrote my name wrong. So I get to the check in and there’s barely any people there too. We had landed a bit ahead of time so now I have about 3 hours to kill before taking off. I look at all the ladies there and choose one that seems a bit more flexible in case I do am in trouble and I need her help. And she does seem to confirm that having my name registered differently might cause me some problems. I pull up my puppy face look mingled with a drop of desperation in my voice complaining about my flat ass and back pain from the long flight already and plead for her mercy! Eventually she says, I can change it but that means you lose your seat up front and I get to put you further in the back. I DON’T CARE! Just put me on the flight! So she does! Thank you baby Jesus! I’m off to Terminal E Gate E1D. So many names. I do the customs. This time I need to take my shoes off, get into that scanning machine with my arms above my head. It’s freaking me out. Then I step through and this guy says, my colleague will do a little bit of massage on you. HA HA. Joker! I say sure, I need it anyway! His colleague comes in for a quick frisk. I’m let go to move on. I put my shoes back on, grab my stuff and I am on my way to find the gate.

But having learnt my lesson from Paris where I hurried to check in and didn’t eat anything, this time I sat down and indulged in a large portion of fries and grilled veggies with ham. That’s when I took my time to chat with some of you guys, answer to all the comments and best wishes. I was like when the hell did this picture get 70 something likes??! I forgot there was plenty of time in between Paris and Boston haha. Much appreciated guys!




Oops. Boarding is starting. Talk to you from Houston! Mwuah!

Houston.

HA! Where do I start? Actually that flight was part hell part fun. It was so long and I simply couldn’t stand it anymore. And they put some really cold air conditioning on that I froze to death. Eventually half way through the flight when I was exiting the toilet (haha) I somehow (like I always do!) got into a conversation with the two flight attendants. Oh, that did me good! They were so nice and we chatted for about an hour which helped ease the pain of the flight. Then for the reminder of the time I played Zombies on my laptop haha. The people sitting next to me were this large gentleman and his wife, cute people. Not very talkative but funny enough. It was night already. And then I saw Houston. Wow! That’s so many lights!. I knew my Knight wasn’t gonna be there to pick me up but somehow I still got excited. I honestly never ruled out the possibility that he may actually be there because he is that kind of man who will surprise me when I least expected. Happened before haha. We finally landed.

Houston. Never been here. Two months and two days ago I would have never thought I’d be here. Yet, voila. The airport as usual was an intricate labyrinth of corridors but I found my way through. It’s the hottest city I’ve been in so far but I was actually cold from being so tired and from the air conditioning on the plane. I waited for a while for my luggage to come in. A flight from Dallas landed holding half of the Houston population who are fans of this famous Texas American Football team which from the looks of it had a major match in Dallas that night. And lost. Oops. A lot of pissed face painted hornes on their t-shirts people! Hahaha Finally my luggage was in. I made my way out in the parking lot and suddenly a hot humid air hit me in the face. I started warming up. A blessing! I saw all these taxis lined up and some of them were like mini vans so I thught I shouldn’t take a huge ass car just for old little me so I looked for a normal sized car. The guy says, no, go straight forward to the light. What the hell does that mean? I just followed the line of cars to the end where I found a guy there who seemed to know something and he said take this car. Which was the first taxi in line. So the rule here is, you don’t take any taxi, you take the first taxi in line. Which makes it fair to them. And this guy was with a mini van. So fine, I felt like I had my own limo haha. 1.7 miles and 10 bucks later I am at the hotel.

My Knight had left the key there on my name. The guy at the reception inspected me suspiciously. Then smiled and gave me the key with my man’s hand writing on it. That brought back memories. I took the elevator and as I came out I heard the phone ring. He’s calling to make sure I got there. He said he would be there in 3 hours. 3 hours… I sigh. That’s definitely enough time for Mela to recover a bit but also enough time for Mela to fall asleep like a rock and not be awake when he got here. Haha. Not nice.

The room is awesome with a view to the pool underneath the window. I was so happy I made it and I could drop the luggage, that I literally bounced through for a little while. I was afraid to sit on the bed because I might fall asleep immediately. It’s like 3AM Bucharest time and my body felt it and urged me to sleep. I unpacked, took a shower and tried to watch TV. I fell asleep of course. Eventually, a little over midnight I heard a knock on the door. Finally. I stumbled out of bed (Americans have a crazy way of making the bed with 3 layers of bed sheets goddamn it, I keep getting tangled in them!). I tried to unlock the door but my brain refused to help me. I managed to pull it open and my eyes were invaded with the light from the corridor. He stepped in, I closed the door and took refuge in his arms. He has one of the strongest heartbeats I’ve heard; so comforting. Now, I had everything.


October 5 was definitely a long day. Really long, but at the end of it worthwhile in every way. I loved the journey here. I loved socializing with people on the road. The next day proved to be even better. But that’s another story, for another blog.
Mwuah! Have a nice week!

Mela out!

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