06 July 2013


Two weeks ago, Paul’s sister, Chelsy, was married in a small ceremony in an Ohio State Park. Family and friends rented cabins and spent the weekend in the wilderness (sort of), being eaten and attacked by mosquitoes.

When wedding weekend was over, we all parted. I, however, was not yet ready to head back into town. I felt the need for a low-key adventure. Being closer to Cleveland than any other day of the week, I decided to drive up to Lake Erie. Knowing I needed to go north and east, I headed in the general directions and made my way to the top of Ohio.

It wasn’t long before I remembered that Lake Erie just isn’t that pretty, but the drive did make me crave some alone time. I craved a road trip. I craved sunshine and peace and unexplored lands. I craved peace and reflective moments.

Luckily, I had been planning a trip to Massachusetts to see some friends. I went to bed that Sunday evening thinking about where I could go and what I could do that would fit in with my Massachusetts plans. After considering the time and effort it would take to fly, I quickly determined that driving would be the better option so that I could manage my own schedule without relying on my friends or the airline to determine when and where I was to go.

I originally thought that I would spend a night in a Connecticut bed and breakfast in a small, Gilmore Girls-like town that I could explore the next morning while sipping some great coffee but driving from Ohio to Connecticut in one day, an eight hour drive not including stops, might not have been the best option, so I considered something a little closer.

The next morning I awoke with an idea: I should go to Niagara Falls. I checked Google Maps and found that Niagara was sort of on the way, just a little jog outside of Buffalo. I continued to think about the possibilities. I could see the Falls after visiting my friends in Mass; maybe they wanted to go with me. Turns out Curtis could not take a day to go and Anna Marie did not want to drive that far either way, so I decided I was on my own.

If I was going to be that close to Canada, I figured I may as well go into Canada. After all, everyone says one must see the Falls from the Canada side, not the American side. So I booked a hotel on Hotels.com, using some monetary credit that Paul had and paid a little extra for a Fallsview hotel room overlooking Horseshoe Falls.

The next day, one day before my upcoming road trip and one day after booking my Niagara vacation, I realized that I would be in Niagara Falls on my fourth wedding anniversary. How perfect, I thought.

So, on Wednesday, June 26, I set off on my own little anniversary adventure. I drove four hours northeast on I-90, across a small portion of Pennsylvania and then into New York

When I crossed into the border, a man speaking French asked me for my country of citizenship. I replied and handed over my passport. He then proceeded to ask me no less than 50 questions about my life, my travels and my plans while I was to be in Canada.

“How long do you plan to be in Canada?” the man asked.

”One night,” I replied, answering every question as directly as possible. “Why are you in Canada?” he probed.

”To see the Falls.”

“And why the Falls?”

“Today is my anniversary,” I replied, “and I have never seen them so I decided to take a little trip.”

“And where is your….” He neglected to finish his question so I looked at him slyly and said, “My husband? He’s in Papua New Guinea.”

The guy gave me a look because, clearly, he was not expecting that response. He then brushed off my comment and proceeded.

”Where will you be going tomorrow?”


”What is in Massachusetts?”

”My friends.”

“What are you going to be doing in Massachusetts?”

”Um…eating a lot of food, drinking lots of coffee, going into Boston.”

”And where will you go after Massachusetts?”

Columbus,” I said.

“Why are you going to Columbus.”

”For the Fourth.”

“What are you going to do in Columbus?”

”Uh...” I was getting a little amused at his line of questioning but I went with it, not expanding upon any of my answers. “I’m going to see the fireworks.”

He rolled his eyes. “Who will you stay with?”

“My sister-in-law.” Normally I just refer to Alexis as my sister but I didn’t feel like explaining why my person record does not indicate that I don’t actually have a sister.

“Whose car is this?” He asked, moving onto another subject.

“Hertz,” I replied.

“Why did you choose to rent a car?”

”Because I have been using my aunt’s car and she wouldn’t let me take it out of state.” I probably should not have used those exact words, but I did.

“Have you had any issues like that before?”

”No, but I have never used her car before. Her rules.”

At that point, he started flipping through my passport.

“Wow,” he said casually but curiously. “You have been to a lot of places.”


”Oh,” he said and perked up a bit. “Papua New Guinea…”

”Yeah!” I said. Way to believe me the first time, genius.

We then had a conversation around my husband’s job flying in PNG and how we were previously in Singapore. After yet another round of questions regarding what I was not bringing into the country, he decided to repeat everything that I had just told him in under two minutes.

I verified everything was correct, he handed me my passport – sans maple leaf stamp – and shooed me on my way.

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