Monday, August 26, 2019

Memories on Monday

This past weekend, I celebrated the anniversary of my arrival in this country, 45 years ago!  I had left my country of birth, almost a year before that, with my mother and step-father, at the end of August, in 1973.  I was 17 then.  I spent almost one year, travelling through parts of Asia with them.  We spent a little over two months in Malaysia, where we visited with family and friends.  Then, we went to Hong Kong for several weeks, visiting with family.  After that, we went to Taiwan, where we had more family and where my mother accepted a teaching position for a term.  After that, we went back to Hong Kong.

My mother and step-father stayed there for nearly three years, but, in August 1974, I came over to the United States to attend university.  I was 18; it was my very first time going anywhere without my mother!  I still remember that flight, as if it was yesterday - from Hong Kong to Seoul, South Korea where I had to transfer planes, where my travel agent had omitted to book me on the connecting flight and I was worried that, if I delayed, I would miss the rest of my connecting flights!  The personnel at the airport were a bit suspicious of me since my name was not on the passenger list for the connecting flight and I had to undergo a physical security check, but, finally, they let me board the flight!  Then, to Honolulu, Hawaii, which was my port of entry and I had to go through Customs.   I remember the Customs officer giving me a hard time about some bars of chocolate I had with me!

From Honolulu to Los Angeles International Airport.  I had to get from the International terminal to the domestic flights terminal for my next flight.  I went to the airline counter, but it was closed and I had no idea where to go. A gentleman who was on the same flight from Honolulu (I had seen him as we were getting off the plane; he had been with a lady and a little girl) approached me and introduced himself as a former employee of that airline and asked if he could help!  I explained that I needed to catch my next flight and he said he'll show me the way.  I trusted him on the strength of having seen him on the plane with a lady who I assumed was his wife (she wasn't with him at this time, though), and followed him, at night, through a parking lot, to the other terminal!

There, I waited for several hours until my flight was called.  From Los Angeles to Chicago, from Chicago to Milwaukee, from Milwaukee to Green Bay, Wisconsin!  By the time I arrived at my destination, I had been flying for two days, crossed the International Date Line, and lost a day in the process!  I had also lost one of my suitcases!  By the time it was located at the Los Angeles airport and forwarded to me, it had been broken into and several items stolen, including a new, portable typewriter which had been my parents' gift to me.  The replacement typewriter they sent led to a long lasting friendship with a lady who worked at the post office!

Oops!  I just realized that I had written about my arrival in this country in a previous post, too!  You know you've been blogging too long when you start repeating yourself in posts!  Or, maybe I'm getting old: "Did I tell you about the time I _____________ (fill in the blank)?"  "Only about a dozen or so times, dear."  LOL.  Oh, well, that other post has more details, if anyone is interested!

It's been another day of phone calls.  Neighbor T called, again, this morning, and we chatted a bit.

Later, I called the doctor's office to see if they had received my ultrasound results.  They had received them, but, the doctor has not reviewed them, yet.  They said they will call me, tomorrow, after the doctor reviews them.  If they don't call, then, I'll call them, again.

I also received a call from the Auto Club about my membership and car insurance renewal.  They had sent me a form to sign, earlier, and I had gone in person to the office to discuss it with one of their agents and I was told to disregard it.  But, now, they are calling me about it, again.  I will go back to the office, tomorrow, and discuss this whole matter again, with another agent!  It's a good thing I am retired and have time to do all this, isn't it?

In between phone calls, I changed my bed sheets and did a load of laundry.  After tea, I took the trash can to the curb (only the black garbage bin) and watered the garden.

Today, I am grateful for:
- Events that took place 45 years ago
- Memories
- Friendships
- Library books
- Cooler evenings

Monday's To Do List:
- Change my bed sheets - DONE
- Do laundry - DONE
- Vacuum - DONE
- Water the garden - DONE
- Take the trash cans to the curb - DONE
- Pay the phone bill - DONE

Tuesday's To Do List:
- Call the doctor's office
- Go to the Auto Club
- Water the houseplants
- Other things as needed


  1. I think you were incredibly brave to undertake such a journey alone. And back then, no instant communication via mobile phone or Internet, and as a young female, you must have felt very vulnerable . Why did you want to study at university in the USA - what subject was it?

    1. At the time, it felt like the only logical thing to do! Opportunity was knocking - a chance encounter had led to an offer of a tuition waiver scholarship for me to attend this particular university as they were looking for international students. My mother decided that I was going! She and my stepfather were planning to immigrate to the US, anyway. This just meant that I would go first. I studied environmental sciences and ecology. :)

  2. I remember your story from before and was happy to hear it again because what a story it was. I assume since you had done so much travelling with your parents, they thought you could handle anything with your long trip to this country and you did.

    1. I guess we thought I was a seasoned traveler by then! :D My mother did ask me if I was scared to go and I said no; I felt confident I could handle it because I knew the language, could ask for directions and so forth. Later, when my mother came to visit me and had to do the same journey (although she had a break in Los Angeles when her brother and sister-in-law met her at the airport and took her to their place for a few days), she said that, had she known how long a journey it was, she would never have allowed me to go on my own! LOL.

  3. Well that was certainly an adventure! You were much braver than me at that age ... I wouldn't have had the confidence to travel to another country and leave my family behind. I found it difficult to move 110 miles to university and leave my twin sister behind!

    1. Yes, it was an adventure! I think the attitude of my parents and other family who were around me at the time helped, too, as everyone acted as if it was the most normal thing to do!

  4. Wow, that was quite a long journey you took to get to the United States. What a shame about your suitcase.

    1. It was a long journey. Yes, it was a bit of a shock to receive the suitcase, a couple of weeks later, with most of the contents missing! But, it wasn't the last time an airline lost my luggage! The same thing happened on the first trip I made back to Sri Lanka, several years later! All our luggage (my mother's and mine) went missing that time, and the airline compensated us; the luggage was found about a week or so later, though, and it was all intact. :)

  5. Good heavens! I wouldn't like to undertake such a journey all by myself now, never mind at the age you were. It sounds like a nightmare! I should think you felt proud of yourself actually arriving at the destination.

    1. It was all an adventure, then, Eloise; I took it all in stride! I am not sure if I could handle it, today, without getting overwhelmed. :)

  6. That’s a very long journey!
    Do you still have relatives in Sri Lanka? I read in your previous post that you hadn’t visited Sri Lanka since 1990.

    I forgot until I read this post, it’s been 18 years since I arrived in the US. Time flies!

    1. Yes, Nil, I do have my oldest half-brother, some cousins, and their children, still there. Time does fly, doesn't it? :)

  7. What a journey! I'm exhausted just reading it -Lol
    Congratulations on your anniversary and for making a good life for yourself and your daughter in The United States.


    1. LOL, I don't know if I would have the stamina to do it, now, Debra. Thank you. I sometimes wonder how things might have been different if different decisions had been made, but, I've no regrets. :)


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