America, Art, Canada, Culture, Family, Funny, Outdoors, Summer, Travel

For Hire

I’m not quite sure how we ended up in Toronto of all places, but we’re here. I assumed we’d fly through Chicago then north into Canada from there. That seems the most direct route. But, we were routed through Houston, then had a direct 4 hour flight from there.


Have you ever been bumped up from an economy flight to first class? Yeah, me either. 

But, apparently, if this happens to you, when they scan your economy ticket at the gate, the screen lights up and it makes a happy little sound and you know you’ve hit the jackpot. The reason I know this is because it happened to Jake, who was standing in line in front of me.

 I hoped my ticket would make that happy little sound too, but it made the regular scanning noise, sealing my fate for my cramped little seat at the back of the plane and a lukewarm coffee, if I was lucky. 

Jake politely reveled in his win of the day, while the Frenchman behind me tried to talk him into trading seats. But, two minutes later when we boarded the plane, the Frenchman and I decided economy wasn’t so bad after all. 

Jake happened to have won a seat right next to a screaming infant. The Frenchman and I bid him adieu and made our own jokes about how he had to sit by the be’be.  

As usual, I was seated on the last row of the plane. And as I took my seat, I could still hear the little guy next to Jake yelling. 

Some people might not expect this of me, but I’m not really great with kids. Kids are okay, I don’t dislike them. And they don’t dislike me. We generally get along. They smile at me and I smile back. We make small talk with each other. They hold my hand and look at my bracelets. But, I just don’t really know what to do with them. 

I’m fine with little babies, they pretty much just eat and sleep. If they’re crying, you have about three options for what they need. They’re pretty predictable.

But, from around 1 on to about 7, kids kinda baffle me. They can almost take care of themselves, but not really. They’ve got strong little personalities they’re developing. They don’t like coffee, they generally don’t like vegetables, they’re just not really that compatible with me. 

Jake, on the other hand, loves kids. He knows exactly what they want, he knows how to talk to them on their level, he can engage them, and they love it. If there is a kid in the room, they naturally gravitate towards him. 

I settled into the flight, talking to my new French friend, and putting on my headphones to watch a movie. As the flight attendant came to ask me what I wanted to drink, I took my headphones off and noticed that the be’be had finally quieted down. 

I resumed my movie, until something caught my attention. 


Jake. Walking up and down the aisle, carrying the now content, be’be, also known as Peter. 

Apparently, Peter’s mom couldn’t get him to calm down, so she handed him off to Jake. Peter’s dad and older sister were sitting in economy and as Jake walked by carrying Peter, the dad thanked him for helping out with the boy. 

Unbeknownst to me at the time, Peter had been throwing a fit in first class, in the seat between Jake and his mother. His mom had tried calming him to no avail, but Jake grabbed him up, set him on his lap, and he became content. “Peter likes you, Jacob” was the mother’s consent, and thus, Jacob and Peter were a pair. 

The family was Nigerian, and from what I could tell, the saying “It takes a village to raise a child.” is used in the most literal terms there. 

Upon getting off the plane, Jake told me that he had been commended by the flight crew for making that flight enjoyable for them and the other passengers around him. He also informed me that he had been invited to Nigeria, in case we ever wanted to visit. 

I don’t think we’ll be going anytime soon, but I am having him add Nigerian Nanny to his list of job experiences on his resume’. I’d hire him any day. 

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Asia, Travel

Where Am I?

I’m embarrassing sometimes. (I’ll leave you the creative freedom to interpret what “sometimes” constitutes) Jake deals with my embarrassing moments like a trooper though. Like when he wakes up from a nap on the plane and finds me marching in place in the aisle, in front of all the other passengers. In my defense, I read in a magazine article that you need 5 minutes of walking for every hour of sitting and it had been three hours and I needed 15 minutes of walking and where was I supposed to walk? You understand the dilemma. So, I marched in place and did a bunch of over-exaggerated stretching. I also happened to be wearing my “I ❤️ Yoga” shirt (just because my “I’d Rather Be Sleeping” shirt accidentally got packed) so I’m sure people thought I was a freak. But, after 12 hours on a plane with no sleep, I really didn’t care what anyone thought.

At the airport, I had high hopes that we might change our flight to an earlier one. However, the nice lady at the desk informed us that it was Spring Break and flights were packed. Then, she goes on to tell me about her niece that does yoga and how she did a plank with a five year old standing on her for a long time… I tuned out and made a mental note to quit wearing this shirt. I tuned back in to realize we were gonna be stuck in the airport all day and I needed sleep.

I have a long history of sleeping in airports. Again, my need for sleep will trump any possibility of embarrassment every time. My first time to do this was at the airport in Hawaii after an overnight flight. Except you couldn’t lay on the floor there because it was open air, so there were pigeons everywhere. And all the seats had armrests, making it impossible to lay flat. So, I was finally able to commandeer a three foot “bench” made for two people to sit on and I slept there. Keep in mind, I’m about 5’6″. There’s a picture of that one that Jake was so kind to take, but I’ll leave it to your imagination. Other memorable ventures: when I slept in the Korean airport, but it was too bright, so I had to use a sleep mask with sunglasses on over it to block out the light (yep, Jake got a picture of that one too) and when I went to sleep in Dusseldorf, Germany and woke up to two Swedish toddlers standing over me, looking at me oddly and babbling in Swedish. There are so many more stories, but back to where I was before. Chicago. Need sleep.

At this point, it is late morning, so basically everyone else in the airport is decently rested and dressed and up going about their lives. I look like day old toast at this point. Jake tells me that I can’t lay out on the floor to sleep. When I ask why, he informs me that #1: it’s embarrassing and #2: that people don’t know we’ve just gotten off of a twelve hour flight, so that makes it socially unacceptable to look like a hobo and #3: that there is nowhere to sleep. Well, I bypassed #1 and #2 and went to #3 and thought: where there’s a will, there’s a way. So, we went to some obscure gate that wasn’t boarding soon and I set up shop. At first, I laid down using my backpack as a pillow. But that wasn’t comfortable. So I crawled over to my carryon suitcase and found a cardigan I could roll up to sleep on. But, then, I laid down again and was too cold. So, I crawled back over to my bag and found my blue pea coat, so I threw that over me as a blanket and put on another cardigan to add some warmth. I was sleeping by a huge window, so I had to put on a sleep mask to block out the light. I picked a spot far enough away from Jake so that he could still see me, but could claim not to know me (which he did.) See, I’m thoughtful!

Then, I passed out. Like the deepest, hardest sleep. I came out of this coma to hear people talking to each other in Mandarin. It was at that point, in my haze, that anxiety seized my heart. We were still in China. I had just dreamed that we had flown back to the States. I stood up and tried to shake the sleep off and realized that we, in fact, weren’t back in China. We were at the boarding gate for the Chicago to Beijing flight. The place we’d just come from. What a cruel joke.

Jake informed me that I had been sleeping for four hours and that we were about to board our flight and that I looked like a mess and I had sheet marks on my face. Which, if you’re not sleeping in a bed with sheets, can you have sheet marks? What does one call them if you’re sleeping on a floor using a cardigan as a pillow? Cardigan marks? As I got my wits together and trudged to our gate, I was reminded again by all of the frat boys in sombreros, loudly speaking Spanglish, that it was Spring Break week and this flight would be packed. And it was. Oh, the joys of modern day travel.

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