That simple line from the How I Met Your Mother episode “The Time Travelers” is one way to summarize by arrival in Canada. It didn’t even start there. As I looked around gate D5 in the Taipei airport where I had to spend 5 hours in as a stopover, I felt a dark cloud of emotion looming upon me as I was ready to go to Vancouver. I realized I didn’t know anyone in Vancouver, let alone Taipei. I had a small panic attack mixed with emotion because I really did miss my friends. I wanted to bring them along.
The flight to Vancouver was 17 hours and nearly 10,000 miles. Plus, the flight was horrible. The seats were too stiff. The food was average (at best) but the drinks were put in this shot glass. Looking around, the thought of not having anyone I knew around me was horrible. My friends were all in the Philippines and I was going 10,000 miles away from them.
On the train to Surrey, the city I’m currently living in, I saw something written in white lights on a building that at least helped me a little. It said “Everything Is Gonna Be Alright”. I hoped that I would be happy once I read that but knowing how I was at the time – tired, clingy, and really messed up from the jetlag – I really didn’t know if I could understand what significance that sentence would have so I typed it in my phone.
After the agonizing train right to Surrey, I had to take the bus to where I was gonna live. On the bus stop, I had constantly looked around and expected my friends to pop out of nowhere or walk from the corner or maybe go down the stairs.
I hate going to Surrey Central Station and waiting at that same bus stop because I still hope that I’ll see my friends from college finally arrive here just so I can have someone I can hang out with. At that moment, I wanted everyone back. I didn’t want to be in Vancouver or Surrey or even Canada. I wanted to be back in the Philippines. I wanted to look for a phone booth and pretend it was a time machine (Sorry, Doctor Who reference). If I did have that chance to go back in time, I’d savor it.
I’d go back to the TYK building and go to the org rooms. I’d open the Thomasian Writers Guild room and set my laptop there, while I chat with the other members and make fun of Dave, the president at the time. I’d go to the TomasinoWeb room and listen to songs on Spotify. I’d go back to class with my friend Karen and talk about weird things. I’d then tell my friends in 3Lit how much they mean to me, how I really didn't want to go without them, and how I'm really grateful for them through the ups and down.
All I could say to myself, as I looked around the Surrey scenery filled with people I didn't know was, “Look around, Ralph. You’re all alone.”