Travel Journal One: Where I Slow Down

The voyage starts from snowy Montreal this time. I head over to meet with my father and youngest sister, who have just returned from Brazil the previous day. It was a much more strenuous journey for them than it was for me. There's confusion: I hadn't told them exactly when I'd be arriving on the train, and so they'd planned the day without me - my sister now owes me whatever-I-want-Starbucks as a consequence. Still, we shuffle schedules and meet at their temporary apartment across from the Parc Lafontaine at 3:15. We head out to see a potential new home around Van Horne and Décarie. It is a spacious but strange space; the agent and landlord are odd. We wander for a bit, disappointedly scoping out the neighborhood.

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My dad's been craving Indian food for months, so we go to Jal on Stanley. It's Banjara-level good, maybe better. We come back to the apartment and talk for a while. I gift them objects I'd bought them over the past year and a half: mugs from Bangkok, Pattaya, and Niagara Falls, Annie Leibovitz's Pilgrimage book, Marie Kondo's treatise on organization, a Chicago Bears cap, and other assorted knickknacks. An early Christmas of sorts, since I won't seem them again until the 29th.

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The next morning, I'm gone by 6:30. Before sunrise. I didn't remember Pierre-Elliott Trudeau airport being so small; it's cute. I go through the usual checks, and they send me to secondary screening at Homeland Security as I often do since my New York & Boston work permit debacle, but I'm out within five minutes and all is well. I board my Air Canada plane to Houston shortly thereafter. The flight is uneventful.

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At George Bush International Airport, I eat Chick-fil-A: deluxe burger with waffle fries and a root beer. Their dipping sauces are praying-hands-emoji-worthy. I chow down my food and, with four hours left on my layover, head to the skyway to terminal A, where the nice Starbucks is. There, I spend a few hours catching up on work and reviewing the first photographs I've taken with my new Sony a6500 camera and 16mm f/2.8 lens, purchased for this trip and others in the future. I tell myself I need to make sure to get some interesting images in Houston airport, so when I go to terminal B for my flight, I make sure to have my camera in hand, search for noteworthy geometries.

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I board my last flight, to Puebla Hermanos Serdan airport. There's a little girl on the plane that reminds me of my niece. She's cheerful and slightly mischievous, bumbling around the aisle mid-flight. I pull out Junot Díaz's book This Is How You Lose Her from my carry on. I've never read him before. With joy, I discover his voice: all truth - humor and heartache, and everything in between.

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I land and my sister isn't there yet because they'd said my flight was delayed. But I'm here, without hurry to go anywhere or accomplish anything. I'm here to slow down.