Customs Story

Nominatissima shared some hilarious stories about passing through the customs at the US-Canada border as a person in a long-distance relationship. I was such a person, too, and have funny stories of my own to share.

“What is the purpose of your trip?” the customs officer asked me the first time I traveled from Montreal to Indiana.

“I’m going to see my boyfriend,” I responded.

“A boyfriend? When did you meet? Where did you meet? Have you stayed with him before? What does he do? How old is he? What is his income? Has he been married before? [Before what, I wondered.] How serious is this relationship?”

“I’m sorry, officer,” I said. “I just wanted to mention that my boyfriend is a citizen of Russia.”

“Oh, you should have just said so!” the officer replied, looking relieved. “Have fun with your boyfriend. Next!”

In the future, I just stated outright, “I’m going to visit my boyfriend who is a citizen of Russia”, and nobody had any questions.


In your experience, what town has the most friendly people?

WordPress asked me this question, and I couldn’t resist answering.

Even though it can hardly be described as a “town”, the friendliest place I’ve ever been to is Seville, Spain. I only went there once but the experience was very memorable. On my first day there, I went out for a stroll and immediately got lost in the maze of tiny little streets.

“Excuse me, how do you get to street such and such?” I asked a passerby.

“Ah, you must be a tourist! Where are you from? Canada? You will love our beautiful city. Let’s go, I’ll take you to the street you need. Ah, here is the coffee-shop of my friend Francis. He makes the best coffee in Sevilla. Hey, Francis, come here. This is my friend from Canada, give her some coffee. And bring churros, too. Have you tried the real Spanish churros? You’ll love them. Hey, Francis, don’t be stingy, bring her some more to take back to the hotel with her. Have you seen a bullfight yet? No? You need to see one! Look, here is a ticket for tonight. I was going to use it myself but you need it more. Take it, and here is an invitation to another cool place. Money? What are you talking about? We are friends, aren’t we? Hey, Maria! Look, this is my friend from Canada!”

“Ah, you are from Canada! What have you got here? Churros? From Francis’s place? Nah, these are no good. Let’s go to Pepe’s cafe and you’ll taste real churros there. Hey, Pepe, this is our friend from Canada. Give her some churros. No, give her more to take to the hotel with her. What’s your name? Clarissa? We have a party tonight, Clarissa. I’ll pick you up at your hotel at eleven. Hey, Jose Miguel, look, this is our Canadian friend Clarissa!”

At the end of the outing, I returned to my hotel with my hands and bag full of tickets, invitations, souvenirs, and churros.

What’s the friendliest place you ever visited?

Spam Detector Gone Crazy

While I was away and had a very sporadic Internet access, the Spam detector on the blog went nuts. In an effort to weed out spammers, it spammed comments from valuable commenters (J. and Ellenor). It even spammed a comment of my own that said “Cool video!” Why that happened I have no idea. I have now liberated these comments from their Spambox captivity and I apologize for the inconvenience.


A store in Montreal put a mannequin of a regular-looking person in its window. When I saw it, I thought how nice it would be if we saw more mannequins that look like actual people rather than the weird extraterrestrials they put in the stores right now. I always wonder why use them at all since mannequins don’t look even remotely like human beings, so it’s impossible to figure out from them what the clothes will look like on you.


And this is the kind of bouquets that Russian men give women they love to greet them after a long separation of 8 endless days. 🙂

I’m hiding my nose in the flowers because I’m sick and it’s swollen. My outfit is also kind of messed up after 12 hours of traveling. I envy those people who manage to stay put together while traveling. As for me, I always arrive looking like a mess.

Chicago to St.Louis

Can somebody explain to me why the evening flight from Chicago to St.Louis always gets delayed? It’s such a short flight, let’s just go already. I’ve been traveling since 11 am today (via Burlington, VT) and it’s no fun when you are sick with a virus. If N. weren’t waiting for me, I’d totally stay at the airport hotel tonight and take the flight tomorrow.

A Touching Airplane Story

People won’t believe this story is true because it happened right after I published posts on the importance of reading for kids. The story is true, though, so I’ll publish it.

A couple with 2 small kids was sitting next to me on my flight. The father was reading to his son of about 4 years of age. Several children’s books they dropped were strewn around in the aisle. A little girl observed the father and the son for a while, picked up a book and stood next to them hoping to be read to as well. Another little boy from two rows ahead of us saw what was going on. He came up timidly, picked up a book for himself and took his place in line.

These kids really wanted an adult to read to them. So the father of the 4-year-old read to all of them in turn.

All the kids were traveling with their own parents.