We made it! But barely...
After a three-hour delay and a disgruntled border agent at Canada Customs, we made it to my in-laws house on Friday evening. Those two 3-hour flights with a toddler went as well as expected. Alice was good for about an hour on the plane and then she'd had enough of sitting in that confined space (can you blame her?!). And then we landed in Chicago and our flight went from being an hour late to just under three hours late when the plane finally took off. So after a 3:45AM wake up and a full day of travel, needless to say we were a both a little cranky when we landed in Edmonton.
So there I am, pushing a whining kid in the stroller while lugging a diaper bag, greasy faced and disheveled, as I walked up to customs. Instead of the usually friendly Canadian border agent, I was greeted by an unsmiling woman who barely looked at me as I handed her my passport. She started with the usual Why are you traveling to Canada? questions, I told her we were here to visit my in-laws and then the following conversation occurred...
Agent: "Where is this child's father?"
Me: "Oh, he is in Boston. He couldn't make the trip."
Me: "He is working and also moving us back to Utah while we are visiting his parents."
(Having an idea of where this conversation was headed, I intentionally emphasized the part about us visiting HIS PARENTS!!).
Agent: "Do you have a letter giving you permission to travel to another country with your daughter and without him?"
Me (pit in my stomach growing larger): "Um, no."
And then she lays into me about abductions and parents going through custody battles and Alice is totally sick of being strapped into the stroller and is whining louder and louder and I'm trying my hardest not to be a smart-ass so I am just nodding and giving short MmmmHmmm's and Yep's. And then she says...
Agent: "You don't seem to be happy right now."
Me (unable to contain my smart mouth): "Well, I've been traveling alone with a toddler since 4AM so I'm not all that happy, to be honest."
So she continues on with her lecture while stamping our passports and then graciously waves us through. I get our bags and Alice's car seat and I start wheeling the stroller with one hand toward the exit while dragging a suitcase behind me with a massive backpack car seat on my back and a diaper bag slung over my shoulder. I get to the exit and what normally takes 5 seconds for the agent to look at my paperwork takes 10 seconds and then he asks me to step over through another set of doors.
That woman agent had kindly asked that we be screened for additional security! How nice of her!
I know they were just doing their jobs and yes, it was pretty dumb of me not to think about taking a letter from my husband giving me permission to travel but I'd traveled with her by myself to the U.S. from Canada in March and this wasn't an issue then. So lesson learned. Travel with a notarized letter! And when I told Lee the whole story, he laughed and said:
"Ya, lady, because my wife is abducting our daughter and taking her to MY hometown and is going to hide out in the city where her in-laws live."
Thank god my smart mouth didn't think to say that as I imagine she wouldn't have appreciated my humor.
Weekend Workouts: Saturday - Nike Training Club! 30 minutes of lunges and broad jumps and shoulder presses (I used pieces of steel from my father-in-law's shop) and mountain climbers and a whole bunch of other stuff + 5 minute run. Sunday - 4 mile run!
Not trying to be a smartass, but how would she know that you were going to visit your in-laws except that that's what YOU told her? I'm sure it's a horrible feeling to know you let through a child abductor, and there are likely many more people doing that TO Canada than from it (referencing your earlier travel). Sucks to have to deal with it after all that travel, but at least that the end of the hassle!!ReplyDelete
Traveling with a toddler is tough. Congrats on getting through and sharing the story about crossing borders. I'll have to try and remember that if I ever leave the country with my son and my husband isn't with us, I'll need a note!ReplyDelete
Wow! You're super mom carrying all that stuff and her! I wouldn't ever have thought to bring a letter. Good for you for holding it together - can't say I would have done the same ;)ReplyDelete
A notarized letter from your husband? Oh, my patience would have expired long before that had happened. I would have said something inappropriate... then not been able to be 'admitted' to Canada.ReplyDelete
In a month we are traveling to Alaska VIA Canada, I was told when applying for my new passport, that I had to show an itinerary showing our dates of travel, how long we were staying and why we were going there. I guess with all the 'crap' going on lately in the world, Canada is cracking the whip and making people follow EVERY little rule.
Have fun visiting! Say hello from everyone in UTAH. xo