Into Reality

25 Jun

By Dorian Ferrer

Dun-Dun! Dun-Dun! Dun-Dun! Dun-Dun! Dun-Dun! The constant thumping noise of the train going over the crooked, rusted tracks wasn’t the only thing that kept me up that night. The fact that this would be the first time away from home on Christmas caffeinated my urges to sleep. Throughout the trip I had been a little bit homesick but this one night really got me.

I remembered waking up from my nice warm cozy bed and running down the stairs to see our parents calmly drinking their coffee. Then welcoming our family into our home and helping my littlest cousin open his presents, and watching that beaming smile light up the whole room. And then sitting down at the oval shaped, well lit breakfast table where we ate comforting food and laughed with each other.

And then I came back to reality, to the loud, dirty, yet also comforting train. It was a very odd feeling of homesickness, yet amazement and comfort in that dirty train. We had been on the road for so long that I had become familiar with the frequent homesickness and it was no longer so much of a pest to my feelings. I began to make the loud thumping of the trains, the dirty beds at the crummy hostels, and the day-to-day exhibits my regular life standards. Suddenly, I began to finally fall asleep with those comforting feelings in my mind. EEEEEEhhhrrrrrrrrr! The train came to a sudden stop. I woke up and saw my dad packing up his stuff.  Luckily I hadn’t unpacked anything, so I grabbed my bag, slipped on my shoes, and headed towards my parents to get off the train. When we got off, a big wave of heat swept over me. It was as if I was being put into a microwave after being frozen for a week.

We quickly stopped by a breakfast place and bought some drinks. We were waiting for another bus that would take us to a fancy hotel called the Marriott. This was special because lately we had been staying at ten-dollar hostels that were, like, ten square feet per room.

Soon enough, the bus arrived and we boarded. Man, it was like a sardine can in there. There were people trucking through me to get the seat that didn’t have a gaping hole in it or greasy food stains smothered everywhere. Also, a few mothers with their babies boarded and I immediately knew this would be a long ride based on their ongoing wailing. The stench of sweat filled the bus, which surprisingly didn’t make me want to hurl anymore. I volunteered to give my seat up to one of the mothers with her baby and stand with the other big crowd. I soon regretted that offer as I awkwardly sat on my mom’s lap. Suddenly I realized that to become a true traveler, you have to go through unusual situations, like sitting on your mom’s lap. And right there and then, it was no longer an awkward moment.

So far this was a normal moving day for us Ferrers, although it may seem like a total nightmare to be in this situation every week for hours on end. As I sat on my mom’s lap, I looked out the window and noticed all the people carrying fresh produce for tonight’s dinner, or driving a tuk-tuk for a job, and overall living a normal life. So far this yearlong trip around the world had not been normal at all, and it was a very interesting comparison. I was stuck on that thought for the rest of the ride, which seemed to turn the three hours into five minutes.

We finally came to a stop and boarded another taxi that took us to the hotel. This taxi driver was very talkative and it was pretty hard to talk to him because he knew very little English. Luckily, we would be meeting our cousins at the hotel that night and my uncle is a native Thai speaker. When we stopped we went through the usual negotiation with the driver, who wanted more than he’d told us before. After a little while, the taxi driver gave in and just gave us our fair share.

My brother Julian and I walked away from the scene and looked at the luxurious structure that we would be staying in. Too bad we’re staying here for only one night, I thought. We were instantly greeted by nice people who spoke perfectly good English and gave us welcoming drinks that tasted of lime and ginger. As I drank the stuff, I began to feel a lot of excitement. It was as if a bunch of butterflies were urging my stomach to leap into the air and fly away with the excitement and anxiousness that I contained. I had all that emotion because our cousins were coming to the hotel to stay with us. It had been five months since we had seen them, and we usually eat dinner with them every week.

Finally we brought our bags to our rooms and were amazed at what we saw. Crystal clear shower doors, two queen sized beds that looked like a family of bears could live on them, and a nice patio with a scenic view of a pond and a swimming pool. It was heaven here!

Julian and I quickly threw on our bathing suits and jumped into the little pool by the pond. It was really cool and blue and even had a tiny slide. We soon got out because of all the chlorine they dumped in there. It was almost as if there were more chlorine than water, which soon led to an itching frenzy. After the swim, we trudged contently back to the hotel room and sat on the grizzly bear bed and watched TV until it was lunchtime.

My head began to ache as I looked at the clock for what seemed to be the seventh time. Mom and Dad said that our cousins would be here at one in the morning. It was twelve o’clock right now, and I was so anxious I could jump off a bridge. I began to feel a sudden rush of happiness swim through my jittery body. After five months of being away from our closest relatives, we would all be together again.

I shoved the big blanket off the grizzly bear bed because I began to overheat with all the emotion whizzing through my body. When will they arrive? I thought. It seemed to take forever and the Spiderman movie on the television really began to get on my nerves. I began to pace up and down the room and kept thinking about what these next few hours would be like.

All of a sudden, the door burst open and my littlest cousin rushed in with outstretched arms and yelled, “Dorian and Julian!” I stumbled upon remnants of clothing in the dark before the lights suddenly turned on. My littlest cousin leapt into my arms and the other nearly knocked me over. I was so happy to see them, and I was happier right then than I had ever been at any Christmas. Almost immediately all of the homesickness, abnormality, and exhaustion were washed away by a wave of cheer and relief. Family cures anything. I was home. I was truly home for Christmas and I could ask for nothing better.


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