canada, travel

In the nick of time

I kept refreshing Google maps on my phone. We would be cutting it very close.

We were driving from Sea-Tac Airport to the Vancouver Convention Center, a 160-mile drive, in Friday afternoon rush hour.

I know, not the best idea. But, Bryce’s flight from a work trip had him landing at Sea-Tac just before 3 pm. I needed to pick up my race packet for a half marathon I was running by 8 pm that evening in Vancouver.

It took us about 4 hours and 45 minutes to arrive at our destination. We only made one rest stop. This also included the ~20-minutes wait at the US-Canada border crossing.

When we rolled up to the kiosk to show our passports to the border patrol, she greeted us with a “Bonjour” and then rattled off some questions.

I immediately panicked, thinking “How are we going to respond in French? We don’t have time for this!”

Bryce, who was in the driver’s seat, replied “We’re going to Vancouver,” in English, of course.

I was so confused. How did he know what she asked? We don’t speak French!

It turns out that after greeting us in French, she was speaking in English. Maybe it was the stress of making it to packet pick up in time, or maybe my brain just shut off once it heard a foreign language. I obviously heard her follow up questions in English, but I really thought that the first question she asked us was in French!

After telling her how many nights we’d be staying (2) followed by what we would be doing (me running a half-marathon), she gave us back our passports and we went on our merry way.

“How did you know what she first asked? Did you infer?” I asked Bryce.

“She asked the questions in English,” he replied. “But I did start sweating at first when she said ‘Bonjour’ because I thought she was going to keep speaking in French.”

I guess I was just being a dumb American.

But, a dumb American who anticipated the horrible traffic so she packed her dinner with her! Yes, to make sure that I was able to carbo-load, I made pasta ahead of time and packed containers of them in a freezer bag. (I wasn’t about to eat dinner at like 9 pm the night before a race!)

And, yes, we made it to packet pick up with 15 minutes to spare. Bryce dropped me off on the side of the road outside of the convention center and I scurried into the large building.

I’d call that a successful drive.

(In case you were wondering, the race the next morning was also a success!)

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