10.15. PM. Time stands still, or at least the illusion of it, inside my head.
I’ve just picked up my “just on the edge of being too heavy”-suitcase off the carousel, having undergone the ever-soothing nervous process that precedes that moment when you’re about to enter the land of the “American Dream”. The name of that process? “Immigration” (trust me, it may be the end of the journey if you don’t have all your paperwork in order). I’m tired, and beat, but at the same filled with anticipation regarding what’s awaiting – the time of my life, in the place I’ve always searched of being able to experience in its fullest.
Upon entering the entrance hall, a man holding a sign with my name written on it kindly awaits my arrival. This man has had his pickup appointment delayed for three hours but still he’s happy, smiling and makes sure I get a pleasant “Hey man, welcome to San Francisco”. Although it doesn’t really matter, you can’t escape from the fact that it’s a cool feeling to experience the “name on a sign” personal airport-pickup (you feel a little VIP, whether there’s a reason for it or not).
This three hour delay was caused by a (and no, no joke) food-serving tray, stuck in the elevator between the two floors of the Airbus 380 that had my (at least physical) presence (after having originated from Gothenburg, Sweden) between London Heathrow and San Francisco International. A food serving-tray; who would have guessed?
When this was advertised we’d already took our seats on the plane. The original message read “we should be done within half an hour”. This “half an hour” then became three hours, and the before planned-11-hour long flight was transformed into a much longer one (considering the time spent on the plane without leaving it). Considering all the problems that preceded this whole experience, especially during the last two weeks before departure, it still felt like a piece of cake in comparison.
When I entered the Cadillac Escalade that was about to bring me to my destination in my new “hometown”, the conversation and interaction between me and my driver turned out to be both interesting as well filled with joy. When we stopped outside ‘The Hub’, the San Francisco residence of EF, we shared our gratitude to that fact before we parted ways in the dark San Francisco evening. In front of me was the entrance, and the “non-litteral” gateway, to a new world and the Golden City of the Bay Area.
I picked my bags off of the pathway and walked through the door (read the following words with the final meaning of the intro to “Fresh Prince of Bel Air” in mind):
“I looked at my kingdom, I was finally there, to sit on my throne as the Prince of…” the ‘Golden State’.
This is, “lost in Cali”.
〈 Sep 9 〉