August 2020 Retrospective

· 2 min read

August was the crumbling of much of what I had been working towards over the past six months.

I arrived at Toronto Pearson International Airport, Canada’s largest and busiest airport, around midnight of August 4th. There were no other people or cars as I said goodbye to my family in the passenger drop-off. I entered the only unlocked door to an eight panel flight dashboard — blank, with the exception of one line — 01:45 TAIPEI BR035 ON TIME. International air travel is different these days.

Online check-in said to see a representative. The situation changes daily but I was confident that things were still okay. The latest update from my visa office suggested that I was good to go. I held a special entry COVID-19 visitor visa and my entry was managed by the Ministry of Education. The airline employee took my passport and supporting documents to their manager and told me to take a seat while they clear it with immigration.

I waited patiently for over an hour before spotting another airline employee at a distance. She was carrying a Canadian passport and what appeared to be the collection of documents I had previously handed over. “Must be the manager,” I thought. We locked eyes and her head shook with empathy.

She returned my documents and verbally shared the news. I spent the next two weeks persisting to make it a reality. By mid-August it was clear that I wouldn’t be able to make it on time to attend my course with the current quarantine requirements.

Feeling beat down and discouraged, I used what was left of my energy to acquire a different set of documents required to apply for another visa through a series of phone calls, emails, and appointments. This visa won’t allow me to attend my course, but I could experience much of what I set out to do.

I will find out if my plans are salvageable by the end of the month. Until then, it’s out of my hands.