I step onto the airplane, exited, scared, nervous, happy, tired. Everything at once. I had only slept 4 hours the night before, and I still had not been able to finish my illustration work. I sit down in my seat, waiting for the time to pass, waiting for the plane to take off. Butterflies floats in my tummy. I don’t know what to expect. I had so many prejudices towards this country I now was heading for but, I was still open minded and ready to explore.
In Amsterdam, I stood in line. A woman, working at the airport, pulled me aside, asking me my purposes of going to the US. I am visiting a friend, I said. A friend, she asked. Yes, we were exchange students in Japan and I want to visit him, I replied. She vaguely smiles at me and put a pink sticker on my passport. I walk towards the security check, where a woman compliments me for my wool sweater. I explain that my lovely grandma made it years ago.
Next to me, in the plane, a lady asks me if I am traveling by my self. I am. We have a small conversation about random unimportant things. At least I had someone to talk with in case the plane would plunge down. I waited, ate, saw a movie in Japanese, worked on my illustrations and slept for 2 hours. Finally, I arrive in Detroit. All the signs are written in English and Japanese. There is apparently no need for me to speak or read English as even the woman welcoming me is Japanese. A black person, working in the airport, raise his voice and says, “look at my black Hello Kitty. Isn’t she cute?”. I am tired, exhausted and exited so in my confusion I cannot take hold of why she is black. “But why is she…” I say before I realize what I am about to say. “Why is she what?” “Oh, nothing. She is cute.”
After some hours in Detroit, one of the cities which has the highest murder rate, I am off to Chicago. I sleep in the plane. I wake up, seeing the city sparkle at me as if it is Christmas Eve. I was amazed by Americans good behavior in the airplane. The people sitting in the first row exits first, then the next row and the next. Things like that does not happen in Norway. First come, first served.
With a cup of caffè latte in my right hand and my purse in the left I stroll down the escalator, surprised to see my beloved dear friend, Jeff, before getting my luggage. It was like yesterday that I saw him in Japan, a year earlier. It was like we had never been apart. I hugged him, he hugged me and we laughed. Oh, how I have missed his laughter and jokes. We talk about my trip while waiting for my suitcase. We exit the airport, heading for Jeff’s car.
Before arriving at Jeff’s place we stop at a famous Italian restaurant, grabbing a well-known pizza.
I am in front of Jeff’s house. Oh how beautiful from the outside, and like paradise on the inside. I am amazed. Overwhelmed. I have never seen such a nice house in my life. It was like being in Disney Land all over again. I grab my camera, and run like a madman around the house taking pictures, laughing like a little girl who just got everything she wanted from her parents. Every time I entered a new room felt like opening a little present. Jeff shows me the room I am going to stay at, his brothers room. The door to my new room has decorations all over and, my name is written on the door. Truly Jeff is a fantastic friend.
We eat our pizza, get dressed, head for the car and drive to a newly opened Beer Garden nearby. The beer selection in the pub is nothing one should complain about. Then Mal, Jeff’s childhood friend, comes and we order beer. She is a bubbly soul full of laughter and energy. I really love her. That night, I go happily to bed, having a small crush on America, wondering what the morning will bring.