Daily Prompt: West Coasters, in a Strange Land/The East Coast

New Jersey Airport/photo: www.bridgeandtunnelclub.com
New Jersey Airport/photo: http://www.bridgeandtunnelclub.com

What’s your favorite part about visiting a new place — the food? The architecture? The people watching?

Getting off the plane in Newark, New Jersey from LA, the first thing I notice, is the way everyone is bundled up.  Long coats and jackets, knit hat’s, scarfs, with an anxiousness in their step.   The hustle and bustle of the east coast was in full force.   Just getting off the plane I understood that I was a foreigner, in a foreign land.   My daughter understood it too, so we looked at each other and followed the people out of the plane into the airport terminal.   

Lani was about 7 years old, and the first thing she said when we exited the plane, is, “I’m cold, mama.”  So we put our jackets on, but I had a dilemma, we didn’t have the appropriate winter ware for this kind of weather, knit gloves, not leather, no scarfs, etc.  It was something like 30 ° Fahrenheit, on Christmas day, 1998.

So, we got our suitcases, and I took her to the bathroom and started putting layers of clothes on us both.   My daughter asked, “mama why are we doing this?”  I told her, “so we won’t be so cold.”   There was a lady in the bathroom, and she asked, “did you two just get off the plane from LA?”

I smiled and said, “yes.”   She said, “I could tell because you don’t look prepared for this weather.”   I wanted to say, umm, yeah, what gave it away?   I didn’t though, I just smiled again, finished and left the bathroom.   As we made our way to the outside exit, I asked Lani if she was warmer she said yes but she couldn’t move her arms.

When we got to the outside area, we caught a taxi, to take us to Queens, New York.   When we hit that outside air, I thought we were both going to faint right there.   Lani, was a trooper though she just smiled and said, “wow, mama, this is weird.”   When we got in the Haitian guys taxi, I didn’t understand anything he was saying.   I couldn’t understand his thick accent.   He however understood me and got us to Queens, where my cousin picked us up.   The taxi ride cost something like, 70 dollars.   Which my cousin paid for, gladly.   He had a worried look on his face when he picked us up from where I didn’t know, but he seemed glad we got there safe, I think he was worried about us being in that strange land, in that strange weather on Christmas day.

welcome to queens/photo: newyork.cbslocal.com
welcome to queens/photo: newyork.cbslocal.com

When we got into his car to go the rest of the way to his house, my daughter had a look of wonder in her eyes, and asked, “mama, what is all the white stuff on the houses and trees and in the streets?”   I laughed and said, “honey, that’s snow.”    She had never seen snow before and on Christmas day!    So she was screaming with excitement and asked our cousin.   “Could you stop the car and, let me get out and touch it?”   He said of course, and she did happily.   I think that was the best part of being strangers in a strange land, my cousin said, he would never forget the  look on her face that day, it made the trip on Christmas day, so worth it. Shazza ~ Musings&Rants

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