I had always wanted to visit the U.S since I was little for so long to the point where I somehow lost interest.
However, a few months ago, my father messaged me that he had to go to the US for work in February and asked if me and my sister were free from exams during that time so we could tag along. Without any hesitation, we immediately said ‘yes’. He often goes there once a year, but I never really successfully go with him. Weeks after weeks, there were still uncertainty whether I really would be able go to the US with daddy or not. One day, I was so happy to found out the price for return ticket is only 600$ ( a relative, Om Nil, came to visit). The next, dad told us we have to cancel our plan because there will be snowstorm. I was depressed to the max but I kept begging daddy telling him I also wanna see snow. He did not respond. A couple of weeks before his departure, mommy probably realized my desire to see the US so she insisted to daddy to let us go. Daddy agreed, filled the visa application form, and booked us an interview.
There was a problem. The US Visa is really strict and hard to get. My birth year on my passport is different from my real birth year, 1996, and 1997 respectively. However, when filling the form, my father put the right birth year so it mismatched with the one in my passport. I only realized that a few days later after he paid for the interviewed and gave me the printed application form to memorize. I started to panic. I did some research and they said I needed to cancel the interview and reschedule it. However, time was running short, scheduling an interview usually takes a month while I only had a month away to my departure date. I did not know what to do so I called mom. She discussed with daddy and decided that I should go get a new and corrected passport asap. So I did. Then, I suddenly realized I had another problem. Now, my passport number mismatched with the one in the application form. Problem again ._. I then believed I was not fated to visit the US. I no longer expect to get a visa but I went to the interview anyway.
On the interview day, I and my sister were running late. We arrived at 8:05Am which is 5 minutes behind the appointment. We nervously went in to find out we had to wait until noon to be interviewed. It was our turn so we walked to the consular window. I confidently answer the questions confidently telling them that we were tagging along with our father as he was going on a work trip. A few questions later, the woman told us to come pick our visa on Thursday. I was excited. Yes! But, something was at the back of my mind. No, I did not inform them about my wrong visa number. I sorta fear that they would fail me. I walked out happily and depressed at the same time. I later got scolded by my parents for lying and that I could be considered as a fraud. Mom said she was disappointed in me. 2 days later, father, more excited that us, texted that he received our visa.
Then, it was time to book the ticket. Our aunt was a travel agent so we left the work to her. She booked the return ticket at 1500$. Daddy thought it was expensive so he prolonged the payment. A few days until departure, the booked ticket got canceled. Om tried so hard to rebook until she got the 1800$. It got canceled again until 2 days before the date where it got up to 2000$. I told daddy I could go on a different flight from him if it were to be cheaper but afraid that I and my sister might get lost, he disagreed and decided to get us the over-the-roof tickets.
D-1: I informed my friend at teacher about my 2 weeks disappearance. Asked for permission and left some leave forms.
D-Day: I took the whole Friday off in order to pack my bag because we had to leave on that Friday night but I procrastinated to around 5pm to finally grabbed some clothes and tossed it into the luggage. It was 3 hours to departure time so I suddenly realized that I had to get my paper verified at the district office. So I had to call my friend and she kindly offered to pick it up at my house. So nice of her ^_^. We left the house 2 hours before the flight time. As we arrived, we said ‘bye’ to mommy. While waiting we found out that it got delayed 45 minutes. I started to feel weird, not being in bed at midnight. One daddy’s coworker who was suppose to take the same plane as us suggested her strategy to handle the jet lag by telling us to not sleep the whole night and to sleep in the morning which would be the right night time in the US. So I reckoned I should give it a try. Then, my cousin, Top, Facebook messaged me her itinerary that she planned for our visit. I got really excited.
Boarding time! I got even more excited. We found our seats. There were touch screen monitors where we can watch free movies but I later only listened to music while trying to stay awake just like that lady told but I ended up giving that up and tried to sleep but I couldn’t. I tried changing position, tiled, but nothing worked. I wanted to push my seat back a bit but I did not know how. I couldn’t ask anyone because seem like everyone was asleep. My neck hurt. I couldn’t sleep but I forced my eyes shut anyway. 6 hours later we arrived in Seoul, one of my dream country since I am a big fan of Kpop. Needless to say, I was not even the slightest excited. My first sleepless night drained all the energy. As we arrived, daddy and his colleagues walked quickly to the transfer area and to our gates. Daddy’s travel survival tips, “Always find the gate before wander anywhere else.” After we found our gate, we went to exchange our money for Korean won and started finding some foods. I had, “jjajangmyun”, the famous Korean black bean noodle, but it sucked. I was not sure if it tasted bad because I was not feeling well or the noodle itself just plain sucked. It was too plain and meatless. As we finished eating, we started window shopping around a bit more until it was nearly time for us to board so we went to our gate. Five hours over there past quite quickly. As I walked through the airplane tube to get on the plane heading to the Detroit, I can feel the coldness, the Winter that’s awaiting us. The plane this time was big. What caught my attention was the flight attendance were americans. Ever since I was born, Americans are mostly the superior, but to have the Americans is a whole new story. This time, I and my sister sit together while daddy sit in a different zone. Me and my sister sat in front of the emergency exit door right next to the food room. A woman came to verify our favor in helping to open the emergency door if something were to happen, and we said ‘yes’ despite me being all slightly worried, and concerned at the same time. A few hours into the flight, it starts to get colder and colder. I wasn’t sure if it was the AC or it was because I sat near the door, but I could not bear with the coldness longer so I looked for my bag in the cabin above my head to find that only my father’s jacket was there and I forgot my own jacket. I went to daddy to ask if he wanted the jacket but as caring as he has always been, he refused. I felt guilty. I wore the jacket while daddy was freezing. The guilt continued on for 14 hrs straight. I barely slept. 3/4 time into the flight did I realized our seats also had the monitors. It was on the side of the seat. You’re supposed to pull it up. LOL. I put an alarm clock for 8pm Cambodia time to remind daddy to take his medicine and he did. I made sure to fulfill this task in order to compensate for forgetting my jacket and left daddy freezing. Bad me! As I sat infront of the toilet, I kept seeing a guy and a lady kept hugging infront of me and then went in the same toilet. That culture shock indeed! Many vomit-provoking meals, unnecessary drinks, long bathroom queues later, we finally arrived. I thought I would not make it through as I might would have froze on the plane to death. The coldness was just unbearable! Now, I wonder how daddy wold have felt without the jacket! Bad Tol!
As we arrived in the US, we went straight to the security check to find another long line of people. The security looked pretty tough, and there uniform was pretty scary. They looked like they could tossed you out of the country at just any moment. I started to worry about my passport again. “What if I came all the way here and they just found out my passport number in my DS-160 mismatched with my real passport, and they ship me back to my country. Oh no!” So paranoid of me haha. I got to one of the window first, while my dad and sister each went to another different window. The security officer asked me, “Are you traveling alone?” I said, “No, I’m with my father and sister.” Then, he angrily said, “Where are they? Why are you not with them? Why did you leave them? Don’t you guys live in the same house? Go with them!” Not understanding why he said that, I confusingly walked to my sister’s place where she was talking with a friendly security officer who was talking and smiling. He asked about the purpose of our travel, how much money we brought, where would we stay. He even complimented both of us for speaking English well. We reunite with dad as we finished the check. Then, we were heading to the baggage and body check. Like any other airport…(to be continued)
Day 1 in VA: Ear-piercing flight, sister vomit, arrived at 5pm, exhausted, oily faced, extreme headache, met cousin and aunt, awkward hug, got out of the airport, not so cold, got in car, so damn hot, saw the road, aunt asked if we like it so far, lied by saying yes but i really wasn’t because too tired, saw a patch of snow, slightly disappointed, arrived at their home, look exactly like in google street view, saw a cat, it didn’t run, so cute, so so cute, had a feast made by Om Pov, but my headache was taking over, tried to finish my plates anyway, B Top and To was kinda awkward meeting us, they went and ate their pizza by themselves at the back, i took a bath, got blamed for wetting the mat, went to sleep until 6 in the morning.
Day 2 in VA: got up before Tep, contemplate for a while in the dark room, it was sorta freezing a bit, went out, met Jammy, it likes me, took a bath, and put on a jacket and clothes, took out my camera, everyone ready, went to Wholefood, walked pass the Lucky- like area to find a breakfast buffet area, put some on the plate, still have no appetite, saw sth tastier, asked B Top if I can put it back, just found out they weigh it, had a bit of screambled egg and some rice-like food maybe, and some other stuff, B Top paid but Om Pov insist, couldn’t pull myself together yet, it’s still unreal the fact the I was in the US, the freakin’ US that I’ve always dreamt about, finished the not-so-special breakfast, went back in the car, arrived at the metro station,trouble finding the non-charging parking spot, they paid for some metro cards, rushed to the just-arrived metro, took a 20 mins metro ride to DC, got a bit of headache again, arrived at DC, walked a bit to find the whitehouse and met daddy’s colleague again, took a few photos, it’s getting super freazing, regret wearing thin layer of clothes, walked to the DC gift shops, nothing to buy but needed to in order to take a picture at the president table, Om Pov got the soap, I got a 5$ purse, took some photos, walked out to find some ministries and departments on the way, saw a Trump Hotel, most likely belong to Donald Trump lol, walked passed the skating area but closed so we passed and arrived at the Natural History Museum, security asked for bag, i had to taste the water, not so amusing , saw a big elephants, got a bronze coin, costs 1$, I thought the animal were fake when I was told they’re real, them animals, in glasses, not so exciting, or it’s because I was jet-lagging, walked around tiredly, Om Pov and B Top looked tired already, we continued anyway to find some mummies and monkey-like faces, took some more selfies, went back down, called daddy, not reached, got some drinks, wait on a bench with Om Pov, Tep and B Top went wandering around, daddy arrived, called B Top, went out, it rained, cover our head, headed to the Pavillon cafe, confused that it was breakfast, almost didn’t buy anything, got myself a sandwich, shared with daddy, and we got truffle, Tep’s sandwich sucked,took some selfies, finished, went to the bathroom, still raining, went out of the park, went to Air and Space, excited, thought there were gonna be some spaceship to experience like in Mr. Bean, found out there were mostly planes, and control rooms, astronaut’s, science’s, spaceship’s place, moon traveling cars, rockets, and take tons of picture, saw some moon pieces, took a pretending-to-be-a-pilot picture, one astronaut looked like Ed Sheeran, spot some space food stall but didn’t bother, went out, got some popcorn, it’s salty, disappointed, walked around 30 minutes to the Washington Monument, B Top kept sitting long the way and she kept insisting on taking the taxi, took everyone’s pic, asked 2 bikers to pic, arrived at the monument, two girls was looking up, we tried, elevator out of order, took some more photos near the flags, put our hands up, one guy imitated, walked to ww2 monument, looks like some fence, Om Pov wanted to go home, but daddy remains indifferent, walked to the Holocaust museum, took some ID cards, went into an elevator, a girl instructed us to walk from top to the ground floor, walked in a spiral building, saw some pics, confused, thought it’s probably sth to do with Hitler, people were crowded in front of screens, I wasn’t interested, went into a train box, saw some shoes, it’s real, it’s freakin real from the dead zome, smells bad, real bad, such haunting smell, they remain because they were made of leather and didn’t burn along with the owners, walked and walked to find the Khmer rouge area, read some khmer language on a book in glass, was sorta depressed, went to the memorial, went out early to check the underground, saw nth, rushed back to the memorial, i talked too loud, the dude slammed the ‘be quiet’ signed, we got out, took the metro again, Om Pov remembered we all can’t take the car at once, daddy came onto the metro with us, arrived at original metro station, “East Falls Church”, drove home, arrived, rest a bit, got into a car, B To couldn’t come, passenger limit is 5 for cars, we went to Sakura, Japanese chef, cooked with style, the dude was sick, I got chicken and shrimp, tossed shrimp in my face but failed at first, the food was salty, i got extra rice, but didn’t finished, remaining for B To, dropped dad at a metro/shopping mall, got home, took bath, and went to sleep.
Day 3: Everybody is going to school today, woke up, didn’t take bath, Om Pov made Porridge with chay pov, had mexican chicken for lunch, walked in the neighbor hood to get there, had some red velvet cup cake, went to 7/eleven, got back home, B Top took us to the Noodle company, and Donuts, i had nutella cake , and Tep had vanilla grace cake, got home, the noodle tasted not-so-good,
Day 4: bacon for breakfast, pizza for lunch while watching movies, dance in the back, going around,…
Day 5: had nothing for breakfast, walked to Tyson, waited for bus stop, Ming Pov picked us up, arrived, tried to find mum’s bag, failed, went to macy, went to abercrombie, got nothing, ate sushi, lots of them, Om Pov wanted me to pay but Ming Pov said it’s not right, Ming Pov had fried kuy teav, went to Barnes and Nobles, asked for B Pich’s book, not available, didn’t ordered, Saw the medical book area, Ming Pov went home because she got work, got some books, Tep took so long, cost $100+, so freakin expensive. came home to hear news that B Top got a new job, …
Day 6: had chicken pasta soup microwaved for breakfast,
Day7: Skyped with Pov, it snowed a tiny teeny bit, went to a different mall, had some cookies, so so cold, so so freezing ica skating, got to know a women, so windy, it pushed me, i dare not to leave the edge, got cold, went to the bathroom, came back, a child felt, she cried, drove to George Mason, got B To, saw some buiding, the shuttle, she told us she’ll get the shirt, Om Pov didn’t remember if she turned off the stove, afraid of house burn, scared, rushed home, dropped B To, had some crepes, arrived at Tyson, went to Friday, the waiters are pretty dope at that restaurant, made some beef orders, dude brought some papers and asked for B Top signature for free chips, it tasted terrible, the food was great though, drove back home, dropped by at wholefood to find medicine and chicken borth, also 7/eleven for slushy but wasn’t available so took sour patch instead, got home, start packing, Om Vuth got picked up by Top and Tep, awkward hug, Om Pov prepared Suki, had Suki soup, Daddy arrived, ordered B Pich’s stetoscope, and mum’s armpit pad, and B To, Finished packing, got an extra baggage, we took photos one, and talked, and we went to sleep.
Day 8: woke up early Arrived, I cried when I was leaving, missing everyone, took Om Vuth’s car to the airport, arrived, payed 50$ for luggages, got through security, got in the plane, such a skilled pilot, felt great, arrived, met Bong Vor, got into his Sienna, Cali has so many palm tree, very beautiful scenery, arrived at the Pho place, people speaks Khmer, the Pho tasted dang good, a bit awkward with Bong Vor, we never really talked before, got back into the car, it was also awkward in the car, only daddy talked with him, arrived at his house, the dogs were barking, he lend us his family bedroom, that’s so nice of him, his children are so cute, Janna is so sportive, Nathan is so friendly and smiley, the room was a bit messy, the toilet had a small stain, we relaxed for a bit, he took us to the West Coast Plaza Mall, everything were all branded, and expensive, I got nothing, we couldn’t find mom’s purse, we left to our grandaunt house to drop some gifts from grandma, there were also another relative of our who was a nurse, we then left so we went to Marshall to get a few towel and my luggage, we ate at In-and-Out burger, it was the freshest burger I’ve ever had, we got back home dark, and slept.
Day 9: We got up early, we planned to see the universal studio, i put on my awesome colorful legging to find out we’re going to six flag since it’s only open on weekend, we had to come back home for I don’t remember why, but I got to change my pants to a thick jeans, after a 2-hour ride and many traffic jam we got to the entrance, when Bong Vor was trying to ask nicely to a nearby car so he can dropped us at the Passenger drop, there were all mad, and pointing finger at him, i got scared for a minute, he dropped us off, we got in to find many lines, we bought the tickets, we got in to find even more crowd with all mixed up lines under the burning sun, it was so hot that everyone was turning red, they did not open yet i believed, the line started moving, but daddy soon found out that those who doesn’t have a bag can go in through a faster line, so i let him and Tep went first, the line speeded up so I got in as well, We got the map, took a few pics, and got in our first ride, the Goliath, i found out on the map later as we waited in line that it was one of the most extreme rides, we got on the ride an hour and half later, it was thrilling, i felt okay but slightly dizzy but it was one of the best rides ever, daddy said he”s not getting in anymore rides lol, we went to the bathroom after, and even bathroom had lines, no wonder it was bringing ur friend along day,