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Star-Crossed Rock-Lovers

, , , , | Working | March 26, 2021

It’s my first time flying internationally — just from the USA to Canada, and the previous times I’d been to Canada were by car before passports were required — so it’s also my first time through customs. I either miss the announcement and signs concerning declaration forms or there just aren’t any, and I am the only person not in the know, as when we get off the plane in Quebec, I am the only one who doesn’t have a form filled out.

Cue me hastily filling out paperwork on a back table while all the other passengers finish their interviews and carry on with their travels. Finally done, I look up and see that I am now alone with a single customs agent waiting on me. I approach her and hand over my forms. The agent reviews them.

Canadian Agent: “What’s the reason for your visit?”

Me: “I’m visiting a friend.”

Canadian Agent: “And how did you meet?”

Me: “Online.”

I notice the agent’s eyes narrowing suspiciously at this.

Canadian Agent: “What is their name, and how long have you known each other?”

Me: “[Friend’s Full Name], and we’ve known each other for ten years.”

Canadian Agent: “Is this your first time meeting in person?”

Me: “Yes, but we voice and video chat frequently as well as send each other mail occasionally.”

Canadian Agent: “Where does your friend live?”

Me: “[Small Town] on the coast.”

Canadian Agent: “And you’re just friends?”

Her tone has changed to downright accusatory and I’m a bit taken aback.

Me: “Yes. She’s one of my best and oldest friends. We’ve just never had a chance to meet in person before due to the distance.”

I am asked a few more probing questions into the nature of my relationship with my friend, each getting more direct and suggestive about what I intend to do with my “friend,” as if the concept of traveling internationally to meet someone who you have a platonic relationship with is completely impossible.

I finally manage to escape that uncomfortable line of questioning and enjoy a lovely time with my friend and her family! Then comes my return trip and second time through customs.

The American agent glances over my forms and passport.

American Agent: “Welcome back.”

They go through a spiel about taxable goods, high-value purchases, and forbidden items, asking if I have anything to declare.

Me: “Nope, none of that.”

The agent indicates toward my large suitcase.

American Agent: “What’s in there?”

Me: “Mostly rocks. Turns out the area I went to has lots of raw jasper!”

American Agent: “Really?! That’s awesome!”

And with that, I was sent on my way. I’m sure it was mostly just the difference between leaving and returning to the country, but the fifth degree the Canadian agent gave me about my friend still leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

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