An Unexpected Gift; My Trip To Florida

For the past few weeks I’ve been pretty bummed to not be in New Zealand. There’s been so much build up to getting settled in Christchurch and its been frustrating feeling like my life is paused until I get my visa.

But the other day I found out my grandfather was in the hospital and it has changed my perspective on everything.

A trip had been planned in September for me, Pete, my mom, and stepdad to fly to Florida to see my grandparents who live there. This was an important part of our US Farewell Tour because even though we’ve been together for almost 4 years Pete has never met my grandparents.


I had already lost my opportunity to meet Pete’s grandma when she had a stroke a couple years ago and I selfishly didn’t want Pete to lose this chance to meet my family. My grandpa is turning 93 in November and has dementia so even before his recent hospital visit I knew this trip needed to happen sooner than later.

Our flight was scheduled to depart on September 6th and return on the 10th, the same day Hurricane Irma was predicted to make landfall.  Making it’s way up through the Caribbean and heading straight towards the Florida Keys, Irma was a category 5 storm bigger than any since 2005 . My grandmother was evacuated to a shelter and my grandfather sheltered in place.

With much of Florida without power and hundreds of flight cancellations across the State, we canceled our trip. Two more hurricanes were predicted to make landfall over the next two weeks so we wouldn’t be able to reschedule.


Since then, I’ve been feeling guilty about not seeing my grandparents before my big move. I know they can’t handle that 18+ hour flight from the East Coast and I don’t have plans to be back in the States until next July.

While my grandpa was in the hospital, the doctors recommended looking into hospice care. I can’t even try to express my sadness at the possibility of never seeing him again. The realization that I couldn’t attend his funeral should he pass away when I’m gone was one of the hardest moments I’ve had in this whole immigration process.

I knew that I needed to find a way to get to Florida, ASAP. I am so thankful for my family. They didn’t hesitate to help me book a flight to Fort Lauderdale this week. It will be a short trip but it will give me the opportunity to see my grandpa at least one more time.

Planning this trip has been profoundly sad. It feels like a goodbye trip. I both dread it and will be eternally grateful for the opportunity to have at least one more hug, one more “I love you.”

Thank you to the Universe for letting me be in the States at this moment.



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