I think this post is appropriate since today is September 11's ten year anniversary. I was 20 years old and on my way to Wollongong, Australia to begin my student exchange program through UBC. It was 5 months after 9/11. You can imagine what it was like to travel then.
10 years ago, laptops were also incredibly expensive, meaning I couldn't afford one. I kid you not. My dad packed my desktop tower into my suitcase and sent me off down under. I know what you're thinking, no there was no monitor. I bought one in Australia.
Did I mention it was Feb 2002? 5 months after 9/11? What do you think happened when they scanned my suitcase at security on my Hawaiian stopover? Immediately I was pulled aside and searched. The Hawaiian security officer lady pulls out the tower along with some underwear I'm sure I used to cushion it and asked me what it was. After stupidly explaining to her why I had that, she looked at me with the saddest eyes and said, "It's ok, I understand. I have four kids. Sometimes, things just get too expensive."
The rest of Australia was a wonderful experience. Have you ever had an admirer leave a random note on your table while you were lunching alone in the cafeteria? Then this same person leaves you a movie ticket in your mailbox to watch Amelie at the university theatre? Then you go on and have a relationship with this person and have them show you what it feels like to be loved by someone? I was 20 years old, if only I knew how to appreciate it back then. However, I still remember it at 29, so I can appreciate it now.