We were planning on getting our visas before we go so we can fly directly into Yangon, making it easier on the pets. Even though we found out last week that we could not bring Ellie, we were still planning on bringing my Maine Coon Cat, Macy.
When I got the note from ISM stating that they are working on my documentation we decided that it was time to purchase our plane tickets. Of course the flight itinerary that I had picked out and gotten approved was no longer available but I was able to find one very similar to it. After a call to my bank for them to up my daily spending limit on my debit card, I finally had our plane tickets purchased. I printed out the itinerary, receipts, and forms for Macy to have filled out at the vet later that day. This was exactly 31 days before we were set to leave and in order for Macy to be ready she needed certain shots done at least 30 days before flying so we were defiantly cutting it close.
I then proceeded to call the airlines to inform them that we would be having a cat fly with us in the plane. The first airline was absolutely no problem (the one that would take us from Portland to JFK). The second one is where it became difficult. I got another very fast-speaking representative that easily took all of my information on our flights and Macy. He then proceeded to tell me the maximum detentions of the pet carriers that were allowed on the plane, I quickly scribbled these down and finished our conversation about baggage fees. After I got off the phone I looked at the dimensions of the carrier that he gave to me, they were in metric so I converted them into inches: Hight 8" - Width and Length 12" Hu? That seemed really small to me so I dug out my ruler and tried to invasion a carrier that small. I then tried to look online for one that small but it was hard to tell how Macy would actually look in them. Off I went to PetCo hoping that they would have small carriers for me to see in person, but they don't even carry them that small. And here it was, we had come all this way with our months of research only to find out that they only let mini cats fly in the planes. Seriously, who has a cat that is that tiny and not a kitten?
With Macy's vet appointment drawing closer I had to make the decision and with everything in mind I realize that it simply was just not meant to be. This thought of course makes me extremely sad but there is no way I am stuffing Macy into a shoebox sized space for 25+ hours. I cancelled the vet appointment and began my search for a foster home for Macy.
Now that we don't have a reason to fly directly into Yangon we will be traveling to Bangkok to meet up with the rest of my school and get our visas there the day before. I emailed ISM to inform them of the change and cancelled our plane tickets. I feel very defeated after fighting so hard and doing so much research for the past 5 months and to have it all come down to this. But alas, so it is.
My last day of work was sad yet happy all at the same time. A bunch of my regular customers came in to say goodbye and get one last meal made by me. They all wished me good luck, said they were going to miss me, and told me not to drink the water. I never saw myself working in an open kitchen (where the customers can see and talk with the chef and cooks) but now I know that when I have my own restaurant it is going to be an open kitchen for sure. I loved that the customers got to see how their food was made and all of the work going into it (and could tell that it wasn't just popped in a microwave). I didn't realize how much I loved interacting one on one with the customers, getting to know their names, their order preferences, and all about their lives. Joking and chatting with them as they came in made my job so meaningful and pleasurable. At the end of the day when I went over to turn my keys in I realized how much I learned while being at Marche and how it has made me grow as a chef and become a better person overall. I got to work under a great chef named Justin who taught me a number of skills that I will be taking with me wherever I end up. He was also the first chef to buy me my own professional chefs knife which means more to me than words can say. I will certainly miss Marche but I know that there are grand adventures to be had.