Janice's journey

This biography is made based on the diary of a young woman who lived in many years in Denmark before she went on a holiday at her birthmother’s county. Her values and morale is based on her upbringing in Denmark which some might consider offending. However in order to truly understand how she experienced her stay in the United States the cultural influences has to be considered a major contributor to her choices both before, under and after her stay.

Second the names of individual youth transport firms, wilderness programs and boarding schools are not mentioned. It is not a question about being for or against various companies offering emotional growth. It is strictly a story about how Janice as she has chosen to call herself experienced a number of incidents which left life changing marks on her adult life.

This biography is co-authored because Janice wanted to have her story published in both Danish and English.


16. Viva California

We slept at the lake. At a time I took a bath. I had only been able to take standup bath using a cloth. Such cleaning doesn’t make you feel clean. Being able to take a real bath felt great even though I had no soap and I was going back in the same dirty clothes. In the evening we continued walking south along the lake. In the evening we had to pass a small stream before we came to something that looked like a campsite for tourists. There were caravans and tents. Lindsay asked me to wait. She sneaked over to one of the tents where she searched in some luggage. When she came back, she had a mobile phone. Fortunately there was coverage and she called a friend in New York. The conversation was long. When she was finished she said that she had spoken with her boyfriend who by the way was member of a gang. The gang had branches in other cities and her boyfriend would make sure that they will send a car from Las Vegas to pick us up. She crawled back and put the phone back so none would miss it. They'd probably only discover the call once they received the phone bill but by that time we would be long gone.


We went back to the creek. We should follow the river east to a place where it was close to the road because the area around the campsite was so open that people would get suspicious of two girls running around in orange / brown clothes looking as if they had been out in the wilderness for at least six months.


There were houses close to the stream and we had to sneak past them quietly. I think that we continued three kilometers down the stream before we came to a bridge. Lindsay said that it was the place. She tore a piece of her clothes and tied it around a wooden pole near the road. All we had to do was to wait.


We waited all day. It was dark. The next day there nothing happened. Had we been let down? Late in the day stopped a van near the pole. We were unsure whether it was our contact. A man got out of the car. He had a scarf on and looked like one of the villains Steven Seagal would shoot in a movie. Lindsay said that it was her gang's color and we went over to the car. The driver introduced himself as Jesse, and we jumped in the back. Inside the trunk were colas and cold pizzas. It was food for royalty taken into consideration that we had lived for several weeks on water and oatmeal without taste. When we had eaten it didn’t take long before I slept on the floor. It had been some crazy days for sure.


I do not know how long we had been driving before Lindsay woke me up. "Janice. We left Utah just now." We had arrived at a town called Mesquite. Here we found a gas station where we could change clothes. It was nice to get something else even though the clothes were three sizes too big for me. We continued our journey and came to Las Vegas. I know how to most see Las Vegas; Neon, Casinos, etc. However, in the northern part of Las Vegas where the airport is placed, industry and ordinary houses looked as they could be placed in any other American city. Here we were provided with shelter in by the family of one of the gang members. They all looked like they immigrants from Mexico. However I didn’t ask because I believed that it would have insulted their hospitality. Lindsay spoke Spanish and could communicate with them. In Denmark Spanish are seldom taught in most schools so I was not able to do the same thing.


Lindsay said that we drew too much attention in the neighborhood, so she told me to dye my hair. I had to make sacrifices so dyed my hair black. In relationship with the hair dyeing activities I spent an hour in a bath-top which left me feeling like a newborn. I do not know if you ever have gone several weeks without shampoo. The feeling of being able to wash your hair under these conditions was indescribable. We stayed in Vegas for some days. Lindsay’s boyfriend had slipped a note into the Lindsay mother’s mailbox anonymously so the mother would know of her escape. At the same time we checked local police reports in the Utah newspapers on the Internet and we weren’t on any missing list. That meant that the task of the possible capture of us had been given private companies. For Lindsay, it meant that she could not return to New York. Her old gang was properly under watch. Therefore Lindsay had made an arrangement with boyfriend that we should go to Los Angeles where the gang had control over entire neighborhoods.


For Lindsay it was a question about being able to hide until she reached the age of 18. I knew that I had contact with Danish authorities. With a little help on the internet I found out that there was a Danish Consulate in Los Angeles, so I follow along with Lindsay. In Las Vegas I would be discovered sooner or later. Also there was nothing I could do in this town because I had no work permit or other important papers.


We arrived in Los Angeles and were staying at Jose's aunt. Jose was Lindsay's boyfriend. The idea was that we were going to stay with her aunt until Jose came from New York so Lindsay and Jose could start a new life in California. As mentioned above they were forced to stay hidden for a few years until that Lindsay turned 18. Aunt's house was in a sort of trailer park near of some green areas where there were power lines. Not far away was a major highway named Artesia Freeway and the noise from the freeway was heard 24/7. Not even in Copenhagen where I was living was level of background noise so loud but what did it matter? I was free.

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