The saddest part about my short trip home is it being cut shorter by half a day. I was listed for an 11:00 PM flight back to Abu Dhabi but my sources told me I had better chances of getting a seat on the 5:00 PM flight.
In the Philippines, you have to leave for the airport at least 3-4 hours before your flight, anticipating the traffic jams and very long lines at the terminal.
I was holding back tears as I kissed my family goodbye. The kids were asking me why I had to go back so soon. My nephew hugged me so tight until I reached the elevator. I nearly bawled like a little kid.
That day wasn’t my day at all. The clutch of the taxi I was riding, broke down in the middle of the high slope leading to the departure area. I had to get down while all the other cars were honking at us and carry my bags up that hill. By the time I reached the entrance, I was drenched in sweat.
The line for economy class was so long, I didn’t even try to see the end of it. I just wish they had more counters for that. I went straight to business where there was only one guy ahead of me.
Little did I know this was not the line for ID90 staff tickets. I had to go to another counter. Then I had to line up to pay my taxes, line up again to have my visa checked and line up again for immigration questioning.
The lady immigration officer questioned me about my visa, my husband, his nationality and I was a bit annoyed at her rude tone. Why do they have to be so domineering?
I learned something about some immigration officers that day. They knew nothing about the legalities of other countries. They use their tone and questions to shake you or make you feel so small. You just have to spray on more self-confidence, talk in perfect English and stand your ground with your high heels.
This is officially the shortest trip home I’ve ever had.
When I boarded, I was so relieved to finally sit down and relax in my personal space.
The flight wasn’t full so I got to transfer to the middle seats again – a sweet consolation to an aggravating day.
I closed my eyes and turned on my massage button and imagined the kids coming with me in this big airplane. Someday, I told myself.
8 hours later I arrived and ran straight into the arms of my waiting husband. I missed him.
Minutes later, as we drove to the city, tears of sadness streamed down my face. I know my life in this country is just a chapter in a book. It is nothing permanent. Time will come when I won’t have to come back here again.
The thought of that made me smile.