Departure Gate

In the last six years, I have sat in this airport six times. It was always the same, the cumbersome security clearances, the long queues, the bored faces. I would usually be walking toward the departure gate with a storm of opposing emotions raging on inside my head: racked by a profound sadness and a desperation to hold back, while struggling to contain the bubbling excitement and butterflies in my tummy.

I used to hate airports, especially after having endured more than eight hours at Kansai. I hated everything about it, the smell, the rush, the luggage, the strangers. Most of all, I hated them because they always reminded me of goodbyes that lasted too long, and gates that kept out the people I loved. But then I remembered the opening scene from Love Actually and Hugh Grant’s delicious voice, and I feel hopeful.

Today I am headed back to London to resume the life I have begun to build for myself. It has been exactly one month since I landed at home. As per usual, my stomach is full of butterflies (and quite a bit of homemade food). It is a tug-of-war between Vancouver and London, both places housing people I care deeply for.

On the one hand, I despair. Going back means being away from family, and that is never easy. It also means returning to all the responsibilities that comes with being a full autonomous human being. It means having to cook for myself, having to get up to go to work, having to build and maintain my own weight in the world. Being at home was splendidly luxurious. I reverted back to a child, carefree with all the time in the world. The minute I walk through the arrival gate at Heathrow, I crash-land back into adult life.

On the other hand, I rejoice. Being with family is also not easy. It seems mums and daughters are genetically pre-programmed to fight with each other. The freedom that comes with full independence has a strong magnetic field that pulls me back to London. I look forward to this year’s promise of full adulthood, despite the inevitable trials and errors and fumbles and tumbles. It’s exciting to have a job that affords me the luxury of a comfortable life. There are friends and a boyfriend that I’m thrilled to see again. Dinner parties, nights out, weekends away, and so many things left to do in that city and on that continent!

It’s not too bad really. I’m rather privileged. I’ve got fall-back in Vancouver and a new life in London.

So, out of Kansas we go again, Toto!

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Till next time, Vancouver. Stay beautiful!

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