Okay, so how was I supposed to now this was gonna be harder than I thought? I left the house at 6:00, packing an eternity in my luggage. I stepped in the car with one look back at the house, telling myself “this is supposed to happen, and a feeling of attachment is normal,” but what I didn’t want myself to be reminded of was how much I’ve been through, and probably how much I’m giving up when I leave this country.
It’s not just my friends, not just my dog, not just my grandparents, but my memoirs, the feelings that were bound to this ground. I should have known myself enough that I get attached to things, even to people—why in the world would I think that this wouldn’t be that hard, that I was just gonna get over it? I reached the airport and stepped out of my car. The air was warm, something I thought I wouldn’t miss, but ended up missing anyway. We spent hours waiting at the airport. Our flight was at 12 p.m. and we arrived at 8:00 (my mom thought it best to get up early). There were five dreadful hours of waiting in the lobby. I asked my dad for some money, bought some sushi from the food court, and ate at one of the line of chairs and tables in front of the gift shops.
I was trying not to think about it and was actually doing a pretty good job at it, but eventually, I wanted to know what was going on. I took my cell phone out and IM’ed my friends, hoping for an answer, hoping for them to tell me something like “its okay, we can still chat with each other,” or “we can always visit you.” My friends are all the people who mattered at that time. Just to say the truth, I couldn’t care less about relatives. They never really mind me anyway. They probably don’t even know I exist. Maybe it’s my fault; I’m trying to hide myself from them in family parties, but whatever … I mean, they aren’t really that interesting anyway (if you want to talk about the market or baking recipes).
My friends were what kept me thinking about something in the airport lobby. I ran my fingers through the buttons of my cell phone, waiting for someone to reply, but nothing, nothing after four trips to the bathroom. (That California maki was probably a week old.) I checked my cell again, and here is one of my friends telling me hi and how was I. I told them I was in the airport and that my flight was at 12. I don’t think they wanted to ask me how was I dealing with the whole thing, moving to a new country; they didn’t want me to be reminded about how much I’m gonna miss my old life. They wanted me to think that this was just some five-week trip to New Jersey, and not the rest of my life.
It wasn’t long until we entered the plane, and we took off. I had the seat by the window, well, at least for the first few hours; I couldn’t stand my brother pestering me to move. The flight attendants were all fake. It was clear they didn’t want to work for hours, tending to people they don’t know (but I guess they’re used to it, but I can always see through a fake smile). It’s amazing I was able to use my Chinese to kiss up to them so they would like me and my brother sitting beside me, and so they wouldn’t pretend not to hear when we called. The food was completely horrible; it was, like, placed in the microwave raw, and heated until cooked. It literally smelled like radiation. It was odd that on the plane, I didn’t worry much about how I’d feel. I guess it was just that sinking feeling you have in your stomach when you change altitudes; surprisingly it has a big effect on your emotions.
I slept for hours. When it was lunch, my eyes woke up to a dim view of everything. The flight attendants asked that all windows be closed, probably making their own “bed time” for everyone. There was this cold flash; the windows were just plane white; we were passing over Alaska, I think, or something. I took out the GPS tracking map and saw we were flying over this icy region that was just this completely white blot on screen. There were six hours left. I had to live on an airplane for almost a day. I asked for a can of soda and just spent the rest of the time thinking about who I’d be once I reached the destination. I wasn’t anyone before; I was never popular, never known in any special way, but this is my chance to be someone I want to be. Maybe this was my second chance, my restart button that life hid from me all these years. Maybe destiny knew I would go nowhere being who I was before, and thought that if my whole life had a sudden continental shift, then maybe I’d change for the better, maybe I’d choose the wise decision on who I want everyone to see me as.
The can of soda was finished and I had to use the bathroom. Three more hours have passed, and all I’ve done to kill the boredom was to make up stories about the people that sit near me. I’ve done this more than I’ve noticed myself doing—I watch people outside and tell my own stories about them. I picture them at their home, with their families, the problems they have, and the moments of happiness that they treasure. I write their stories and give them their happy endings. Three people have already made their way in my head, and their stories were something I’d actually learn from. There was a trace of my own life in each of theirs. I make it sure that each life I write, I write to have meaning, I write to have purpose. Now that I think about it, maybe this is how God writes his stories, how he writes each destiny, and makes sure that each life written has a trace of his intervention, and that each lifetime isn’t a waste, and that every soul embedded into reality will mean something—and not just figments of his imagination, but realistic creations that learn from the minutes of existence.
When we were an hour away from landing, I couldn’t stay calm. The flight attendants were talking to my mom, and my sister and little brother were fighting over the window seat. I sat there excited and scared. I was thinking, the moment I leave that airport, I would be stepping on American soil, and it was going to be the beginning of something that was not destined to be successful, nor was it destined to be a failure. All I know is that whether it’s gonna be a good life or a rotten one, it was my decision to make.
Minutes were flying and everyone was asked to buckle up for landing. I kept myself busy, fixing my seat, folding the blankets, picking up the trash … this was something I always did when anticipating the unexpected—I clean. I folded my arms and waited for landing. I told myself this was it, and this was the beginning of something that could be my eternity. We have successfully landed, and I took a deep breath; in a split second I triggered the beginning of change. In that breath I’ve bound emotions to this ground; in that breath I became part of this new life. I didn’t know and didn’t care anymore about how’d I’d feel about all this. I know there will always be a homesickness and that there will be times when I will want to go back. But I know that going back won’t be the same if I’m not staying.
We left the plane, excited and happy. Well, at least everyone else was. I was happy too, but I was also scared. Who wouldn’t be? A new country, new city, new life … it’s okay to be a little scared. I guess my family’s just too happy to think about anything else right now. We walked out of the airport entrance and inhaled the new air, the air we’d be breathing for the next years of our life. Destiny has successfully devised its plan and put it in action. Part one, getting over it, is complete. Part one wasn’t full proof, not perfect, but good enough to detach any chains that were too hard to unchain. I know what you’re thinking—how can I possibly get over something most people get over only after years of post manic depression? Well I’m different, I’m special, I guess; my emotions are powerful, but I take the cake when it comes to control. Besides, there really isn’t such thing as completely getting over it; I’ve just rid it enough for it not to interfere with the way I live. I tell myself I’m over it, and then it’s over, nothing else I have to think about, and yes, I got all of this done in one plane ride.