I hate airports. No, it’s not because of the heightened security measures that impinge on our personal privacy. Nor it’s because of the long lines and wait times. Those certainly don’t help. But there is something more than those inconveniences that make me dislike airports.
Of course airport provides portals to different destinations and places. It may be the gateway to our dream that awaits us somewhere in the other part of the world. Or it may provide a getaway to an exotic place for a vacation. Yet airports to me has a different connotation.
Airports to me is a place where loved ones are taken away from their family. It is a place of separation. A place of painful goodbyes.
(image from here)
I can remember when I left for the first time for the US, leaving my family and friends, including my then girlfriend (now my wife) in the Philippines. The feeling was so heart-gripping and gut-wrenching, especially with my virtually unknown day of return. Yes, you may be excited to see the other side of the world, but leaving your known world and people who you love was never easy.
I know I share this feeling with millions of migrants, overseas contract workers (OCW) and their families. The feeling of utter loneliness of an OCW when he sits on the airport, waiting to board his designated plane, while the family that he left behind weeps, is maybe beyond what I can really express.
Two weeks ago, my wife had to go home to the Philippines for her brother’s funeral. And on her way, she took our kids to California to my sister-in-law, where they will stay until she gets back. When I brought them to the air terminal, the wave of unpleasant emotion I have for airports was rekindled. A certain sadness (yes, even though I knew they will be back in a couple of weeks) I thought I will never experience again.
The good thing about airports though, is that they also bring your loved ones back. That is, if they are destined to come back. This afternoon, I picked up my wife and kids from the airport.
I guess, airports can be a happy place too.