Goodbyes and Airports

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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.


  1. I hate airports, but then again I love it too!
    I share exactly the same sentiment as you Amer, on airports and goodbyes as a matter of fact I just had a recent repercussion of incident happen to me during the holidays. Three of my nieces came to visit with us last Christmas, one from out of the country(United Arab Emirates – works as a nurse there) and the other two came in from Portland and Kentucky.
    The thought of their coming is enough to create excitement everyday in my life and as the day get’s closer of their arrival so does the joy of expectancy escalates! (like expecting a baby to be born, although I’ve never had the privilege of becoming a biological mother, these girls were like my very own having cared for them in their infancy in the Philippines while their mother and father were here working in the US then).
    And so finally, they arrive and with great joy and a surge of excitement we head on to the airport to pick them up. We search for those familiar faces amidst the crowd in the arrival lounge, we see them, we smile, and with much affection we hug and we kiss as we welcome each other. We load up luggages with haste as we head on home looking forward to great times together, reminiscing and hoping to create some new memories!
    But a vacation has to end, and just as there is that jovial moment of arrival, so is there also that sad time of departure where emotions are stirred up as you see your love ones leave!
    I love airports, but then again I hate airports ………
    Mae F. in Orlando, Fl.

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