Airports give me very mixed feelings. I know on one end they bring pure joy and bliss because of reuniting with someone, but at the same time it gives absolute heartbreak, because it can also be saying goodbye to someone you don’t know if you’ll see again. I love getting to see other people so excitedly travelling to the airport ready for their long awaited reunion. It’s painful to see the people dreading every mile they pass on the way to the airport, having to say the hardest goodbye. Airports can mean the start to new beginnings, yet leaving all you know and love behind. It can be the most refreshing thing to be or the most stressful.
I’ve been on both ends of this, at one moment saying goodbye to the person I thought I loved with all of me. Expecting that in no time we would be reunited again, not knowing that would never happen. On the other end coming home and not being able to contain my excitement the entire 12 hour plane ride because I was going back home. Three weeks ago I was at an airport about to fly back to Singapore, not able to contain my excitement so I took it out by annoying my sister the whole flight. I had tears in my eyes walking into Changi Airport so happy to be back home and returning to the life I loved so much. Yet a few days ago I had to say goodbye to all that again, and my dad knowing I don’t get to see him for the next seven months.
I’ve often thought about airports and the different things they symbolize, the amount of raw emotion they must see. Being a TCK airports are a second home to me, I had moved nine times by the time I turned eight years old, and in between that even travelled. I don’t think I can count the amount of times I’ve sat in an airplane or driven to the airport. Yet never feeling the same emotion, because at different stages in life for different trips this drive meant different things.
The days leading up to leaving Singapore seemed fine, I didn’t think much about the fact that I had to leave again and just spent as much time as I could with my friends. However for some reason, during the drive to the airport as I was listening to music and looking out the window I realised just how much I loved this tiny Island. How much I had grown since first stepping foot in Singapore, what I had overcome in my time there, how much I got to learn and experience, all the people that took a part in my life whether it be good or bad. It once again dawned on me how many blessings I had and how lucky I had been to grow up the way I did and in Singapore. I tried to contain emotion at that point, but once I had to say goodbye to my dad again it kinda all went loose. You see as a TCK we move around and we’re used to goodbyes but just because were used to it doesn’t mean we get good at it necessarily. It varies per person and I know for example my sister is really good at goodbyes, but I have a harder time leaving what I love behind. I gave my parents one good last hug and walked through the doors leading to my flight. The entire walk from my parents to boarding the plane I was a slight emotional mess, and once I stepped foot on the plane I was okay again.
Planes and airports are so familiar to me that despite there being a lot of emotion, I also knew within 7 months I’d be sitting on this exact same plane ride again going to see my parents and friends and home. Going to Singapore during the winter break gave me a type of closure to begin my life properly in Netherlands. Even though previously I had already picked up my life as much as possible before December, I was constantly counting down the days to going back home again. Now I have been, I have had tremendous amounts of fun but also seen the different place it has become for me. I feel more settled in The Netherlands now and excited to be back here after a few days. It’s often said that this will happen, but of course when I was homesick I didn’t believe it. So now I’m here to tell you it really is true. Settling in a place takes time, and sure I’m not close to feeling like The Netherlands is home but its a step by step process and I’ve just taken three more steps.