The skin inside my nose tingles just before I’m about to cry. It’s slightly uncomfortable but not a bodily function I can control. The sensation only lasts a couple of seconds, acting as a reminder that my emotional state is being challenged.
Strolling through Bradley International Airport gave my nostrils the same brief sensation, catching me off guard. I doubted any other security employees or fellow travelers felt a strong emotional connection to Gate 29 or the sprinkling of Dunkin’ Donut stands with sleepy-eyed baristas. But there is something about airports-about the precipice of travel- that gives me a feeling a pure bliss. Every wheely suitcase is going somewhere new. Every plane, every seat is stuffed with possibilities of the unknown. “Where are you going?” I want to stop and ask every family and businessman who shuffles by. “Do you see how beautiful it is to jump on a plane and fly?”
So as I sip my latte and look out over the Tarmac, I wish you the feeling of travel on this chilly December morning. For with travel comes the abundance of hope and possibility to challenged hidden preconceived notions about the world. Whether you’ve never flown or have visited every country, the ability to see newness and journey in life should not be overlooked. After all, life is as much about the journey as the destination isn’t it?
My Philippines adventure has come to a close. I returned to America as a smarter, tanner version of the girl who boarded the plane 11 weeks prior. Fortunately I still have a couple more Philippines adventures to document so this won’t be the last post. However, it is the end of my time in a place that now seems so very far away.
And how far away it was. I boarded a plane bound for Tokyo at 8:00am on Sunday August 8th and arrived in JFK at 3:15pm the same day after a $120 fee immigration fee and 17 hours in the air. I envied the small Japanese boy in the seat next to me with his blue stripes pajamas who slept almost 9 of the 12 hour flight from Japan to the USA. I made a mental note to buy some of those pjs for my next trip. After retrieving my luggage from the not so merry-go-round at baggage claim, I made my way through the sliding glass doors and into the arms of my beaming parents. Home at last.
So as I sit on this park bench with a Starbucks in hand, it seems fitting that I would return from the Philippines to the heart of America for my welcome home. The Washington monument looms in the distance as a beacon and landmark for Americans and tourists alike. The choreographed ebb and flow of pedestrian traffic is accompanied by foreign tongues, languages I recognize and many I do not. I know this city, understand the street grid of lettered and numbered streets extending outward from the capital. The red line still connects Tenleytown to Farragut North, my daily commute as an intern last summer. Cities, like old friends, can be loved and missed.
I returned to my old office to thank Carl Burch for recommending Attorney Oposa. Carl was the connection between me and my summer journey, the initial spark that evolved into an unforgettable experience. I walked past my old cubicle and thought about the other interns I had met, now off to jobs and law school. How much can change in a year…
There are just 10 months between me and college graduation. I cannot imagine where I will be next summer at this time. A job? Applying to law school? Either way I can count on Abraham Lincoln and that iconic stone monument to welcome me back, whenever that may be.