2nd part of Vignettes of My First Overseas Solo Travel
Finally, after almost two hours of waiting for my departure flight, it was time to board. My dream of reaching a new country was soon becoming a reality.
I floated my way through the long tube from the terminal gate to the plane as a mixture of thrill and awe was slowly building up inside me. My Singapore trip was my first overseas travel, yet it wasn’t my first plane ride, having traveled to Cebu and Mindanao — just within the country, eons of ages ago.
Perhaps because this opportunity to travel out of the country just came by so suddenly. Maybe this is how it feels like winning in a lottery or sweepstakes. The tendency to race through time and miss the joy of the moment is what most adults are prone to do. But I relished each second. I wanted to stretch the hours, for this was only a weekend trip.
For others more experienced, this very process of getting to your plane seat is as mundane as counting from 1 to 3. For me, it felt surreal because it was something new and familiar at the same time.
Being hard of hearing, I immediately informed the flight attendant at the plane’s door. I needn’t have to worry about this though, as I earlier notified the personnel manning the airline’s check-in counter. So I was assigned a seat near the front.
Just when I thought everything was running smoothly, another lesson presented itself to me. Looking up at the numbers and letters overhead, I suddenly got confused. I asked the guy who was already seated at the center seat where I should be. Turned out he made a mistake of pointing me to his right and I had to go around the next aisle to get there. I didn’t expect the aisles and rows could be that cramped.
I was already settling comfortably in my seat with my luggage in the overhead bin when a tall, stern-looking foreigner came over and motioned it was his seat I was occupying. Without much ado, I apologized and got up to retrieve my luggage but he shoved it aside to make way for his own.
Such rudeness at the onset – yet the consoling look from the seated gentleman and my own resolve not to be affected melted away the unpleasantness of that incident. As a traveler, you have to be positive at all times and be able to give space in your heart for those who might be going through rough times or carrying extra baggage.
From take off to mid-air to up high in the clouds everything went well – even though I hadn’t taken any meal since early morning to avoid any stomach trouble.
Mid-flight, that young gentleman – a fellow Filipino on leave from his job in the U.S. — seated between me and that impatient foreigner (who looked like a businessman or even an official), struck up a conversation with me. Engaging and animated, our chat must have surely irked that older passenger because my chat/seatmate sensed I was having hearing difficulties, so he spoke a decibel higher than normal.
After snacks were served (I only asked for drinking water), I pretended to sleep all the way to touch down because I needed time for my own thoughts and to rest as well.
Touch down. My whole being awaited with joy and gratitude whatever would unfold before me. Singapore, here I come!