Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Hello and Goodbye

I get so emotional at airports, whether it is saying Hello or Goodbye.

Since moving to South Africa, we've had a stream of visitors, both sets of parents, a sister, two of our kids that stayed behind in the UK, both on their 2nd visit and my friend @cantbarsed2.

You realise how large the world actually is when you move to another country, people say 'what a small world' because of all the technology, because it 'brings people together' It doesn't, it reminds you how far apart we really are.

I tend to leave home for the airport about a 40 minute drive away about half an hour before the plane is due to land. I have a favoured parking space, I grab a coffee and stand at arrivals watching people come through. I'm familiar with the airline staff and their uniforms so with one eye on the arrivals board and another keeping look out for the captain of the flight I'm waiting for. I sip my coffee, I tweet and I people watch.

In anticipation of family and friends arriving I get really excited, I think of all the place I want to take them, all the things to show them and all the things we need to catch up with. As they walk through arrivals, I have a habit of breaking into tears, hugging them, while they look perplexed. I'm not know for public displays of emotions.

Poor old @cantbarsed2 was spared that sight, as I was just approaching the terminal when my phone rang, she'd landed 20 mins early and had already cleared customs and collected her bag, seeing as we hadn't met in 20yrs she must have thought this was one big, nasty joke, as she looked around for the hidden cameras.

i'm much better with goodbyes, I think about why I'm pleased to see the back of the visitors, how we've had a row, or they've got under my feet, anything to stop myself clinging to them, begging them not to go and leave me on my own. I stand there, blinking back the tears with my 'hard cow' face on, wave them off and usually manange to just about get back to the car before the tears come. Although I can't control them when it's the kids.

I was at OR Tambo airport last week to collect Hubby from his return to Egypt. Fancy that an 8 hour flight away, same time zone and yet we are both still in Africa, that's one of the reasons I know the world is such a large place. We'd last spoken with one another on Skype 13 hrs earlier and as I stood waiting for him to arrive back from his 4 day away trip. I listened to the people around me.

A few English voices, I smiled, we chatted, we passed the time with 'bloody hell it's hard living here isn't it?' and then I saw this young woman with a small child. She stood in the arrival hall, she had tears rolling down her face, she yelled 'Mum', and mum rushed forward, hugging her daughter and then stood back and starred at her grandchild in his pram. She sobbed, she bent down and picked the child up and through the sobs she said 'my gorgeous little boy, I can't believe this is the first time I have cuddled you'

Most of the women around me were in tears and hubby walked into arrivals, hugged me and said 'I've been gone less than a week' I pointed at the two women and the small child, sobbing, trying to explain why I was so emotional...I failed, but bless, all the way home he thought I'd missed him....I had, just not that much.


  1. Ahh poor hubby....I understand the emotion at airports..I am such a sad sack too.

    For a's 21st birthday, I arranged a trip to the theatre to see Slava.. A is studying Theatre at Warwick Uni and she loves Slava. Anyway, I also arranged for some of her friends to come with us - she has no clue about this. One of her friends, L, was actually flying in from Cologne..I did not want to ruin this most precious of surprises for A, so after a family birthday meal, I just told we had to go out somewhere in the car. She didn't ask questions, she just came..My Dad thought she would guess as soon as we got to the sirport, but having spoken to her a few weeks earlier about the possibility of S flying over, I knew she would assume that we were just collecting him.....We got all the wya to the airport before A realised where we were. We parked and walked over to the arrivals terminal...Which flight? she asked...."Hmmm", I said "which one do you think?" she looked at me, looked at the notice board and shrugged "Maybe we should just see who turns up" I said.

    So we stood there in silence. Of course I knew that her freinds flight had landed and that she would be through anytime, but I said nothing. A and I started chatting about nothing, then all of a sudden she shrieked and ran.....She ran forward and launched herself at her friend...She was crying, her friend was crying and I was crying as I saw the 2 of them cling to each other so so tight - it made the whole effort of organising everything worthwhile....As they walked back to me, A hugged me and whispered "thank you Mum, this is the best present ever"

    The tears are coming again now as I remember the moment..It was a very emotional time..My A turned 21 on the 28th October and on the 31st October her brothers and I flew out of Manchester airport finally on our way to the US to start our new life.

    On the 9th July, I will be the one running and shrieking with excitement when I walk through arrivals at Manchester airport again and see my beautiful A again for the first time in such a long time.

    I can't wait

    Lou :-)

    1. I hope you have a fab reunion in July. My 20yo arrives on 2nd may for 2 weeks, this will be his second visit here and ive had two uk visits. 4 visits in14 months isnt enough, but he had left home before we moved here and i doubt i'd have seen it more than that anyway, but its the 'just being nearby' that i miss