Johannesburg: Sitting in OR Tambo International Airport by myself and I’m terrified. I have a 10 hour flight to Frankfurt ahead of me plus a connection to Valencia. I’m on my way to see my dad and the last time I did this I was 12 years old with a broken arm, a sibling on either side of me and an air hostess escort leading the way. Now I’m 20, with only my rainbow shoelaces, wooden tiki pendant and this push further into adulthood to keep me going. I’m scared of losing my passport, I’m scared of getting lost in-transit and when I hugged my mom goodbye, I swear I almost didn’t let go. 20 years old, cooking my own meals, buying my own toothpaste and doing my own laundry, and I don’t want to let go of my mommy?
That’s the strange thing about growing up; you’re so keen for it to happen, yet the minute you’re on the cusp of adultish oblivion you suddenly feel so desperately homesick.
The nicest thing about this is there was this cute little french man whom I kept passing in the queue. He had the kind of soft blue eyes that constantly look wet and a moustache that made his face look permanently whimsical. If this were a fairy tale, I am certain he would have appeared before me with a baguette and announced himself as my fairy french-man. He was just that sweet-looking.
So, here I am, boarding gate A09 to independence, about to prove my ability to navigate international airports sans a fairy french-man.
The words of Walt Whitman are on repeat in my head:
“I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world.”
I am traveller, hear me yawp.
Frankfurt: I survived. 10 hours later and I’ve come to realise that things come in threes. I watched 3 movies, read 3 chapters of “A Passage To India”, got 3 hours sleep and am currently sitting in a German restaurant on Cappuccino number 3. My mother would be proud of my growing caffeine addiction.
If anyone reading this is ever worried about grabbing connection flights, trust me on this: if you know how to read and how to move in a forward motion, it is easy. I didn’t know this when I stepped off the plane, I found out my gate number to Valencia and could hear my feet tapping along to the rhythm of the phrase I was trying so desperately to commit to memory: “Ay-twenty-two, Ay-twenty-two, Ay-twenty-two.” A22 has been added to my list of lifelines next to my passports and boarding pass.
I’m also desperate to commit to memory the way Germany looked peeking over the wing from my plane window. I’ve never seen so much green and so many trees. It’s almost like the forests sucked in the little pockets of civilisation and then the universe declared it to be art.
One day I am going to live in a log cabin in the middle of a forest in Germany. I will become a tree connoisseur and then probably go crazy from the lack of human contact.
For now I’ll have to stick with collecting German Airport cappuccinos. I am about to vibrate into two people.
Despite this, I managed to dunk my earphones into cappuccino number 3. This is either from confusing exhaustion, or because I’m a born spaz who regularly pulls stunts like this because I just can’t function like a human-being.
I may be an over-tired spaz, but I’m still yawping!