The day has finally come. This long anticipated trip I’ve been planning since the end of last year has finally arrived…and my emotions are certainly mixed. I’m equally excited and nervous because I almost have no idea what to expect. Even my journey on this plane has been a mix of good and bad.
Note – if you have two hours before your flight and haven’t gone through customs or immigration yet – don’t get a 30 minute massage. I almost missed my flight because I naively thought two hours was enough time. But I completely disregarded that it was holiday season in Malaysia and India and that it would be so busy to get to the gate. Customs and immigration in Malaysia is slow and inefficient to say the least.
First of all, I couldn’t enjoy my massage because I was so worried about missing my flight and kept on hearing announcements.
And then when I proceeded to walk out, I look at the departure information screen to find/see that my plane is boarding (remember – I hadn’t gone through customs or immigration yet). As I was waiting in the first line, I looked at the clock – it was 5.50 or maybe around 5.40 – 5.45. I remember I said to myself – gates close at 6.40, you have 50 minutes. And as foreshadowed above, the process to get to the gate took ages!
It got to the point where they were making final call, I went through what I thought was the x-ray machine to check luggage – wondering why it was so quick. Only to find the real luggage x-ray/customs was yet to come. And there was a massive line with lots of issues and delays. I start frantically stressing that I was definitely going to miss my flight. I finally get through with literally 10 minutes before the gate closed (after having boot issues myself). I run as fast as I can without even zipping my bag/backpack and the rest of my stuff in my hands…only to find that my gate is at the very very end of all the gates. I am sweating and so scared, but then I hear other people running for the same flight too. It gives me massive relief to know others are in the same boat – and I make it! The service officer rips my ticket and welcomes me into the boarding area/gate. I am sweating profusely (and was was this say 8-9 year old kid). I am so relieved and happy – I made it. Quite literally, 5 minutes after walking in, everyone boards the plane. I manage to quickly say goodbye on the phone to mum and Jose`, a guy I’m kind of dating right now. I find my seat – 29A – Ahh yes – a window seat – nice!
And there’s a vacant seat next to me. I’m hopeful I have extra space…but then this girl puts her bag down and asks me a question about using the toilet. I answer her promptly, she goes and comes back. And we start talking. And I find that she’s an experienced traveler to India from Canada – an aerial yoga teacher. We have quite a long chat and exchange details and agree to catch up in Haridwar and Rishikesh. She gives me many tips and stories of bad experiences. And I am forever grateful.
The past 6-7 hour have been interesting to say the least.
It’s definitely started as an adventure so far. I’m excited for what’s to come (especially if this is just the start of my journey).
P.s. it’s also extremely nice to finally break free and have my full autonomy and independence again. Despite the amount I enjoyed spending quality time with my family and being taken care of, I ended up feeling almost suffocated, bcoz as I’ve mentioned before – I’m only just starting to truly discover and enjoy being my myself. I don’t know how many times I heard from mum and grandma – “be careful” “don’t talk to or trust anyone” (at least 20-30 I’m sure).
I almost lost it towards the end. But I held it together and confronted it in the best way possible (another thing I’m proud of).
Despite this – my last day in Ipoh was like one of those light bulb moments, where you truly feel how someone else does – something I’ve been historically terrible at.
My grandma cried as I was saying goodbye – and I realised then and there – she is only saying these things cos she loves and cares about me.
Sometimes we’re so absorbed in our own world that we forget to see things for how they are.