We arrived at the Pudong International Airport early dawn. The cool, crisp morning air played across my anxious face. The first thing that I did was to look for the fellow ARMY girl that I saw earlier, but she was nowhere in sight.
I felt sad. It would have been awesome to talk about a group we both admired.
“Who’s your bias?”
“Did you watch all the movies?”
“Have you gone to any concert?
And dozens of questions that ARMY usually asked each other.
Alas! We were not able to do that.
Well, I thought, “I’m looking forward to meeting ARMY in the states.” So, I straightened my back and trudged on following the endless red arrows pointing to the departure area.
The airport personnel were having difficulty in speaking English; thus, I had to ask several times, where I should go next.
The replies were short and stern. ”Go there!” “There.”
I wasn’t sure if I was following the correct arrows, for the simple reason that I was a foreigner, and there were more than one arrow for foreigners.
People were teeming like a swarm of locusts all around me, but I felt lost in a sea of strangers. Indeed, I felt lonely amidst the crowd. It was scary to be alone in an unfriendly place.
The distance from the arrival area to the departure area was quite far, and I had to walk, with my heavy backpack. I should have gotten a trolley. Dumb of me.
There were dozens of people lounging in the various areas, but I haven’t noticed one amiable face.
Finally, I have arrived at the departure area. There were numerous signs, and I kept transferring from one queue to another because the previous line was the wrong one.
“You’re a foreigner, but you don’t have to do the fingerprinting,” one unsmiling traveler informed me.
I was standing between the queues, finding out where I should line up, when a woman gently nudged me.
“Are you from the Philippines?” the woman asked, beaming vibrantly at me. Her eyes were bright and soulful.
“Yes,” I replied, hesitantly.
“Where are you going?” she asked in our language.
“I’m bound for LA,” I replied, thankful that there’s someone from my own country.
“We’re going to Canada,” she said. “Come with me, we will be in the same queue.”
I sighed with relief and followed her.
She was with her husband. What’s more incredible was that her hubby volunteered to carry my backpack, but I refused.
I was already thankful that they were kind enough to help an old woman, seemingly lost in a sea of strangers.
“There’s still good in this world,” I thought. And BTS flashed through my mind. The boys kept reminding me that inside myself is a magic shop, and that I should believe and love myself. What I sincerely wish for, I could get it.
As we were waiting to board each of our planes, I got to know her better. Her name was Gilda, and she was an incredible philanthropist, in the sense that she brought donations to various indigent schools and those who need them the most in far-flung places in the Philippines.
The work that she does impressed me tremendously. Sometimes, she recalled how they had to walk for several hours to reach the designated schools.
And they were so kind to me – a perfect stranger. They wanted nothing in return. Aside from my generous relatives and BTS, this is one of the things that proved that there is still so much good in this world.
If you have noticed, I included BTS because I believe that the boys are proponents of a new revolution, of loving yourself and of changing the world for the better. On that note, perhaps, if RM runs for world president, he would win, hands down.
After a few minutes of lounging on the departure area, my eyes grew heavy and I wanted to sleep. I hadn’t slept at all since I boarded the plane because of excitement and anxiety. We took turns watching over our luggage while we alternately went to relieve ourselves.
Earlier, when I was alone, I had to take the heavy backpack with me every time I went to the john (and I do it often because of urinary incontinence due to old age), and it was exhausting.
I did fall into the arms of Morpheus for a few minutes, when Gilda tapped my shoulders gently. “We’re going ahead of you, just go farther and you’ll find your gate,” she instructed me.
“Thanks a lot, have a nice trip,” was all I could utter. Thankful that there was someone who had made my trip easier.
When they left, I decided to go straight to my gate, so I walked past the other areas – and this time with a trolley – yes, a trolley – to ease my shoulder of the backpack’s weight.
“Dumbo, you should have done this sooner,” I mumbled to myself and hid my grin.
When I arrived at the gate, I was delighted to notice that there were two Filipino women, who were my age, sitting on the benches.
I introduced myself and started chatting with them.
If you haven’t read PART 1, YOU CAN READ IT HERE.
To be continued…
Here’s Part 3, read the continuation.