An experience of a lifetime began today

For the past week and a half, it has felt like we’ve been on a roller coaster, as we readied ourselves and middle child for her experience of a lifetime. When she was born some twenty-three years ago, I never imagined that one day she would leave to travel to the other side of the world.  Going away family dinners were held, a lovely party at the Ping Pong Bar & Lounge put on by one of her best friends. Friends she hadn’t seen for ages, people she grew up with, came to wish her safe travels and good luck.

Always the adventurous one, unable to find a job at home, she looked overseas. Off to Seoul, South Korea to teach English as a Second Language for a year. So this morning after the alarm went off at 4 a.m., we gathered her luggage, just under the weight limit of fifty pounds, trying my best not to cry, knowing I will probably not see her for a year, we drove her to the airport.

When she lands in Seoul tomorrow, she will be fourteen hours ahead of our time. She will not have a phone, hopefully she can find free wi-fi to tell me she’s safe. I will try not to worry.

Middle child on the plane.
The adventure begins for middle child.


The Airport.

She arrived for her flight the required two hours ahead of time, she checked her luggage, went through security and headed to the other side to wait, only to find out that her flight would be delayed three hours. Now for most people this would not be a problem but for her it is, see she suffers from panic attacks and depression.  She tried to get on another flight but had no luck. More panic, more phone calls home. The flight is only a little over an hour, but then she has to cab to the central station to catch a two-hour bus ride home. I check the bus schedules for her, the last bus out leaves at 10:45 p.m., she can just make it. She is by herself now, her friend has decided to take the 6 a.m. flight. More panic, she is alone but the airport is packed with people yelling at the reservation clerks trying to get other flights out. She calls me again, they have given her a ten-dollar food voucher but it can only be used on the plane, it is useless for the next few hours. More panic.

Depression is setting in again, she says everything goes wrong for her. I tell her to concentrate on the holiday she has just come back from. Think of the white sand, the warm beach, the hot sun, anything to try to get through the next few hours. She yells at me, she says that won’t work, she is alone but the airport is packed with people, people she doesn’t know. She says she will call me later, she is going to get something to eat. Five minutes go by, she calls again, she is in the restaurant waiting for food, the restaurant is packed with crying babies, she has never seen so many babies at once. She has some food and a beer, she is starting to calm down. She says goodbye again, we will talk later. An hour goes by and I haven’t heard from her. I pick up the phone and dial her number, she answers and is calm. She has settled down, she found a place to sit but now the battery power for her laptop is running low. She will have to leave her seat and try to find an outlet, but this doesn’t seem to upset her. She is no longer in panic mood, I feel better. Trying to help someone who is not in the same room is hard, well more than hard. It hurts me that I cannot hold her, I can only reassure her with my voice and sometimes that is not enough, but this time it has worked. She will be able to get through this, to catch the delayed flight, the late bus and finally the cab that will take her to her apartment, her bed.