It’s funny how the one thing you wanted the most turns up to be the scariest.
For me it was my first flight. Yes, I may be one of the rare people who didn’t fly with a plane before they were 22, but I took care of that dilemma: in Croatia when you are doing something for the first time, and it turns up to be very dangerous but eye-opening, we say we had a “vatreno krstenje”, what could loosely be translated as “the baptism with fire”. It means that you are thrown into the cold water and it’s up to you to learn how to swim in it. Throw yourself around, jump, dive, do whatever you can, but SWIM.
That is what happened to me with my first flight. To take a 16 hour flight across the globe for your first time on a plane is a very crazy thing to do. I dare to say even a very brave one.
Was it stupid? Maybe. Do I regret it? Absolutely not.
I still remember the days before my departure perfectly. I let myself to have one free week before the giant leap to spend at home with my family and friends. So I went to my home town and had a peaceful week of packing and saying goodbye. Two days before March the first of 2013, I went to Zagreb with my boyfriend at the time because I couldn’t imagine being alone on these days. One day before I had a small get together with the closest of my friends who lived in Zagreb. It was sentimental, as those things usually are. We cried, we drank and we hugged. But we knew that things will never be again as they were. I felt like I lost a little peace of me, but I traded it for something completely new that makes a whole new puzzle.
So the big day came. Completely packed I took the airport bus in the morning, even though my flight was at 3 pm. But who knew how these things work; I couldn’t risk being late on my first flight! And I came to the airport which looked so futuristic to me, so special, so international. Now when I think about it I feel as if that was another person, some little girl who was just meeting the world. And now I am someone else, a mature young woman who wants to show you that world.
The most heart-breaking thing of all was saying goodbye to my boyfriend. I still remember standing near the last exit before the security check. The one that is separating the lovers from their partners, the family from their children and travelers from their homeland. Damn that exit.
Anyway, I hopped on that big, beautiful plane. I had a luck of being able to travel with best airline company of the economy class because I had the main cost covered from my scholarship and just needed to add some little extra money. Therefore, the flight was quite pleasant, food was amazing (why the hell is anyone complaining about airplane food?) and the staff did anything possible to relax its passengers. However, noone could possibly rise to the challenge of being able to relax what was going on in my head! When the plane starting going up I felt like my body is going to explode! It was a new feeling that you need to get accustomed to. I however, couldn’t. I felt like I was in some bad video-game and everything is going to crash. Turkish man sitting next to me was ordering wine and cocktails to calm himself. Apparently he wasn’t brave enough to deal with the flight sober. I remember having a huge turbulence while landing in Qatar. I was so scared I was going to die that I thought to myself „Is this the last man I will ever see?“ Oh, the craziness of our minds when we are exposed to danger.
So the bad thing is that ever since my first flight, I started having a fear of flying and the fear of small, closed space. The good thing is that ever since then I flew about 20 times, so now I am cured!
We say „klin se klinom izbija“, what would mean „you remove nail with a nail“ what doesn’t really make sense when translated, but I hope you get the picture.
What was so scary for me?
Well, it was the fact that I was completely alone, excluding the scared Turkish guy, that I was going to God-knows-where destination to a who-knows-what-kind-of-experience. Will it be good? Bad? Will anyone understand me? Will I make friends?
I had a layover in Qatar and after that turbulence I stopped having that many fears: now my main was to get to Seoul in one piece, because after all that plane problems you don’t really sweat the small stuff. Just get me out on safe land.
It was about 2 am in Doja (capital of Qatar) and I was widely awake, forcing myself to be as bright and skilled as I can so I don’t make a bad transfer and end up on the wrong side of the world. I didn’t catch any sleep in the plane, mainly because I was afraid I will miss some food. So I was wide awake the whole time, trying to catch up on „Friends“ and „Big Bang theory“ as a part of my in-flight entertainment. Unfortunately they had like 3 episodes of each series what made me bored really soon so I just turned on the map and watched my pretty plane going around the world.
In next transfer I wanted to have some sleep so I can function when I arrive in Seoul. I put on „Juno“ and immediately fell asleep what sounds strange, but actually it’s the third time I fell asleep watching that movie. I never managed to finish it! Is it me, or the movie, I really don’t know.
And then I landed in Seoul. It was…everything.
Magical, crazy, chaotic, silly, colorful, futuristic. Mine.
More about my arrival in the next post 🙂