Did you see the movie ‘Love Actually’? It’s one of my favorite movies. I particularly like the scene at the airport where arriving passengers are shown coming out of the customs area to be greeted by their loved ones. While reunions with visiting or returning loved ones are always a special occasion, I think it’s a lot more exciting waiting at a terminal for that first glimpse than seeing them arrive on your doorstep, but maybe that’s because these kinds of reunions have always been a part of my life.
When I was a child my grandmother used to come visit us every other Saturday. I always liked going to the bus stop around the corner from my home to meet her. I used to sit on the white fence separating the bus stop from a side road and watch the traffic as it came over the hill, each sighting of a red bus raising hopes that this was the one she was on.
When I was in my teens, one of my sisters moved to London. Whenever she’d come home for a visit I’d go to meet her at Newcastle Central station. I’d always get there early so I could soak up the atmosphere. I loved the buzz of people milling around, the solemn announcements of arrivals and departures, the clacking of the mechanical departure board as yet another train left and a new one was added. And oh, those destinations! In a time when foreign travel was less prevalent, London, Edinburgh and Bristol all had a certain allure.
Since I moved abroad, the airport has become the normal meeting point for visitors. I still like to get there early and people watch. I also love the sense of anticipation that builds as people realize that the trickle of passengers appearing are from the flight their loved ones were on, watching their faces light up as they spot their relative or friend, witnessing the joyous hugs and kisses as they reunite – especially if there are kids involved. And then, of course, there’s the catch of breath as you see the one(s) you are waiting for and the sheer delight of being reunited with your own loved ones.
Fortunately, this afternoon I have an opportunity to indulge in this pleasure. I’m off to the airport to welcome my daughter home from a six month stay in Berlin.