From The SUN to the SNOW (Part 2)

Posted: November 13, 2009 in Personal
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by Earlie Doriman

 

I tried to close my eyes as the plane was soaring placidly, but however I faked it, faces of all the people I left behind seemed to be waving in front of me.   It was very knotty to convince myself that I was ok because honestly, right at those moments, I had the mixed feelings of loneliness and excitement.

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My first feel of snow at Falinge Park, Rochdale (photo by BOPIP)

The person next to me might have noticed it, that she asked me where I was heading? I told her, am going to the United Kingdom to follow my wife. Then our conversation just went on and for the time being I was back to myself talking to the lady in her 50’s about what she called ‘Exodus of the FITTEST’ (I will make a post about this title next time).  She was actually referring to the millions of Filipinos who are looking for a greener pasture abroad, leaving their families behind and maybe adding the growing figures of broken homes. She was an intelligent conversationalist and time was never enough to discuss more profound issues with her.

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me and my wife in our home, Rochdale, Lancashire

The next time I realise, I was already walking down to the check-in counter for international departures.  I booked for Qatar Airways from Cebu to Manchester, UK via the rich country Qatar.  And I thought, it’s gonna be a long, long flight. It was my first time to travel outside of the Philippines, and I was clueless how to spend my time inside a plane for more than 10 hours.

But, nothing better could be done with the situation, so I just have to leave it to the captain with complete trust.  I grabbed a magazine and started to flip pages without actually looking at it with intent to understand anything. As my fingers were busy flicking those Qatar glossy journal, my mind persistingly started to wander again and brought back images of my hometown, my Grandma, my Nanay and Tatay, my bothers, my sister Viola, and my relatives who showered me a ‘despedida’ party some weeks ago.  It was tempting me again to lose a strand of my sanity. And if not because of the untamed snores of that British guy beside me, whom I learned later was from Liverpool, I could not have realised that it was already 3 hours since we took off. Three hours inside the massive plane and I was still awake.  Such a load of eye bags, I thought.

I could see from the plane’s window that the sun was burning hot when we arrived at Qatar’s very huge DOHA International Airport, I needed to transfer to another plane for my flight to England, but that would mean waiting for another 4 hours. Spending the next couple of hours at the airport alone could never be a funny story. I just tried to be as friendly as possible by giving out smil

es to people I assumed were Filipinos too, and was happy to meet this group of domestic helpers and engineers, who were waiting for their transfer planes as well to different Middle East countries. At least it was not as boring as I had imagined.

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strolling around Trafford Center,with my wife on my first Christmas in England

As the airport’s bulletin called out for passengers to Manchester, UK to check in, I wasted no minute and went straight to the queue for the standard documents and passport evaluation, immigration checking, and etc, rode the escalator down to the van that brought us to Qatar Airways Airbus few distance away.  I was about to sit down when a guy from my back gave a slight tap on my shoulder and as I turned saw the same British man from Liverpool who was seated next to me in the earlier flight ( I know it’s a small world, but please Lord make it bigger this time to contain his snores). His seat number was next to mine again, yet thankfully he did not take a nap right away. He chatted for a while, shared about his handicraft business in Cebu, and his lovely Filipina wife who he missed so much.  He said he’s not going to stay longer than 6 months in England, he’s just selling his property and go back to the Philippines which accordingly he considered his best home.

After sometime, I found myself dull and quite, and unknowingly into a meaningful sleep (hoped I was not snoring then, my British friend had an accusing look when I woke up, was he distracted? I didn’t know). I didn’t care anyway, if in fact I snored. I was just happy that after few hours, I could not only see my wife but hugged and kissed her.  After struggling a number of horrible turbulence upon the unforgiving skies, I could indeed sense that we were close to our destination.

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celebrating easter sunday walking on the snow...missed the beach in Davao

Passengers, mostly Europeans started to get busy fixing themselves, a longer queue to the toilet, and the attendants looking very smart. As the plane began to descend, my excitement ascended, thinking about my wife who was waiting outside to welcome me in the land of kings and castles.  In my mind were again pictures of my endearing Davao, the university where I taught, the students whom I missed greatly, and my family. My British friend who asked over too many wine earlier was fast asleep and not bothered at all. Few more minutes above the ground, I heard a soft bang below to inform us that the plane had landed safely.  A sigh of relief welcomed all of us.

This is England, one of the four countries that composed the United Kingdom.  I’ve seen movies that have depicted history and people of this land, but I was candidly naïve about its culture and how different it is from my home country.  Though my wife has provided me some key information about this nation, but it is far different if one gets acquainted with it by experience. So I prepared myself all set to this new place.

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I was about to roll some snow and make my first snowman (photo by BOPIP)

From a distance, I saw my wife Leah, looking concerned but happy, with her was Kuya Cesar who offered his transport to pick me up. I was so pleased and delighted to see her again after almost 4 months. She’s beautiful and I could feel her now.

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My wife Leah when she was pregnant with our first son Matthew Earl at Manchester City, UK. Photo by BOPIP

Those times that we content ourselves only by internet chatting and phone calls, every bit of longing had disappeared and surely only the two of us knew how to make up those times that we were apart. As we together breathed the soothing cold winter wind of England, we knew life has a lot in store for us ahead. And like the promise we shared on our wedding day, we commit ourselves again to the vows  of loving each other forever.

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