My parents and aeroplanes… that’s a chapter for itself. My father flew once; an hour long flight with his friend. And according to his words, it was enough for a lifetime. My mom has never been in an aeroplane before. The closest she got to one was when they dropped me off at the airport in Prague in 2016. Of course, I was a tiny little bit worried if they were going to make it. But at the same time, oh dear, did I have fun.
Their flight had connections in Amsterdam and Salt Lake City. In Amsterdam, there was a slight chance that someone would speak Czech and could point them towards their next gate, but SLC was a completely different beast. They had only about an hour and a half to go through Immigration, claim their luggage, check it in somewhere else and go through TSA again, with the probability of someone speaking Czech very close to zero.
Of course I was on the phone, should something go horribly wrong. Well, in the case they missed their flight, I’d just have to pick them up in Salt Lake City and start the trip from there.
Now, my mom started to learn English as soon as they knew that they were coming. And I must say that she did a really good job, considering all the circumstances like her age or her job. But, well,… it wasn’t really enough to win an argumentative debate with the officers at the airport, should they give her a hard time.
And my father? Zero English. None. His interview at Immigration was surely going to be an interesting one.
I was in San Francisco at a conference with my friend at that time, sitting near the door, my phone glued to my hand. When the time of their boarding came and I didn’t receive any calls, it felt like a little victory. Then my phone started to vibrate.
We made it, on the plane. I wanted to celebrate. I myself wouldn’t dare to have only 90 minutes to go through that entire process – and I know what I’m doing when I fly (well, at least partly)!
The conference came to an end, I hopped on the first BART (Bay Area’s train system) I could catch and headed back home to make my parents some lunch and tea and then drove to Oakland to pick them up.
Holy guacamole. What followed when they emerged from the one-way gate to the general space of the airport was… Much better than it could have been, thinking about it now.
My mom turned into almost a child. “I’m so happy to see you again” didn’t happen. After two years of not seeing each other, the first thing she started to talk about after she hugged me was the unbelievable adventure that their flight was, and how she spoke to the officers at Immigration like if she was a native English speaker. I knew her level of English – and it was farther from native English speaker level that the North Pole is from the South Pole – but I let her enjoy the excitement and didn’t say anything, catching my dad’s look and smiling at it together.
The one person that dropped a tear of joy was my dad – and mum joined him when I took their suitcases and led them to the car.
Which I couldn’t find. I forgot the colour and the number of where I left it, depending only on my sense of direction which failed me a little. But in the end, after leaving my parents standing there until I found it, we finally loaded their luggage in the boot (trunk), I hit my dad’s head when closing the boot to which he said only “I see that nothing changed” while I was apologizing over and over, and set on our way home… and for the first time, the place that I called home wasn’t the same place they had in mind when the word “home” was said.
Thank you for choosing to spend your time by joining us on the road. The next post from this road trip will be HERE as soon as it gets published!
(And if you feel like it, you can follow this blog so you won’t miss the future posts from the road trip.)
Have a beautiful day! 🙂