Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Houston Texas - Flight number 416- Part 2

I approached the TSA agent with a smile on my face, set down my carry on bag and handed her my boarding pass along with my passport (which was opened to the first page). In the process i noticed my shaking hands so i cupped them together by my mouth, blew air into them and muttered "wow its really chilly this early huh". The TSA agent smiled back and nodded, then she looked at the two documents infront of her...and looked. Mere seconds must have passed but it seemed like a week took place. I tried not to be nervous while she checked off my pass with her marker. And just like that it was over. I had passed my first TSA security point, and i was on my way to Houston, Texas. I was really doing this.

What followed next may be mundane to the average traveler, but to me every step of the process was a new discovery. as if i had been abducted and was no walking through the alien spaceship. The Xray machine, the metal detector, the boarding area shops, the little TVs with your flight info.

Yeah, i know. But to me it's all about the little things.

I got to my gate and was the only one there. my body still tense and shaking as i looked out the window. My mind was racing. You may ask why this was such a big deal, going to another state, getting on a plane, ect. To me it was more than that. It was symbol of freedom, but also it was a sign of growing up. "Rite of Passage" said Mark, "like renting your first car". I booked the flight, i booked the hotel, i planned the trip. It was probably the most normal adult thing i have ever done in my life.

Alone with my thoughts, i waited as the minutes passed and more people arrived at the waiting area. Then they started letting people board the plane. A rush of adrenaline ran through my body, i got chills, the butterflies, stomach knots. you name it.

My seat area (or what ever) was called. I walked up almost like a kid about to pee, and began to board the plane. As soon as i entered i was greeted by a stewardess, who directed me a bit down to my seat. I told her i had no idea what i was doing since it was my 1st flight in ten years jaja.

She showed me to my seat, and helped me with my carry on. I was lucky enough that somehow i got a window seat, and after struggling with the seat belt, i sat down and looked out towards the dark airport landing strip.

The feeling inside is indescribable. It was a feeling of relief, of freedom. I wanted to run through the airport and run through that plane and yell at the top of my lungs. I am flying. I am going to get to travel. I am taking control.

It felt like i could finally breathe, even if for a while, after 20 years.


  1. Hey Gabe, that was a great write up!

    You are awesome :)

  2. very nice gabe... i can feel all your emotions through your words...:)

  3. ah yeah...I flew for the first time in about 14 years when I was interviewing for grad schools...scary! I was also undocumented...but now I'm in a different country completely hehe...

  4. Thanks Anonimous1 :)

    Anonymous2 where were you at the time if i may ask?

  5. Wow, you described exactly the way I felt the first time I flew.