Some of my most prominent memories of childhood take place in the airport , I remember squirming with impatience in the arrivals hall, my mother gripping my hand while craned my neck, searching the crowd of strangers for the hero of my story to appear, the moment I caught sight of him I would break free of my mother’s grip and go sprinting to his open arms and be lifted up into the air. He would then continue his stroll over to my mother to give her a big kiss before pulling my brother into a hug, this was my Father. Sometimes he would bring presents for us from the places he’d been, the best time was when I could see him coming down the steps of the plane through the massive airport window, I noticed him carrying something that must have been too big to fit into his small suitcase, it felt like forever, waiting for him to get through passport control and into the arrivals hall, but when he did I was ready for him. There in his arms was the a big brown bear, dressed in brown leather jacket with a sheepskin collar and big flying goggles on his head. My very own pilot bear.
In my head, my father was gone for months as opposed to the few days and occasionally, few weeks that he actually was. I’m now aware of how lucky I was that this was the case and that there are many others whose fathers were away more often than they were home, and some fathers who are never there at all. Still, I’d secretly sulk every time he had to go and wonder what he did while he was away, what awesome adventures he was up to and of course, how important he was that there were people on the other side of the world that needed him to be there. So, as if I had a choice, I’d let my Father go when they called.
In those days my world was small and seemingly perfect. I lived in a beautiful cottage and got to go on holiday to the coast to see my Mémé et Pépé, the first time we went there by plane was a momentous experience for me. I’d finally be able to know what happened after my Father walked through the departures hall for myself. Although I don’t remember the details I do remember the feeling, it was like magic. I loved every moment of that plane ride.
Thirteen years older and the idea of flying now makes me cringe, all I can think about are the cues at Heathrow, the cramped seat I’ll be strapped to for the next 12 hours, the rude flight attendant and of course flying 9740 km across the globe to see my parents in Hong Kong. I’m sure that somewhere in this world there is a frequent flyer (pilots aside) that still loves a plane journey as much as they did the first time they flew – this person probably needs to get their head checked. Call me spoilt, call me jaded, I just can’t get excited the way I used to. However the moment my feet touch ground in that foreign country that is now called home, I remember how amazing my life is, and how lucky I am to have experienced so much already. This blog is all about my life as the daughter of an expat. From that first move that changed my life forever to the present day. From horror stories to the experiences that films are made about. I hope you enjoy reading about my experiences as much as I’ve enjoyed living them.