As I hugged my Mum goodbye before going through security at Heathrow airport, the tears started to fall. Even though I have done the ‘moving abroad for several months’ thing a few times now, the goodbye at the airport never gets any easier.
I was waiting in the queue to go through security knowing that my cabin bag was over the 7kg limit. I also saw signs that said only one 20 x 20cm bag of liquids was allowed…I had three. I looked a bit of a mess as I’d woken up at 5am for a two hour drive to the airport, I was carrying a coat and a thick jumper, scrambling around trying to get out my boarding card and my eyes were puffy and wet with tears.
After finally managing to get my boarding card out, I had to scan it and the barcode wouldn’t work – queue more tears of frustration. The lady helped me to turn it the right way round and I got through the first barrier. Stage one complete!
Next I had to empty all of my stuff into the trays to go through the X-ray. I took out my laptop, my three bags of liquids, shoved my coat and jumper on top and prayed they wouldn’t confiscate two of the bags of liquids off me – I probably would have chosen the suncream, shampoo, body wash and vaseline bag if it came down to it. I glanced at the x-ray man through teary eyes and he asked if I was ok, I nodded and looked to the floor.
The other customs officers looked at me with sympathy as I was waiting for my bag to come through the x-ray. My first tray came down and I was searching through my things for a tissue whilst trying to put my boarding pass back in the wallet and the wallet back in my bag. Stage two complete! All three bags of liquids still in my possession and no frisk search.
But straight after collecting my things I was asked to show my passport! Just after I’d put everything away, I let out a big sob and bent down to look through my cabin bag for the blue wallet with most of my life in it (passport, boarding card, money, insurance details etc). As I bent down, my coat and jumper fell out of my arms and my cabin bag dropped to the floor with a thud. A small profanity was spat out by myself as my laptop and hard drive were in the front pocket and if they got damaged I would cry a lot more than I already was. The man looked down at me from his podium and told me to go straight through. I thanked him, picked up my things and was on my way. Stage three complete as I didn’t have to show my passport.
I was through security and one step closer to India. If you are a girl and are travelling alone, tears can often help you a little to get things done quicker or just to get a shortcut or special privilege. A friend of mine was at the airport and was asked for her visa to visit an African country, she didn’t have one (because she was a tourist staying for less than three months) but as she didn’t have a return ticket the check-in clerk was going to deny her boarding. She burst into tears and a different check-in guy saw this and helped her get to her destination. You see! Tears can get you places.
Maybe next time I will try this one…