I have always been afraid of riding planes, but always wanted to try it. I remember the first real story that vividly described how it feels to ride a plane came from my older brother, Kuya Jme. He and my other Kuya went to Hongkong for a trip when I was still in Law School. He so clearly described to me the experience of riding a plane. His descriptions made me both scared and excited at the same time.

So when I started to work for Grepa (that’s how we call our company), I was told there will be lots of travelling, plane rides included. I was sooooo excited back then coz I was looking for new experiences that will sort of revive my mundane life.

I had my first travel for work barely a week after I was hired. It was a hearing in General Santos City. I decided not to sleep there and take a return flight on the same day. It was my first time to ride a plane, so with the checking in and going through all the security checks, I was thrilled! As I was going through the motions of riding the plane, I realized it is not so bad after all. My boss advised me to take a window seat in order to fully experience the ride since it was my first time.

Then came the take-off. Boy was I ecstatic! I said a prayer as the plane was rallying. I held my breath the entire time the plane was taking off while my eyes were shut. Then I realized it actually felt good and not even scary! It even helped that I was seated right next to another lawyer who had a hearing in Gen San too. He told me stories the entire time about  the Labor Arbiter who will preside over my case and I was somehow entertained. Nevertheless, I kept glancing at the monitor at how fast we were moving, with the altitude we were at and all that other airplane stuff.

Then my seatmate said something that made my breath stop. He said there was something wrong. He said we have been turning round and round when we were supposed to land already. I breathed heavily. Thoughts came running through my mind. Like, whaaaat? Something’s wrong? On my first plane ride? Is this what the song Ironic of Alanis Morisette means? I thought, this can’t be! I just rejuvenated my life and I just started my new job. I can’t die on this plane!

It came to my mind then that there were two typhoons on that day. It was my Mom’s birthday too, November 27, 2007. So I said to God, oh no, I can’t die on my Mom’s birthday! It will crush her to pieces. I prayed and prayed. And the pilot spoke. He said the clouds were hazy and that he couldn’t land the plane as the runway cannot be seen.

Apparently, we were losing fuel so we had to emergency land at the Mactan Cebu Airport. My seatmate said, there goes your hearing. I missed my first hearing for the company. But I was more concerned with a lot of things beside that. I texted my boss and he was scared. He was concerned that I will have trauma after that incident. But at the back of my mind, I was excited to see Cebu, even just the airport. After refueling, we went back to Gen San. As expected, I missed my hearing but they knew already as my office called them up.

I found out then that taxi fares there are fixed since they barely have customers. I had to pay Php500 for going around Gen San. The driver (named Popo) showed me around, like where the grocery of Manny Pacquiao is and other stuffs. He helped me find the store where the cheapest Tuna is sold. I bought kilos of tuna and Suha. After we ate, I happily went back to the airport (though still scared).

On the way back, I forgot to ask for a window seat when I checked in. My seatmate now is a young girl, about 17-18 yrs old. She said it was her first time to ride a plane and she was holding a White Flower (the liniment?) next to her nose the whole time. She was crying. I suddenly felt like a pro and I appeased her.

I have experienced hundreds of plane rides after that. Its better when you’re not travelling alone but otherwise, its okay. I have gotten used to it. Even when I was already pregnant, I traveled via plane a lot. But I preferred to stop after 5 months because there were too many forms to fill up and I needed clearance from my OB.

Yesterday was my first plane ride after a long time (after giving birth and all). It still felt the same. I usually just doze off even before take off. I loved that there was no air turbulence yesterday and the ride was smooth.

I am looking forward to more plane rides, safe ones at that. But I hope to have more with Ryan and Ira. I hope she doesnt get sick on the plane or cry like other babies do. I want her to experience it early and get rid of the fear early, unlike her mom.

I like it up there, no pollution, no dust. I like the feeling of watching over the clouds and seeing how beautiful the world really is. It is quiet up there and the feeling that you will be seeing another place is revitalizing. I want Ira to see and realize all these for herself. Hopefully this coming summer, we will be able to do that with her.

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