I noticed yesterday, while flying from Helsinki to Bucharest via Istanbul, that whenever I am on a plane, I feel deeply humbled. On board, everyone is equal.
No matter what happens to this plane, you don’t have much control. You put your faith in the hands of those flying the plane.
In case of an emergency, it doesn’t matter who you are, what you’ve done, where you’re going or what you intended to do.
It only matters that you’re there, on that plane, with those people. There is nothing else.
I don’t consider this morbid. I actually feel grateful, humbled and very human.
The first leg of the journey, from Helsinki to Istanbul felt like the beginning of a big transition -the initiation- that prepares you for the changes to come, if you let it. Everything felt different, so I counted the signs.
Even in the air, Turkish hospitality was evident from the usual airline procedures I’ve grown accustomed to. And my neighbours on the right and left, both Finnish, were feeling particularly verbose. I felt excited to speak to them, and felt a strong sense of belonging as we chatted in Finnish. Neither asked me where I was from; I felt accepted as one of them. And onward we flew, away from Finland.
Flipping through the pages of the in-flight magazine, I couldn’t help but notice what a perfect metaphor Istanbul was for the month that awaits me in Bucharest. Istanbul is the physical and symbolic crossroads between East and West, it is a city of beauty and contrasts. (I haven’t been there yet, but I’m going on what I read from the magazine).
I’m heading back to the place I was born (what is and was).
I’m staying with my grandpa ‘Bubu’ (young and old).
I’m going there to find a piece of myself I left behind, a piece that’s interwoven in my identity, left behind in a place I still don’t fully understand.
When we touched down in Istanbul, although I was waiting for it, I didn’t feel the landing. And to my surprise, no one clapped. I wondered if they too were waiting for the tug that confirmed we’d arrived safely.