Airports are like magical waiting rooms on your way to or from home. Like any magical place, you have to be ready for adventure to happen at any moment. At least that was what I was thinking back on February 5th 2021 after hugging my brother and walking into Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport in Puerto Rico with Jay as my trusted sidekick.
Once inside, everyone seemed to know what they were doing and where they were going except me. After getting our bags inspected by the USDA and losing the sticker 20 seconds later, we were ready for every safety protocol and flying to NYC. Piece of advice here: don’t put money in your pocket. You’ll look funny holding it in your hands and triggering every single thing inside the body scanner. Let me tell you that I’m not scared of flying. But when you’re in a plane full of people and scared to even breath inside your mask because of Covid, you start playing different scenarios in your head and even think about every airplane accident and how no one survives it. I think I have an overactive imagination or maybe I just need to download more movies the next time… who knows.
JFK International Airport in NY is huge. From skywalks inside the airport to the Airtrain to connect passengers to their terminal I think you get the idea. Security is very tight so we were checking our watches every few minutes and praying to make it in time for our next flight. It took us around 2 hrs to get through security and everything and we even had time to spend $30 (price for 2 combos) in a McDonalds because we were scared to wander away from our gate. We took our time to eat, charge our devices, made some calls to family and friends and to our surprise, there was another boricua (someone from Puerto Rico) taking the same flight to Cairo. Here (PR) we have a saying about that: “you can go anywhere in the world and you will find a boricua”. Turns out “our plantain stain” showed by the way we talked Spanish. We spent the rest of the wait and flight talking and sharing food with Felix (forget about Covid and all). When it comes to food, we boricuas forget about everything else going on; it can be the end of the world and we’d still be cooking and/or eating.
Flight from NY to Cairo is a little over 10hrs. There is no amount of movies, books or music in your device to prepare you for it. Trust me. EgyptAir is an excellent airline. It’s like going back to preschool; they serve you food and then turn off the lights so you can take a nap after eating. Looking at the screen that shows you the map and route gave me enough time to think about planes crashing into the ocean. Luckily, I didn’t have internet to search about it or the desire to know the odds. Let’s just say I have a greater chance of having an accident in the streets of Cairo even if I’m not the one driving.
We arrived at Cairo around midday the next day and our next adventure began. Cairo International Airport is easy to navigate even for foreigners. The amount of security makes you feel at ease and everyone is very helpful – even when the soap dispenser in the bathroom explodes all over you – just ask Jay about it.
There are no words to describe the feeling of walking outside and seeing my husband waiting for me at the door. He remembers the only word I said while hugging him… “finally”. One word to try and say everything my heart was keeping inside. Ten months later (December 17, 2021 to be exact) we got to replay that scene. Only this time he was the one whispering in my ear “finally” while he hugged me once again outside the same door. Feels amazing to be here with him again if only for a few weeks.