I had originally planned for tonight’s piece to be about my experience in the makeup chair today from my family’s photoshoot- I was pretty excited about it too! However since I’m flying tonight, I decided that I’ll instead write about airports, and convey some final fears before I head off.
Whenever I go to an airport, I always start to feel dizzy. I’m not quite sure why- perhaps the air in airports isn’t to my body’s liking, or it’s the effect of a childhood traumatic incident that I forgot.. but I always feel dizzy in airports.
The part of me that likes to phrase my mundane experiences with romantic language says that this is likely because airports are a liminal space. Airports are literally a place in-between – no one stops to stay at airports, but instead they are always headed to somewhere else, with the airport acting as the in-between space that faciliates the method that they’ll use to get there. Everyone in an airport is moving and in transition – with the exception, of course, of the people working and running the restaurants and other services in the building.
(Sometimes I find myself thinking how they could work in an airport. I always feel dizzy being in one, so I can’t imagine staying there for an extended amount of time. How do they feel watching people come and go? Unlike restaurants in a town, there are no regulars.. or perhaps there are? But of a different kind. Case in point: How does one work in such a literal space of liminality?)
I am expecting this same dizziness when I head to the airport tonight. I will watch the people walking past and beyond me, towards other places outside Canada or perhaps just within the country. Sometimes I wish I was headed to a plane that will take me to the east coast.
But tonight, or this morning perhaps, I will be flying to the other side of the world.
The Philippines has historically been referred to as a ‘place far away,’ by the Spanish and Americans alike during their respective colonial periods. If you know the word boondocks in American English, this comes from the Tagalog word bundok, meaning mountain. (Or perhaps this is in Ilocano – I don’t remember, but I do know it is a borrowed word in Tagalog. I also smile a little seeing how boondocks receives no squiggly red error line while bundok does.)
Boondocks was used to refer to exactly this – a place far away – and along with the other colonial language used, became the justification for why my ancestors and country needed to be civilized – because it was so far away from proper civilization.
But I digress.
I mentioned that I’ll also convey some last fears, and here they are.
– the political climate of the Philippines
– what my extended family is like, after so many years of not seeing them
– if my tagalog will be enough to save me this time around
– if i can still blend in and be read as a filipino/a
– (also scared of lots of reports of sexual assault.. but isn’t that a daily fear anyway?)
And perhaps to calm me down, I’ll watch College Humor’s video about the magic of airplanes and listen to Trevor Noah recount his childhood in Apartheid South Africa, as I walk towards the terminal gate and wait until my turn to soar through the sky, back into the arms of my family and inang bayan.
Hopefully I don’t feel too dizzy tonight.
One last admin thing: I likely won’t post tomorrow on Sunday night, since I will be ahead in terms of time. I will make up for it through two brillantly (maybe) written posts on Monday.
Until the next 250+,
– Phebe Manaog