Thursday, October 20th, at 9am, a plane departed from Seattle. There was a layover in Vancouver, and I was back on that plane traveling to Japan. I had had a lot of feelings leading up to that point. How would I feel when I returned to a country I loved? What changes has two years brought, both in the people there and in myself? What kind of connections would I have left? Had I become too American? All of that emotional buildup from the preceding months stayed anchored to the ground in North America.
As the plane ascended above the clouds, so did my thoughts. My biggest surprise was how at peace I felt, how routine it was to be flying across the Pacific. This was my 5th flight to Asia. I realized just how familiar I’ve gotten with these transpacific crossings when I began to grumble about the lack of tiltable screen in the personal tv set in front of me. How could they not have considered the glare from the overhead lighting like all the other airlines? No complimentary headphones?* And there weren’t even any power jacks into which to plug my laptop? It dawned on me how snobbish my thoughts were and I had a good laugh at myself. With a window seat and an open seat beside me, life felt pretty good. I settled into a movie** while waiting for lunch to be served.
*A flight attendant came around later to pass out headphones to anyone who wanted one.
**The movie was Me Before You. Most endearing!