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Part 3a⚡(3b 3c 3d on comments ⤵️)⚡
This was the first time stepping inside the plane. The new smell hit my nostrils, as the air were blowing from the overhead seats. We found our seats. My father seated in front of us, my mom and I together. It was a 2 4 2 configuration. As a child, I suffered from car motion sickness. My father, who always press the breaks without gradually easing into the stop. So I’ve always laid down during car rides. The pickup truck was spacious in the back, I’d spread a blanket & laid down.
When the plane started to back up, instead of feeling excited, my head started to feel iffy. Noooooo!
I’ve been waiting for this, now it’s about to get ruined. The air was turning on and off, alternating with the engines. We accelerated & flew up, my back pressed onto the seat and head back. It was a steep climb. I closed my eyes and kept swallowing saliva. It was on overdrive, producing so much than usual. An indication that I was about to throw up. I fought it. My mom on the other hand, “Timmy, look! We’re so high up. I think I can spot the Quezon Memorial.”
I squinted & peeked for a quick second, as I was too distracted with being so dizzy. After reaching altitude the plane moved steadily. Pretty Korean stewardess came out with their cart, offering water, juice, and coffee.
Me, I wanted the ride to be over. My mom took out her rosary, and prayed by herself. The stewardess saw my discomfort. She came back with two white tablets. With my mom’s approval, I took it. I sheepishly thanked her as I heavily pressed my head on the side of the wall & chair. They came back around and my mom selected an omelet sausage breakfast meal for me. I ate only half. I went to the bathroom afterwards and thought I was going to throw up. I didn’t. I saw several seats were empty. Especially the four seaters. I laid down and slept. I woke abruptly as the plane was having turbulence. I realized I had a blanket draped over me. The stewardess. I thought. I smiled. I closed my eyes and tried to doze off again, but my mom told me to go back to our seats, we were about to descend.
I went on another round of discomfort. Thankfully it was quick.
We hit the ground in a thud & the wind blasted against the wings.
3b⚡Seoul, Korea 🇰🇷
I was so relieved we were off the plane. I took my father’s camera and started taking pictures. We headed to some coffee shop where my parents found other Filipinos and started chatting with them. As always, I never stayed at one place. I always roamed & explored. There were many pictures of Ginseng Root. I stopped a stranger to have my picture taken with one giant ginseng. After 10 minutes, I went back to my parents, they were still chatting and laughing. I took my mom’s cup of mocha and down it. Moments later, she lifted the cup, “O, sakin ba ito?” She saw I was back and I flashed her a grin. Timmy finished it, of course.
It was time to head to our new gate. They said their farewell to the other couple, and wished them luck.
We boarded, and the plane looks bigger. It was a 3 4 3 configuration. This time we were almost to the back and on the 4 seater. I sighed. This was going to be the long haul.
I noticed the stewardess race were different. They weren’t Korean. It was a mix of Caucasian & African American ladies. Shortly after take off, which oddly I didn’t feel nauseous, probably because it was a larger jet? We were served late lunch. I had Beef with the mash potatoes, with bread, and couple pieces of fruit. “Where’s the rice?” I asked my mom.
“You’ll have to get used to not having rice with every meal. In America, they don’t have rice with everything.”
Great. After eating, I pulled out my Walkman, well its actually my father’s tape recorder. I took ownership of it eventually. I listened to a mix of music and Palibhasa Lalake episodes. With commercials! I pulled back down my tray table and slept. It was a full flight. So my hope for another lie flat sleep were dashed.
It felt like eternity. Sleeping was next to impossible. Exhaustion. Restlessness. I decided to take out my drawing pad and doodle. I started sketching the stewardess on board. They were such sweet ladies. As a thank you, I decided to give them my drawing. The plane started its descent & the turbulence was a lot. I of course started to get dizzy. I pull back down the tray table, folded my arms and pressed my head down. I was doing some deep breathing to prevent me from yacking. I felt a tap on my arms. I looked up and saw one of the stewardess. She laid out this 11 by 17 map on my table. It was the flight route from Seoul to Detroit. There was a pen mark that drew across the path the plane took, and a yellow highlight over the ink. As a thank you from the crew, I was give the pilot’s map. I was half elated and still half nauseous. I sheepishly thanked her and laid my head back down.