America, Day 1

So here I am off on my journey of exploration and discovery, part 2. Thanks to everyone for their kind messages and prayers on Facebook.

In the spirit of trying new things I’m going to make a blog post every day as a record of what l see, do, feel and think. That way you can follow my travels and Zuckerberg won’t steal anything. It’ll be like my Japan trip about 8-9 years ago, just written in real-time this time.

Had a simple dinner with my Dad before leaving on a jetplane. (aha, reference!) He’s…the same as always I guess. I always feel a little conflicted when I meet with him these days. Everything he knows and feels is frozen in time, and that used to drive me up the wall because…well, we live in the now, not in the past! But what was frustration and anger before has changed largely to compassion. Thanks for seeing me off Dad.

Sat next to a nice couple of the way to Abu Dhabi. Mentioned anime (because I mention anime to everyone I travel with) and the girl doesn’t watch it (what a pity!) but the guy watches Naruto, Bleach and Fairy Tail. Sigh. What’s the world coming to? Whatever happened to watching DBZ and Sailor Moon and …ok I’m going to stop the Old Grumpy Anime fan act now. He can  watch whatever the fuck he wants. And they were really nice and shared half a cookie with me. I also learned that Etihad means “union.” Learn something new every day.

Things get pretty cramped in Economy and there’s a lot of accidental bumping and pushing and shoving. But simple apologies work wonders. As I come out of the darkness I appreciate the little things a lot more.  Imagine – what a wonderful world in which we can say sorry to each other when we bump into each other or there isn’t enough space!

There are no pictures in this post because it will be just be boring pictures of airport after airport. And also because I forgot to take them.

In the middle of each flight I engaged myself in my favorite mid-flight activity – entertaining young children. They look at me, I look back at them. I smile, they smile. I play  peek-a-boo, and after a few moments of bewilderment (WTF is this guy doing? they seem to do say) they play along. They wave their hands around, and so do I. I get grateful smiles from the parents (after a few moments of “WTF is this guy doing?”) Works every time, and it’s a fun way to pass the time.


Got held up at Abu Dhabi immigration because I had no return ticket – perfectly understandable. Got asked a bunch of tough questions because it’s their job to do so. In the past I would have been all you DON’T UNDERSTAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAND but thank God those days days are past me. I just smiled and answered and honestly and as best as I was able. It’s good to know that Uncle Sam has such reliable and honest guardians.

I like the last part of my exchange with the officer :

“So you won’t call the cops if I stay for a month and 10 days?”

“You stay for 4 months and I’ll call the cops.”

“If I stay for 4 months I’ll turn myself in.”

I got a smile out of that one. But I mean it. A month (and a half or so on top of that, tops) should be more than enough. I have no intention of making trouble for these good people.

Back on the plane, I remembered how much I love flying. Apologies to my beloved sister and mother but having to take care of their panic attacks on planes really killed the experience for me before. I wonder what it is about being 3000 miles above the earth in a flying box with nothing but recycled air and reheated food for company that appeals to me. (Now I’ve gone and killed it for you haven’t I?)

I think if there was a job that allowed me to fly here and there, testing airlines, I would take it. But I don’t think I would want to work as an airline steward. Too stressful.

Flying was nice. In the past it was all I HATE SINGAPORE AND I’M SO GLAD I’M GOING AWAY but now…now it’s different, as is almost everything else. I like the romance of being in the air. I like the pretty airline stewardesses. I even like the airline food, reheated though it may be (it’s actually pretty good on some airlines, like Etihad)

I used to be so afraid of take-off and landing and turbulence, but now I can just close my eyes and get past all of that. It’s almost pleasant. More wounds being healed by the simple fact of existence. Ain’t life grand?

Woke up before everyone else did on the plane, decided to write blog post with no editing whatsoever. This journey is full of new experiences.

Strangely enough still very calm. I don’t feel this “OMG I’M FINALLY GOING TO AMERICA” that I thought that I would feel. I guess all that meditation and Zen is really paying off? Maybe I’ll break down when I hit the tarmac. No way to tell.

Watched some Gundam Unicorn on the plane but when I got to the scene where Banagher faces off against Loni in Episode 4 I had to stop. WAY too emotionally intense. I’ll watch it another time.

Unicorn is powerful…beyond powerful. I am reminded of a comment that my sister made when she watched it. “Is this what my brother sees when he watches Evangelion?” All that and more, dear sister. It’s not like I don’t like Gundam either! (after all, my beloved EVA would never exist without it!)

When I first saw the NDS activate, and the red lines permeate every inch of the mobile suit…whew, I had to breathe deeply. It’s truly the successor to UC in more ways than one. A paragraph here and there doesn’t do it justice, I’ll do a full writeup eventually.

To be continued tomorrow.

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