Double life – Departures/Arrivals

fubini1By Daniela Fubini*

In the middle of the complicated process that bridges any human being from the status of simple passport holder to that one of traveler on a plane, I stood like a perfect idiot recently, at Ben Gurion Airport. Pardon me: International Airport.

I had just replied successfully to the supposedly tricky interrogation of the young security representative, who absently rolled the usual list of questions she learnt by heart, and wondered what would have been her reaction had I replied that I carry dynamite and a weirdo just gave me an odd-shaped package to deliver at destination. Would she have recorded the potentially explosive information? I hope so.

So, there I was, happy for passing yet another exam, and on my way to drop off my luggage I see what seems like an absolutely huge amount of colorfully attired and happy faced people, I assume on their way back home, somewhere in Africa, standing in front of the Ethiopian Airline check in and about to fly to Addis Ababa.

I was traveling to visit my family and I was very excited to be home. And yet, in front of the sign Addis Ababa, and the obvious positive energy of that group, I almost gave in to the sudden desire to go back there, and not home. Hard to explain. Back to Addis, a place I visited for work once in my life and for only a few days?

Power of the airports, pardon, International Airports: they connect not only people but stories and times. Who were these people? The simple color of their skin was not enough to make them strangers: some were surely Ethiopians, some surely not. Jews? Pilgrims? Who knows. And they were traveling to, not from Addis (the most common one way route being to Israel, to come home and stay).

The puzzling vision gave me a steady smile – at least until I hit the security check and a restless Russian lady cut the line in front of me. Back to reality, and to Kibbutz Galuyiot.

*Daniela Fubini (Twitter @d_fubini) lives and writes in Tel Aviv, where she arrived in 2008 from Turin via New York.