Staying true to the title of the blog, I will take you on a trip with me. Our journey will be dropping my brother off at the airport. As I briefly mentioned in the previous blog post, my brother Sanjay is studying abroad this year in London. Last March when he got his acceptance letter into the London School of Economics and Political Sciences, my family, and more specifically my brother, was elated. However September 27th seemed ages away. As always, time gets away from us, so earlier this week when my brother began packing for the upcoming year, I couldn’t help but feel cheated by the amount of time I got to spend with my brother.
The week leading up to Sanjay’s departure seemed like a prolonged festival at my house. Every day I would come home from school to a house redolent of another one of my brother’s favorite dishes. He was pampered in every possible way. My mom even agreed to let the two of us carry out our tradition of watch a Harry Potter movie together, on a school night.
The night before my brother left, we all went to Biaggi’s, an Italian restaurant, as per my brother’s request. While conversation was smooth and effortless as always, there was a slight hint of angst in the air. As much fun as we were having, each of us knew the dinner and recent specialties were all in anticipation of having to say farewell to Sanjay the next day. Unlike many farewells in the past, this wasn’t for a week or even a month, we won’t see him in person till next spring.
As soon as our food arrived we jumped in, relishing each bite. Sanjay went for seared scallops over a risotto, my dad got baked ziti, and my mom and I shared a classic four cheese ravioli laid on a bed of marinara sauce and covered in a creamy pesto sauce. About half way through our meal we were interrupted by a call from Sanjay’s flying agent. She informed us that a fire in the control center at the Chicago airport was interfering with several flights. Over a 1000 flights had been canceled and she asked us to check on Sanjay’s flight to ensure that his flight would travel as planned. While we were slightly alarmed but we didn’t think Sanjay’s flight would be effected by the fire.
Later that night Sanjay attempted to check-in online. The original plan for Sanjay was to fly from our hometown to Chicago, and from there straight to London. It was only when he checked in that we realized that the flight from Cedar Rapids to Chicago had been canceled. The second leg of Sanjay’s flight from Chicago to London was still scheduled to leave O’Hare airport at 7 pm the following day. Thus we had to make the spontaneous decision to drive 4 hours to Chicago the next morning.
After getting all of Sanjay’s luggage in the car the following morning, we set out on our mini road trip to Chicago. Despite this seeming inconvenience, everyone was secretly glad for the extra time we would get to spend with each other. When we arrived at the airport, news vans were stationed outside, continuing to get details about the fire and families all around us were saying their last goodbyes as their loved ones entered security and left for their own journey. After getting Sanjay’s bags checked in, we dallied at the entrance to the security line not wanting to say our final farewell. At 5pm Sanjay really needed to get going so finally all of us hugged and let Sanjay go. My mom, dad, and I hovered at the end of the line, waving to Sanjay till we could no longer see him.
As sad as we were, there was an element of excitement. Sanjay is about to get the experience of a lifetime and so of course we are happy for him. As hard as goodbyes can be, we just need to be optimistic and think about the next chance we will get to see Sanjay.