Blinking in the glaring sunshine, our young woman looked out at this new world. The moisture that escaped through slitted eyes now had more to do with a need for shade. Home, on the other side of the world, was leaving the sunshine for the cold embrace of winter. Here the spring rays drove arrows into already tender lids. Already there was a need for adjustment, for change.
Sleep had continued to elude her in her jaunts. Arriving in Germany, she had tried to explore this new city a little, but lack of sleep and time changes left her thoroughly uninterested. She eventually gave up and tried to find a quiet spot to catch a little sleep. Just as she was drifting off a security guard came and shook her. He spoke abruptly in what she assumed was the German language and scowled at her. Desperately trying to bring a German word or two to mind, she tried to apologize or ask if there was somewhere she could rest her eyes until her flight several hours later. Her stupor left her dull and she shuffled off to find another space to occupy. The flight from Germany to South Africa brought even less sleep. She had managed to find a few hours rest in a tucked away corner that she added to the small handful from her first flight. The second flight followed moonlight and she was enthralled by the trail of the full moon as it followed her down the continent. She imagined deserts, nomads, villages held close in slumber's grasp. She was truly in a different world and it was getting closer. In a matter of scant hours she would be touching down in the land of her Father's birth. She would be meeting his brother, her uncle, and numerous family members that had been no more than fantasy a short while ago. Excitement began to seep in.
Now she walked off the plane and down a ramp to the tarmac below. A novel experience alone, as back in her part of the world there were too many months that held inclement weather to discourage outside ventures for those not yet acclimatized. Back in Canada, she would have drifted through a tunnel attached to the stopped plane that led to the airport building proper. Not here. She followed a flight attendant who had called her name and was plunked in front of a smiling man.
"Welcome!", he fairly shouted as he scooped the bag from her arm. Introductions were proffered with smiles and warmth. Mirth fairly sparkled in her cousin's eyes. This was in fact her cousin's husband and he worked for the airport. This was the first of her kin. Her father's kin.
He whisked her through security with laughter and pleasantries. She blinked trying to keep up with his jovial banter. Despite her muted brain, she liked this man already. She continued to squint through bleary eyes, but was happy to be there. Before her sleep-deprived brain could catch up, they stopped again. This time it was in front of her uncle. A crooked smile pattered across her creased face. She was home.