Advent is the time of anticipation, a time of waiting.
I am experiencing my personal Advent at Dublin Airport. A special time of waiting, where your only hope is the one for departure. Let me explain:
It’s Thursday, early afternoon when we get to Dublin Airport. Good-bye’s are being said, food is being eaten and the hope of a break is hanging in the air. We are waiting.
But very quickly my companion and I realise that their might be a delay in departure. So we wait for the next piece of information. Hope is still with us, but it is very fragile.
Our Hope gets destroyed by the next announcement: Flight is cancelled. Please see ticket desk to re-book your flight. Hope has been crushed. We are now waiting in line. Quickly our very cheerful Airline Person re-books us on the next available flight in the morning, hands us a Hotel Voucher. And as soon as we see our lovely and warm hotel room and eat our 3 course dinner (on Airline expenses), we are reconciled and our Hope is restored for the next morning.
After a maximum of 3 hours sleep, we wake up, get ready, make our way to the Shuttle Bus to the Airport, get checked in, have coffee, go through security, go to our gate, just to discover after waiting for boarding, that we need to wait some more to get more information. The information is dropping slowly. Again Hope is fragile. Anticipation and slight fear is expressed in every word we speak. They keep us updated every 45 minutes. After 2 1/2 hours of waiting, they hand us food vouchers. Which we take, just because it will give us something to do.
So after we waited for 3 hours total, they announce the cancellation of our flight. Through the mess of re-booking a new flight, false and true hopes, we have to wait some more, living in hope that this time all will be ok. After a total waiting time of 13 1/2 hours at Dublin Airport in which my sanity was tested many times, I cannot believe that I am actually boarding a plane. It all feels surreal, my body is ready to crash, refuses food……..needs sleep.
Coming home and falling into bed has never felt so beautiful and sweet.
Despite all the endlessness of sitting or standing in queue’s, I realise that there is a bond between all those who suffer. People share their information willing. And there is this one business man who stands in line behind me at the Lufthansa ticket desk, but asks me if he can jump ahead of me, because he is desperate to get on the flight to Zurich which leaves in about 40 minutes. After he is being successful, he hands me his food voucher with a big thank you smile. And there is this other girl who’s flight has been cancelled 3 times already, who tells me to book my flight to Frankfurt with Lufthansa online, so that I’ll get a ticket instead of waiting 3 more hours until the ticket desk re-opens. Their is sharing in suffering. A feeling of “we are all in this together” which makes the circumstances bearable.
The airport is not a natural places, it’s a world of it’s own, but there is a community of people who all experience the same thing. Their is sharing, listening, hoping for the person next to you that he or she will get a flight. It’s raw and beautiful.