On Arriving

Nana Akua Mensah
February 27, 2016

 

In Transit

Amsterdam looks like it would be beautiful with the sun up, in the efficient and reflective of a self-determined history way that European cities present themselves. The airport is much bigger than Kotoka probably has any intentions of becoming, and very functional if a little cold- the air conditioning seems a little extreme for the near 0'C weather the city is canvassed in. There are a few families traveling together, but most people seem to be traveling alone- perhaps like I am, going to a place they have never been before by themselves, or maybe visiting...

The scenes I've read from books where youngsters travel alone and the the loves of their lives through chance encounters in the airport run through my head now. I shake the thoughts out and settle in to read the book a best friend gave me before I left- my collection of parting gift books has been growing quite steadily.

 

On the plane

The food cart passes by and I wake up from my semi-comfortabe sleep as if by clockwork. It's not a very long trip. The Italian family seated next to me makes excited exclamations to be heading back: a man seated behind me sighs, 'Milano', rather dramatically every so often. I think to myself that the city I feel this way about is the one I have just left, now about 20 hours ago. Panic kicks in. My palms start to sweat. The doubts I had about coming here all come back to me. I breathe. I try to stay calm. I don't pinch myself, although I wish I were the type of person who did that. The pilot announces that we will be landing in about 15 minutes. The food cart passes by. I scream internally. The man behind me sighs again. I want this to be one of those movies where the protagonist claws at the chair and screams and cries. I hold it together. We land.

 

In Transit

I find my bags, for the first time in my life with no problems. 'Maybe this is a good sign,' I think to myself. I work my way through immigration and get to the open section of the airport. Linate is designed to get you in and out as quickly as possible, a feature my wracked nerves do not entirely appreciate at this point. I find my way to a taxi, load my bags and pysch myself into hopping into the backseat. The driver is a very sweet older man who tells me about the city, how he's lived here all his life and how much he loves it. And while it is a little gray and the winter has made it cold, I say a prayer that I will come to think of Milan in the same way.

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Nana Akua Mensah

<p>Nana Akua Amoafoa Mensah is an Old African Studies, Italian and possibly Art major at Yale University. Born and raised in Ghana, she moved to the US for school, and has since awakened a love for travel and experiencing new places. She is a music and art enthusiast, and a style blogger seeking to draw inspiration for her art and writing from the places she sees and the people she interacts with.</p>

Destination:
Term:
2016 Spring
Home university:
Yale University
Major:
African Studies
Italian
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