Heading Home

Like many immigrants during the Christmas holiday, I boarded a flight to head home. It was 10 pm on a Tuesday night, and I was not looking forward to this journey as, for the first time, I had 2 layovers ahead of me. I blame myself for not booking early.

The first flight went by quickly. I stared out of the window to eye the city lights, and when it turned dark as we flew over the ocean, I took a long nap.

On the second flight, as I was settling, I noticed the same lady who was in my row on the first flight coming down the aisle verifying the number of her seat. Coincidentally, we were assigned the same seats on both flights, which struck a conversation.

I learned that she used to be the CFO of a publicly listed company but is now retired. I admired her simplicity. I also got to know she was visiting her daughter and returning home. I candidly asked what’s one biggest takeaway she has to offer from being in the industry for so long, and she said without pausing for a second, “Not spending enough time with my daughters.” “It went by so quickly,” she added with a rueful smile, “that I am now trying to catch up on all those missed years.”

As an immigrant, I sense a similar guilt quite often. It is hard to start a new life in a new country. But it is even harder to not be there with your parents while they are growing old. Especially when you are the only child. After the interaction, I was no longer thinking about how exhausting the journey was. Instead, I was happy I got to spend time with my family.

The flight landed, and the captain thanked everyone for flying with them. I collected my luggage, and after a long 34-hour journey, I was home.