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  • When most of your best friends live abroad, the airport almost becomes your second home; it can be a place of complete ecstasy, or complete misery. Whether it’s the joys and nervousness in the build-up of waiting in the arrivals hall or the sadness, tears and prolonged hugs of goodbye at the departures gate, the airport is a place where people experience the entire range of human emotions.

    The Ecstasy

    You can barely sleep the night before one of your best friends visits, and you are at your most impatient self on that morning and during the car or bus journey to collect him or her. When you arrive at the airport, you don’t walk to the arrivals hall, you run!

    You know exactly where in the arrivals hall your friend will appear because he or she has taken that exact same flight several times already so you stand directly across from that entrance.

    You don’t notice the flood of ecstatic emotions experienced by people beside you as they collect their loved ones because you’re too busy concentrating on looking out for your friend.

    When you finally see your friend, you light up with a huge smile, one that won’t leave your face even after several minutes. You give him or her the tightest hug you’ve ever given anyone, to make up for months (maybe years) of not hugging and conversation flows like water from a tap.

    The Agony

    There’s 24 hours left before your friend has to leave; that’s plenty of time, or so you think. Those 24 hours go faster than anything you’ve experienced and soon you find yourself back in your car or bus again, on the way to the airport, but this time it’s not ecstasy you’re feeling, it’s sadness and pain.

    When you arrive at the airport with your friend, you don’t just want to walk, you want to go at a snail’s pace to deliberate your friend’s leaving. At check-in, you spend your queueing time not talking, but mentally preparing yourself for his or her departure.

    After check-in, you go for a coffee which of course you try to drink as slowly as possible to stretch the remaining time you have left with your friend. Perhaps you wonder whether you should excuse yourself to go to the bathroom and lock yourself there for an hour, so that your friend is forced to wait for you and miss his or her flight. But of course you don’t.

    Once you make the dreaded walk to the departures gate, you give your friend another record-breakingly long hug before saying goodbye and making plans for the next visit.
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