I cant remember my first trip or holiday or international flight. I wondered what it would have felt like and what my thoughts were. I grew up in Africa. Kenya. I know there was a point in my little mind I thought Africa was the world. I was naive, and I everything around me was the world. I began to fantasise of the other world. All the stories I was told had a western connotation to it, like – santa clause, autumn, spring, snow …. the simple things that would shock anyone growing in Africa. I knew there was more out there. Having said that, my thoughts were as naive, I thought lions, giraffes, rhinos could be found everywhere. I assumed every country basked under 30 degrees sunshine all year round. I didn’t understand the concept of seasons; leaves falling in autumn and frost during winter.
The simple mind and the simple things.
I now wonder what was running through my little boy’s mind as he embarked on his first international holiday. His first flight to Kenya. He is too small to understand what is going on but deep within him I am convinced he knew he was on a journey somewhere.
The flight was tiring. I had never travelled with an infant before. The excitement I once felt for a holiday was stolen by this very thought, replaced by nervousness and apprehension. He sat on my lap all the way. My sister travelled with me and I don’t know what I would have done without her. Arjun was a good little boy and slept most of the way, but the last few hours were enough to label my flight as one of the most tiring flights I have ever taken. I once used to be those travellers who never wanted to sit next to a mother with a child. Now I was that mother that everyone looked at each time Arjun squealed in irritation of being fixed to one spot for all those hours.
After 5 hours of the flight, a nap and a meal, he was anxious to walk about. I let him walk through the aisles packed with travellers. His curiosity got the better of him; Arjun stopped to look at everyone. He had never been in this situation before, he must have thought who are all these people.
For all mothers out there, it was not fun but worth the experience.
My son’s first internatnal travel was back to my roots. Each corner of the streets of Nairobi I can relive my youth just like it was yesterday. Now, being able to walk through these memories with my son was indeed very surreal. It was like a child showing off her playground to another. He is too small to remember this visit but I hope I create memories that would be imprinted and relived through our conversations.
We arrived late at night. It was humid and warm as we embarked off the flight. A tired mommy with a tired baby both looking florward to a goodbye nights sleep.
My mother put us up in my childhood bedroom. We both didn’t sleep too well with the heat. He woke up a grumpy little baby with mosquito bites on his arms and face. But the bright day, blue skies, sound of african birds with a cool breeze was more than enough for Arjun; his eyes glowed with surprise. He barely contained his excitement as he ran from room to room trying to understand his environment. This was the start to hopefully a loving relationship with Africa. They atleast had one thing in common, Africa is as carefree as he is.
I cannot wait to see what is in store for us in the weeks to come….