February 21st

Five thousand eight hundred and forty-four miles beyond the continental edge of my beloved homeland I fly, hours into the night, overtaking the sunrise. Large clusters of beaming lights proudly display cities I’ve only imagined. Dublin, Ireland. Paris, France. Frankfurt, Germany. Sarajevo, Bosnia. 

From darkness into beam of morning, we welcome day seven hours early. Stewardesses bustle to introduce breakfast before our descent into the fertile crescent. Clouds float and lift and the veil is parted. Stunning green! Such deep-hued seas! This world is fresh and alive. I gawk with amazement over shoulders and through windows as the plane begins to level and slow. 

Throughout the night I observed the flight path, and the map agreed, we had arrived. As landing gear made contact with foreign pavement, I widened my bleary eyes. New smells, both disagreeable and equally pleasant greeted me. A strange cacophony of language intrigued me. I was flustered to communicate with only signals and smiles. 

Our tour group, friends old and new, gathered at the edge of border control. Our trip was over and we were eager for the adventure!

February 21st