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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The start - 1

Finally I'm here.. Finally I'm actually sitting down to start this blog. It's been so long since I set it up. It's been so long since I left Ireland. Feels like forever ago. A different world, a different zone, a different state of mind, everything so so different. So much has happened in such a short space of time, even though I haven't done much at all. That's pretty contradicting.. At the moment, it's Monday afternoon here (had to think there for a minute) and I've been here for 3 days. I sometimes can't quite believe that I made it.

The journey was so crazy but one of the best I've ever had. It started out on Thursday afternoon. As I set off, by myself, after having said goodbye, things were different than I had expected them to be. During the build-up to leaving Ireland, I sometimes felt slightly panicked by the thoughts of having to say goodbye to Ma and the rest so I didn't really want to think about what it would be like having to walk away. On the day itself everything proved so different. The closer the time got, the more at ease I seemed to be. I wasn't dreading the goodbye too much. I knew I had to do it.. I had to leave, this was my time. So that's exactly what I did. I wasn't an emotional mess, I was happy. I wasn't worried about the journey or about what might lie ahead, but I was excited. I felt more stable and independent that I had felt in such a long time. And it was the best feeling ever. It might sound so selfish, that walking away from the 10 of the most difficult months of my life along with all the people who helped me so much, was so easy and so liberating. But sometimes that's just how a person has to be..

We said our goodbyes, yes I was sad, but so happy too. I turned my back and walked away. Did I look back? Of course I did, but only once I was sure that they weren't standing there watching me go through the security gates. They left and I left. We parted on different terms.. some sadness and happiness. The end of something old and the beginning of something new. I walked through the security and that was it.. Me, on my journey, so strong and independent. I was ecstatic. I was overjoyed. I was free.

The skies were grey, the rain was falling and my heart was lifting, as I was leaving behind more than I ever thought I'd encounter.. I had 3 flights in total, the first one was from Dublin to London. This was all very normal and I didn't feel like I was properly on my way. It wasn't until I needed to get to the terminal from which the flight to Singapore would be boarding. That's when I really knew that I was well and truly on my way. I had so many doubts that something was going to go wrong along the way. I was convinced that I wouldn't actually make it anywhere close to Australia. But as soon I felt I was setting off, I knew that I wouldn't go back if anything went wrong but that I'd do what was needed in order to get to where I was heading.

I was in London at around 8 o'clock in the evening. The flight to Singapore was at half 9. So I had enough time to get to terminal 4, by tube. I met a lady from Northern Ireland, who was getting on the same flight as me. She was delighted to bump into somebody that would help her find her way to the boarding gate. Well, it was like we had known each other for ages by the time we were boarding the plane. Everyone was mistaking us for mother and daughter.. The woman with her insane Irish accent was telling all the assistants that we'd only just met and how great it was that I was helping her. So sweet. We had different seats on the plane though, so we said we'd meet each other on the other side, once we got to Singapore.

It was at this stage that I was told I was getting a free upgrade on the plane! I couldn't believe it.. I had booked a premium economy ticket, apparently, and economy class was full, so everyone with a premium ticket was put in Business class.. Well I couldn't believe my luck. At first I felt uncomfortable just knowing that other people had paid thousands to sit in one of those seats, and I had paid nothing extra.. O well, I took what I was given and it was the best flight I've ever been on..especially when you're used to flying Ryan Air.

I ended up being sat beside an Australia woman, who was the nicest person ever and also the first Ozzie I've spoken to since being here last, with the best accent. I just wanted to listen and listen and listen to her speak. We clicked straight away and within 5 minutes we were talking about Gordon Ramsay and Hells Kitchen.. It was so funny. This was after we had been offered champagne by the air hostess. Me and Michelle (the woman beside me) toasted to our journey and chatted like we were old mates. Little did she know, just how much that champagne, that flight and my journey meant to me.

I had to check if the champagne was free all night.. along with all the other alcoholic beverages.. She had to laugh at my naivety.. "yes, the champagne is on demand..".. oops..

We had a 3 course meal, with proper cutlery, plates, glasses, wine..the works.. We had movies, nibbles, blankets, toiletries and a seat that was made into a bed as we were able to lie down flat!! The airhostess knew my name..(she was so sweet.. a little Asian woman).."Is there anything else you would like Miss Keoghan?" I got a fright the first time she said my name. So, all in all, throughout the whole flight, I sat there with this silly grin on my face, which probably made it obvious that I had gotten a free upgrade.. Not to worry though. Because I was ecstatic with being on that plane (even if I hadn't been upgraded, I still would have loved every minute of it), being in the air and just being moved to such different climates. It was an amazing feeling. I think that champagne gave me a massive buzz. So surreal and the pain that that smile on my face was causing..

You'd think that with having so much luxury, sleeping would be easy. Well, it wasn't. I hardly slept at all, which was such a shame. But I had so much adrenaline, I didn't care. We landed in Singapore at around 5 in the afternoon (local time), on Friday. It was 9 in the morning back in Ireland. I didn't see the lovely lady from Northern Ireland once I was in the airport after being hit in the face with the humidity that was seeping through the "tubes" that led us to the terminal. I hadn't prepared myself for that 30 degree heat.. O well, I was in Asia, if only for 3 hours, so nothing really mattered. I would have happily stayed there, being in that culture. It was an amazing feeling..

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