April 4, 2015
What happens when two sisters meet after being separated from each other and living on opposite sides of the world for nearly three months? Well, it is worthy of a teledrama, of course.
I had left home at the end of January and my sister’s school had organised a school trip to Italy during the Easter break – my little sis was coming to Italy for two weeks! I was staying in Rome with family for my Easter break, and the school was due to arrive the day before Easter. Their group would be off doing their own thing and being fabulous and having a ball, but we wanted to see them when they landed, so naturally, my two aunts and uncle and I packed into the car and headed out to Fiumicino Airport.
I was nervous. I had my eyes on the time – I was insistent on getting there early, so as not to miss them. When we arrived, we hurried over to the arrival gate and waited. The display informed us that they had arrived, all was going smoothly and according to plan. Except … every passenger except the students seemed to be spilling forth from the sliding doors.
I checked my phone for a message. Nothing.
Within two minutes, I had checked my phone again. Nothing.
Half an hour. Forty minutes. Forty-five …
They were coming, she texted me – something about baggage issues.
I leant against the barrier, climbed up to get a better view, hoisting myself up with the railing.
I saw a flash of shoulder-length brown hair and instinctively screamed the teacher’s surname across the barrier: “MISS!”
Alas, there were many startled glances of shock, though none of recognition – I had mistaken an innocent passenger for one of the Italian teachers who was coming with the girls.
Another ten minutes passed.
And then, finally, I saw them: a gaggle of tired Australian school girls!
I ran. I rushed to the other side of the barrier, desperate for a better view, and then I spotted a tuft of curly hair, then her face through the girls, and then I was running, past the barrier, towards the arrivals door and into her arms. She saw me running, and began to run too, and we were a collision of arms and tears and hair, amidst cries of “What’s happening?” and “Who is that?” Within seconds, the girls were all exclaiming, “It’s her sister!” “Oh, her sister!” “Her sister is here!” And then one very confused, “What the f*** is her sister here for?”
Jaida’s voice rose above the others – “Where did my suitcase go?”
For it was true – the suitcase that she had been dragging along behind her had vanished. I glanced around. “How can you lose your suitcase?” I cried, just as my uncle emerged from the crowd of onlookers, many confused, the trolley in hand.
To hear my aunty, Zia B, tell it later – I had been standing next to them, then all of a sudden I was gone! Then Zia B saw me run past the barrier and towards Jaida, and Jaida ran to me, and then let go of her suitcase (which was on wheels) and then the suitcase did some running of its own – right into the crowd of people! So our uncle ran to get the suitcase, Zia B came towards us, and my other poor aunty didn’t even know what was happening until she turned around and found that she was standing alone!
Once the relevant teachers were greeted and introduced to our aunts and our uncle, Jaida and I had time for a brief hug and photo before the girls were whisked away to their bus by their already-grumpy driver, disgruntled from having waited for nearly an hour for them to arrive. We were together for about five minutes, but I loved it. It was the most amazing and cool and beautiful amalgamation of emotion and comedy and tears. And the best part – we had permission to bring Jaida home to Rome for our Easter celebrations the following day! But that is another post for another day!