It is always the same. When I am going to make a trip I cannot sleep the night before, feeling nervous, excited, counting the stars until it is morning. I remember my mother always said, “Traveling makes the man—and the woman.”

And this time I would be traveling by airplane! I was amazed when the day came, looking out of the windows of the airplane. How wonderful God painted the world!

When we landed, I was concerned where to go to find the gate for my connecting flight in a very big airport. Finally I told myself, “Okay, don’t worry, follow the passengers who are in the same plane with me and I will find my way.”

I followed six people before me as we walked into the airport from the plane. I walked behind four men and two women, all of them looking as if they were going on a business trip. The six people went to the elevator.

I asked myself, “What now? Do I go in the elevator?”

I stepped in and I saw that the woman clicked the fourth floor. Then I saw that on every floor they went out, one by one, and I told myself “Okay, now I am going to follow the last person.”

At the sixth floor the elevator stopped and the man stepped out and I was after him. He went direct, then turned right and looked back as if he wanted to ask why I was following him. He checked his pockets and went to another hall and suddenly I saw he went to the toilet!

I laughed at myself and went back to he elevator and asked a police officer about the next flight. From this I learned it is always good not to hesitate, but to ask when there is something we don’t know about.

***

On another day during the trip I went to a big shopping center and I bought a woman’s hat for myself. It was red with some green leaves on it.

It has always been my bad habit that when I buy something that is my favorite, I wear it right then. I wore my hat and left the shop when I noticed everyone looking at me; they were whispering with each other. I checked my clothes and couldn’t find anything wrong. As I walked people were looking at me so I asked a smiling girl—she had such a nice smile I thought she was about to tell me something. I asked her, “Why are the people laughing?” The girl smiled and told me, “Madam, you wore the hat with its price on it!”

I suddenly took off my hat and looked and there it was, a small red tag: “Final sale for children!” I laughed and laughed with the kind girl as we walked out of the shopping center together. She carried her bag in her hands. 

“I had some shopping, too,” she said.

I said, “Oh, congratulations.”

She said, “I bought eggs.”

It was very funny and the funniest part was that I was laughing so hard I could not stop.

***

When I came back to my hotel for dinner, I went to a restaurant. The waiter had placed everything on the table when he kindly asked me, “Madam, do you want your juice?”

I pointed at my plate.

He looked at me oddly and then I understood my mistake.

I told myself, “Haven’t you ever seen a drink on your plate before?”

Then the waiter put the glass of juice on the table and as he left he was shaking his head.

These memories of my first big travel always make me smile. I am glad nobody knew I was from Afghanistan!

By Norwan

Photo: Reuters