I say a sad goodbye to my car and we head to the airport. I'm sweating with insane nerves because I know my baggage is ridiculously overweight and I know that if I don't have a kind soul checking me in, then I'm in for a phenomenally unpleasant experience.
We park the car and go to the O.R.Thambo check-in area. Oh dear, already a bad start, we paid 50 bucks at the entrance of international departures to wrap my bag in plastic, then as we get to the check in queue we see the airline do it for free! Infuriating!
"Breathe Shannan, wait in the queue and breathe. You'll be ok." I pray with all my might that I don't have to pay the excess on my baggage.
My sister's boyfriend sees the panic on my face and walks through with me, dodging the security guy (who is telling people that only the travellers with tickets can go past the barrier) who is fortunately arguing with a group of people trying to do the same thing we are.
We get to the front. I'm praying. The lady doesn't look like she is going to budge on the weight. Lord Please…
Only the two main bags weigh in at a combined 30kgs.
Oh no! I feel the panic rising.
Steve steps up to stand next to me. I explain that I'm immigrating. He asks her about the baggage allowance for sports equipment. She asks if there is sporting equipment; I say not really as it's mostly books.
"I'm a teacher and I'm moving to the UK to teach. I have reference books that I can't leave behind."
She looks at me and the weight. She stands up and goes to her manager. I think she explained my story, or pointed to the fatigue on my face, or just felt empathy for me. Whatever it was, thank the Lord, she convinced her manager to sign off my extra weight and didn't even raise her eyes towards, or ask about my obvious hand luggage, God Bless her!
Relief, ecstatic relief. Amen. With my heavy chiropractic pillow,
a toy dog named Ed, and two FAR TOO heavy bags of hand luggage,
we make haste to leave the check-in area.
I don't know what I'm supposed to say or do. I'm not sure what would be profound, what would fit the situation… We settle on great big hugs and held back tears as my mind, body and soul feel the exhaustion of the past months of organising, closing off, preparing and ending. The only words that fit any situation: "Love you lots."