I woke up at 5 am to dark red lines peaking over the horizon. The sun was rising, and I was awake for it. Everyone around me was dead asleep, and it felt really special to be the only one awake, witnessing the sun rise over the Indonesian islands. Like it was rising just for me.
I was right near the left wing of the plane and could see all the details of it. There’s something so cool about seeing the details of the plane when you’re 30,000 feet in the sky. Maybe it’s because when you’re down on the ground, looking up at the plane, all you see is a tiny dot or maybe a streak. But that plane is real, and there are real people, like me, inside.
We touched down in Singapore around 7:30. I had to make my way to a different terminal for my connecting flight to Tokyo.
The airport was massive, but super easy to get around.
I grabbed a coffee from Pret A Manger on my way to the gate. Everything was ridiculously expensive— a latte was $5.50— so I bought a normal coffee for $2.
I had to get through a security check to get into my gate. After putting my backpack through the scanner, the lady asked me to open it up. She took out my almond butter and told me I couldn’t have it. I asked her why, and she told me because it’s a gel.
“It’s not a gel, it’s almond butter.”
“Well, it’s a paste. You can’t have paste.”
“But it’s just almond butter…”
I was really getting upset. Did she know how much that tiny jar of almond butter cost???! Ugh.
In the end, I walked away sans almond butter, very sad.
We boarded the plane to Narita and were in the sky around 9:30 am.
At meal time, the flight attendants came around with stickers for those who ordered special meals.
The girl in the row near me ordered a vegan meal. I of course got excited— another vegan!
And then, when the meal came, she busted out HER OWN CHILI POWDER. That is a total Anna move. I think she is my soulmate. But I didn’t get a chance to talk to her because she was in a row just a bit too far away to start a natural conversation.
We landed in Tokyo at 5:30. While waiting for my luggage to come down the conveyer belt, I went to the bathroom. It felt SO amazing to be back in a developed country. I could drink out of the water fountain again! And there was an automatic soap dispenser in the bathroom! And toilet paper! I felt like I was living in luxury.
I got my luggage, went through the customs check (where the guy was overly suspicious of me— he made me open up my bag and everything), and then bought an Airport Limousine bus ticket to my parent’s place in the western suburbs of Tokyo.
The bus wasn’t coming until 6:50, so I still had 50 minutes to spare. I walked down to the convenient store and bought two onigiris (rice balls) and a tea. It’s tradition— I MUST have rice balls as soon as I enter Japan.
I ate the onigiri and waited for the bus to come.
There was a bit of traffic on the way home, but it wasn’t too bad.
I was at my parent’s apartment around 9, happy to finally be done traveling for the day.
It felt strange to be home, but it was also really nice to know that I didn’t need to pack up my backpack anymore. I could stay in one place, catch up on everything I had neglected for the last 8 months, cook on my own again, sleep in as long as I wanted to, and just take some time to decompress.
I chatted with my dad for a bit, but I was pretty tired from not having slept very much at all in the last 24 hours. I ate a small bowl of rice, showered, and went to bed by 11.