In a recent vacation with my husband and son, we decided we wanted to “see it all” so we customized our tickets to go through one route, but return from another. Visiting several countries, we used a mix of planes, rental cars, and the old fashion crossing borders by foot.
At the border crossing of one particular country, a Middle Eastern country (I’ll leave it at that), I was not too surprised when I noticed that there was a bit of chaos and a lack of order and organization at the immigration/customs/visa area. My husband and I, along with 3 suit cases, 2 handbags, and a toddler in a stroller waited behind what appeared to be the last person in the “line”. Very quickly the “line” filled up with people on our left, right, behind, and in front. Yes, people were cutting the line. Again not too surprising, but frustrating. My husband did a good job staying behind the person we originally started out behind, but the task wasn’t as easy for me, pushing a stroller. Before I knew it, people were huffing and puffing about me. They weren’t happy about the stroller and the fact that I attached a rolling suitcase to it- making cutting the line for others difficult. “Just push her bag out of the way and get in front of her,” I heard a woman telling her son.
I’m a fairly sensitive person, so when I reached the point of absolute frustration with the rudeness and pushiness of the people, combined with my helplessness for my hot and hungry crying son (it was nearly 118 degrees Fahrenheit) , I started to cry. I felt like such a baby, and was angry at myself for letting my tears come down, but I couldn’t help it. An employee came up to me and asked me why I was crying, I tattled on the people like a young first grader would through my sobs. “And they’re not staying in line!” I complained. “There is no line. You need to be patient,” he replied. I gave him a furious stare. I wanted to yell out a hundred and one words at him, but I was too weak to let out another word. He asked me to wait on a bench, to the side, as my husband waited in “line”.
I sat on the bench as asked, held my son, closed my eyes and prayed to Allah. I wasn’t going to let those last 30 minutes ruin my vacation so I quickly recollected myself. Elhamdulela things were much better after we went through the border. At the last two countries we visited, lines were also long at the airports, but I was thankful that there were at least organized lines.
Hoda is a wife and a mother to a stillborn daughter in heaven and a one year old son. She is an elementary public school teacher and lives in Virginia.