By Maame Adwoa Sekyi-Appiah
Published on December 8, 2014

London Heathrow Airport. Image from commons.wikimedia.org .

Tis the season to be jolly, fa la la la la, la la la.” I sang while I handed in the semester’s last exam paper. School was finally over! I could not wait to leave the soils of Canada and see my family back home in Accra, Ghana for Christmas.

The morning of December 21st, I woke up with same smile I took to bed. I checked my luggage at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport and I landed in London, England for transit. From hearing the Christmas carols to seeing the smiles of happy families to the people rushing to their boarding gates everything just spelled C-H-R-I-S-T-M-A-S!!

Ghana is my home. I grew up there and my family still lives there. My family means everything to me. They have been my support system through every challenge I have faced. I was finally going home after two years! I was six hours away and I felt as though I was already home.

Illustration by Maame Adwoa Sekyi-Appiah

Immersed in a book during my layover, I realized it was snowing outside. I whispered to myself – it is Christmas, so let it snow.

Three hours later, I wished I could take those words back. It was snowing heavily. As I overhead people complaining about flight cancellations, I prayed to God to stop the snow.

Forty minutes to boarding, they made the announcement I feared.

There would be a short delay. I found myself constantly checking my watch. After a two hours of delay, the announcement came. Due to the heavy snow, all flights out of Heathrow International Airport were canceled. My bright and joyful Christmas mood suddenly dimmed. Tears rolled down my eyes uncontrollably. I want to be home, I said to myself. Home to me is my family, Not Canada and definitely not the Heathrow Airport.

Tired from the tears I just shed, I lay my head down to nap. I felt lonelier looking at other people traveling with their. While watching them, I realized that family is everything. No matter where I am, having family with me made me feel at home.

My flight was eventually rescheduled to the following morning. As we were boarding, the airline staff apologized for what had happened. The smiles they had on warmed my heart an assured me that today is another day and a better one. We were finally taking off to Accra, Ghana!

When the plane took off I looked outside my window and I prayed to God to never let this happen to me or to anyone again. Although I was tired, cold and dirty, being in the air and finally going home put a smile back on my face. I started singing to myself “don we now our gay apparel, fa la la, la la la, la la la. Troll the ancient Yule tide carol, fa la la la la, la la la la.”

Maame reading

Maame presenting her story at the Second Annual Reading of On the Move in April 2014.

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