2010, end of summer

The neon lights inside the airport are blending with the rays of dusk reflecting through the large airport windows. I can feel the heat coming from the tunnel leading towards the plane. I feel my sweat dribbling under my collar. It’s Sunday evening, a new work week is about to start. And the starting point is a Turkish Airlines flight to Ankara. Boarding gate is open, people are waiting in line to embark the plane. The line is moving slow and it packs up at the plane entrance. There are people going on vacation, Turkish people going back home, “business men”, they are all hustling like in some sort of competition. All I can think of is “why?”. Somebody is pushing me, I have to advance.

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2013, end of December

Dear mister Maruseac, we would like to inform you that <x> miles from your account will expire at the end of this year“, that’s how the monthly newsletter from Turkish Airlines sounded like (an email I hardly ever read). I almost forgot when was the last day I traveled with them. I wonder how many miles I have? Most probably I cannot used them. But still, I better ask. Next day, December 30, we are on our way to celebrate the famous… “New Year’s Eve”. We leave Bucharest and turn right at Otopeni airport. It will be a short stop and a quick question. So I but on a big smile and a load of enthusiasm and I stop at Turkish Airlines office. “Hello. I have this Turkish Airlines card. Where can we buy plane tickets with these miles?” “Aaaaa, well, you can go to Munich or <random city from Europe>or…” “No, seriously, I can visit Europe anytime. Tell me something far away. Australia?” “No, but you do have enough miles for Africa. Are you interested?” “Yes, 2 tickets to Dar Es Salaam, please.” and that’s how it started… Here’s how all the days spent in planes and airports, for work, worries not to miss the connection, waking up at 4 A.M. to catch the “6 A.M. flight”, all these lead to 2 plane tickets to Africa.

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2014, middle of August

One more month to Africa. A new journey. Far less time, but same huge amount of enthusiasm. We have to leave Gunnar home this time. But we take with us all the optimism we have and good cheer. What we have prepared so far? Well…. we have the plane tickets and… that’s it. Oh, did I mention enthusiasm? Come along!

leu In Africa!