I think that most people who know me also know that I am not a big fan of Christmas. I don’t appreciate the disruptions; nothing is where is usually is in the supermarket, roads are closed to accommodate Christmas Fayres and late night shopping, awful tinny Christmas songs are playing over and over in every shop and there’s too much rubbish and repeats on the TV. It’s not all bad I suppose and the five days of enforced holiday will be welcome. In addition, there is always the unexpected which catches me out at this time of year and makes me think about the true meaning of Christmas.
Yesterday just that happened and, more than 24 hours later, I am still thinking back to those few minutes when my heart was lifted, the angels sang and those awful tinny Christmas songs faded into the background.
I was waiting at Birmingham Airport Arrivals for my hubby who was returning from a 2 week holiday in Iran and whose plane had just landed when a tall, elegant and well-spoken lady tapped me on the shoulder and asked what the difference is between “landed” and “at gate”. I explained that having landed, the plane that she was waiting for had now reached the gate and the passengers would soon be getting off the plane. We started to chat some more whilst she kept looking towards the arrivals board and down the slope from where passengers were emerging with their cases, periodically looking at her watch, clearly impatient. She was waiting for the same plane as me.
Educated in Somalia, she has been living and working as a nurse specialising in mental health for the last 15 years. Recently, she has changed her role so that she works at the City hospital rather than visit patients in their home. This is safer for her as a woman, a mental health nurse and currently, as a muslim dressed in robes and hijab. Sad as that is, I understand. This lovely lady has 4 very excited children at home waiting their daddy to arrive not just for the first time in England but more importantly, as a permanent resident. She hasn’t seen him since September 2014 when she and the children visited him in his native country Uganda and finally, after a long battle with the immigration authorities, he was to be reunited with his wife and family. I learned that he is an accountant and has a job in the banking industry lined up so now they are able to start their brand new life in England as a family and, hopefully, in a stable and safe environment.
She apologised beforehand for running off to greet her husband as she was so excited, and I explained that no apologies are needed and to run off straight away when he arrives. I was so excited for her at such a momentous time in her life and was pleased that I had a chance to share just a little bit of her story. I was hoping that her husband would arrive before mine so I could witness their reunion and sure enough, when this smart, suited man appeared pushing his cases, off she ran to greet him in tears. It almost brought me to tears but I was too busy laughing and smiling at their joy to cry.
I watched them walk away together, arm in arm, wondering if he has packed lots of woolly jumpers……he’ll need them but I guess that’s not the utmost thing on his mind right now. Being a little chilly looks like a small price to pay for being together with his family again.
Now that’s the magic of Christmas.