How I barely made it to Indonesia

How I barely made it to Indonesia

Initially, I didn’t feel like writing about this. It’s only when I couldn’t get it out of my head after more than a week, I thought writing might help me process the experience better….

Last week I entered Indonesia, barely…

I was transferring ETIHAD flights in Abu Dhabi coming from Brussels. After seven hours of waiting in Abu Dhabi, we were ready to board an 8-hour flight towards Jakarta. From there I would take a six-hour train to what I would call my home for the next couple of years, Pekalongan…

But first I have to get there. Everything was ready and on time when we were boarding the Jakarta plane. Approaching the take-off strip and as we’re getting speed the plane releases ground and gets into the air. The moment where everyone’s heart skips a beat… Then when the plane just released ground there was a sudden explosion sound and a light flash. Did this really just happen or was it my imagination??

I looked around me and I realized I wasn’t the only one who heard and saw it. Continuing into the air I noticed the aircraft didn’t go very high and even stopped ascending further. I could really feel there was something wrong out there. I wondered how everyone could stay so calm, I already had a million questions. The cabin crew noticed problems as well but they were waiting for further instructions from the cockpit to inform us. I noticed them calling a few times exchanging information through the intercom. Then during one specific conversation with the pilot, one of the stewardesses started crying silently. Her eyes started to tear and her lips started to shake, in front of everyone. Then I realized this is serious…

She kept talking to us trying to keep everyone calm even though she was still crying. Quite an unprofessional sight but apparently human emotions are unstoppable when things get serious. I was worried and I was not the only one… After some time the stewardess informed everyone that there is a “technical problem”. She told us to leave all personal belongings behind if there is the need for an emergency landing.

When your life is under threat you start to think differently. Priorities change and your brain goes into survival mode. I could only think about how this plane would get back to the ground…

Everyone was on the tip of their chair waiting for more information, except for some Indonesians who were sleeping. I even heard them snoring, can you imagine??

Finally, the stewardess announced we’re going back for a normal landing. At this point, we were already in the air for about 40 minutes. After turning back and clearing the landing strip we got to ground normally and came to a stop right after. All engines off and two fire trucks showed up immediately. It still wasn’t clear if there was a fire or not. After clearance of the fire brigade, a special truck pulled the airplane to the terminal and everyone got off board safely.

Air travel isn’t only damaging the environment it can also damage yourself in situations like this. Fortunately for me, it’s “only” mental damage. Everyone assumes nothing will happen and mostly it is like that, after all, it is one of the safest ways of transport out there (excluding the environmental impact). But if it happens it can be fatal pretty quickly. I realized I was lucky and still alive, as well as all the other passengers, hooray…

So, Indonesia didn’t really start well for me. It’s like something out there didn’t want me to get here. I made it after all and I realize even more that every day can be my last. Especially here in challenging Asia…

3 thoughts on “How I barely made it to Indonesia

  1. At least it makes the journey even more of an adventure and it makes all coming moments worth twice as much!

    Glad we still have you guys with us!

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