While browsing through my Facebook feed I found an interesting status. There it was, embedded between the stories about people’s breakfasts, the photos of cats, the pointless statements about a person’s head cold, a woman’s love for the color purple,  and a wife’s paragraph about the love she has for her husband who incidentally lives with her in the same house. The status read “The Arrival Section in the Airport is the Happiest Place on Earth.”

I stopped to think about that statement for a minute, something in it really caught my eye. I never thought of happiness in that way, but let’s face it the statement does hold true. Rarely do you find a sad arrival in the arrival section of an airport. In fact, it is the one place where we put all our personal feelings aside and we say welcome home or welcome to Amman, Dubai, Cairo, or whatever other city the person had landed in. Regardless of whether we like or hate the person who has just landed in our airport, we celebrate the arrival.

It is the one place in our extremely crowded lives that brings together an entire family to meet their long gone son and possibly his family . It is where a mother and father meet their sons and daughters who are home for the holidays after a year of absence in the Gulf, the USA, Canada, or any other place they had temporarily called their own.

It is the hall where a group of young men sing and dance to celebrate the return of the newest fresh graduate in the family, coming home with a  Law degree from Harvard, Yale, Oxford , or any other reputable university.

It is the space that unites two sets of parents who have come together to celebrate the return of a bride and groom from their honeymoon, as it is where parents wait for the child who is coming home from boarding school. It is where business men push their luggage towards a taxi taking them to a five-star hotel, or where a group of tourists express their excitement to discover a new city. It is the spot where a grandmother holds her grandchild for the first time, as a mother and daughter hug and cry after they re-unite to  collectively mourn the death of a loved one.

Anything goes in the arrival section of an airport. All public displays of affection are allowed. A man kisses a woman dozens of times and no one stops to judge or to notice, another woman throws her suitcase and runs to meet the love of life as he lifts her up off the ground and hugs her so tight, a mother cries for joy when she sees her son return from the distance,  a father meets his son and they both cry in each other’s arms be it for the death, the love, the loss of money or the time that was lost.

In the far end of the arrival section a man talks with joy on his cellular phone to someone on the other end of the line who is happy to hear of his arrival. A woman walks towards the exchange office to exchange money, a man picks up a gift, and a woman picks up her phone.

Millions of stories are born in the arrival section of an airport. some are happy  others are sad.  but even if this little section of the city sees some of the saddest stories in history, it is still the happiest place on Earth. After all, it is the first place we go to after realizing that we are still alive and that we had landed safely from a flight. It always brings through its walls and floors the promise of a new day, a new life, a new chance, and a new beginning.



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