Personal Essay

648 words - 3 pages

My fascination for planes started with trains. When I was three years old I would beg my mother to take me to the train station in Antwerp, my hometown. She would sit with me for hours and I would stare at the trains entering and leaving the station. I am not sure what fascinated me, perhaps the chugging movement of the big wheels or maybe just the big train cars. All I know is that I was happy there.
My mother is Canadian and since my early childhood, we have often flown overseas from Belgium to visit my grandparents. Each time I stepped onto the plane I felt something magical. I couldn’t wait to sit by the window and stare outside. At age seven, I persuaded my parents to move our Sunday lunches to the local airport. In this intimate setting we would watch the planes take off and land while I pictured myself as the pilot flying off to distant places.
As I grew up my passion only intensified. During our stays in Canada my uncle started taking me up in his single-engine plane. The moment he suggested I take the wheel, I was hooked. I felt a sense of control as well as a detachment from earth, everything below me looking so tiny, and I slowly forgot about life’s trivial matters. When I was too far from Canada to fly with my uncle, I played flight simulator games, filed self-made flight plans and communicated with virtual air traffic controllers. For me, these activities were like putting together puzzles and they also made me feel like an actual pilot. My grandmother bought me books on how airplanes are built and I read them endlessly. At age thirteen, I was thrilled when my uncle took me to the EAA AirVenture Oshkosh convention. My uncle’s fellow aviation enthusiasts were amused at how excited I became waiting in line to board the Airbus A380 prototype, and they also expressed...

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