Hey there 👋
I had everything planned out for this playlist. I was flying back home to Taiwan with my girlfriend on the early morning of the 24th and had downloaded a cache of music for offline listening so that I could plan out the songs I would choose for this month’s curation and recommendations. After a month of jumping through hoop after hoop to acquire what’s called a “special entry visa” for anyone without a Taiwanese passport, I was finally just a 7,801-mile plane ride away from seeing my family.
At the airport, we walked to a specially demarcated path formed by stanchions aside from the usual check-in counters. An agent came over to us and requested to see our passports and travel documents. Although my girlfriend did not require one as a Taiwanese passport holder, I, with my “special entry visa” status, was expected to furnish a negative COVID test dated within the past 3 days. The morning of, we had waited together in line for almost 5 hours to take and receive our Rapid Test results. After examining the negative results we both received for a good five minutes, I was given the bad news by the agent that the type of test we took wasn’t compliant with CDC guidelines and therefore could not be accepted per my “special entry visa” status.
Everything was a blur from that moment on. We barely had time to talk after or even to properly say goodbye at the airport. Logically, it made sense that my girlfriend should take the flight as planned as she was able to check in and had a quarantine hotel and pick-up car already arranged; yet, emotionally I was shaken to my core at the thought of this thorough planning unraveling before my eyes. At the end of it all, I found myself alone in an empty wing of Terminal 1 in JFK. Twice, airport employees had come over to remind me that the airport was closing, only one of them extending a more sympathetic approach when he noticed my tear-stained and emotional appearance. I sat with my one backpack and two suitcases, still stunned and way too emotionally overwhelmed to process the series of events that had transpired.
The only thing left to do was to call an Uber home.