Cheering on Team Canada in Dubai

Feb 28, 2010

I consider myself to be quite a patriotic person, but my true patriotism shines through when I live overseas. At midnight, Dubai time, I rushed to the cafe downstairs in a desperate attempt to find online live streaming video of the Olympic gold medal hockey game... Canada vs. the United States. I'm not a huge sports fan, but it was this very game 8 years ago that sparked my interest in hockey for the first time. Since then I've chosen an NHL team to cheer for and actually learnt a bit about the rules of the game. After much frustration I finally managed to find a site that worked. It was terrible quality and on my tiny laptop I had to squint to make out who was on what team, but I didn't care. I was not going to miss this game. I was joined by Piriya, who was perhaps a tiny bit more excited than me, as Vancouver is her home. She donned her Olympic mittens despite the desert heat, as I clutched Maple, my stuffed Canadian moose. We cheered proudly and didn't care that everyone in the cafe was staring as Canada scored their first goal. Near the end of the second period, the staff advised us that they were closing. We'd already managed to get an extra 20 minutes out of them. We reluctantly headed outside, where we stayed until the wireless connection was switched off for the evening. Now what?! Irritated and anxious to see the outcome of the game, we found another wireless network and connected. Unfortunately, we were unable to find another site with video that was working, as the site we'd been using was no longer working. Why, oh why must things be so difficult. Canada was winning with a score of 2-1 as we sadly returned to our apartments. Ryan kept me updated as I sat miserably in my living room, cursing Dubai and its lack of Olympic coverage on TV. I had accepted Canada's certain victory and was feeling quite proud when suddenly the USA team scored with only 24 seconds left in the game. Oh no! Overtime! I frantically searched for another way to see the game. I finally managed to find a site, seconds before Canada scored and won the game... and GOLD! What a game! I'm feeling super patriotic and will likely brag to everyone that I talk to tomorrow, despite the fact that the majority of them couldn't care less about hockey, or the Olympics. Way to go, Canada. Vancouver 2010 marks the most Olympic medals won at the games, ever! You make me proud to say that I'm Canadian!

They Pay Me For This?!

Cabin crew are terrible for creating ridiculous rumours. Over the past few weeks, I'd heard multiple stories about ghosts that reside in the Jakarta hotel. I try not to listen to silly stories... but I'll admit it, I was a bit wary of my 55 hour layover in the Indonesian city. To make matters worse, I was still feeling a bit sick from the nasty cold that had plagued me during my last layover. At 2 in the morning I met the rest of the crew. I agreed without hesitation when one very enthusiastic Italian named Flavio suggested that we all go to Pulua Seribu (Thousand Islands) the next day. My previous layovers had been spent exploring on my own, but there are places in the world where doing so is not as safe or easy, especially being a non-Indonesian speaking female. I was a bit relieved that I had an ambitious crew. The flight over was probably my best so far. Indonesians are very friendly people, and when it comes to passengers you can't ask for much better. They slept the majority of the flight, rarely rang the call bells, and all left smiling 7 1/2 hours later. As we stepped out of the airport, we were met with extreme humidity. Ahh, the tropics. My dry skin rejoiced in the relief from the desert. Upon arrival at the hotel, I wondered how anybody had anything negative to say about Jakarta layovers. It was a resort hotel with a beautiful swimming pool, surrounded by lush green trees and plant life. I was going to enjoy every minute of it. After unpacking a few things in my room, I set out for the pool. The sun was going down and the mosquitos were rampant, so a few of us agreed to head to the buffet for dinner. I sat there forever, loading plate after plate full of sushi, nasi goreng, seafood... and amazing desserts. I had every intention of heading to bed early, but the free internet kept me awake late talking to my mom and boyfriend. Eventually I crawled into bed, falling asleep immediately.
Day 2, I awoke to my 6 am wakeup call from Flavio. "Good morning! Breakfast!", he cheerfully greeted me. I hopped in the shower (that didn't get much beyond lukewarm in temperature) to wake me from my zombie state and proceeded to the restaurant for MORE food. After we'd all eaten and were ready to go, 6 of us headed out to catch taxis. We advised the driver to take us to the port, attempting to communicate despite the language barrier between us. We drove through Jakarta, passing by row after row of corrugated iron and wood shacks. It's always quite eye opening, seeing the slums of a country. It puts a lot into perspective, primarily how fortunate I am to have this amazing job and stay in beautiful hotels while some people live in makeshift homes no bigger than my washroom. Despite this, the children still play happily outside, completely oblivious to the fact that they are far less fortunate than many others. Eventually, we reached the port. More confusion followed as we were bombarded with tour operators trying to sell us overpriced trips to the islands. We eventually hired a private boat to take us to the nearest islands so that we could plan our day at our own pace. The 1 million rupiah cost seemed extremely expensive, but in reality it was only about $100 Canadian, divided amongst all 6 of us. We hopped onto our boat and set off, away from the dirty shores of Jakarta. Our captain took us to Ayer Island, about a 30 minute journey. There wasn't a whole lot to do besides relax and enjoy the tropical island atmosphere. This was exactly what I needed. I walked around the entire island in about 5 minutes, taking photos of everything in sight. The ocean water isn't exactly ideal for swimming, situated such a short distance from a city of 12 million people. I instead chose the pool to offer relief from the intense heat. I napped briefly on a swing under the shade of palm trees, dined on more nasi goreng in the restaurant, and relaxed until we were all exhausted and ready to head back to the hotel. Thankfully, our boat had not left us behind. As we spent hours relaxing on the island, they sat waiting in the boat to take us back whenever we desired. Satisfied with our day, we arrived back at the hotel and proceeded to feast once again at the buffet. Some of the crew headed out to nightclubs in the city as I headed to sleep. The next day I awoke bright and early to enjoy my last bit of Jakarta. I spent the morning lying by the pool, basking in the glorious sunshine. Around lunch time it got a bit unbearably hot, as even the lounge chair that I was sitting on felt like a hot stove top. After a delicious lunch of Singapore noodles, I headed to the spa to make use of the steam room, already feeling far better than I had a few days earlier. What a great layover it had been. It was time to pack my bags and get a few hours of sleep before my overnight flight. I reluctantly placed my bikini and summer dresses in my suitcase, wondering when we'd see each other again. I'd felt so free in Indonesia, where showing your shoulders is far less taboo than in Dubai. After a great nap I met the crew and we proceeded to the airport. I felt privileged to have been on the very last 55 hour layover, as twice daily service to Jakarta begins in March, making all layovers on 24 hours. Goodbye, Indonesia! Back to the sandpit I go.

Sippin' Tea in Manchester

Feb 24, 2010

Upon checking my roster on Sunday, I was thrilled to find that my Khartoum turnaround flight the next day had been switched to a Manchester layover. Hello, England! I packed my warmest of clothes in preparation for much cooler temperatures than I've experienced in the past 2 1/2 months. Since returning from Brisbane, I'd felt a bit under the weather, but I assumed that it would pass and that I'd be back to normal in time for my flight. Boy, was I wrong. I woke up the next morning struggling to speak with a cracking voice. Clearly the chaotic schedule and lack of sleep had caught up to me. Great. I had a 7 1/2 hour flight ahead of me and I was losing my voice. I was no longer looking forward to the trip, instead wishing that I could stay home and sleep for the next week or so. I arrived to the briefing and was happy to find that a crew member from my Brisbane flight was on this one as well. It's always nice to see a familiar face! The flight was full... 400 passengers in economy. They kept us extremely busy serving mass amounts of gin and tonic and multiple pots of tea. My voice was disappearing more and more with each passing hour, so I was relieved when we finally landed in Manchester. After checking into the hotel, I had 2 options: Sleep (which would be a smart choice given my current state of health) or go exploring. Obviously, I chose the latter, donning my winter jacket and catching a train into the city. Manchester isn't exactly a tourist hot spot, so there were few sightseeing essentials. I wandered the streets taking photos of phone booths, double decker buses, and extremely old buildings. After 2 months of living in the desert, the 2 degree weather felt absolutely freezing. I found the nearest coffee shop and grabbed a latte to warm me up. Mmm, caffeine. Freezing cold and exhausted, but not ready to head back to my hotel, I went shopping. Of course, by shopping I mean I browsed the shops, found many things that I would have loved to own, and then left without making a purchase. I can not wait to start getting flying pay. It was starting to get dark outside, so I decided to call it a day and headed back to the station to catch a train to the hotel. On the way, I picked up a BLT sandwich for dinner... indulging in BACON for the first time since moving to the U.A.E, a Muslim, non-pork loving country. It was amazing. Once I'd reached my hotel I ran a hot bath, relaxed, and finally crawled into bed (which felt like sleeping on a cloud in comparison to my rock hard bed in Dubai), sipped some tea (because I was in England, it felt mandatory) and had a lazy night. I slept for about 10 hours that night, with high hopes of feeling better by morning. No such luck. If anything, I felt worse. I bid farewell to England as I boarded the aircraft. On the bright side, the flight wasn't completely full... a welcome surprise for the crew. I sniffled for the entire duration of the flight, feeling a bit miserable. The crew was great, the flight wasn't busy, and it could have been a lot of fun had I felt better. As we landed in Dubai my ears were killing me. Flying with a cold is not a good idea, and is generally not advised. However, I'm still in my probationary period and any sick days look extremely negative on my record. We landed in Dubai at 12:25 am, and I headed home feeling completely drained of energy. Off to bed for me! I woke up this morning feeling a tiny bit better... at the very least I've partially regained my sense of taste. I plan to spend my day relaxing, doing absolutely nothing as I prepare for another 8 hour flight early tomorrow morning! What a crazy life I lead!

Back to Brisbane! (My First Layover)

Feb 18, 2010

In 2008 I called the beautiful city of Brisbane, Australia my home. When I left I promised myself that one day I'd return. As you can imagine, I was thrilled when I checked my roster and discovered that my very first layover flight was to Brisbane and Auckland.
I planned my trip out... what I would do, where I would go, what I must take photos of, and most importantly... the foods that I'd missed and must eat.
At 5 am I had to drag myself out of bed. Going to Australia was exciting, but the realization that I'd be working a 15 hour flight put a bit of a damper on my motivation. I managed to shower and finish some last minute packing, and it was off to the airport. I met the rest of the crew in the briefing, and once again, everyone seemed nice. I was a little intimidated... we'd be spending 6 days together and I was the newest member of the crew, still a bit slow and confused with service. I had my fingers crossed that they would be nice.
The flight was full, but the passengers were great. The thing about flying to some of the destinations is that the majority of the passengers have never been on a plane in their life. You find yourself stowing bags, trying to get everyone to sit down in time for take off, and answering never ending call bells. The passengers headed to Brisbane knew what they were doing. Shortly after serving dinner, everyone was asleep and I had time to sit and relax. I eat far too much onboard, because not only is food there and available whenever I want, but often there isn't a lot else to do. Later on in the flight I was able to go to the CRC (Crew Rest Compartment) for the first time ever! I changed into my crew pajamas and crawled down the ladder, found the first available bunk, and let the turbulence rock me to sleep. I was woken a couple of hours later to return to the cabin and serve breakfast. Then it was time to land! We arrived in Brisbane at 6 am, and as we left the airport we were immediately met by hot, humid air. Oh Australia, I've missed you. It wasn't quite as pleasant wearing a uniform in the scorching heat, as we waited for our bus driver to show up and take us to our hotel. Once we'd finally checked in, I had 2 options. My body was urging me to sleep, but I didn't listen. I changed into a summer dress (showing my shoulders for the first time in a couple of months) and ventured out to explore Brisbane. First stop, food. I've been missing sushi like crazy, as it's not as commonly found in the middle east. I grabbed some sushi rolls and a bubble tea, loving life and loving my job. I wandered to the botanical gardens, stumbling across the cafe where I used to work. After 2 months of Dubai, the trees, grass and nature in general were a welcome relief. The air was so fresh and so clean!
I spent the entire day wandering the city... walking until my feet had blisters. I took photos of the places that I'd taken hundreds of photos of before. Eventually I made my way back to the hotel. Exhausted, I headed to bed early to prepare for my 5 am wake up call the next morning.
Despite the early morning, I was very excited to head to Auckland. I'd never been to New Zealand, but I'd dreamt of it for a couple of years. After we'd arrived at the airport, I felt like goldfish in a bowl... everyone stopped and stared as we made our way through to the gate. It must be the red hats. I smiled and took it all in, feeling a little bit like a celebrity. "This happens every time", another crew member assured me, "and you'll never get sick of it." After a quick briefing we boarded the plane, looking forward to a short flight and eating mussels while sipping cocktails in Auckland. We all groaned as the Captain made a PA informing us of a 2 hour delay while engineering looked into an issue. A short while later, he announced that it would be closer to 5 hours, as they needed to fly a part in from Sydney. Well, that sucks. We were fortunate enough that our passengers had not yet boarded. All of our flight preps had been completed and all that was left to do was wait. Micheal Jackson played through the cabin as we ate and drank cappuccinos. I grabbed my camera and headed through the cabin, snapping photos of the first and business class cabins. The captain spotted me and insisted "Come here, come take a real photo." He led me to the cockpit, pointed to his seat and placed his hat on my head. I was so excited, and the other crew members were jealous later on when I showed them the photo. We were melting inside the cabin due to lack of air conditioning when the captain made one more PA "Guys, we are staying in Brisbane. On behalf of Emirates and the entire crew, I'd like to apologize to Krysta who was very excited for Auckland." I was quite upset by the situation, but on the bright side, I was still in Australia. We headed back to the hotel and checked in once again, awaiting news of what was going to happen next. Would we go to Auckland? Would we spend 2 more days in Brisbane? The crew assured me that a note would be placed under my door that evening, and that I could go out and enjoy the day. I would have loved to, but it was raining. Not just a little sprinkle, but pouring rain. People were coming into the hotel completely soaked. I took the opportunity to head to the computers in the crew internet room and catch up on Facebook. Eventually it stopped raining long enough for me to head out and grab a bite to eat, only to start again a short while later. I found the note on my door, informing me that I'd be flying back to Dubai the next evening, a day early. I'd have to stay up late to be able to sleep through the day in preparation for the long flight home. I sat in my hotel room, flicking through the channels, feeling extremely patriotic whenever the Olympics came on. Whenever the cameras would show the audience waving their Canadian flags, a wave of homesickness would hit me. I was so happy to be in Australia, but it's been over 2 months away from home now, so I do miss it (and the people in it) quite a bit some days. I watched the local news and learnt that the rainfall was the heaviest in one day than it had been for 9 years. The city was dealing with major flooding. Typical, the city is suffering a major drought, but when I arrive they flood.
I couldn't bear sitting in the hotel room the entire evening. I found the first store that was still open and invested in an umbrella, determined to cross the bridge to take photos of the city. My umbrella sucked, but I made it. I took a few quick photos before I was forced to return to the hotel. Once again, the rain was pouring down and I didn't want to risk ruining my camera. At around 1 am, the rain stopped. I went to the internet room in an attempt to catch Ryan online after a few days of very little communication. At around 2 am I realized that I was starving, and set out to satisfy my pancake cravings. Fortunately I remembered that the Pancake Manor was open 24 hours a day, so I happily walked to the restaurant and ordered an amazing stack of pancakes coated with fresh strawberries and cream. Delicious. It was technically still Shrove Tuesday/Pancake Day in Canada. I decided to walk off the pancakes. It was a beautiful night, so I made my way to Story Bridge, took a mass amount of photos, and admired the beauty of Brisbane by night. Finally, at 4 am, I returned to my hotel room and crawled into bed.
The next afternoon I woke up, grabbed some sushi and bubble tea one final time, and got ready for my flight home. It was a long 14 hours and 5 minutes, but we eventually landed just past 5 in the morning.
Home sweet Dubai.
No New Zealand this time around, but all in all it was a pretty lovely first layover. Best of all, this is my JOB! Once upon a time I saved every single penny with one goal in mind... flights to Australia. Now I get paid to go there. Life is amazing. I'm eagerly awaiting Jakarta next week!

I Hate Valentine's Day.

Feb 10, 2010

If you've known me for a few years, chances are I've mentioned to you how much I dislike Valentine's Day... also commonly known as "Commercialized Affection Day" or "Single Awareness Day". And no, I'm not some bitter, lonely girl whining about the fact that I can't find a date. I have an amazing boyfriend and I love him very much, but that doesn't make Valentine's Day any less stupid, in my opinion.
I just don't get it... a day devoted to romance and showing your significant other just how much you love them by buying lame cards, flowers, and fruit cream filled chocolates in tacky heart shaped boxes. Come on, why ruin good chocolate? The theaters are full as couples cram in to see the latest romantic comedy, and restaurants are overbooked. I don't know, something about a loud, crowded restaurant just isn't a perfect date for me. I love my boyfriend, but I don't need one day of the year set aside for romance. We can go on a date any night and it will be just as romantic as February 14th... probably more so, given the lack of overcrowding. If you love somebody, tell them. Show them how much you appreciate them every day. Don't rely on Hallmark.
It annoys me that receiving gifts becomes such an expectation. The first time that I found myself in a relationship on Valentine's Day (with my now ex boyfriend), I felt overwhelmed with pressure. "What do I buy him? Chocolate? Do I need to get a card? What movie do we go to?" In the end, I picked up a few delicious chocolates that I'd rather have kept for myself. He bought me fruit cream filled ones. We went to a lame movie and everything about the evening felt so juvenile. Really? Adults celebrate this day?
What about the single people? I'm in an amazing relationship, but before I started dating Ryan I was happily single and prided myself on my independence. There is absolutely nothing wrong with not being in a relationship. I spent many Valentine's Days as a single girl, and while I wouldn't say that I was lonely, I did feel a bit left out as other girls in my high school classes were delivered roses and candies halfway through math class. There I'd be, longing for sugar as the girls with boyfriends ate their heart shaped lollipops and chocolate kisses in front of me. Then at night, everyone would go on their dates. Maybe I wanted to go to a movie, or out for dinner, but not only were all of my girl friends out on the mandatory dates, but everywhere in town was jam packed with couples. Disgusting, mushy, couples. Why is there no "Single's Day?", where couples are made to feel like social outcasts? Valentine's Day is dumb.
My biggest pet peeve about the day?? Valentine's Day proposals. I'm sorry, if you are reading this and your husband proposed to you on February 14th. My very own parents met on that day. Come on, is that honestly the best that you could do? Proposals should be original and unique, something that you've clearly put a lot of thought and planning into. It's one of the biggest moments of your life, and you choose the most commercialized, forced romance days? I'm not saying that I'd decline the proposal if my future husband got down on one knee on Valentine's Day, but I'd probably be a bit disappointed with his choice of dates.
Alright, that's enough of my rant. All of you Valentine's Day lovers can forward me hate mail now, saying that I'm bitter or angry. I'm not, really, I'm not. I'm fortunate enough to have a boyfriend who feels the same way as I do towards the day. It has nothing to do with the fact that we can't be together to celebrate... it's just dumb, and my opinion of the day will never change.
This year I'll be spending my day en route to Australia while Ryan is snowboarding in the Rocky Mountains. We'll be miles apart but both enjoying ourselves without the need to go on a cheesy date, because we both know that we love each other and don't need a specific day to show it. THAT, is my idea of a great Valentine's Day.

To Turkey and Back!

I was extremely nervous as I checked in for my flight to Istanbul, Turkey. It was my 3rd flight, but my very first operational flight. I've been employed by Emirates for nearly 2 months now, but this was the first day that I had an actual role and specific duties... it was my first day of work, as far as I was concerned! I made my way to the briefing room where I sat quietly listening to the rest of the crew chatting away. I stuck out instantly... with my temporary medical certificate and staff number, there was no denying that I was brand new. When it was time for introductions, I admitted "I'm Krysta from Canada... and this is my first operational flight." The crew all responded with great enthusiasm. My purser in particular was full of endless questions, excited since she hadn't flown with a supy or new staff member in quite some time.
I was still feeling a bit nervous as we finished the briefing and headed for the buses, but relieved that the crew seemed nice and willing to answer the millions of questions that I'd be sure to ask throughout the flight. Everybody groaned as the Captain announced the flying time... 4 hours 30 minutes on the way, and 3 hours 30 minutes on the way back, plus the 1 hour and 30 minutes spent on ground in Istanbul. It was going to be a long day. I was assigned the position of R4, meaning I was responsible for a door! My very own door! How exciting.
We boarded the plane and began my pre-departure duties. Despite the fact that I spent 6 weeks having all of this information drilled into my head in training college, the fact is that things are always a bit different in the real situations. I knew what I was supposed to do, but found myself reconfirming on a regular basis, just to be sure I was doing it right. Soon it was time for boarding, and when I recieved the thumbs up that all passengers were on board, I was surprised to find that the plane was not completely full. Sure, there were few seats left, but both of my supy flights had full loads, not a vacant seat. I was slightly relieved, a little bit off pressure was lifted from my shoulders. Everything went smoothly for the entire service. I served mass amounts of tomato juice with black pepper... it must be a Turkish thing. Everybody was fed and no complaints were made, at least not to me. After I'd finished everything I spent a few minutes chatting to a couple... from Calgary! Canadians are some of the most patriotic people you'll meet when traveling abroad. They were easily distinguished among the 200 passengers on board by the maple leaves proudly displayed on their carry on luggage. It's always a bit comforting meeting somebody from home. Although they are complete strangers, we are immediately bonded by our nationality. We talked about Dubai and Alberta for awhile before I headed back to the galley. I was starving, so I helped myself to some pasta and salad. I'm sure you won't be shocked to find out that airplane food is lacking in the healthy and nutritional content department. I've been making a conscious effort to pick the healthier choices whenever possible. Some days, it takes a lot of effort and willpower, other days, I give in. Last night I gave in. One of the crew from business class came to the back with a cheesecake in hand, and I couldn't say no. I indulged in the chocolately goodness, wondering how I'll manage to stay slim with this career.
We landed in Istanbul and for the first time ever, I was in Europe! I don't care if it was only for an hour and a half and I was stuck on a plane... I was there! As I opened up my door for the caterers, I had flashbacks of winter. It was 0°C... which I know is warm by Canadian standards... but after 2 months living in Dubai, I was absolutely freezing. Once the cleaners and caterers had left, I happily closed my door and warmed up. The flight home wasn't much different than the way there. It was shorter, which was nice, as we were all beginning to feel a bit sleepy. We landed in Dubai at 1:15 am. As we all headed for our separate buses to take us home, I thanked the crew for making my first operational flight so easy. I was obviously slower than everyone else and full of questions, but they were patient and accommodating. I was so very lucky. At 3 am I crawled into bed and turned on my laptop to say goodnight to Ryan. Before I'd left for the airport hours earlier, he was going to bed. Now he was just about to finish work for the day. It put into perspective how long my day had been, and explained my exhaustion.
The first flight is out of the way, things can only get better from here! A few days off to catch up on my sleep, and then it's off to Brisbane this weekend!! Life is pretty great.

PS... This is my 100th blog post here! Thank you everyone who reads them and comments, I love you!

On a Day Like Today...

Feb 6, 2010

My second supy flight took me to Cochin, India last night. I was still a bit nervous, but far more calm than I had been prior to my first flight a couple of days earlier. I was lucky to be with the lovely Priya (from Vancouver!) once again, and we excitedly made our way to the briefing together. It's great finally knowing people who have the same dreams as me... people who get just as excited every time that they board an aircraft. We were all smiles as we donned our hats and proudly made our way to the crew bus. Once on board, I helped with the pre-departure duties before boarding. Our passengers arrived and we greeted them, while trying to find a place to stow their massive amounts of carry on luggage. We finished just in time and then rushed to take our seats. Take off! We were cleared for duties and I was given the task of handing out toys... which I love doing. The kids faces light up as they see you walking down the aisle with a tray of coloring books and toys in hand. The passengers kept us busy the entire flight, and before we knew it was time to prepare for landing. Once everybody had left the aircraft, the Captain called me to the flight deck, handed me a reflective vest and headphones, and led me outside. He took me around the aircraft, explaining the pre-flight checks. I was the happiest girl in the world, standing underneath a giant Airbus 330-200. In Dubai, it seems like a smaller aircraft when you see it next to some of the other planes in the fleet, but standing next to the massive tires and staring at the huge engines, you realize just how big it actually is. Once we'd walked around the entire aircraft, we headed back inside. It was my turn to sit in the cockpit for take off, and I sat in my seat smiling as we soared to 32,000 feet. The Captain and First Officer were so awesome, explaining everything and showing me all of the controls in the flight deck. I was especially excited when we saw other aircrafts fly by above and below us. After I'd spent a good amount of time chatting with the flight crew, it was time to head back to assist in the cabin. It was a full flight, but as it was early in the morning, most of the passengers were fast asleep. After serving breakfast, we had the chance to relax and have something to eat. Quite the contrast from our first flight, where we barely had time to have have a glass of water, this time we were able to chat with the crew and ask questions. Priya and I asked if we could return to the flight deck early for landing. It was so beautiful... the sun had began to rise and we could see the beautiful mountains and coastlines of Oman. The Captain pointed out things on the ground and told us more, much to our delight. As we began our descent into Dubai, we flew through the clouds, a rare opportunity in the normally clear skies of the United Arab Emirates. It was beautiful. The highlight of the entire flight was when "A Day Like Today" by Bryan Adams began playing on the radio. It's part of the Emirates "Welcome to Dubai" video, but at that moment it seemed meant for Priya and I. We listened to the music and the flight crew communicating with Air Traffic Control over the radio as we flew towards the orange skies ahead. It was such an amazing, surreal moment. Think of your biggest dream in life. Picture yourself in that exact moment where you realize that it has come true, and that was exactly how I felt right then. I actually felt myself tearing up a little. Priya and I grabbed each other's hands and squeezed them with excitement. We both were so incredibly happy. Life is great. As we approached Dubai, the view was incredible. The lights of the runway straight ahead, and beautiful downtown Dubai to the left. It had rained overnight, clearing the usual haze and spoiling us with clear skies. I'd be lying if I said that it wasn't one of the best moments of my life, and I know that Priya would agree with me. We landed at Dubai International Airport at 7:50 in the morning, and arrived back to our apartment at 9 am. I happily crawled into bed, still smiling. It's a beautiful life! Now it's time for me to enjoy a couple of much needed days off!
"When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return." ~Leonardo Da Vinci

Take Off!

Feb 4, 2010

Last night I flew for the very first time as a crew member rather than a passenger... along with my fellow Canadian friend, Priya. We met at 7:00 pm and waited nervously for our bus. We were terrified... would we know where to go once we arrived? Would the crew be nice? Would we be able to answer our safety question? We sat on the bus having an anxiety attack as we approached headquarters.
Once we'd arrived, we followed more experienced crew members through the crew sign on and security. We made our way to the briefing room and waited patiently as the rest of the crew members arrived. Everyone seemed quite friendly as they greeted us and wished us good luck on our first flight, ensuring that they'd help us if we needed anything at all. After the briefing had finished (and we both correctly answered the mandatory SEP question), we donned our lovely red hats and headed for the bus. We were dropped off right in front of our plane, a beautiful Boeing 777-200. Priya and I stood in awe staring at the giant engines as we boarded. It was so surreal. Like little lost puppies, we followed the other crew members around and observed them carrying out the safety and security checks. Before we knew it, it was time to board. Wearing our hats and bright red lipstick, we stood in our sections and greeted each passenger with great big flight attendant smiles. So far, so good. As it was our supernumery flight, our main purpose was to observe and familiarize ourselves with the aircraft and our roles. We were given the option to help as much or as little as wanted. Wanting to get as much practice as possible before I'm actually responsible for my own section, I opted to participate fully... handing out hot towels, meals, operating the bar cart, and answering the never ending call bells. It was a bit chaotic... so many services in such a short amount of time. I had the privilege of sitting in the flight deck for take off and landing, which was an amazing experience. The moon was beautiful from 39,000 feet. 3 hours passed by incredibly fast and before I knew it, we had touched down into Islamabad. I left the cockpit and stood by the door, sounding like a true flight attendant... "Thank you, goodbye!", once again with a big smile. So crazy. Once everyone had disembarked, the cleaners rushed on and tidied the cabin. Then it was once again time to board, and once again I stood in the aisle, assisting passengers and wondering how on Earth all of their carry on luggage was going to fit in the overhead bins. It was a busy flight, full of children, babies, and hungry passengers. At times it was overwhelming, and I wondered what I'd gotten myself into, but when all was said and done, we landed and I felt a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. I'd survived! I hadn't spilled coffee on any passengers, I'd kept a smile on my face, and the passengers thanked me as they disembarked. Oh my goodness, I'm a flight attendant! We landed in Dubai and caught the bus home, arriving at 7 am. A normal sleep schedule is a thing of the past for me. I headed to bed, waking up at 4 in the afternoon and headed for "breakfast".
It's a crazy, hectic, exhausting life... but it's my life, and I love it!

Cabin Crew, Prepare for Departure!

Feb 1, 2010

Once again, I'm amazed at how fast time seems to go by these days. As a little girl I remember waiting 3 days until my birthday... it seemed like an eternity. But today, as I celebrate successfully completing my cabin crew training, I wonder where the last 7 weeks have gone. Sure, there were the 12 hour days that seemed as though they'd never end, but as a whole, training seemed to go by remarkably fast.
Tonight we finished our final practical examination, and then met up with the other batches in a large classroom where we met the Cabin Crew Training Manager, as well as our own Cabin Crew Managers. Although our formal graduation ceremony won't be held until June, tonight was still very exciting as one by one we walked up to the front of the class to be handed an envelope while our classmates applauded. Inside the envelope we found our flying licenses, medical licenses, and most importantly... our FACE (Flight Attendants Club of Emirates) cards, which entitle us to a wide range of discounts throughout Dubai. Afterwards, we celebrated with sparkling grape juice in lieu of champagne, and chocolate cake that was to die for. We excitedly made our way around the room congratulating each other as we compared rosters.
No more homework, no more exams, and no more training college!
It's an amazing feeling, and I'm looking forward to my supernumery flight to Islamabad on Wednesday!
Growing up, we are told to "reach for the sky". Perhaps I took it a bit more literally than most, but I've finally made it... I'll soon be spending a great amount of time in the sky!

In other news, today is a special day for my boyfriend Ryan and I, and I wish that he could be here to celebrate with me!
Also, you'll all be so proud of me... this week I completed my mandatory vaccinations. You all know of my fear of needles, so you can imagine my reaction when I was informed that I needed to have 5 vaccinations in only 2 days. I decided to be a grown up, and I tried my best to be brave. Easy peasy. Just a bit of a fever and 2 sore arms, but I survived, and I actually was able to walk through headquarters only minutes after without fear of fainting! That's a big accomplishment for me.