May 27, 2010 by Krysta
I've been privileged to see some of the most beautiful places in the world. Perhaps my opinion is biased, but if you ask me, few places can compare to the beauty of Alberta, Canada.... my home.
I'll be back in 40 days. Fresh air, soaring mountains, and endless wheat fields. There's no place like home.
I took all of these photos last year... it feels like a lifetime ago.
I dedicate this post to all of the other Canadians living abroad!
May 24, 2010 by Krysta
After a frustrating few days in Dubai (Long story short: My toilet backed up thanks to the apartment above me using too much tissue... the people sent to fix it are clueless and left my without a working toilet... great for somebody who drinks 2 litres of water a day!) I was looking forward to a relaxing layover in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania. I wasn't sure what to expect, since before joining my airline I'd never even heard of the city.
It began as a normal day of work. Woke up super early, headed to the briefing, met the crew and headed to the aircraft. As it was a relatively short and easy flight, we were all in high spirits, making plans to drink cocktails by the pool. Once onboard, we completed all of our pre-departure duties and waited for the passengers to arrive. It was then that we were notified that we were facing a 2 hour delay due to technical issues. We were all a bit upset by this news, but that's just a fact of life in this industry. For 2 hours we sat around, ate crew food, and grew impatient. 2 hours passed by and the problem still hadn't been solved. Apparently overwhelmed, the ground staff insisted that we board the passengers, so there we were with a broken aircraft full of tired people wanting to go to Tanzania. Another hour passed and we were informed that we'd be switching aircrafts. Sounds simple, until you factor in that every passenger has mass amounts of baggage that we've strategically placed in the overhead bins. Not only that, but we'd have to transfer everyone, their carry on luggage, the cargo, and catering. We'd also have to complete our pre-departure duties once again. It may have been frustrating but the fact was that there was nothing that we could do about it, so we just continued working. We finally departed.. 6 hours after our scheduled departure time, and 30 minutes after we were due to land in Dar. The passengers were extremely understanding despite the chaos that it had caused them. I came to discover that many of them were Canadians, which was a nice surprise. We chatted about home, the cold weather, and how life in the desert is far different than life on the prairies. I was exhausted after what was meant to be a 5 1/2 hour flight had turned into 10 hours. By the time we reached the hotel my plans of cocktails and a nice dinner were thrown out the window. I headed to my room, ran a bubble bath and called it a night.
Determined to make the most of my now shortened layover, I woke up at 7 am to meet a few of the others for breakfast. I tried my best to be healthy, but the bacon looked crispy and perfect... I had to have it. After we'd got our fill of food, 3 of us decided to venture out to the local market in search of fresh fruit. We caught a taxi and took photos out the window as we drove down busy streets. Among the 3 of us was myself, Sienna from Australia, and Maryanne from Kenya. Maryanne's knowledge of the language proved extremely useful. As we emerged from the taxi at the crowded market, Sienna and I clearly stuck out amongst the crowd. "White people!" They shouted in their language, clearly surprised to see us. A few people touched our arms as we walked by, pointing out to one another the fact that we clearly were not of the same skin color. It sounds overwhelming, but we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. The locals were extremely friendly and those that spoke English greeted us warmly with "Sister!". We walked past stall after stall of fruits, vegetables, and spices. Some set up makeshift stalls... neatly arranged fruit lying on the street. Cars became stores, with goods piled high on the roofs and trunks. We sampled local snacks and bargained for lower prices. I left satisfied with bags full of tangerines, passion fruit and mangoes. I have enough to last me weeks, at a cost of roughly 3 Canadian dollars. Our taxi driver had kindly waited as we shopped, so we hopped back into the air conditioned cab and went back to our hotel. We'd lucked out and missed the rain, but by the time we reached the hotel it was pouring. My plans to lie by the pool were replaced by the gym... probably for the best anyways. I ran off the bacon I'd had for breakfast and went back to my room to get ready. Lunch was included in the room rate, so I planned to get my fill before the flight. I met a few of the other crew members and once again, despite my desperate attempts at healthy eating, there was crab on the buffet. Delicious, fresh crab.... and a massive table full of beautiful desserts. I ate until I couldn't move and then headed to check out and prepare for the flight back home. It was a short layover, but I was satisfied that I'd made the most of what little time I had.
Fortunately, the flight was not delayed this time around. We had a light passenger load and it was a super easy flight back to Dubai. Regardless of what flight I'm on, as we reach the final hours visions of my bed motivate me to keep working... I'll be there soon! Exhausted, I reached my apartment and to my excitement my toilet had been fixed while I was away! I crawled into bed, happy to be home, happy to be able to pee in my own apartment, and one day closer to seeing Ryan.
May 17, 2010 by Krysta
Another week has passed by... another couple of turnaround flights, followed by another lovely layover. It came just in time. After a week in Dubai, I was starting to go stir-crazy. Despite the fact that it was my 5th time in Germany over the course of a month, I was still excited for my trip to Frankfurt. In the briefing room I met the crew, who all seemed awesome. Among them was Rebecca, who was on her very first layover and first operational flight. That was me just 4 short months ago, and I remember how nervous I was. I made it my mission to be super nice to her and give her a good first impression of her career. Some crew display ridiculous amounts of negativity towards their jobs, making me wonder why they are here to begin with. There are people (myself included) who try for years to land this job. If you don't enjoy it I'm sure that there is a 9-5 office job that you can pick up somewhere.
We landed in Frankfurt just in time for the skies to clear and the sun to peek through the clouds. Exhausted from an extremely early morning, I was feeling a bit lazy but convinced myself to get out of the hotel regardless. I took a quick shower and as I was getting dressed I heard the sound of rain pelting down outside my window. Upon further inspection, I discovered that it was in fact hail falling, blanketing the ground in white pellets. I sighed, wishing that the sun would magically reappear in the sky. I wasn't going to let it stop me from enjoying my layover. I grabbed my umbrella and headed for the train station. Through the wind and the cold I debated turning back, but I told myself "You are Canadian, you can handle this!" and continued walking until I finally found the station. I've navigated Munich, London, Singapore, and Sydney... but as I stood there staring at the map, I was completely lost. The concierge at the hotel had advised me to get off at a station that was non-existent on the map in front of me. I stood there for a good 5 minutes, determined to figure it out, when I noticed a girl a few feet away who looked just as confused as I was. At second glance, I noticed that she was one of the first class crew members, and together we agreed to ask for directions. We crossed our fingers that somebody would speak English, but as luck would have it, they stared at us as blankly as we'd been staring at the map. Finally, a friendly young man approached us and in perfect English asked "Do you need help?". He helped us purchase our tickets and sent us off in the right direction. We reached the city and agreed to go for lunch together. We found a very old, very German pub and headed inside. She ordered a beer in the spirit of being in Germany, and as usual I opted for apple juice. I'm such a party animal. I've been making it my mission to adopt healthier eating habits, and planned to behave on this layover. Despite this, I couldn't resist ordering Frankfurter sausages, mashed potatoes, and real German sauerkraut. I didn't regret my decision one bit as I chowed down on the delicious plateful of food. Once we'd finished eating we headed our separate directions. Camera in hand, I set off to explore the city. It had started raining once again, so there wasn't much exploring for me to do. I took a few photos before deciding to browse the shops in search of a new outfit. My wardrobe is pathetically outdated and I don't own enough clothes to fill up more than a shelf of my massive closet. Despite this, every time I go into stores and try on clothes I never buy them... even if I like them. I have a fear of spending money on material items, yet will drop it in an instant on food and travel. I sought refuge from the rain inside a beautiful shopping center, where I was delighted to find my favorite store from home... Hollister! I eagerly went inside to soak up the atmosphere... it reminded me of home and shopping sprees. The employees greeted customers by saying "Hey, what's up?", which I'm assuming is to add to the California atmosphere of the store. It's probably the only English that some of them spoke! I left empty handed, as the prices were ridiculously expensive in comparison to home.
Feeling lazy, I was ready to retreat to my hotel room. On the way I discovered a massive supermarket and happily browsed the aisles, sadly persuading myself to walk away from the chocolate. An employee approached me and I'd thought that she'd asked if I needed help... "No.. just looking" I replied, before realizing that she was trying to tell me that the store was closing and that I needed to leave. I struggled to figure out the train system yet again. Once I felt confident enough in my sense of direction, I hopped onboard a train. Fortunately, I was headed in the right direction and easily found my stop. On the walk back to the hotel I stopped into a small Thai restaurant and got some food to bring back with me since the room service menu was tiny and unappealing. Back in my room I listened as the rain fell outside, and I indulged in Thai goodness followed by a bubble bath and relaxing. I was in a blissfully good mood, brought on by some exciting news just a few days earlier. After much discussion and little needed convincing, Ryan and I decided that he should make another visit to Dubai at the beginning of June! Not only will we be making up for 4 months apart, but we'll be able to celebrate our dating anniversary, together! It was just the news I needed to lift my spirits that had been plagued by homesickness for the past few weeks. Later that day, I received even more good news... my vacation time had been approved, and in July I'll be headed home for 2 whole weeks! In all of my excitement I was able to put aside my homesick thoughts and focus on enjoying my layover. I headed to bed and woke up bright and early the next day, only to find that once again it was raining. Seeing as how I want to look exceptionally in shape for my boyfriend's visit, I decided to head to the gym in the hotel... a very rare feat for me. After a good workout I sought out a nearby supermarket to get some yummy breakfast before getting ready to head back to Dubai. It had been an uneventful layover, but I'd enjoyed it nonetheless. Back to the desert I went, a huge contrast from the rain and endless trees of Germany. The countdown is on... 12 days until I see the boy that I love, and 47 days until I'm home sweet home. I couldn't be much happier right now!
May 13, 2010 by Krysta
This morning I returned from a not-so-fun turnaround to a location that I won't mention. Needless to say, I don't look forward to going back. I've come to the realization that passengers will complain about anything, and everything.
"I want more milk in my coffee", after I've dumped the entire milk jug into their cup.
While serving tea, both hands full... "No, give me whiskey."
"I NEED another beer! I'm so thirsty!" While taking my seat for landing.
"The PA is too loud, it woke me up." Yes sir, that's the point. Now give me your blankets and headsets.
"If I put my seatbelt on my kid, he'll wake up." We are landing, even the crew aren't exempt from wearing seatbelts. The fact that you'd even compromise your child's safety to avoid hearing them cry is disgusting.
"It's too bumpy." I apologize, I'll tell the sky to tone down the turbulence.
In 2 hours and 10 minutes, the cabin becomes even more disastrous than my mess of a bedroom. Cups are thrown in the aisles, garbage strewn everywhere... a mess far beyond our capabilities of cleaning in the time given. I pity the cleaners as they step on board our war zone of a plane. Last night we had a crew member on her first supy flight. I'd spent the entire bus ride reassuring her that it was easy and that she'd do just fine, but by the end of the first sector I regretted doing so. They generally choose the worst of flights to give you a scary first impression of your new career. We landed at 6 am and I couldn't wait to get home, throw in a load of laundry and crawl into my bed to get in a bit of pre-sleep Facebook time. I entered my apartment to find that I had no power. The lights were on, but nothing else worked. No internet, no phone, no TV, no fridge, no washing machine. Grumpiness overcame me as I marched down to reception in my pajamas and demanded that they call an electrician immediately. I'm usually patient and calm, but at 7 in the morning after a terrible flight, it was no easy task. The food in my fridge wouldn't survive more than a few hours in the heat. The security guard came upstairs, flicked a switch on the breaker, and hoped that it would solve the issue. No such luck. "I'll call an electrician", he sighed, irritated that I was causing extra work. I crawled into bed, hoping that the doorbell still worked and that I'd shortly be woken up by an electrician. I was impressed when only 20 minutes after I'd complained, a man showed up at my door, did his electrician thing, and restored my power. Okay, so maybe I'd overreacted by assuming that my world was coming to an end due to the lack of power in my apartment. In my defense, it's 2010 and I live in a city that prides itself on being modern, innovative, and high tech... the least I could ask for is power in my own apartment. Content with my working internet, I headed to sleep away the day. Just another day in my sometimes frustrating life.
What I could use more than anything right now, is a nice long vacation in my beautiful, friendly, happy home country.
May 10, 2010 by Krysta
I've spent so much time in Munich lately that I'm practically a local by now. Okay, so maybe not quite, but it has been my most frequent layover so far. I was especially looking forward to this trip, as I was flying with another friend of mine, Ash. ...Note, this is male Ash, not Ashleigh, the girl... who was on my last Munich layover.
As with most of my recent flights, the majority of economy crew consisted of new employees. The great thing about that is that we are generally all eager to head out and explore the destinations. Some of the crew that have been here awhile have seen it all far too many times to take any interest. We arrived early in the afternoon and after a quick shower in our hotel rooms, we met up to head into the city. I felt like an old pro as I led the rest to the metro station. It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon, and the sun was shining despite the forecast having called for rain. After emerging from the train station we could hear the sound of chanting in the distance. As we walked towards the source of the noise we discovered thousands of people lining the streets, dressed in red jerseys in support of their football team, Bayern Munich. They cheered loudly, waved flags, and took photos as a man spoke in German from a high balcony of the cathedral. It was complete chaos, and took us a long time to push our way through the crowds in search of a restaurant. We finally agreed upon one "Bierhalle", where the majority of the crew ordered, you guessed it... beer. As they sipped from massive mugs full of German beer, I opted for a sparkling apple juice instead. Baskets full of pretzels sat on the tables, which we quickly consumed. We were served by a very plump man named Bruno. In the spirit of being in Germany, some of the crew ordered German sausage or pork platters. I contemplated doing the same, but I've been to Germany enough in the past month that I don't think it's necessary to indulge in pork every single time. I ordered the fish, and we all happily feasted on our meals. After we'd finished our meals, we dragged ourselves back outside, so full that we felt unable to walk. Despite this, Ash and I were still adamant that we must get ice cream, so we set off in search of dessert. Once I had my delicious cone in hand, I was satisfied to continue wandering. We walked down streets, away from the city center, stumbling upon the strangest of sights that I've come across in my travels. A massive shrine to Michael Jackson sat in a small area across from a hotel. We all got excited at the fact that perhaps it was the hotel where he had dangled his baby, but Google confirmed that it had actually been in Berlin. Candles were lit, flowers laid, photos and notes from loving fans taped to the wall. Germans love MJ. As we continued walking we came to a beautiful park where I confessed my love of nature and went camera happy, taking photos of trees as though I've never seen them before. Evening was fast approaching and some of the crew were ready to call it a night. We slowly made our way back to the station, stopping for a coffee on the way. After waiting a great deal of time, it dawned on us that perhaps our train wasn't going to arrive. We finally decided to ask for help, and we were informed that we had to transfer to another station first. Good thing we'd asked, as nothing in the station was written in English. Once we reached our stop, we stepped outside to find that it had starting drizzling rain. The wet concrete brought back memories of home and the "smell of rain." It was so refreshing and I didn't mind one bit. Of course, it was probably my confession that I loved the rain that made the skies suddenly open up as a heavy downpour began to fall. We started running towards our hotel, completely soaking wet by the time we finally reached the lobby. I just laughed it off and called it a night.
After an amazing sleep (the hotel in Munich has such amazing beds... like sleeping on a cloud!) I woke up early to meet Ash for breakfast. Lately I've been trying to make healthier eating choices, but I'd given up on this layover. It's not often that you get to fly with a friend, so I wanted to make the most of it. We sat with the Captain and an Australian girl, and spent a great deal of time stuffing ourselves with the amazing buffet. We learnt that the Munich airport had been closed only 2 hours after we had landed, once again due to the volcanic ash. Much to our disappointment, it had reopened in time for us to fly back to Dubai that afternoon. Ash was kind enough to order lattes for us, making the same mistake that I had in Milan. We laughed hysterically as the waiter delivered 3 large glasses of milk to the table. Neither myself or the other girl drink milk, so we proceeded to pour them into the coffee milk jugs on the table Feeling guilty, Ash felt compelled to finish his glass, and we urged him to drink ours as well. Note to tourists... always, always order CAFE latte in Europe, never just latte. I'd overdid it at the buffet, and needed to leave before I was no longer able to move. As is necessary during all Munich layovers... Off the grocery store we went! I went berry happy, buying more raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries than I knew what to do with. I'd even planned ahead and packed Tupperware containers in my suitcase to ensure a safer journey home for my beloved berries. Somehow it was already time to get ready for the flight back home. My suitcase was now much heavier, stuffed full of fruit and delicious iced coffee that had been on sale. It was a busy flight home, complete with some severe turbulence. Luckily, we all had taken our seats just in time, as we had only about 10 seconds warning before it got super bumpy. We watched a meal cart sway from side to side, nearly toppling over. Once we were finally clear to walk around again, it was back to the cabin where we'd only finished clearing half of the trays. Fortunately, nobody had suffered any burns from hot tea or coffee. We were kept extremely busy for the remainder of the flight and it was a great relief to land in Dubai and head home to bed.
Goodbye Germany, until next week!
May 8, 2010 by Krysta
Today is Mother's Day back home in Canada, and I'm feeling a bit guilty for being thousands of miles from home on this day yet again. I'm spending my day in Dubai, but I'd rather be back home in Red Deer instead, taking my mommy for a nice dinner.
I love my Mom. She's always been there for me, no matter where my crazy adventures have led me. My biggest dreams in life have involved moving across the world, and she's always been supportive and excited for me. When I was living in Edmonton attending college, she'd always send me back with a box full of food from her pantry. When I chose to move to Australia, she held onto my money for me, allowing me to save up rather than spend it all as I likely would have had it sat in my bank account. When I finally booked flights, she decided to join me for the beginning of the trip, and we spent 5 weeks backpacking Southeast Asia and Australia together. We faced our fears of giant spiders as we slept in tree houses in the Thailand rainforest, and navigated the East coast of Australia using only the tiny road maps in my Lonely Planet guide. During my year away from home, she transferred money into my account on more than one occasion where I'd miscalculated my budget. When I finally returned home, she allowed me to move back into her house. After only a few months of being back in Canada, I decided to chase my dream of working for Emirates. She came with me as I traveled to Vancouver for the interviews and excitedly told everyone she knew whenever I passed another round of the long interview process. When they finally resumed hiring 9 months later, after the recession had died down, I called her crying to tell her that I'd got the job. She insisted that she knew all along that I had it, and began to dream of discounted flights to Dubai. The last time that I saw her, we were crying as we said goodbye at the airport. I can't tell you how much it means to me that she's proud of me being here and that she shares my excitement. I've got the greatest mom in the world.
I love you Mom! Happy Mother's Day to you and all of the other Mom's in my life... to my friends who are new moms to beautiful babies... and most especially to my 3 amazing Grandmas, my Great Grandma, and to Ryan's mom, who has treated me like family for the past year, and invited me over for many delicious dinners. I hope that you all have an amazing day, and that you get as spoiled as you deserve to be!
December 12, 2009.... Saying goodbye at the airport before I headed to Dubai.
May 6, 2010 by Krysta
As with any job, there will always be good and bad days. The other day I was flying a chaotic turnaround to an undesirable destination wondering what on Earth possessed me to ever want this job. The flight was overbooked, the passengers were far from friendly, and we were rushing to clear the cabin, battling turbulence and demands for more whiskey. To make matters worse, we had a medical case involving one of the crew members. At the end of the day I headed home exhausted and relieved that it was over. The next day I packed my suitcase and headed to Milan, Italy... restoring my belief that I lead a glamorous and exciting life. This layover would be just the refuge that I'd needed from the consistent 40 degree days in Dubai and my miserable turnaround flights earlier in the week. I was lucky to be flying with the lovely Sanjana (who I'd explored Munich with and done a turnaround with two weeks earlier) yet again. She's been here a month longer than I have, and already she was the most senior crew member in economy class. We were joined by two even newer crew... Maria, and Medhi, who was extremely excited as it was his very first layover. After a long 6 1/2 hours we landed in Milan and caught the bus to our hotel. The entire flight, I'd talked about my plans to order a pizza from room service. When I got to my room I convinced myself that it was unnecessary, as I wasn't even that hungry. It took a great deal of willpower, but I went to bed instead. The next morning I met the rest of the economy crew and we set out for what would be a great day of sightseeing and of course, eating. It was 14 degrees and lightly drizzling rain. Bundled up in my winter jacket, it was the perfect temperature. My inability to tolerate the cold makes me almost embarrassed to call myself Canadian, but in my defense I practically live in a sauna. I'd expressed my need for caffeine, so we stopped at a nearby cafe for breakfast. I sipped my super-strong cafe latte as I ate a deliciously sinful chocolate croissant. I'd had a great workout at the gym the day before, so I felt entitled to consume even more for the duration of the layover. We headed to the metro station to catch the train to Duomo. Sanjana and I had been there before, but it's just as spectacular seeing it again. I took the same photos that I'd took 2 months earlier, still in awe of the amazing architecture. We headed inside and stared at the beautiful stained glass windows and ancient pillars. The cathedral was built in the 1500's, which is hard to even comprehend for someone like myself who grew up in a place where a 100 year old building is considered ancient and usually deemed a historical site. Despite the mass crowds of tourists, it was still very peaceful and spiritual inside, as people from all corners of the world paused to light a candle and say a prayer. We spent awhile inside to take it all in before heading back outside to fight off the men trying to sell us bracelets and corn to feed the pigeons. "Free gift", they'd say, tying a bracelet to your wrist. Once it's securely tied on, they demand 4 Euros for a piece of string. We strolled through the beautiful shopping center, passing by Louis Vuitton, Prada, and in the center of it all... McDonald's. We wandered down quiet side streets, taking photos of beautiful colorful homes. Mehdi was especially excited about the abundance of fancy, expensive cars. The light drizzle had turned into a steady downpour of rain, and I was the only one with an umbrella. We hopped onto a tram, unsure of where it would take us. Once the rain had died down we got off at a stop near some stores. We set out in search of lunch and after a great deal of walking with no luck, we came across a cafe where we confirmed that they served pizza and pasta,and headed inside. Sanjana, Medhi and myself decided upon the seafood pasta while Maria ordered spaghetti. As we sat there in the cozy cafe indulging in amazing food, we realized just how lucky we were... this is our job. After we'd stuffed ourselves full of pasta we ventured out again, in search of the palace that was marked on our map. The fact that Maria speaks Italian definitely made the day a lot easier for us. She stopped numerous people throughout the day asking for directions. Once we'd been shown the way, we proceeded down the street until we found the palace. It wasn't a fancy, beautiful castle as I'd hoped that it might be, but it was interesting to see regardless. I was overjoyed to find that it was complete with a moat and a drawbridge... just like a real faiytale! I read a few signs to discover that it had been around since 1335 or some time ridiculously long ago. Upon exciting the palace (I say that as if I'm someone of great importance), we spotted what I'd been waiting the entire day for. Hello, Gelato... so we meet again. We each grabbed a scoop and ate it as we walked through a beautiful green park with beautiful green grass and lush green trees. Oh, how I miss nature. Couples sat on park benches and kissed on bridges, making me yearn for home a bit. Sometimes it's hard going to beautiful and romantic destinations when my boyfriend is thousands of miles away. I reminded myself that one day I'll travel with him and that we'll be one of those annoyingly cutesy couples walking hand in hand through the park. Earlier in the day, Medhi was set on seeing everything and not stopping until it was time to fly home to Dubai. By mid-afternoon, he was exhausted and ready for a nap. We found a metro station and a very helpful old lady saw us pull out our map and rushed to offer assistance in perfect English. She told us which train to catch, where to transfer, and how to get back to our station. We thanked her as we rushed to catch our train. As with most layovers, our next stop was the grocery store. I filled my basket with cheese, pasta, pizza crust, and strawberries, along with many other items that I ended up placing back on the shelves after realizing that I was getting far too excited at the thought of Italian food. I convinced myself that I didn't need to buy the entire store. Everyone else was in the alcohol aisle, stocking up on Italian wine. I thought of buying a nice bottle to bring home for my wine loving grandmother, but realized that I know nothing about buying wine, and that even if I did, the bottles were all written in Italian. Once we were content that we had everything needed, we headed back to the hotel. With a few hours to spare before our pickup time, I took a quick nap to enable myself to stay awake until early the next morning. Once I woke up I headed to a cafe to grab one last espresso, along with a delicious panini sandwich. I got ready for my flight, applied my red lipstick and headed downstairs to meet the rest of the crew. En route to the airport I caught a glimpse of snow capped mountains in the distance. It was a comforting sight to a homesick Canadian girl. The flight back was great, and I watched a beautiful sunrise over the wing of the aircraft as we started our descent into Dubai. Once again, I've had another amazing layover in another beautiful city. I'm not sure that this part of the job will ever grow old. Ahhh, la vita è bella!