Jul 31, 2010 by Krysta
My vacation was over and it was back to Dubai, and work. After a day of sleep it was time for me to pack for my next trip... one that would send me far away from the sandpit for 8 whole days!! Plagued with homesickness, I was happy to leave the city that constantly stands as a symbol of how far away I am from the people that I love. I packed my suitcase and headed to the flight briefing. First stop... Bangkok, Thailand! It had been almost 3 years since I'd been to the Thai capital, and I had mixed feelings on returning. My mom and I had seen the city as backpackers... we had strolled through the slums and dealt with a fair amount of culture shock. Returning as crew, I saw an entirely different side of Bangkok. Our hotel was beautiful and just a few minutes down the road I actually discovered a Starbucks! It was much different than the initial impression I'd been given. We landed in the evening and I was exhausted, still fighting jet lag from my return from Canada. I skimmed the room service menu before deciding upon Pad Thai. It was delicious and after I'd finished my entire plate I crawled into bed. I awoke the next morning unsure of how to spend my day. I was still feeling pretty run down and a bit emotional, so I debated spending the afternoon lying in bed feeling sorry for myself. Fortunately, the phone rang and another crew member invited me to join him as he went to the mall. We caught a taxi to a massive shopping center. The entire first floor was a food court, much to my excitement. I ordered Pad Thai, yet again. Once we'd finished eating we wandered the mall. It was stuffed full of stores such as Burberry and Louis Vuitton. My meal allowances definitely couldn't cover that. Bored of the high end stores, we caught another taxi and asked the driver to take us to a market. This was the Thailand that I remembered. We walked down the busy aisles crammed full of stalls selling shirts, bags, toys, and every imaginable item. Tourists aggressively bargained for lower prices. I wandered in a daze. There was nothing that I needed to buy, so I saved my energy. It began to rain and I was ready for a nap, so we caught a taxi back to the hotel where I packed my bags and rested for my next flight a few hours later. Next stop, Sydney, Australia! I spent years dreaming of this city. Getting there was one of my biggest goals, and I finally reached it in 2007. It was strange returning 3 years later, and getting paid to be there. It's funny how life works out. I was excited to be in Australia. I consider it my second home, so it was a great layover to follow my vacation. I was still feeling pretty upset about leaving Canada, but Sydney was the next best option if I couldn't be home. After a long overnight flight, we landed in the early hours of the morning. Fighting sleep, I showered and headed out, determined to make the most of my day. I walked the familiar streets, taking photos and reminiscing. It's currently winter in the southern hemisphere, so I wasn't surprised when it began to rain. I didn't mind... I was dressed warmly and just happy to be avoiding the mid-summer Dubai heat. I dined on sushi, bubble tea, and all sorts of yummy treats that just aren't the same in the Middle East.
I spent the day walking around in a daze. I'd recently read that 19 hours of sleep deprivation had the same effect as a blood alcohol level of 0.05%. I'd been awake for well over 30 hours, so it was safe to say that I was stumbling my way through the streets. On the way back to the hotel the light rain turned into a heavy downpour, and I found myself standing beneath a covered area of the sidewalk waiting for it to calm down. I ran into another crew member there, also seeking refuge from the rain. We sleepily stood for 15 minutes before finally agreeing to make a run for it. Back in the comfort of my hotel room I crawled into bed and was fast asleep almost immediately. Early the next morning I woke up to prepare for my next flight. We were off to Christchurch, New Zealand. Sadly, it was a turnaround flight and I wouldn't have the opportunity to explore the city. Knowing that we'd be descending over snow capped mountain, I'd opted to take R5 door for the best view for both take off and landing. I went snap happy, confessing my newfound love for the southern island of New Zealand, despite having only seen it from the plane. It reminded me of flying into Alberta, and I felt a little bit at home. We arrived, re-boarded, and headed back to Sydney. Just as I was about to head out in search of dinner, my phone rang and I happily chatted to Ryan for an hour and a half. It's so nice to be able to talk to him from wherever I am in the world. Once we'd hung up, I headed out. I reached a massive food court where I stocked up on various food items. One of the things that I love about fast food in Australia is the fact that they box up everything and sell it for cheap at the end of the day rather than just disposing of it or saving it for the next day. I grabbed some more sushi, Vietnamese salad rolls, and fresh fruit to have for breakfast the next morning. I spent awhile walking through the city enjoying the cool air, before going back to my hotel to sleep.
I woke up the next day set on 2 things.... taking photos and shopping. I had a full day of freedom! I emerged from my hotel, set on making the most of the day. First, however, was breakfast. Despite the cool temperatures, I grabbed a delicious Green Tea Mango Mantra drink from Boost. I got hooked on them while living in Australia. I set out towards Darling Harbour, where after a long debate between colors I found a gorgeous pair of chocolate brown Ugg boots that I had to take home with me. As I was about to pay I realized that I had left my wallet in my hotel room. Perhaps it was a sign, but I was ignoring it. I'd had my heart set on comfy Uggs for a few years now and I was finally going to have my very own pair. I used the small amount of cash that I had with me to purchase an umbrella, as it now pouring rain. On my way back to the hotel my pant legs were absolutely soaked as I waded through deep puddles. My toes were freezing in flip flops, and I looked very out of place amongst the Aussie's bundled up in boots and warm jackets. While waiting to cross the street, a taxi drove through a puddle, drenching me with water. Just lovely. I reached the warmth of my room and attempted to dry my jeans with a hair dryer before heading back out into the miserable weather.... wallet in hand. I returned to the store and forked over my money for my boots. I promptly put them on and my feet were in Heaven. No rain could stop me, I was set on enjoying my day! I sat down to grab some lunch before venturing back into the rain. My wandering took me through the Rocks District... or "Old Sydney". I continued walking on to Circular Quay, bustling with ferries and jam packed with tourists taking the mandatory photos of the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge. I have so many photos of both, but I snapped a few more despite the ugly grey sky for a backdrop. I decided to return to my hotel to spend awhile drying off. Evening was fast approaching and I had my heart set on taking photos of the Opera House and Bridge at night. Sure, I had taken some a few years back, but now I was equipped with my fancy DSLR camera... and more importantly.. a tripod!! I headed into the dark hauling my tripod and umbrella with my camera safe and dry inside of my bad. The wind had become so strong that my umbrella was turning inside out and rain was pelting down. I debated giving up on my photos, but I'd hauled a tripod in my suitcase all the way to Australia and I was determined to make use of it. I'd made it to Circular Quay once again. The normally crowded walkway to the Opera House was empty, only a few brave tourists dwindling to take photos. I stood in the pouring rain taking as many pictures as I could before my camera started to get wet. My inside-out umbrella was proving to be quite useless. Satisfied, I headed back to my hotel. I cozied up in my robe and slippers as I looked through my photos. Despite the very miserable weather, it had been a great day.
The next morning was my last one in Sydney, so I woke up super early to get out and enjoy the day. Starving, I headed to George Street where I found a great little cafe and dined on the most amazing Eggs Benedict that I've ever tasted. I devoured it, accepting my defeat in the attempt to eat healthy. I walked around the city, strolling by the Opera House one last time. I was going to miss Sydney! A few hours passed and I decided to nap before my flight. I woke up, grabbed some coffee, got ready (my job is so high maintenance!) and checked out. It was a long flight and just past 1 am when we arrived in Bangkok. It was straight to bed for me, as I had plans with my new friend Elaine early the next day. I woke up and headed to the lobby to meet her, but she was nowhere to be found. I waited awhile, but when she didn't show up I assumed that she'd slept in and retreated to my room. I spent awhile chatting online to Ryan, when at 11 am the phone rang. Elaine had just woken up, so we decided to head to MBK... A massive shopping center where we'd be able to find anything and everything. I'd just downed a breakfast of Pad Thai and satay chicken, but Elaine had yet to eat. We headed for Starbucks, grabbing a too-good-to-resist donut on the way. We sipped frappucinos and happily chatted before hopping in a taxi. Once we'd arrived at the massive mall we were overwhelmed by the number of shops. Where would we begin? Elaine needed to have her hair extensions taken out, so we found a salon and she sadly watched as one by one, the extensions were removed and she found herself with short hair after 3 months with long flowing locks. She decided to color her hair as well... such things are far more affordable in Thailand than in Dubai. While waiting, I stared at the displays of hair extensions and thought "What the heck... why not?". My hair is long, but very thin which makes any sort of style fail, especially in the heat and humidity. The stylists lead us to our very own room, complete with computers so that we could surf the web while having our hair done. In no time at all, I had ultra long hair and I loved it! It was so much thicker and just looked pretty. Who knows how long I'll keep it, but for now it's a fun way to change up my look... and it was cheap! With my new long hair and Elaine's shorter, lighter colored hair, we headed for the food court to have some lunch before heading back to the hotel. It was getting late and we wanted to get a few hours of sleep before the flight. I packed my bags and crawled into bed. My wake up call came far too early, as it usually does. It was back to Dubai. The flight was only 5 1/2 hours but as the passengers were all sleeping it felt like 10. We finally arrived in the early hours of the morning and I proceeded to sleep through the entire day.
Being back in Dubai is no fun, and I'm already counting down until the next time I can go home. In other news... I've been accepted to be crew on the beautiful Airbus A380... which many of you know as my "Dream Plane". It's the largest passenger aircraft in the world. It's big, it's beautiful... and it flies to TORONTO. With a regular dose of Tim Horton's, close proximity to grandparents, and even an occasional layover visit from the boy that I love... I might just last a bit longer living in the Middle East.
Jul 16, 2010 by Krysta
I'm currently sitting in the Toronto airport killing time before my flight back to Dubai. I've just spent almost 2 weeks back in my beautiful home of Alberta, Canada. I'm currently fighting the urge to hide in a bathroom stall and break down in tears, but I won't. I've done enough of that already today. Goodbyes never get easier, and leaving home gets more impossible as time goes on.
Despite the sadness that comes with heading back to the sandpit, I had an amazing time during my short visit and the good times that I had overshadows my current emotional state.
I arrived home on the 7th after a total of 18 hours of flying. Ryan and I had a movie scene reunion in the Calgary airport. I spotted him and ran to his arms. He even brought me flowers. We hugged like we'd never hugged before, and we even snuck in a few kisses....because we could. Hand in hand, we walked to my beloved coffee shop... Tim Horton's. Clutching our iced cappuccinos, we headed for the baggage carousel to collect my suitcase, and then we were off to hit the highway.
I stared out the windows in awe. Endless yellow fields surrounded us and in the distance the Rocky Mountains peaked out from the horizon. Despite growing up there, life in Dubai has brought me a newfound appreciation of the beauty of my amazing home.
I reunited with my mom, my brothers, and my adorable puppy, Titan. It was great to be back.
The next day I dragged myself out of bed early, forcing myself to adjust to the time zone in a desperate attempt to avoid jet lag. I headed for a long overdue haircut, thrilled to find that my stylist was also a good friend of mine, Talin. We chatted and caught up on 7 month's worth of gossip. With my hair styled for the first time in a long time (aside from the flight attendant bun), I made my way to my shopping paradise... Wal-Mart! Call me a loser, but I don't care. I've missed the giant store that sells everything. I loaded up a cart full of makeup, snacks, flip flops, and everything else that I figured I needed based solely on the fact that it would cost more to buy in Dubai.
Once Ryan was off work he picked me up and we hit the road, headed West. We were going to spend the entire weekend camping in the mountains and I couldn't have been happier. On the way, we stopped at Calgary's famous "Peter's Drive In" to get our fill of greasy burgers and milkshakes. We eventually made it to Kananaskis, surrounded by snow capped mountains.
The next few days were spent hiking up mountains (in flip flops, might I add), eating great camping food, and catching up with Ryan and his family. His mom is famous for her delicious homemade ice cream cakes. Obviously transporting one camping would be hard to do, but she surprised me with a great alternative... an entire tub of ice cream with candles in honour of my belated birthday. Mmm, ice cream for breakfast. After a great weekend it was time to return to Red Deer to shower....and more importantly, to reunite with the rest of my friends and family! My mom had planned a barbeque birthday party at her house and invited all of the people that I love most. Everyone showed up and we had a great time catching up while eating mass amounts of food (a common theme you'll read about for this entire vacation). My aunt gave me a really cool gift for my birthday... she printed every single blog that I've written and put it together into one book. It was really thoughtful and I'd never have the patience to do it myself. Once everyone had left and my lovely friend Carley had entertained us all with her alcohol induced storytelling, I headed to bed. Monday had another exciting event in store... KARAOKE!
From the time that I turned 18 until now, I've spent nearly every Monday that I've been in Red Deer at Bo's Bar, singing karaoke. Hosted by my very own mommy, it's the highlight of Monday nights. It was a great night, and I sang my little heart out.
Rather than sleeping in the next morning, I woke up early, forcing my mom and Carley to get out of bed and get ready. We were joined by my mom's friend Brandy and the 4 of us set out on a girl's day out. We drove to Edmonton for some serious shopping at West Edmonton Mall, which was formerly the biggest in the world and still beats any of Dubai's giant malls as far as I'm concerned. We spent hours aimlessly wandering, meeting up with my crazy friend Jake and trying on ridiculous outfits complete with hideous accessories. Our great day was completed with a visit to Red Lobster, where I indulged in an amazing meal of snow crab legs, king crab legs, and crab stuffed shrimp. I was in Heaven.
Wednesday brought on more fun. My friend Michaelle was celebrating her 25th birthday and we joined her at Bo's for wing night. Ryan and I left early to stop by the steam room. We used to love going there to relax after the gym. Rather than working out this time, we'd ate excessive amounts of chicken wings... it was relaxing regardless.
Thursday was another early morning. It had been raining for a few days, so I was determined to take advantage of the sunshine on the first nice day of the week. I persuaded my mom that we should go to the Calgary Stampede. We took the roadtrip to the city, watched a performance, briefly met up with my Godmother and her kids, played midway games, and of course.... ate greasy delicious carnival food. It seems like every year they find something new to deep fry and sell. Deep fried Oreos, jelly beans, and cheesecake were among the many unhealthy dining options.
Friday rolled around again, and once again it was time to head to the mountains for another weekend of camping. This time we were joined by a group of friends, and the 9 of us headed for Radium, British Columbia. Our weekend was filled with sunshine, smores, and non-stop laughter.
Before I'd even realized it, Monday had arrived and it dawned on me that I'd be headed back to Dubai in only 2 days. The thought made me a bit sad, but I cheered up as I headed to my Grandma's house for a great big German dinner. Ryan and I were so full that we could barely walk, but we made our way to Bo's for one last karaoke night. My mom and I sang one last song together... the same one that 7 months earlier had brought her to tears as she realized that I was moving to the Middle East.
Tuesday came too soon. After meeting Ryan for our final Tim Horton's lunch date, I headed back to pack my suitcase. It was much fuller than it had been leaving Dubai, stuffed full of new clothes and snacks I'd robbed from my mom's pantry. In the process of packing, I somehow lost my camera battery. Not my easy to replace, small point and shoot camera. Nope, it had to be my DSLR battery, one that would cost me a whopping $90 to replace. After hours of searching the entire house, I lost hope and sadly accepted that it had disappeared into thin air. I can't think of any other reasonable explanation. As my flight was early the next morning, Ryan and I had decided to head to Calgary that night to go for dinner and have the chance to sleep in a bit longer. Once I'd packed up and loaded the car, I was forced to say goodbye to Carley and my mom. I joked and help my composure, fighting back tears as I said "No big deal, it's only 4 months until I have holidays again!" As we drove away, I clung to Ryan's arm, wiping away my unavoidable tears. I cheered up once we'd reached our hotel. Carley had been awesome enough to book us a room using her hotel discount, and she'd even requested fruit and wine to be placed in our room. The wine was M.I.A, but the chocolate covered strawberries were delicious! We'd worked up our appetite in anticipation of dinner... Red Lobster, once again. This time we went for the Ultimate Feast... lobster, crab and shrimp.... all amazing. We ate until our plates were empty and then ordered an appetizer instead of dessert, much to the surprise of our waitress. I'd hoped that the night would never end, but of course, it did. We headed back to our hotel to catch some sleep before an extremely early morning.
The dreaded 21st of July had arrived, and nothing could shake my sad mood, not even chocolate covered strawberries for breakfast. I got ready and we sleepily headed to the airport. Poor Ryan was exhausted, but sweet enough to wake up super early to send me off despite having to work all day. I checked in and not surprisingly, my bag was over the weight allowance. Fortunately, it was only by one pound and they were kind enough to let me off without paying any extra fees. The lady at the check in counter advised me to hurry through security before the lines got too long. We walked hand in hand toward the gates, stopping in the same corner where we'd said goodbye in December. He pulled out my camera and took my photo, much to my confusion. How was he using my camera without a battery? Turns out he'd rushed and bought a new one the night before and slipped it into my camera at some point. It's the little awesome things that he does that makes me love him even more. I wanted to stay longer, to hug him forever, but it was time to go. I didn't even try to hold back the tears, I knew it was useless. I hugged Ryan, cried like a baby, and then said goodbye and headed through the door. I knew that it wasn't the end of the world, but it sure felt like it. As the plane took off I stared below as tears streamed down my face. Goodbye, Alberta.
3 hours later I was in Toronto, where I sit now wasting my entire afternoon waiting for my flight back to Dubai. Believe me, the thought of buying a one way ticket back to Calgary has definitely crossed my mind, but I know that I have to go. When it comes down to it, I do love my job, and I do love my life.
I just hate goodbyes.
Keeping optimistic, I'm headed back to Australia this weekend. My second home, and second best if I can't be home right now! Time to go catch a flight, next update from the sandpit.
To all of my amazing friends and family back home... I love you all and miss you so much already. Thanks for an amazing 2 weeks!!
Jul 6, 2010 by Krysta
I'm sitting on my bed surrounded by a mess of papers, clothing, and suitcases. 6 hours from now I'll be at the airport, waiting (im)patiently for my flight back to Canada. In typical Krysta fashion, I'm not packed yet. I don't have warm enough clothing. I've grown accustomed to the constant desert heat and I'm honestly extremely concerned as to how I'll deal with shocking cold temperatures.... such as 15 degrees Celsius. I realize that this makes me a sad excuse at being Canadian, but that is at least 30 degrees cooler than what I'm used to. On layovers I've been known to wear my winter jacket in such temperatures, but I'm going to go out on a limb and say that doing so would cause a lot of people at home to stare at me. People stare enough in Dubai. I'm looking forward to blending in at home, even if it involves pretending that the cool air doesn't phase me. Maybe I'll get lucky and that one week of the year where it's super hot will fall on the same week that I'm home. I can only hope.
I'm looking forward to going home more than I can describe. It's something that I really need right now, and I've had to put a lot of effort into being patient and maintaining my sanity up until this point. Life in the Middle East has it's ups and downs, but factoring it all in, it's really not for me. Will I be back in 2 weeks? Sadly, yes. While I despise the city that I live in, I love the job and the amazing opportunities that it brings. In 6 months it's taken me to 22 countries, and the experience that I'm gaining will open up a lot of doors in the industry for the day that I do decide to head back to my home and native land.
What are my plans for my 13 amazing days back home?? Well, I'll be one busy girl. I'll be camping in the Rockies, reuniting with all sorts of family and friends, celebrating my belated birthday with a BBQ party, returning to karaoke, going on lots of dates with my boyfriend, rafting down the river, and perhaps even the Calgary Stampede. 2 weeks will go by far too fast, but it's better than nothing at all.
What I'm not looking forward to is the 17 hours of flying from Dubai to Calgary. Don't get me wrong, I love flying. I love being crew, and I love how excited I get when I'm on a plane bound for somewhere fun. Unfortunately, anything more than 6 hours is a bit excessive. I can only watch so many movies, and eat so much salty airplane food. I'm going to do my best to stay awake until I board the plane, and keep my fingers crossed for an empty seat next to me. Who am I kidding. Our seats are NEVER empty.
I suppose that I've rambled on enough now. Perhaps I should do something productive. You know, like... pack. I spend a great deal of my life packing suitcases, and I always, always procrastinate.
Love you all, and I'll be back in just over 2 weeks to tell you all about my vacation and how great it was!
Jul 2, 2010 by Krysta
I've typed this blog on only 2 hours of sleep, so if there are spelling errors or it simply makes no sense... well, at least I tried.
It was my very last day of a long, boring month of reserve. I was on standby for the evening, convinced that I'd be sent on a turnaround flight as I was scheduled to have the next 2 days off. At 5 am I got the dreaded phone call to let me know that I'd been pulled out for a flight. The bad news was that I had to leave the warmth and comfort of my bed. The good news? I was being sent to Capetown, South Africa! I'd be crossing my fingers for this flight since I'd start flying, so I was happy to sacrifice my 2 days off in Dubai. I considered myself to be extremely lucky. It's a highly desired layover on any day, but during the FIFA World Cup it's even more impossible to score.
Off to the airport I headed, where I met the crew and happily chattered away about how excited I was to finally be going to South Africa.
At 9 hours, the flight was quite tiring, but the majority of the passengers were headed to the World Cup and therefore in a great mood. I was happy to meet a few Canadians, and I spent some time discussing the greatness of Tim Horton's coffee while gushing about the fact that I'd be home next week. I wished them a happy Canada Day (one day early) and continued on doing my job.
When we finally landed I was exhausted. Despite this, I'd heard great things about the food in South Africa and I wasn't about to settle for room service. It's very rare for many crew to venture out together, so we were shocked when 12 of us showed up in the hotel lobby to head out in search of dinner. We waited what seemed like hours for the shuttle bus to pick us up and bring us to the Waterfront area, but there was plenty going on in the lobby. We eagerly got our faces painted in the spirit of the game, and stood amongst dozen of Brazilian and German soccer fans who clutched vuvuzelas (those extremely annoying horns that are constant background noise during games) and proudly wore their country's colors. Eventually the bus came and we crammed in, sitting on the floor and on laps. We settled on a nice restaurant that promised the best South African cuisine. It's currently winter in the Southern hemisphere, so we were feeling pretty chilly at our outdoor table. Fortunately we found a soft fleece blanket on each chair, and we each sat cuddled up at the dinner table. For dinner I chose a seafood platter, as usual. The prawns, calamari, and fish were cooked to perfection, fresh off the coast. Televisions showing recaps of the games were found in every corner. A group of singers parked themselves in front of the restaurant, singing and dancing African music, enhancing the already exciting atmosphere. I don't follow or even understand the sport, but I would have loved the opportunity to have gone to a game. Of course, just being in the city was the next best option. By the time we'd all finished our meals I was too full to move. A cold breeze was blowing in and I was shivering in my seat. I ordered a hot chocolate and was informed by the waiter that I "simply must try the white hot chocolate, it's simply divine". I wasn't about to argue with that, so I gave it a try and I have to say I agreed with him. We paid the massive bill and headed back to the hotel, where I crashed in bed almost immediately.
The next morning I woke up just in time to see the sun light up the mountains outside my window. It was going to be a beautiful day. I proceeded to get ready and then headed downstairs where I'd planned to meet 2 of the new crew members... May from South Korea and Fadi from Lebanon. In typical Krysta fashion I was eager to see and do as much as possible, so I dragged them to the concierge who advised us that our best bet would be to catch the "Hop On/Hop Off" bus and do the loop around the city. We made our way the stop across the street and hopped onboard to purchase our tickets. We rushed to the second level of the double decker bus and pulled out our cameras, ready for action. I typically prefer doing my own thing, but with limited time and not much knowledge of the city, the bus tour was great. We wore headphones and listened to the commentary, learning about the different landmarks and monuments, and the racial issues that had once plagued South Africa. With limited time we opted to stay on the bus at all except for one stop... Table Mountain. The bus drove up the side of the mountain offering amazing views of the city and the sea below, and the mountains in the distance. Once we saw the line for the cable car ride we decided against it, satisfied with the already beautiful view. It was a clear day and I made great use of my camera. We stayed awhile, taking in the views and the fresh air before we waited for the next bus and got back onboard. The next hour of the journey took us past the breathtakingly beautiful coastline. Crashing waves hit the shores and the smell of the sea lingered in the air. I love the ocean! We passed by mansions and luxury apartment complexes, wondering what celebrities might be spotted on these beaches during the summer months. I was sad as we drove away from the water and back into the city. Time flies when you are having fun! We'd reached the stop closest to our hotel so we got off, happy with our day. By this point we were starving, so we headed to a pizzeria beside the hotel and chowed down on some amazing wood fire oven baked pizza. I could tell that my travel companions were getting a bit drowsy, so we headed back to our rooms. I should have slept but instead I found myself looking through my photos and slowly packing my suitcase. Before I knew it, the phone rang for my wake up call and I realized that there would be no time to sleep before the flight. No big deal, I'd survive. I began to regret my decision once we were on the aircraft and the captain informed us of a one hour delay. I fought the fatigue until it was time for my break. I dozed off in my bunk bed for a short hour, allowing the turbulence to rock me to sleep. The way back to Dubai always seems to drag by, but eventually we landed. It was early in the morning on July 2nd, but it was still Canada Day at home. I rushed into my apartment and treated myself to some of the maple leaf shaped goodies that Ryan had brought me for the specific purpose of enjoying on Canada Day. Content with my layover and looking forward to the next one, I crawled into bed. This job comes with it's share of frustrations, but on days like this I think to myself "They pay me to do this?!"