so excited.

Oct 30, 2011

One of the greatest things about my job is the amount of downtime that comes along with it. In Dubai, it was often a downfall, as I looked forward to nearly every opportunity to escape the sandpit. Now that I'm back home in Canada, I take full advantage of my free time!
While it's not always easy being on the other side of the country and being forced to miss out on special occasions, I am privileged to have many, many days off during the month. I spend these days wandering the mall, going on lunch dates with my fiancé, sleeping in, and thinking of the rest of the general population as they sit at work. I have absolutely no routine, which would probably drive most people crazy... but it works perfectly for me!
Another great thing about my job is the places that I get to see. Sure, I've only just begun with this airline and my most glamorous destination so far has been Saskatoon. That said, this career has taken me around the world and back more than a few times. Places that I never would have thought to visit, I've been able to see thanks to my job. I've been to glamourous places like Paris, Sydney, and Hong Kong... and guess where I'm going in just a few short days?! Come on, take a guess!! Okay, fine... I'll tell you. I'm going to Hawaii!!! Maui, to be exact. I'm going to spend 24 hours in beautiful sunny Hawaii, where I'll hang out on the beach, enjoy a cocktail, soak up the sun.... oh, and get paid for it. As a beach-loving, sunshine-loving, always-wanted-to-visit-Hawaii type of girl, I can assure you, I'm very excited. I can also assure you that there WILL be a blog post complete with photos.
On my last pairing, I did something very uncharacteristic of myself, and left my camera at home. Fortunately, I've had my brand new shiny iPhone 4s to join me in my travels, and it does a nice job of documenting where I've been!
Anyways, I've rambled on enough about nothing for the evening. This just serves as a pre-blog post for my upcoming blog about the layover that I can barely wait for. Life is good, really, really good.

the new girl!

Oct 26, 2011

With my line indoctrination flight out of the way, I was almost set to be a full-fledged flight attendant. A huge weight had been lifted from my shoulders, but there was one more final step in the process that I had to get through first.
Next up was my follow up flight, and by flight I mean multiple flights over the course of 4 days... referred to in the industry as a pairing. My former airline didn't have pairings, as every flight connected via Dubai. I packed my tiny little bag full for 4 days away from home, still wondering where my giant plastic suitcase was. Apparently I'd been spoiled in the past. I tried to stuff my lunch bag full too, but my inability to prepare meals in advance left me with only a few snacks to eat over the course of the pairing. I grew increasingly nervous as I drove to the airport on Sunday morning. I repeatedly reminded myself that I'd done this before, and that my onboard trainer would be with me every step of the way. It didn't help much, but as usual I worried for nothing. We worked our very first flight all the way to Toronto, and it went rather well! I felt a little bit lost, but things fell into place as the day went on. We landed in Toronto, switched planes, and flew to Winnipeg. By the time that we arrived, I was super exhausted, but we weren't done yet. We flew back to Toronto. For those of you who aren't from Canada, let me assure you, it's a rather ginormous country. Flying domestic can take just as long as flying across Europe, or from Dubai to Thailand. It had been a very long day. We said goodnight and headed to our hotel rooms, where I quickly proceeded to fall asleep, only to be waken far too early the next morning. It was time to fly again!
This day took us all the way to the other side of the country... Vancouver! As soon as everyone was off the plane, we were boarding again, heading back to Calgary. So close to my own bed, but yet so far. We headed right back in the direction we'd come from and finally landed at our final destination for the day, Abbotsford. We had a bit more time than we'd had in Toronto, so rather than head to our rooms and call it a night, I met up with my trainer and the pilots and we went for dinner. I was absolutely starving, and a day full of serving Clamato juice to our passengers had left me craving a spicy caesar. I ordered one to enjoy with my delicious salmon burger. It was nice to sit and relax and chat outside of the work atmosphere of the aircraft. Once dinner was over, it was bed time!! There are few things more satisfying than crawling into bed after a long day in the sky! As usual, 4 am came too soon. I don't care what anyone says, you don't get used to waking up early. I never have, and I probably never will. I was looking forward to the day ahead, as it was much shorter than the previous 2 had been!
We hopped on over to Calgary and one quick flight later we were in Saskatoon. I never thought I'd catch myself saying this, but I was rather excited to be there! My friend and former roommate Kimmy (not the one from Dubai, but another awesome Kim!) lives there and we hadn't seen each other in well over a year.We were long overdue for a lunch date. I checked into my hotel room, changed out of my uniform, and headed to the lobby to wait for her. Yay! Reunions are so much fun! We caught up and gossiped over a delicious meal.... Vietnamese! I finally met her lovely boyfriend Justin and gave him my seal of approval... not that it matters, of course. The day was over far too soon and Kimmy had to go to class while I went back to my room for the evening.
I had mixed emotions regarding the next day. On one hand, it was finally home day!! On the other hand, I was awake at 3 am and it was my first time being lead flight attendant. I was a little bit (a lot) terrified. You know that person that makes all of the announcements and closes the main cabin door and is the go-to person when it comes to communicating with the flight deck?? That was me.
As we boarded our first flight of the day, to Toronto, I nervously clung to my cue cards, scared to death of making my very first PA. I have made my share of announcements in the past working for my former airline. It was different here though, as I was working for an airline that prides itself on being fun and entertaining. Most flight attendants throw their personal touch into their announcements, actually forcing the passengers to pay attention to the usually-ignored safety demo. But I was the new girl, who didn't have my announcements memorized, and I was going by the book. The time had come, and hands shaking, I picked up the phone. I did it! I said everything that I was supposed to, and nobody had even stopped to listen. The hardest part was over. Sure, I still had many more to make, but getting past the first one is always the most difficult. I closed the door on my very first try, and before I knew it, we were in Toronto! Just one more flight, and we'd be home! The last flight of our last day of my first pairing, and I was feeling far more confident in my role. It felt good to be back.
We landed into Calgary, and after I'd made my final PA, I handed the phone to my lovely trainer to make the French announcement. Once he'd finished, he announced to the entire cabin that I was the newest flight attendant and asked for a round of applause. The cabin erupted into a loud symphony of applause, as I felt my face turning ridiculously bright red. Embarrassing, yes, but the warm and fuzzy, happy type of embarrassed. As we disembarked, each person congratulated me and wished me luck. I'd done it! I'd officially finished all of the steps of training, and I was now a real, active flight attendant!! What a great feeling.
Hugs and goodbyes with the crew followed, and then I was on my way home!
I'm so proud and excited to be a part of this airline, and I know that fun times lie ahead!

Gooooin' to winnipeg!

Oct 21, 2011

The day had arrived. Training was over, and I was off to spread my wings and do what I came here to do... fly!!! My first flight was more for observation purposes, but I willingly helped out the working crew. No better way to learn!

My thoughts during the day went as followed, although the exact times may be slightly inaccurate:

3:00 am: You've got to be kidding me. You want me to get out of bed to fly to Winnipeg and back? My bed is warm. Sleep is good. I refuse.
3:05 am: Okay, fine. I'm getting up. It's going to take a lot of time and makeup to cover up the dark circles under these eyes.
3:50 am: Seriously?! My car is absolutely coated in a layer of frost. I love Ryan for giving me a spare key (to my own car) so that I can warm it up, thus saving myself from scraping the windows and keeping me cozy.
4:00 am: I'm going, I'm going. Do I have time for coffee?! Should I?? Okay, maybe not... I want to make a good first impression when I meet my onboard trainer.
4:30 am: I'm starting to feel much happier. Free parking at the airport is magical!! I feel important!
4:40 am: Good lord, it's a long, long walk to the crew room! I'm nervous. Why am I nervous?! What if my trainer is mean??
4:45 am: I'm here, right on time. Is that him?? I tried to Facebook stalk him but his profile was limited. Oh, he's waving. It's him.
4:50 am: My trainer is awesome. He wants to go get coffee.
5:00 am: My very own boarding pass! Security! It's just dawned on me that I've really missed airports.
5:30 am: I'm on a plane!! It's my first commercial flight since I flew home from Dubai on June 20th! Yay!
5:35 am: My trainer must think I'm weak and pathetic... for the life of me I can not close these doors. I miss my A380 with its "CLOSE" button. Seriously, it had a button! I'm going to be the worst flight attendant ever. It's not working!
5:40 am: Success! I can close the door. It sure isn't easy, but with all of the strength that I possess, I can do it. Go me!
5:50 am: The crew are here... will they be nice to me? Oh please, let them be nice to me.
5:55 am: They are lovely. I feel particularly attached to one girl who is working her 3rd flight. She knows what its like to be in my shoes, as it was her only weeks prior.
6:00 am: Passengers!! Time to put on my flight attendant smile. Hello, good morning. Oh goodness, why are there so many babies onboard? I have to brief ALL of them?!
6:05 am: Crap. My emergency exit row briefings. I think I know them... what if I mess up? Oh goodness, I'm going to embarrass myself. I can do this.
6:07 am: Like a pro. I rocked those briefings.
6:25 am: Alright, let's go!!! I miss the rush that I get during take off. I love watching the ground get further and further away. I'm sitting patiently waiting... it's time to go!
6:30 am: I'm flying, I'm flying!!
7:00 am: Doing my thing, being a flight attendant, and helping the other crew members. It's all so different but so familiar at the same time. I love my job!
8:45 am: Hello, Winnipeg. Your airport is kind of ugly, but it reminds me of the terminal in Paris. Ahh, CDG. I hear you are getting a brand new terminal though... good for you!
9:00 am: I'm so hungry I'm going to actually fall down, right here, right now. Okay, maybe not, but I'm losing patience fast in the Tim Horton's line.
9:30 am: Food, at last!! Just in time to board again. One flight down, one to go!
10:00 am: The plane is full of football players. We'll have to bypass long legs sticking out into the aisles, which is always an adventure!
10:10 am: Here we go... the moment I've waited years for. I'm doing a safety demo in front of the entire cabin. My former airline had videos, and we never got to point to our exits and fasten seat belts in the air. The lead flight attendant has just announced that it's my first flight, so for once, the passengers are paying full attention to the demo. I'm terrified and likely bright red.
10:12 am: Well, that wasn't so bad!! Not even the French part.
10:15 am: The cabin is secure, thanks in part to me. It makes such a difference when everyone speaks the same language as you instead of staring blankly when you ask them to put their bag under the seat. They cooperate. I love them. I want to have such great passengers on every flight.
10:20 am: Take-off, yet again!
11:30 am: I've completed a full service, fed and watered our lovely guests.
12:00 pm: Oh Calgary, I've missed you!! I've survived my very first flight and before I know it, I'll be curled up in my bed. What a day!

I proceeded to drive home, dreaming of a long, satisfying afternoon nap. My plans were changed when I was informed that the house that I'm living it (which happens to be for sale) had a showing and I'd have to leave. I sleepily wandered Ikea, before grabbing a coffee and spontaneously making the decision to drive to Red Deer for a Friday night date with my fiancé. Downing lattes and Red Bull, I managed to stay awake until the movie was over at midnight! 23 hours later, I was finally curled up in bed. Day 1, over!


Oct 17, 2011

I'm going to keep this one short and sweet.
As of today, I'm no longer in initial flight attendant training. It's time to spread my little wings and take to the skies... I couldn't be happier!
After a few much needed days off, I'll be headed for my very first flight bright and early on Friday morning. The glamourous destination that awaits? Winnipeg.
Okay, so it's not as exciting as Bangkok, Sydney, or Paris... which happens to be where I was when I applied for this job. That said, I moved home for a reason and I have absolutely no regrets. I love to fly and that's exactly what I'm going to do!
All of the hard work and stress has paid off.... Let the celebration begin!

the light at the end of the tunnel

Oct 16, 2011

This week has come to an end, and I must admit... I've never felt more relieved. What a week it was. After a glorious long weekend, I was forced back to a place I've come to despise over the past few weeks... the classroom. We were in the home stretch, but nerves and stress had reached an all time high and people were at their breaking point. The week commenced with us being tested for our drills. Essentially, we had to become great actors and actresses and successfully evacuate our simulated aircraft. It doesn't matter what airline you've worked for, or how many years you've worked as a flight attendant... whether it's your initial training or annual recurrent, everybody stresses over drills. We made it through two rather tedious days and our entire class successfully passed. We can evacuate a plane, but we certainly hope that we'll never need to!
The next day was our final exam. We wrote it, passed it, and received our wings and diplomas, and celebrated with cupcakes! It was also the first day that we wore our uniforms. For those of you who are curious, I apologize for not having photos at this time... but let me tell you, it's far different from the former polyester that I sported! No more red hat, and I couldn't wear red lipstick even if I wanted to! I've got a simple black and blue uniform with a cute little scarf and a simple ponytail will suffice for a hairstyle. Simply put, I feel very free! Sure, it's still far more strict than your average place of employment, but never once have I been asked to step on a scale or reapply my mascara. Things like that just wouldn't go over well in Canada.
Some things about my former airline remind me a great deal of a new television show that people have been asking me about. So for the record... yes, I do watch Pan Am. Of course I do. In fact, nearly every flight attendant that I know does. And yes, I do enjoy it. Cheesy as it is, I can't miss an episode. You want to know a secret? Ryan watches it with me, and he loves it too.
So, back to my happy passing-exam-eating-cupcakes-wearing-uniform day. It was a good day. As soon as we were released from class I hit the highway, heading home to go for dinner with my mom and brother's in celebration of my baby brother's 17th birthday. I'm not sure how he's reached that age, and I'm reluctant to accept the fact, but I can't do a thing about it. We ate a mediocre meal before heading home for a good night's sleep. In the comfort of my own bed I slept for 12 hours straight, taking full advantage of my one day off.
The next morning I went to see my good friend and great hairdresser, Talin. She gave me a much needed hair makeover, just in time to start my new job. Later that day Ryan came to town and made my entire week by taking me for a flight. I love flying, and I love watching him as a pilot. Admittedly, I used to (okay, sometimes I still do) stereotype pilots based on the few sleazy ones that I've known, but when my very own fiance decided to pursue flying I was forced to be a bit more open-minded. Some people just love planes, and love flying them. Maybe one day I can too!
My day off went by far too fast for my liking, and before I knew it, it was time to go back to Calgary and back to training... over the weekend! This time, however, Ryan came with me to the city. Knowing that he was at home waiting for me to be done made getting through the days that much easier. I remembered why I'd moved home to Canada in the first place. I can't wait to actually live in the same city! The weekend ended as fast as it began, and Ryan headed back to Edmonton to get ready for his work week to begin.
That sums up the past week and brings us to Sunday. Which means that tomorrow is Monday, and (drumroll please) that means the tomorrow is my LAST DAY OF TRAINING!
Just one more day of class and then it's time for me to spread my little wings... and fly!
...I think it's safe to say that I'm excited.


Oct 9, 2011

Every year around this time, I come up with a list of things that I'm thankful for. Each year, the list seems to grow, proving that life just keeps getting better. Ladies and gentlemen, it's Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada, and without a doubt one of my most favourite occasions of the year.
I love this holiday primarily for the fact that it revolves around a massive feast of food, but the idea of giving thanks for all that we have brings a nice feel-good vibe to the entire weekend. This year the feast was a bit rushed, as Ryan and I stuffed ourselves before heading to a beautiful wedding... congratulations to our friends Mat and Mandy, who threw a great party and actually stayed to enjoy it, unlike many newlyweds. I'm so happy for the two of them, and wish them the best in their new life together! Weddings are so great!
I carried on the weekend, being happy and thankful.... For the following things:
1. Being in Canada. Anywhere else, and I wouldn't even get to celebrate Thanksgiving in all of its turkey and pumpkin pie glory. I've always loved my country, but after spending 18 months in the Middle East, I'm exceptionally patriotic these days. This is my home, and as far as I'm concerned the best place on Earth. Trust me, I've seen a great deal of places to support this theory. I'm so, so happy to be home.
2. My family. They've supported me through all of my crazy adventures and encouraged me to pursue my dreams. Like 90% of flight attendants on the planet, I've been watching the show "Pan Am" a lot lately. Perhaps it's a different era, but even today I know that some parents don't think too highly of the career. I'm not sure if it was myself of my mom that was more excited for my job. She knows how happy it makes me, and takes advantage of the perks that come with it! My brothers think that I'm a pretty cool big sister, my aunts, uncles and cousins are supportive..... my family-to-be are all pretty awesome too. I feel blessed. FYI... my puppies are part of my family too. The cuddliest, cutest members of it.
3. My fiance. Last Thanksgiving, he was just my boyfriend. I love him even more now than I did back then, which if you'd asked me a year ago I would have thought was impossible. Nobody has ever been more supportive or understood me better. Our wedding seemed like such a distant, far off thing... Mat and Mandy still had to get married long before we could countdown. They had their awesome wedding this weekend, and now it appears... we're next!! Ryan even caught the garter. I can't wait to marry him. I never dreamt I'd meet somebody who actually obsessed over airplanes the way that I do, or possessed the same carefree travel-loving attitude as me. We're pretty great for one another, and thanks to the first item on my list, we are actually together.... finally.
4. My friends. From Australia to Dubai to Canada, I have amazing friends all over the place. I'm thankful for the old ones who've been there for me since I was young and silly, to the new friends who've made the past couple of years as great as they were. I'm thankful for the fact that I can't even begin to list them all, because there are just so many awesome people.
5. My job. How many people can honestly say that they've scored their dream job... not once, but twice?! I can, and I still pinch myself from time to time to make sure it's real. I love what I do, and the sky feels like my home. I've worked international, seen the world, and came back home to do what I love in the country that I call home. I couldn't ask for anything more. Other people dream of this job, and I'm one of the lucky dreamers who've seen it come true.
6. Chocolate. For being there for me when times get tough, and making the good times even better. How could I not include one of my most favourite things in my list?!
7. Life. I love my life, and I'm appreciative of all of the little things that I could write out here if you all wanted to read one of my longest blog posts, ever. I'm happy, healthy, alive and thankful. I'm marrying my best friend, shopping for houses, flying around the continent, and surrounded by amazing people. If you ask me, life really couldn't get a whole lot better than it already is. I'm truly blessed, and truly thankful.
Happy Thanksgiving to all of my Canadians at home or abroad!

The Cure to Weekdays is a good Weekend

Oct 2, 2011

The stress of exams and mind-numbingly long days last week had left me in a rather stressed-out and unpleasant person to be around kind of state. I was sleep deprived and overwhelmed with most aspects of life, from my new career and missing Ryan to wedding planning and purchasing a home.
I'm quite certain that I've never looked forward to Friday more than I did last week. I left campus in a stupidly-giddy mood and set out bound for Red Deer. Nothing cheers me up better than surrounding myself with family and friends, most especially my fiance. After stopping at my mom's house to say hi, cuddle my puppies, and chatter about my week, I set off to Ryan's parent's place where we met and dined on a fantastic dinner, followed by the very first episode of "Pan Am", a television show that I have little choice but to love given that it is entirely about flight attendants.
By the time we drove back to my house I was fighting to stay awake. It was so nice to sleep in the next morning, even if it was only until 8 am! Breakfast was the highlight of my week, thus far. Bacon and eggs and sausages, oh my! I'd been living on little more than coffee during training and felt rather spoiled by the meal. Later that afternoon, Ryan and I went to the mall (I told you he's the greatest fiance, ever) to kill some time and window shop for items to decorate our future home. The rest of our evening was reserved for a very special person. My friend Carley happened to be in town celebrating her both her 25th birthday and her brother's 18th birthday. There was plenty of fun to be had as we headed to our favourite lounge for an evening of drinks and appetizers. Carley and her brother were both forced to endure a birthday tradition (that shall remained unnamed to keep this blog family friendly) of searching for a shot glass amongst a mountain of whipped cream. More of our friends joined in, and we talked about how in only 189 days, we'd be sipping pina coladas in Mexico. I feel so lucky that so many of my friends are joining Ryan and I for our wedding. The best part of the evening was when Ryan smuggled 5 cheeseburgers inside and we sneakily ate them, hiding them under the table when the waitress was approaching. It was nice to be silly and take a break from studying, and exactly the reminder that I needed... my life is pretty darn awesome! I may be in the midst of a challenging 5 weeks, but I'm training for a job that I absolutely love and planning a beautiful wedding with my very best friend. What more could a girl ask for?!
It's a brand new week on a brand new note, and I'm going to do my best not to complain nearly as much as I did last week. Life's not always sunshine and rainbows, but I'm still pretty darn lucky!