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Lobstas and Lighthouses

They say that flight attending isn’t a job, it’s a lifestyle. I’ve definitely had a small taste of that over the last few weeks. I’ve barely worked, although part of it is because there’s nothing really good to pick up and part of it is just that I needed some time off after the grueling training. I’ve actually traveling more days than I’ve worked, which is amazing for the soul but horrible for the wallet.

Nubble Light, Ogunquit, Maine

Nubble Light, Ogunquit, Maine

I’m not really sure what the mysterious allure is when I’m in uniform, but it’s as if people look at me differently. Maybe they think of glamour and jetsetting, and hey, I’m fine with that. Everything is definitely new and exciting to me right now, so maybe I just give off the new hire glow. I’m not sure what it is, but I hope I never lose the sense of wonder that I have and that other people seem to have when they see me in uniform.

As far as working, I’ve done 2 turns (where I go and come back in the same day) to Chicago and San Jose del Cabo, Mexico. Those are tiring and I don’t get a layover, so so far I don’t think they’re as cool. I also had a trip to Miami, I laidover there but I slept all day because the flight got in early in the morning. Basically I haven’t done anything cool as far as work is concerned yet, but I’m still getting used to it.

I’ve been much more interested in using my travel benefits, which my boyfriend loves so far! (stay tuned for his upcoming unnamed travel blog, he takes much better photos than me) He flew out to LA to visit me after graduation and we roadtripped it up to Monterey along the famed Highway 1, or PCH as we say in California. It was a drive-until-we-drop type trip, with many random detours to places like Ostrich Land, a tourist trap where we paid to feed ostriches. A few days later to decided to fly out to Boston and roadtrip up the other Highway 1, up the New England coast to Maine, solely in search of stuffing ourselves with lobsta. We had a wonderful lobsta dinner at The Lobster Shack, a place in Port Elizabeth with a gorgeous setting next to a lighthouse with waves crashing into rocky cliffs below. I highly recommend their fresh catch!

My next work destination is Toronto, and fun destination with the boyfriend is New Orleans in about a week. Our travel list grows ever longer however, and to choose we basically just have to flip a coin because the sky is literally the limit.

Big Sur, California

Big Sur, California

Graduation

After a grueling 8 ½ week schedule, I have finally graduated flight attendant training! It was a long, hard road, and at some times I didn’t think I’d make it, but I finally did. There were tears, late nights, stressful mornings and classes I thought would never end, but now I have my shiny silver wings.

Fly Girl

Fly Girl

As we walked the stage, my class manager stated that it was a unique graduation in that it’s not the end of something, but really just the beginning as we embark on our unique and incredible careers (or lifestyles, as some would say). This could not be anymore truthful, because as proud as I felt at graduation, my first flight is looming over me and I feel butterflies and dread and all other kinds of nervousness. The days of my instructors holding my hand are over, and I am thrown into the real world of responsibility.

All I need is experience though, and being thrown in the deep end, I’ll get that sooner rather than later. Right now I’m a baby, but very soon I’ll be flying and taking responsibility for that cabin. Whether it’s serving a Coke or maintaining security, I’m nervous for the whole thing. Wish me luck!

2 Weeks Down

It’s been a long and challenging two weeks at flight attendant training.  I’ve gotten to class early and stayed until late, had several tests and generally been tested both physically and mentally the whole time.  Not to say it hasn’t been a wild and fun ride, but it’s definitely one of the most challenging things I’ve done so far in my life!

To fasten your seatbelt...

To fasten your seatbelt…

The first week was half fluff and half work.  The fluff was a lot of “welcome to our airlines” presentations and getting-to-know-each-other exercises, fueled by a lot of candy and free snacks.  Little did we know that free coffee would be our life sources later on in training.  It genuinely seems like the employees of this company really love it though, judging from the way they talk about and also the fact that many of them have retired after several decades but decided to come back to work.

After a couple of days, they took away the candy.  We were left with early mornings and many classes, starting with learning about the Super 80 aircraft.  We learned all about the emergency equipment, evacuation drills, general procedures and many other things about this aircraft.  It can be kind of daunting watching videos of several “ditchings” (really, just crashes) when you are training to go work on that aircraft.  I’m still powering through!

There really isn’t a typical day so far, as we’ve started at different times throughout the day.  Basically, we spend a lot of time in the classroom and a little time on the cabin mock-up of the s80.  It’s much easier for me to grasp what we’re doing when I can see it in real life.  We have a comprehension test on Monday about what we’ve learned and also a proficiency test of our first evacuation drills, which is kind of scary because you must do it perfectly or else it’s a retake.  I’m just glad I have 2 days off this weekend to relax a little bit (and fight off this cold that keeps trying to infect me).  Next week we have lots of long days and we start with the 737, but we should get our base assignments on Thursday!

14-03: The Beginning

It’s  been a long but rewarding first couple of days here at flight attendant training, and the days will only get harder.

I arrived at the training center around 2 pm on Sunday and almost immediately met my roommate, who is very sweet and I don’t think we’ll have a problem living together.  This is a good thing because they told us today we’re not allowed to switch rooms, because on a flight we’d have to learn to get along with whomever we were working with.  The room is like a hotel room only probably about half the size, so it’s tight but manageable.  There are housekeepers and a coffeemaker, which is more like a hotel than I thought, because I was thinking dorm all the way.  In a very 3rd grade fashion, I said hi to the girls across the hall and we went to eat dinner, and now they’re kind of the beginnings of little group (at least I hope they see it that way).  It was very “did we just become best friends?” “YUP!”.

I’m not too worried about making friends though, because there are 61 of us in class 14-03 so everyone will need a study buddy at some point.  They say our classmates will become our family.

We started Day 1 in the airline museum across the street, which got everyone sufficiently pumped for what is to come. They showed us some cheesy but awesome videos and then we were sent to our classroom.  The tables all had bowls of bite-size candies (good ones like Snickers) and there was a catering table outside with Diet Coke and coffee, so I know I’ll be nice and caffeinated for the next 8 weeks.

We spent the day in the classroom mostly getting an introduction to who our airline is and what they expect from us in terms of customer service.  They said that we should never forget how lucky and privileged we are, because out of 91,000 they are only hiring 2,000 flight attendants, which is roughly 2.2%.  I intend to impress over the next 8 weeks.

Off to study my city codes now!

(Sorry for the lack of photos, I took some today but as I’m still not sure what the social media policy is at my airline, I’ve decided to not include them)

The Best Layover Ever: Part 2

Next was the shower, as I had no idea how long it had been since my last one back in another country, somewhere else (attractive!).  I was given a toothbrush and a little shower pod with a sink and toilet and I think that shower cleansed my soul it felt so good.  I hustled back to the lounge to book a taxi tour in order to get out of the sterile airport.  They had longer ones that went to sake breweries, but I only had time to do the 3-hour temple and mall tour.  I had some extra time so I took the 15 100-yen vouchers they gave me and went in search of the best sushi in the airport.  I was able to effectively order salmon, tuna, crab and sea urchin.  The sea urchin was my risky piece to try, it looked like poop and it didn’t taste very good.  Yay for taking risks though!

It turned out my taxi driver didn’t speak any English, but he knew where I needed to go.  First he took me to the Narita temple, a Buddhist temple with beautiful colorful buildings.  They gave me my own English-speaking guide who took me around and gave me the history of all the buildings,

IMG_20131213_125119

A building in the Narita temple complex

as we walked about the blustery grounds.  She was like the little old Japanese grandma I never had, as she educated me about Japanese Buddhist and Shinto religions.

Next my silent taxi man took me to the very large Aeon shopping mall.  I would rather have done something cultural, but it was the only thing I had time for.  I walked around the mall, which was more or less just like its American counterpart.  There was a huge arcade with photobooths which made your eyes Anime-like, a drums game like Dance Dance Revolution, and lots of lights and tiny characters with large eyes everywhere.  I basically just walked around and had a look before I was whisked back to the airport, which I should get used to since that will be my life as a flight attendant soon.

I collected my belongings, said goodbye to the lounge ladies and started my trek to the gate.  I thought I was going to be bored and uncomfortable during my all-day layover in Japan, but I was pleasantly surprised when I boarded my place to LA relaxed and slightly more cultured.  Thank you, Japan for taking in a weary traveler and showing me hospitality and another little slice of the world!

An arcade - Japanese style

An arcade – Japanese style