Hakuna Matata

This whole adventure started sometime last summer or so when I flew somewhere to Africa over the Kenyan and Tanzanian border. I sneakily snapped a picture from the aircraft window of the highest African mountain – the Kilimanjaro’s Uhuru Peak and later posted it with the caption “See you next year”. I don’t really remember what I meant by that. I possibly had this vague idea of one day trying to climb that Big Mamma. To my surprise Dad was the first one to comment saying ” A life- long dream of mine.” I was like ” Hang on – WHAT?”

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And that’s when we started talking. And my vague idea suddenly became very real. In 2015 we would fly to Africa and attempt to summit the Mount Kilimanjaro 5895 m. Getting my dad involved was the best choice I ever made. If this was just me I would be still talking about planning the whole thing. However my dad sat down, googled “Kili”, read everything there was ever written and to be read about “Kili”, made informed decisions, booked what was there to be booked and sent me the invoice. All I had to do was search for flights and get my gear. Which basically meant go online and go shopping. My two favourite activities!

With every piece of equipment I bought I was getting more and more excited about this trip that was taking me way beyond me comfort zone. And as the pile of clothes and various tools was growing in the corner of my room I realised I was missing the most vital part – my best friend Holly. And so I just flat-out told her ” I think you should come”. And she -and that’s why I love her – said “Ok cool.”IMG_6986

And so there we were- my father The Kiliboss as he would have liked us to call him or rather The Lizard as he later became to be known to the Kili population. My wife Holly-my tent mate-who has become famous for having consumed the largest amount of various liquids (tea, water, soup etc) and climbing the mountain purely on that diet. And then my humble self perhaps the only person to ever read three entire books whilst climbing. However I don’t have that fact verified. But what can I say Jo Nesbo really got me hooked.

February 2015 rolled over faster than any of us expected. Or perhaps that was just me. It caught me completely by surprise. The last few months prior to the trip I have spent getting used the new cabin I’m currently working in, travelling between Dubai and Abu Dhabi on my days off and spinning (indoor cycling) at Flywheel. And before you ask – yes that was the only training I have focused on. Unlike the Lizard that has purchased a backpack filled it with stones and hiked pretty much the whole of Czech Rep up and down. Dedication at its finest.

And so before I knew it was the 14th Feb and the three of us were sipping a glass of Moet et Chandon at the Terminal 3 in Dubai waiting for our gate to Dar Es Salaam to open. That glass of champagne was the last bit of luxury we treated ourselves to. Or so we thought. See we were preparing ourselves for 8 days of no hot water, no running water, no beds, no toilets, no heating , no proper food. Most of which we were right about. Apart from the food. Somehow – and honest to God I still don’t know how – our guides managed to treat us to a hot 3-course african cusine three times a day. Yes that’s right. We were freezing our butts off in tents considering long drops a rarity among the more usual bushes but we were stuffing our faces with pancakes and all kinds of plantain stews and soups and marinated meats everyday. Even at 5000m altitude. Gordon Ramsay eat your heart out.

liquid diet

liquid diet

waiting for a meal course number 51.. popcorn. soup, prime, second, carne, pizza done... bring on the dole

waiting for a meal course number 51.. popcorn. soup, primi, secondi, carne, pizza done… bring on the dole

Lizard and Simba

Lizard and Simba

Climbing a mountain is an experience such as no other. And climbing it with people I care about made it that much more special. The three of us were accompanied by a group of local porters and guides that have become our little family for that week. Before the trip has started I couldn’t quite imagine what is it gonna feel like having my bags carried up by someone else. And having seen it the first day – the intimidating pile of stuff tied together that these guys pick up like a shopping bag, place it on their heads and shoot up the hill I mostly felt ashamed. I felt like the privileged white girl visiting Africa for “the experience of a life time” that quite frankly I was. However as the week progressed and we got to know our guys a bit better (I’m not even gonna attempt to spell their names) I came to realise that they are happier than most of the people I have ever met. They are proud of what they do (as they should be), they are grateful for us tourist coming a hiring their strong arms so they can go back home to their home towns and families and enjoy the reputation and respect and hard cash that being a Kilimanjaro porter and consequently a guide brings. I have been humbled by their pure joy of life. Those guys woke up and greeted every single day with a wide bright smile and genuine laughter.Sometimes even a song. They are so happy just to be alive, warm.dry, fed and among friends. They have so little and yet so much more than most of us. I have said it before and I’m saying it again. Africa and its people have a very special place in my heart.

Gideon and Safi ... our guides

Gideon and Safi … our guides

so this is like their version of an "open space" office

so this is like their version of an “open space” office

getting our pre-meal briefing (Lil Primi is explaining what he's gonna cook for us next, got me salivating every single time, his pancakes were unreal!)

getting our pre-meal briefing (Lil Primi is explaining what he’s gonna cook for us next, got me salivating every single time, his pancakes were unreal!)

Chillen like a villain with ma homies

Chillen like a villain with ma homies

Lizard trynna see if he could, he says he could but I don't think so :)

Lizard trynna see if he could, he says he could but I don’t think so 🙂

Da crew

Da crew

Last selfie. Spot the Lizard

Last selfie. Spot the Lizard

Our Optimus Prime what a legend !

Our Optimus Prime what a legend !

I already said I let the Lizard pick and decide everything regarding the climb. Including the route. Ok -I feel like now it’s perhaps a good time to explain the nickname. Needless to say my dad isn’t too keen on it. Ever since we started the chain conversation over WhatsApp he would regard himself as Kiliboss. That never really caught on. However the moment we hit the mountain and I noticed my dad changing his upper layers (each of a different shiny colour) with pretty much every passing cloud I noted aloud that he was “like a chameleon or an overgrown lizard” and boom a nickname was created. My dad tried to convince the guys to call him “Simba” instead which is “also of the animal kingdom” and means “lion” in Swahili. But once a Lizard always a Lizard. And so the only “Simba” that came with us was a jar of jam that the Lizard confiscated upon the first taste and only let us smell it for the rest of the trip.

The Lizard being like "Whateves...there is a mountain in the backdrop no biggie" .. he cool

The Lizard being like “Whateves…there is a mountain in the backdrop no biggie” .. he cool

Simba

Simba

So as I was saying the Lizard picked the route. Which meant that without knowing it we gave up all the luxuries of the modern day climbing such as huts, bunk beds, tiled toilets and benches to sit on. Not that we had an idea until the last day anyway. We tackled the mountain from the North using the Rongai route. It may be a little less comfortable and little longer however in exchange for that we had Kilimanjaro to ourself for the majority of the trip. There were days when we literally met none else but our lil group. Plus it’s apparently the “cool’ route to pick which we also didn’t know until we arrived back to the bottom of the mountain and were exchanging stories with other climbers that were left impressed that two young girls and one Lizard took on “The Rongai”.IMG_7280

Rongai start in a rain forrest which is inhabited by loads of monkeys and one human family trying to sell us Mars bars and cans of Coke. We declined and days later kicked ourselves for that decision because in our careful planning and list crossing we somehow collectively forgot to bring any chocolates or general sweets. We didn’t get to see the monkeys apart from one bushy tail however they most definitely saw us and let everyone else know by frantic wild screams. For a moment there I imagined that monkey scene from Hunger Games and considered turning back. But soon enough we left the rainforest behind as we climbed up and up to the first camp in moorlands. And in the beautiful moorland we stayed for a couple of days. I must say that was probably my favourite part of the mountain. The views are not yet as majestic as a bit higher up but they are still great mostly overlooking the vast Kenyan territory. There is loads of peculiar flowers and bushes to admire and cheeky little gerbils and field mice running around and stealing your lunch when you are not looking. There is plenty of streams and tiny lagoons that allow a bit of a daytime wash that’s not really plausible in the evening as the temperature drops rapidly once the sun is gone (ever since day 2 we were pretty much at 3000m and above so regardless of being right on the Equator it gets COLD). Once we got up to 4300m we camped at the same spot for two night to acclimatise. At this altitude you get to experience what it’s like to be a 90-year-old. Tasks such as getting up from a chair, walking, talking or generally breathing are rather difficult and so you try to avoid them as much as you can. We spent most of our time resting in tents, slowly moving around, peeing (yes even at this altitude I have to go every 30mins plus I was enjoying the rare luxury of long drops instead of the more usual bush or a large stone), reading books and eating Simba jam. Well some of us did anyway. The second morning we got up, packed the camp and set off for the longest part of the whole journey – the day leading up to the summit attempt.

Who run this mutha' ?!

Who run this mutha’ ?!

Cool as parachichi

Cool as parachichi

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First part was to cross the lunar desert between the Mawenzi Peak at the bottom of which we camped and the Uhuru peak. The crossing itself isn’t long or challenging but our bodies were already tired and the altitude really started taking its tool. But the time we got to the Kibo Hut, the highest camp on the mountain at 4700m above sea level we were exhausted and ready to sleep. Which we needed to since that night we had to get up at 10pm and start climbing to the summit. The only thing that got me out of my warm sleeping bed was the thought of a chocolate biscuits we were promised. I couldn’t care less for some Uhuru peak. However when I saw my cup of tea and the much anticipated biscuit my stomach turned and I declined. That was kind of my first clue that tonight wasn’t gonna go as smooth as I hoped.

We set off. I’m trying to remember how exactly I felt and what was going thru my head but it’s very hard. I wasn’t well. My body wasn’t reacting well to the altitude and sleep didn’t help either. I wanted back to bed, I wanted to crawl into my favourite fetal position and sleep forever. I most certainly didn’t want to climb 1000 vertical meters for the next 12 hours. My head felt heavy my legs wasn’t listening to my commands. I was slowing down the group and so we bid our “byes” and “see you at the tops” and parted. I felt a little better for not having the pressure of the whole group upon me but as my guide and I progressed I could feel every meter hammering my head and adding weight on my shoulders. I felt let down by my body. I was ready for feeling nauseous and headaches. I wasn’t ready for this. What was “this”? “This” was like standing at an empty platform and trains passing me very quickly . The trains being my thoughts. I literally couldn’t think. My legs weren’t mine. Or at least they didn’t act like it. I said “Let’s go” and they stood still. I said “left” and they went right. It was at about 5100m that my knees gave in and I just simply fell to the ground like a bag of potatoes. And I felt like that will do and I can just stay there and sleep. It was there that my guide said ” I think it maybe time for you to ask yourself the question.” “What question?” I said. “If it’s really worth it going on.” he replied.

But I just couldn’t imagine giving up. So I pulled thru. After about an hour I was at 5200. Yes I walked 100 vertical meters and took me an hour. And it was the hardest thing I ever had to do. Or so I thought. I didn’t know the hardest thing was yet to come. I needed a break every ten meters or so at this point. To catch my breath, to stop my head from spinning to make my legs listen to me. My guide looked me in the eyes and said ” Gabby, you have to turn. This mountain is not worth your health.” I knew he was right so I didn’t say anything. I just sat down on rock and cried for a little bit. It was a very silent very composed cry. Looking back I think it was mostly a relieved cry rather than a defeated one. I looked up at the sky full of stars it must have been about 2 am at this point and I still remember thinking that this was the most beautiful sky I have ever seen in my life. Then I looked up the steep hill and saw the procession of lights and tried to guess which one of them was my dad and which one was Holly. I then tried to look even further beyond the lights and tried to catch a glimpse of the peak that I was to never see with my own eyes. But it was still too dark. Then I took a deep breath and said “Ok, let’s go sleep.” And every step I took down the hill I could feel my wits returning, my lungs filling with more air, my head clearing and my legs feeling lighter. It felt like waking up from a very deep dreamless sleep.

Did I feel disappointed? No. I never reached the peak but I still climbed the mountain. I walked, ran, slept ,  ate, laughed and cried on that mountain for over a week. I zigzagged it from North to South. I woke up a few times and saw the world from above. I was on top of the clouds and for once I got there myself on my own two legs and not on an aircraft. So in my head I accomplished what I came to do. The Lizard and Holly both summited successfully and I was there to give them a hug and take off their bags and help them recover when they returned to Kibo. We were there for each other to exchange the full stories (dad and Holly had to also split up at a later stage), to cry a little and laugh a lot. It was a happy day. And it wasn’t over yet.IMG_6775_2 IMG_6776_2 IMG_6765_2 IMG_6736_2 IMG_6727 IMG_6726_2 IMG_6692_2 IMG_6684_2 IMG_6670_2 IMG_7076_2

We still had  to cross over to our last camp of the trip. That was a long one. And a dusty one. I have never been so happy to see a camp let alone such a hight tech one with things like sinks with running waters and mirrors. That night we ate dinner in silence and very quickly and went to bed before the sun set. The next morning was our last one on the mountain and we had the longest part ahead of us however it was all downhill and in a very low altitude so it basically felt as if we were flying. Which we were. We raced to “the finish line” aka the last gate of the park but right in front of it we stopped and like right sportsmen and Kilimates we crossed it together. And that was it. The adventures has come to an end and now it was time to enjoy the Kilimanjaro beer and the Kilimanjaro song that our guides had ready for us. Hakuna Matata indeed !IMG_6868_2 IMG_6885_2 IMG_7062_2

 

Poa!

G.

 

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What Time Was My Train ?

A very close friend of mine got married last weekend. I’m not gonna lie – it scared the sh*t out of me. No – you do not understand. I have gotten used to my Facebook wall being flooded every Monday with wedding pictures of my old high school mates, it has been happening pretty much since we left it almost 10 years ago. Then about two years back a new trend had started. Pictures of newborns, pictures of little toddlers messing with their first ever b-day cake, videos of their first words and steps. Got used to that too. This is different. This friend is not someone who lives in the far away universe I call The Real Life. This is not someone who travels twice, three times a year max and if at all then for holidays, someone who wakes up to go to work in the morning and goes to sleep at night, someone who has a mortgage, has an office job, has sales targets to hit, has a Sunday lunch with the family once a month, someone who’s 5 best friends come from the same country or at least from the same continent. In other words someone “normal”. The kinda “normal” I left behind the moment I decided to live in the Middle East. This is a friend I made here in Dubai. Who drinks the same water, breaths the same air, does the same job… who should be infected or shall I say inflicted the same way I am.  

I have been peacefully living scrolling down FB, skipping hen-do invites and ignoring the fact that out of the 32 girls and guys I have attended school with I’m one of a very few, perhaps already the only one that is not committed to anything in any way. Because I always had the very comfortable explanation (or an excuse) of all of them living a very different life. Well – of course ! Aren’t we all tho?! In my happy little bubble I would see everybody making adult decisions with their lives and somewhere in the back of my mind I’d think “One day that is maybe going to be me too. One day in a very very very far away future.” That one day when I’m living that different kind of life. 

That fact, that someone so close to me (not only in geographical sense) , someone with a not-so-different lifestyle has gone and effortlessly created a bridge between them two worlds that seemed so incurably incompatible to me has made me realise that I may have missed my train. No- I haven’t just missed it. I wasn’t just late. I haven’t even purchased a ticket. I had no idea there was a train to catch. Nobody told me. I was just gonna walk. And quite possibly the opposite way. In fact that’s exactly what I was doing. Cheerfully skipping down the road, with my EarPods in, all on my own when I suddenly saw the train rushing off in a different direction. With all of my friends and acquaintances aboard. And I’m just standing here in shock. In complete disbelief that I didn’t get invited to this “Happily Ever After-party”.

Does this make me sound desperate? Well that would only make sense. Not because I’m a single girl. Not because I’m living in Dubai. Or because I’m dating (or well -at least trying to). Because I’m a single girl living in Dubai and dating. And last time I checked that was the new definition of desperate over here.

It’s a jungle out there. No- let me rephrase- it’s a war zone. My parents always use to say how lucky my generation was to be given the chance to grow up in a Como-free, revolution-free and a war-free environment. Little did they know I was heading into one when they congratulated me on my new exciting job in the skies. I can just feel your raised eyebrows and feel you clicking away from this post. You think I’m being overdramatic and exaggerating. I swear to all I hold dear – for once I’m not. It is hard to believe unless you lived the experience of the Dubai dating scene but let me try and paint you its true picture. 

Imagine a buffet brunch. A massive buffet brunch. All kinds of flavours in huge quantities catering to all kinds of tastes and appetites. And you are starving- you haven’t eaten for days because there is quite literally nothing but the desert all around you. Just this buffet you have been waiting for. And now you have all this tasty, delicious food harvested at its best, prepared to its best and presented at its best – all of it nicely laid out in front of you. Up for grabs. All you need to do is reach out and choose. Are you imagining it? Ok – in that case you are the guy in Dubai. 

Now imagine being that poor little courgette or a lamb chop and a chocolate tart, laying there on a plate surrounded by tens and hundreds of others just like you. You are the girl in Dubai now. Being brought out here into the open and scary world and being scrutinised by every single pair of eyes. Are you the biggest, the juiciest, the tastiest looking? Or what if he doesn’t like courgettes? Maybe he is more of a carrot-type of a guy… Maybe he is sick of lamb and wants chicken, maybe he doesn’t like chocolate and vanilla is his thing. Maybe he doesn’t like sweets at all. You simply do not know. You are hoping you would be The One to at least his pair of eyes and look – he is reaching out just about to choose you… But wait they just brought out a new plate of freshly prepared courgettes and that’s the end of it. See – that’s the thing about Dubai. You can be the funniest one, the sexiest one, the fittest one, the tannest one, most fashionable one but you will never be The Newest One. The Freshest One. The Most Exciting One. The moment you go out with the guy you have become conquered (sex doesn’t even have to be involved, not even a kiss). You have been seen, talked to and evaluated. Let’s move on, lets swipe right again, let’s see what else is out there. Because this is the brunch buffet of Dubai – aka the Brunch Buffet of Bigger and Better. “I’m perfectly happy with my medium rare steak cooked to perfection and seductively bleeding onto the plate. But I HAVE to go and check if there isn’t a piece of sashimi that COULD taste better. Because that’s what it says on the tin – and I want and CHOOSE to believe it. Even if I possibly cannot eat any more. There must be a little space somewhere in my stomach for a little more. Because c’mon once I leave this brunch when will I ever get the chance to eat and taste so much ?! “

“Oh I’d so very much enjoy a brunch in Dubai” is probably what most of you guys are thinking right now. Yeah well – it’s not all just pearls and diamonds. Actually – that’s precisely what it is! Going to a brunch in Dubai is all about status. You have to book the right table, wear the right clothes, turn up in the right car. If you are driving anything less than a Lexus just take a cab honestly. Otherwise you are walking off from this brunch and still starving. It’s also a very exclusive event. You have to book well in advance. Try turning up at the last minute and wearing jeans. You are gonna be laughed at for weeks on end. And probably banned from the place for the rest of your days. But let’s say you managed to get in and at last you are holding your plate and about to choose your first dish. “Oh my- look at that beef stew! I always liked beef stew, reminds me of my granny and my granny is the one person that loves me the most, because she knows I’m just the best thing since sliced bread. My granny is awesome. Man- I’m definitely having some of that stew it just smells so good. Especially in comparison to that awful overcooked fish stir fry right next to it. Ewww – fish ! Fish makes me sick, not to mentioned this one comes with green peppers and I’m allergic to green peppers. Last time I had them I broke out in hives. Yeah let’s have that stew.” And just as you are about to have the tastiest looking stew of your life you notice a guy to your right helping himself to the fish stir fry. The flash of his Omega watch is what caught your attention. “Why does he get to eat the fish stir fry?! Wait- do NOT eat it all you dick,what are you doing I just told you not to ! What do you mean I said I was allergic to it?! Well now I’m not and I want some of that. What? What beef stew ?! I don’t even like beef. Gimme that fish ! I want fish!”

But let’s say we all got thru that brunch successfully. And the courgette was lucky enough to be the tastiest thing on the menu that day. And the guy wore the right clothes and drove the right car the courgette was happy with. And nobody is already married… altho -ehm ehm – even that doesn’t seem to stop some of us… And there is date number two. A dinner this time. Then perhaps a movie night. A couple of drinks the next time. First kiss. Goodnight and good morning texts. Then the “sweet nothing and I miss you and when are you back” texts. And then you seal the deal. Or so you think. Because apparently having slept with somebody you have been dating for some time doesn’t make you guys exclusive anymore. Nowadays it goes more like ” Dinner, drinks, kiss, sex and I may see you next week unless the other girl I’m seeing is available in that case I will see you the week after that or maybe you will not hear from me for a few months and when I get back in touch I will be married”. Welcome to Dubai. You are gonna have the time of your life. It’s gonna be the best party you have ever been to. The only thing they forgot to mention on the flyer was that this is a BYOB (where the B stands for boyfriend not beer) kinda party. 

I dedicate this post to all my fellow Dubaians. To my fellow fighters. I salute you and gracefully surrender. I’m done with Dubai dating, especially the online type. I suck at it anyway. I’m gonna stick to doing what I do best. Which is sit around cafes smoking shisha and blogging. So if you are an available single guy with singular taste and see me around sometime- don’t Whatsapp me. Don’t Snapchat. And definitely do not look for me on Tinder. Just come and talk to me – it’s worked for thousands of generations before us maybe it will work for us too! 

Love 

x

G.

The 800 Magical Candles

People keep all kinds of weird and wonderful stuff in all kinds of weird and wonderful places in their lives. I have met people that keep old pairs of shoes under their beds, people that collect little pieces of rocks from all the places they have visited. I know people that keep a stash of emergency pain killers in beauty boxes on their bed tables and take them as precaution “just in case” and people who would never let go of a worn out t-shirt even tho there is no chance in hell they’ll ever wear it again. I myself am guilty of keeping a few too many skeletons in my own closet and cherishing some of them way too deeply. There is a little sentimental freak in each one of us that from time to time forces us to hang on to certain beliefs, feelings or a memory that we are scared would fade into oblivion if we didn’t have that small reminder hidden somewhere…

I have recently met someone that keeps 800 candles in the bedroom. Countless white paper boxes full of candles neatly stacked in one big box and carefully placed in a corner of a green and a maroon wall. As if that was the most natural place to keep 800 candles. Because  isn’t that where we all eventually end up anyway? In a neat box somewhere between the green grass and the maroon ground?

I have left that bedroom thinking about those candles.I have never kept 800 of anything. It just seems like such a vast and intimidating number. I went to bed that night and dreamt about 800 magical candles coming to life and each telling me a story of its short and rather pointless existence. I woke up with candles on my mind. As if they have all melted overnight and the wax has covered my body and created an invisible shield all over me. And I just can’t seem to be able to shake it off. It is after all a powerful shield – 800 candles have been used on it.

It’s been a couple of days now. And here I am still thinking about those candles and that fantastic number 800. Would I ever be able to keep anything of such quantity? And if I did would I proudly display it or would it be my dirty little secret – for my eyes only? Let’s say I did have 800 candles laying in a corner. If I decided to burn one each night it’d take me exactly 2 years, 2 months, 1 week and one more day to get thru all of them. That’s a commitment to alternative energy sources if I ever saw one. Or if I’d want to use them every year on my b-day cake I’d have enough till my 46th birthday – which would of course still officially be my 21st…  

I could also turn them into wax figures and become the Mayor of the first ever wax village. I’d call the place Waxville. “Welcome to Waxville – a heart melting place.” It has nice ring to it don’t you think? 800 tiny wax soldiers would also make for a nice powerful army. Waxarmy. And I could be the general. It’ be protected and forever safe under the watchful eyes of my soldiers…

My mind has literally taken me on a Magical Candle Mystery Tour. I started to feel slightly obsessed. And that’s when it hit me. I may not have 800 candles but do keep something so numerous it surpasses The Great 800 (as I decided to call the pile of wax in somebody else’s bedroom) by far. And I keep it so close to my heart it hasn’t even occurred to me at first. It’s my chants. My guarding angels. My happy thoughts. My blessings I count everyday before going to sleep in order to remain grateful for the life I have been gifted. In order to never become oblivious to the fact that I’m a epitome of a happy-go-lucky in the most literal way. 

There must be thousands upon thousands of people, things and experiences I’m thankful for every minute of my life. Do not worry I’m not about to try and list them all – I cannot afford to bore and consequently lose any of you my dear readers. Y’all are one of the first items on my “Thanks for” list. Because without you I’d be just a crazy nerdy girl publishing random stuff on the internet. It’s you guys that make all the tossing and turning over syntax and endless grammar checks and author’s blocks so worth it. So thank you. For every click you make on this site. None of them go unnoticed. And all of them are highly appreciated.

But then I still feel like to make this post come together I should mention at least a few of my Magical candles that I light every evening before bedtime and that shine so brightly and guide me thru the unknown waters of my life like countless reliable lighthouses. 

There is the Big Ten. The Big Obvious Ten. You know – the fam, the friends, the job and all the trimmings. I write about being thankful for those in every post so why repeat myself all over again? I thought instead I’d let you on about the Big Five after The Big Obvious Ten. Now how about that? 

1. FLUFF 

Oh – how thankful am I for all the fluff. How bruised would I be by all the edges of everyday life should there be no fluff. Fluffy animals. Fluffy food. And fluffy conversations in particular. What’s a fluffy conversation? You know- it’s those that don’t necessarily have a purpose and yet are so meaningful. They lift you spirits and leave you all warm inside hours after they’ve happened. Put a fluffy smile on your face. 

This kinda fluffy smile :

Happy hamster is happy - Imgur

 

2. SVEN

You remember Sven? Some of you may some of you may not. Anyway he is the guy I write so extensively about here. You know The Guy. The one that made me believe in love again and then kinda went on and broke my heart and sometimes I feel like he also broke me for the rest of the male population on the Earth. But no hard feelings. There is always the outer space I could try my luck in- I just hope they use Tinder over there. Plus I’m obviously joking. He has not broken me. He merely highlighted areas in my life that I have been ignoring for long enough and that are in a desperate need of improvement. I still think about him every day. But not in a I-hate-you-way. In a very thank-you-for-all-the-nice-moments-and-have-a-nice-life-way. I do miss him from time to time. Well I mostly miss the way I used to feel around him. I miss what I thought we had when we had it. But I no longer believe that he was the only one I could ever feel like that around. Because after all – those feelings came out of me and not him so it is quite possible there is someone out there who could bring the same feelings to the surface again. If I ever let them. 

So thank you Sven. Thank you for trying to break me (I know you did not mean to) because I know it will eventually only make me stronger. And I will forever love you for that. 

 

3. BAD DATES

What would a girl’s life be without all them bad dates we have to go thru to eventually have a really good one? I mean- some of them are true horror stories that we exchange over liquid lunches with our girlfriends. Like when you go out with a guy and he disappears and next time he contacts you weeks later he casually says ” Sorry I was in jail for beating up a guy once.” Yes – that happened! To me… 

Or when you bravely venture out on a blind date and the bloke brings his best mate along. Probably for moral support, who the heck knows? Also happened. Also to me. 

I’m not even gonna go into details about all the others that just can’t take “no” for an answer and would try pretty much ANYTHING to change your mind. The mind that has been made up the moment they first spoke. And when you still try to remain polite but firm they still try the ” Ok well how about at least a BJ?”. Yes- they are out there believe me… 

I’m so grateful for every single one of them because they make me appreciate the good ones that much more. Plus what would I have to write about and what my best friend to have to laugh about? 

 

4. Le PQ

I simply do not know what I would do if there wasn’t Le PQ right at the bottom of my building. I would probably starve to death without realising. Because when I blog for hours (very much like today) unless somebody comes along to ask if I wanna eat or drink anything I simply don’t. 

F<3<3d

F<3<3d

Thank you PQ for your being here for me, for feeding me, for putting up with my many overstayed welcomes and for being generally very awesome. 

 

5. GUESS

My newest obsession that managed to overshadow the one man I thought could never be replaced in my life- Michael Kors. Thank you Guess for so gladly accepting all of my pay checks. You are great ! I love you too… 

It's all about the watch !

It’s all about the watch !

Lots of love

x

G.

Note: If you are wondering what’s the reason there are 800 candles kept in a bedroom somewhere – they were once used to try and mend a relationship that was about to break. They carried a love message. The message didn’t work. Or maybe it was the candles… maybe it is a very intimidating number to carry such an intimate message or that’s at least what I think. But then again what do I know about love messages or romance in general? Quite possibly very little… 

 

 

 

 

Living the Reserved Life

I always knew it was gonna happen. I mean I would be foolishly kidding myself hoping it wasn’t. I managed to escape it for so long but no matter how hard I tried it was always something beyond my control. It is something that absolutely has to happen to all of us at one point or another. And avoiding it for much longer would have only made the anticipation that much harder.

I’m of course talking about the reserve month. That dreadful thing crew so hate to see on their rosters. I was told of all the stress it entails and zero social interaction it brings. The terribly horrible flights people get pulled out for. The irregular sleep I was to look forward to. For those of you not familiar with the term “reserve month” – it’s basically a full four weeks on standby without a fixed roster. We get to check our schedule for the next day every evening and it can be pretty much anything from a day off to a 9-day trip.

It is now the 27th – meaning have served most of my reserve already (note- ok it is already August, but at least you can see I have been writing just not publishing:) . And I can honestly tell you – I have never had an easier month. I have not slept so well, regular and much since I started this job. I never got to see so many of my friends and so often. And as for the flights… well in June I have flown exactly  FOUR TIMES. Yes. Four times times. The rest has been a very generous dose of days off and one very easy and uneventful Home Standby that I spent quietly in my bed watching TV.

So what did I do with all this free time of mine? Well I decided to restore what once I used to called my social life but what has recently been limited to mostly Whatsapp, Instagram, Facebook and Skype. Oh yeah – that’s how much fun I have been.  I made the effort to see friends I haven’t seen in ages, I even went way out of my way to go and see them (meaning past the borders of the Sheik Zayed Road:). I went out a few times. Yes – as in out out – to places with music and drinks and other people having fun ! Sounds crazy I know :)! I went to see my friend’s graduation ceremony (but more on that later) and saw a few new blockbusters that are out at the moment. As in I actually went to the cinema instead of streaming them at home. Simply put I have been living la vida loca!!!

The Flights 

Reserve month is a bit of a lucky dip where flights are involved. I know people that claim their best rosters were created by reserve and I know people who would rather walk the Sahara Desert and back just to avoid having another month like that. I’m somewhere in the middle. With only three flights in three weeks I can’t really call myself overly busy. Compared to May which had me flying up and down every couple of days I feel like I’m on holiday already. There is a downside to all that of course – every time I do get pulled out for a flight I feel very inconvenienced and rather disturbed. But I don’t wanna fly! I wanna stay right here in my warm bed, eat more chocolate and watch even more films ! Don’t make me work please! Luckily the destinations have so far been attractive enough to get me out of my hibernating mode, don my uniform and show up at the airport. Number one was a very surprising Luanda, which is the capitol of Angola (in case you-just like myself- didn’t know:) . It is a former Portuguese colony and portuguese is still the official language.The latino influence is so strong I felt like I have landed in the Caribbean rather than The Old Continent. And as usual as it happens every single time I get to fly to Africa I fell deeper and deeper in love with Her. Ghana, Ivory Coast, Tanzania, Nigeria and now Angola. I loved all of them. Equally and unconditionally. What is it that Africa has that everywhere else seems to lack? Is it the friendly people or the fantastic food or the absolutely stunning landscape I so adore to watch from the cockpit? Is it the music or the local art ? The weather perhaps? I can’t quite put my finger on it. It is just so imperfectly perfect in its own way…

Another first time of June has seen me to Adelaide, Australia. I did not really have time to prepare myself let alone get excited about Down Under again since I was pulled out of the standby lounge with the speed of light. I have literally signed in, took the jacket off and sat down to eat my sandwich and the agent on duty was already calling my name. I sadly wrapped the prawn sandwich again and asked where am I off to secretly praying for something short. Well not this time… 13 hours later I landed in cold and rainy Adelaide wondering how the heck am I going to recover from the massive jet lag that was knocking on my door. Well I didn’t. My lazy body clock so used to the regular afternoon naps here in Dubai refused to adjust to the Aussie time for measly 24 hours and let me down. I tossed and turned in the hotel bed praying for some sleep that eventually came in the early morning hours (that would have been late night in Dubs) and woke up just in time to get my regular dose of Boost and get ready for the flight back home. All I managed to do in Adelaide was to get soaking wet when purchasing some local wine that’s supposed to be the best one in Australia.

I wasn’t too bothered tho. Layovers like that happen every now and then. Plus just a few days earlier I have spent some quality time chilling by the Mediterreanan sea in Malta. That layover I enjoyed to the fullest. You may remember this wasn’t my first time to Malta and since I managed most of the sightseeing last year I just walked around the beach, ate a lot lot of seafood and soaked in all the fresh breezy air I’m going to be deprived of for the next three months or so here in the Middle Between the Sun and the Earth. It was a mini holiday from my reserve holiday.IMG_1584 IMG_1579 IMG_1566 IMG_1526

I’m on yet another night standby tonight. But since I promised myself I would not be flying more than once a week during my reserve I’m focusing on sending a very positive “no flight” vibes out. Fingers crossed. If I don’t get called out that will be a very sweet end to a very sweet month. See you again in half a year !

The Social life

I have been meaning to post about my hermit style of living for a while now but that post never seemed to have come together. So to cut a long story short since my crazy birthday bash in January that took its heavy tool on me I have decided to stop that crazy lifestyle I was leading and give my body a much needed break. I stopped drinking I stopped going out and I started to take care of my health. The chance I saw was so radical and enjoyable it even came to a point where I began to think I may never party again. But old habits die hard. I still don’t drink … well now at least only very rarely and very little. Would it sound really weird from a Czech to say I don’t like the taste of alcohol anymore? But nowadays I don’t turn invites down and I have come to realise waking up with sore legs after a night out spent dancing is much nicer than waking up with a sore head after having had too much to drink.

So I took June as an opportunity to re-introduce myself to the Dubai nightlife (and day life)  and boy did I have Fun! Yes- Fun with a capital F.  I made sure to spend plenty of quality time with my girls.. and my boys … all over the town!IMG_1725 IMG_1686 IMG_1494

Dubai is a crowd pleaser. It caters to a very wide audience with its mainstream music and it’s not easy to find something that would stand out. But it’s not completely hopeless. There are a few places I always like to go back to since they are bound to be memorable night outs. Like The Act for instance. The idea of The Act came from the States (or so I was told by its director) and has thankfully successfully established itself over here. The club is just fabulous – the DJs never ever let me down , the shows that come on every hours or so are always shocking, sexy and just generally fantastic. The drinks are strong and fun and there is an actual space for dancing which strangely enough is the one thing most Dubai clubs seem to lack. If you ever feel like you are in need of a very good Thu or Sun night out give The Act a go. You will not regret it. 

Then there is BMI which I have already “reviewed” a few months back. I’m still besotted and still trying to return. Haven’t succeeded yet but it is bound to happen sooner or later! 

But the one club that has stolen my heart completely the moment I stepped inside (or rather outside) is The White. The White is located on the rooftop of the Meydan hotel and gives the most stunning views of the Dubai skyline by night. It is also an open air club that is absolutely vast and ABSOLUTELY amazing. I got the opportunity to get in (which is unfortunately not the easiest task) for the closing night before Ramadan. I couldn’t have imagined bidding a better farewell to my freedom I was about to lose for a month. If there is anyone out there willing to gimme a free seasonal pass to The White I will be forever obliged ! Thank you in advance 🙂 

But it wasn’t all about going out clubbing in June. It was mostly about spending a lotta quality time with people that matter. Like Jana for example. I met Jana about a decade ago. She was or still is my uni-mate turned friend turned flatmate turned best friend turned colleague. Life is just so funny from time to time. We used to sit in cafes and bars all around Prague discussing school, boys and the general meaning of existence. That was ten years ago. Now we do exactly the same – we talk endlessly about work, men and the lightness of being and we are still no closer to any kind of conclusion than we were back then. But we still love doing it nonetheless. Jana has joined me in Dubai about a year after I moved over here. And so her graduation from the Airline College came at about the same time of the year as mine did the previous one. I remember how much that day actually meant to me regardless of how much I tried to hide it. And so I made damn sure I was there for the big day of one the biggest people in my life ( I mean that figuratively not literally). I missed Jana’s first and The Graduation from uni a couple of years back because I was otherwise occupied in a different corner of the world. So I wasn’t gonna miss out on my second chance this time around.  And I’m so glad I didn’t !! 10462455_10203108313921043_841110545423129778_n

I was also trying to enjoy as much of my little baby boo Salma. The same day I officially welcomed Jana into our vast crew family I found out I’m gonna have to let go of her since she has decided to follow her heart back to the Land of Oz… As sad as I am to see her go I couldn’t be happier for her. And for myself for having met her. You could put all seven seas between us but I know that some friendships will never drown in them ! Such as ours. IMG_1613 IMG_1426

And so she has left… after a very successful goodbye party. And because one farewell bash just wasn’t enough she came back for more earlier this month. And left again. So now we are Salmaless but we are doing our best to keep her legacy going. Because if we didn’t at least try -without Salma here the Dubai nightlife would just slowly die off. 

And so that was it. My Not-so-Reserved Life in June. I’m sure you know appreciate how busy I was keeping myself with other stuff and blogging are slowly forgiving me for the long long long silence.

So much love and happiness 

x

G.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My May Loving

May 2014 was or still is my Top bid. Which in crew speak means that I get the chance to ask the Roster Gods to give me exactly what I want from them. And if they are in a particularly good mood I may also get it. And in May 2014 the Roster Gods were very happy with me. So happy I’d call May not only my Top Bid but also my Top Month so far.

I have started off the May loving in the most fantastic fashion – in Shanghai out of all places! You guys all know how special Shanghai has always been to me. It was after all my first ever flight as an air hostess. Coming back after more than a year full of travelling, full of irreplaceable memories, full of experiences I still felt as starstruck as I did when I first laid my eyes upon that vast city. I thought that enough shopping has been done the first time around and so this I have opted for some sightseeing. Couple of other girls and I decided to take a river tour and since we were in China where none has never needed or will ever need to speak English there was no English tour to choose. s=So we wet for the Chinese one. Ehm… The view was very nice. I’m not quite sure what I got to see but it all looked lovely. After that we stopped in a botanical garden for some tea and played around with a couple of Chinese toddlers that found us all as interesting as we found them.

Melon on a Chopstick

Melon on a Chopstick

IMG_0548

River tour

River tour

Not even two days after I left my Chinese home away from home I was already enjoying the first rays of spring sunshine in my “real” home – Prague. It was the 8th of May, which is a bank holiday in Czech and so I didn’t have to waste time waiting around for my sister to finish work. By the time our crew bus reached the hotel she was already patiently waiting in the lobby. Since the weather was as glorious as it gets this early in May we just casually strolled around chatting, stopping for food, enjoying each other’s company and just generally having a great time. We discovered a few new hangouts – one of them cooking some real mean czech cuisine and another one that’s so cool you gotta bring a woolly jumper to stand it ! If you ever find yourself in Prague go and have a milkshake in the James Dean bar just off the Old Town Square. It’s a little pricier than what one would expect from a Czech bar but totally worth it. The ambience is fantastic and you get a service with an attitude included in your tip 🙂 I wasn’t overly sad having to leave Prague since I knew I had another two coming up later in May.IMG_0626 IMG_0682 IMG_1131

hashtag selfie square

hashtag selfie square

But not before what I like to call My Milan New York Fussing Week. Yes, yes. It’s that 6-day trip that all crew are dying for. The timings, the destinations, the length of the flights, the customers…. It’s a crew dream in a box. With a cherry on top. And luckily I got to try it before it disappears from the Airline’s schedule.  I have to admit that all I did the first day in Milan was listening to music and eating a lot of pizza. It was just one of those days where I felt too lazy to even comb my hair. So when it was time to meet the crew for some dinner I just pulled it back into a ponytail. Over tea we met the crew that just came back from New York and it turned out I knew a few of them from my previous flights so we sat down for some more drinks and laughter until early morning hours. And then it was time to fly back to my own personal paradiso – New York, New York ! In a few year’s time when I’m happily married to a very rich handsome man I’ll casually ask him if he “could be a total darling a buy me a little pad in NYC so I could have a place on my own for little getaways from the kids once in a while”. Preferably somewhere down the 5th Av. facing the Central Park. You know – to keep the spark 🙂 !

I spent way to much in NYC. Energy, wooing and money. But I have no regrets. There is just something about that place that makes one wanna enjoy all of it to the fullest! You may remember that last time I set my foot in Manhattan was for NYE. It was bitterly cold and raining back then. Well… it wasn’t too cold this time. But it did rain a lot. But honestly – I couldn’t care less. I got up so early I had to wait an hour for the breakfast buffet to open. The last meal I had was back in Italy so I must have looked real graceful wolfing down my strawberry pancakes. What a lady! When I consumed enough food to feed a family of four I borrowed a massive black umbrella that I was bound to forget in the first shop and headed to the Central Park. My original plan was to go jogging there but Dubai got me too spoiled. I don’t jog in the rain anymore. It’s bad for… the knees …:) To shut up my guilty conscious I decided to at least walk quickly. After  a few hour that I got lost and found again in the Central Park I noticed shops were starting to open so I headed back to the 5th Avenue. There – as predicted – I managed to lose the umbrella and spent an unforgivable amount of money. I’m truly hopeless when it comes to New York shopping 🙂IMG_1050 IMG_0860IMG_0862 IMG_0859 IMG_0812 IMG_0861 IMG_0852

Back in Milan the jet lag was starting to kick in. In combination with my annual hay fever that got even worse in the States I was one tired snotty mess. But I wasn’t gonna let that put me down. The weather outside was so sunny and bright I just had to make the most of it. So I boarded one of my least favourite means of transport – an Italian train – and headed direction Lake Como. The hotel is about 5k away as the crow flies… yet it took us hour and a half to get there. Well- such is life. I could see that the girls I dragged out with me were just about to start b*tching when we got there. And suddenly all the sorrows, all the tiredness, everything was forgotten. Lake Como is stunningly beautiful. It’s everything you want an Italian lake to be- and then some more ! We sat down for some food, some wine and a lot of attention from male Italian by-passers …. and we thoroughly enjoyed all of it. I made a mental note that when I mention to my future rich handsome husband my appartement on the 5th I mustn’t forget about a holiday house at Como too. For the family you know !:) IMG_0870 IMG_0986 IMG_0969 IMG_0985

Coming to Dubai I had a week of back to back turn arounds to “look forward to”. Thankfully to ease to pain I was kidnapped to Abu Dhabi for an overnight stay in … well heaven:). I have to say it made the next couple of days of little sleep and a lot of flying much more bearable.IMG_1034

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Beach time

Beach time

After the four flights that turned out to be much less painful than expected I was bound for Prague once again. Particularly excited this time around as my Mum, that hates any kind of travelling was meeting me there. Everybody kept asking whether she was elder my sister which says a lot about her night cream … or very little about mine. I wanted to make her stay special since I missed her b-day last month so I took her to all the nicest places I could think of. We ended the day in a spectacular fashion – in an Opera House. I have been going to opera since I was about 12-yo. It’s a passion my Nanna passed onto me. My Mum however has never been. I saw it as a sign then when I noticed that my favourite Verdi’s masterpiece ever was on that night- La Traviata. I have seen it about 8 times already. And for the 9th time – it was as amazing as ever!IMG_1102

One quick flight over to Dubai, one day by the beach, one night out with my gurls, one night dog sitting and I was checking in at the Prague hotel again. The receptions asked why I haven’t left my suitcase in the room at the beginning of the month and made it easier for myself… She was right:) It was Mummy’s time two days earlier and now it was all about Daddy. Not only because he is the best Daddy. But also because it was his birthday! I missed Papi’s big day last year so this time we made sure to celebrate in style. Him and my stepmum have only recently joined the world of smart phones and social media and so all of our moves and mischiefs have been documented, posted and checked in. So cute! They are growing up so fast ! Next thing you know they will be tweeting!IMG_1275 IMG_1297 IMG_1279

I have just woken up from the longest and much needed sleep of this month. May has been amazing but very hectic and fantastically busy. I couldn’t have asked for a better and sweeter month of love! I’m now -more than ever- ready for my reserve month which I have been scheduled for June. It can bring me anything and so I’m -as always- hoping for the best.

Please Love ME

Please Love ME

Sleepy time

Sleepy time

I laughed so frigging hard

I laughed so frigging hard

 

Love and hugs

x

G.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If …

If you can keep your head when all about you
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

 

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
    If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
    And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
    And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

 

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
    And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
    To serve your turn long after they are gone,   
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
    Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

 

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
    Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
    If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
    And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

 

by R. Kipling

 

 

Sven (or The Girl’s Diary of Dating a Married Man)

It has been a couple of months now that a massive tidal wave has brought into my life the one single thing I was expecting the least- love. You know that kind of love that completely sweeps you of your feet and leaves you stupidly grinning at an empty wall in your room during one of the many sleepless nights. That kinda love that moves mountains, stops wars and cures cancer. That one that makes everything shining bright and nothing- quite literally NOTHING- is impossible. That kinda love.

I wanted everyone to know. I wanted everyone to see the reason why I can jump 6 feet high, why I can’t stop smiling and why the battery on my Iphone runs flat every two hours. And I also wanted my parents to stop assuming that me going on holiday with my best friend means we are together (don’t get me wrong I love him with all my might but you know… it’s not THAT kinda love). So I told them.

I told them about Sven. Sven the guy with a tender loving heart. Sven the guy who is 24 years my senior. Sven the guy with two kids my age. Sven the guy who does not exist. Yes -I’m sorry Dad, I’m sorry Mum- Sven isn’t real. I know that at least one of you is immensely relieved and the other one probably very disappointed in me. I’m so truly sorry. It’s just that making up a story about a 52-yo Swede was much easier than telling you the truth.

That I’m in fact dating a married man. Yes – despite everything we have been thru together, despite everything you have been telling me all my life and despite everything I should know by now I have still fallen for somebody who to me – as you Mum used to call it – should be a “dead man” . I could of course now go on and tell you all the right clichés about how “we can’t choose who we fall in love with” and how “this is completely different ” but I’m not going to. Because I had a choice and because this is not different in any way. I knew from the start what I was getting into. And yet I didn’t stop myself.

Why not?

Because … because quite simply although I was doing wrong it felt so damn right. It felt as if a massive jigsaw of my life has finally been completed. As if I found the last missing piece. None of my past mattered anymore. All of it made sense at last. I finally realised why I could never make it work with anybody else. Because all my life I was meant to meet this one single person, my soul mate, my other half. Who also happens to be somebody else’s half already.

So what do you do when you meet the love of your life? Do you just let them pass by or do you grab your chance and don’t let it go? I thought I knew the answer to that. I thought my childhood would have been enough to give me the strength to walk away with pride. I guess I was wrong. Because the moment I realised I have met the one person I have been looking for I jumped in head first and absolutely nothing could have stopped me. Looking back now knowing what happened next would I have done it differently? No. Never in a million years. Despite the hell dating a married man puts you thru… being with the one person you are meant to be with makes it all worth it.

Of course there comes a point when you just can’t go on like this any longer. You try to understand with your head – and can’t. You try to understand with your heart – and you can’t either. So you know the only way is to go and let go. Have you ever tried to break up with somebody you love ? I know I always say that impossible is nothing but this comes very close. You try, you fail, you try again, you fail again, you pick yourself up, you beg him to do it for you and don’t really mean it… and then at last you wake up one morning and realise that the feeling of sheer happiness that used to fill your heart thinking about him is gone. That all that’s left is the dread of what’s coming next.

“Is today the day he is not gonna call back?”

“Is today the day I lose him forever?”

“Is it all gonna finally end today?”

“Why? Why? WHY?!”

But for some stupid reason you still can’t let go. Is it because you have been given the taste of what the perfect version of your life could be like? Is it because the simple thought of never seeing him again is ripping your insides apart so forcefully you can hardly breathe? Is it because  you just can’t imagine ever being able to love like this again? I don’t know … it’s one of those or maybe all of the above what does it matter anyway.

Letting go of your loved one is something I don’t wish on anybody. I have gone thru quite a lot but this is by far the most painful decision I had to ever take. It’s because the part of my soul I found in him has to be torn again and returned to him. And I bleed and hurt and miss that part badly because knowing it exist somewhere out there is much worse than not knowing if I ever find it…

I know this post is probably not what many of you would expect to read… but writing is something that helps me cope with the downsides of life. This post was never written to be published but somehow I feel it has to be in order for me to heal…

x

G.

Ab und zu Musik (und Wifi Pausen)

Have I ever mentioned I studied at a German high school? Well if I haven’t yet I have now. It was nothing fancy really – I went thru the same shitty adolescent traumas and had the very same complexes as any of you had. Only I did all of it in a foreign language.

It really explains a lot. For example why I struggle so much with geography – capitals in particular. I know most of them in German and many of them in English. However when it comes to having to name them in Czech I’m lost. The same goes for history. I can have a fairly long conversation about all kinds of religious bans of the 16th century but do not recognise any single treaty in my native language. Not that it has ever stopped me from enjoying my life but I’m just saying that my 15-year-old brother could be a better history teacher than I would ever be. And don’t even get me started on literature. I doubt you could have found a teenager who was better informed about Reiner Maria Rilke’s life than myself. I also knew “Die Loreley” by heart. In German. I don’t even think the native Germans know that…

I was pretty decent at speaking German. Never really reached the top of my class tho. That spot was occupied by one person only. Rudi. The guy we all hated because speaking German came so naturally to him. No wonder since he grew up in Germany… Where we (well me particularly) struggled with articles, syntax and cases he excelled and very humbly so. As I said – we all(me particularly) hated him. But high schools tend to last forever – especially the ones where you are not very popular. Mine lasted for about a decade. His for about a week. And in that decade the guy I hated so much, mainly because he was so popular and clever and annoyingly nice and modest about all of it,  became my best friend. Now 13 years,5 countries, one marriage on his side and countless more or less successful relationships on my side later – we still talk every day like nothing has changed. IMG_8370

Couple of weeks back during one of our discussions about the unbearable lightness of being out of the blue we decided to go skiing together. One of the best decisions I have made this year! It was all “planned” so quickly we didn’t really know where or for how long to go but we decided to just wing it. After all – the main point was to spend some time together !

So I got onto the first flight out of Dubai and flew right into my lovely sister’s warm embrace. She really is the best sis anyone could ever ask for! We never argue . Like NEVER ever. And even tho she is just 12 months and 2 weeks younger she always admires and praises everything I do and that gives me this amazing feeling of being old and wise and experienced and shit … and my ego just loves that! So I spent a few days in the best place on Earth= among my beloved ones and then packed my spanking new backpack (yes it took me whole 28 years but I now own a backpack!) and headed to the second best place on Earth – Moravia. If you don’t know where or what Moravia is then look it up. It’s the place where we brew the best beer, cook the best food and grow the best people with the widest smiles and biggest hearts. Full stop.

Nelly my beautiful soul-mate

Nelly my beautiful soul-mate

I boarded Rudi’s brand new Seat Ibiza and we embarked on what shall be remembered by generations to come as “The Most Musically Charged Road Trip Ever”. Like honestly. See for yourself(it would take me another day to change the format of all the vids -which I will eventually do but I just wanna publish this post now so if you wanna see all the crazy singalongs we got up to then visit my Instagram page). The only time we wouldn’t sing would be when we ate. Or talked. Which we did A LOT of. We haven’t seen each other for only a month but a) sometimes A LOT can happen within a month and b) I was under very strong painkillers last time we spoke and didn’t remember A LOT of what has been said back then. And so we headed south past Brno, past Vienna direction Salzburg and even further…

Backpack selfie

Backpack selfie

this pretty much set the mood of the entire trip

this pretty much set the mood of the entire trip

standard ...

standard …

when I said music I meant digital love...

when I said music I meant digital love…

There were only a few occasions when we didn’t sing, talk or eat. We called those occasions “WiFi Pause”. There seems to be free WiFi everywhere nowadays in Austria (well everywhere but in the apartment we had rented but let me get to that). And I need WiFi like I need the breathing air. Because I’m a cabin crew and WiFi is my only stable connection with everyone I want to stay connected with. Get over it. And spare me the ” social media addiction” talk. I know about that. C’mon let’s face it – we all have it. Even Rudi does . We didn’t need to tell each other about the WiFi availability. If one of us fell silent for more than it takes to take a breath the other one would know. And connect as well. Then eventually once we resurfaced from the depths of Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp we would continue our journey. Until the next “WiFi Pause”.

The only time we stopped for other reason than WiFi was in Salzburg. The birthplace of Mozart. I have been once before ages ago with my dad and remembered it to be quite the beautiful place. And it still was. We walked down the ancient streets, stopping in the weirdest souvenir shops, taking heaps of pictures and eventually finding a small cafe that had it all – decaf coffee, Sacher Torte, WiFi and accessible electric plugs (my iPhone battery ran flat by then).

I love your duck(face)

I love your duck(face)

Salzburg

Salzburg

The world is your oys... egg

The world is your oys… egg

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Next morning – as a courtesy of my US jetlag- I was up at such an indecent morning hour I felt ashamed of myself. I let Rudi sleep for exactly as long as it took me to braid my hair but then I was much too hungry and excited to be quiet any longer. We enjoyed our first and obviously amazing Austrian breakfast (I love Austria for many many MANY reasons but its food is always gonna be number one) and set off direction Kaprun and its glacier – Kitzsteinhorn! Everything went so smoothly we were up at the very top before 11 am. The weather conditions weren’t so great that day. It was cloudy, foggy and cold but I haven’t skied on a real snow for over 2 years and couldn’t care less. Towards the end of the afternoon the fog has lifted a bit and we finally saw a part of the glacier in all its might and glory. And what a view it was !IMG_8160 IMG_8252 IMG_8171 IMG_8179 IMG_8164 IMG_8190 IMG_8251 IMG_8208 IMG_8204

I insisted to stay till the very end and as we took the last lift up to the top we managed to be the first ones following a group of snow groomers. What a spectacular end to our day ! As we made our way back to the valley I was itching for some WiFi and couldn’t wait to share my feelings online tugged from the comfort of my bed. What a nasty surprise it was when I found out the only place I could connect (and very poorly so) was in the hall leaning against the front door. To make it even harder for me to swallow Rudi could – of course- connect from everywhere including the toilet. It was a dark place I found myself in believe me!

yes... I text a Lot... I geddit !

yes… I text a Lot… I geddit !

That's my WiFi Ecke !!

That’s my WiFi Ecke !!

I took my revenge on him when I woke him up at 6am the next day *insert evil laughter here*. We indulged in more Brotchen mit Nutella and made it to the pistes before 8.40. It was as if the Alps decided to make up for the previous day and reward us for our early start. If you ever wondered what “Das Kaiserwetter auf der Piste” looks like well have a look :IMG_8273 IMG_8281 IMG_8289 IMG_8321 IMG_8339 IMG_8357 IMG_8334 IMG_8294

Knackered but happy

Knackered but happy

Knackered but happy

Knackered but happy

ginger beard

ginger beard

Frozen

Frozen

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It was Rudi’s first time in the Alps and we couldn’t have asked for a better way to experience it. We had it all- bad weather, great weather, food, drinks, music, fun, apres ski… and WiFi.

I’m now back in Dubai, having flown in from Vienna last night. I still have a few days off before I start off my next roster by my first few turn arounds in ages. But better not think about those. I’m concentrating on the rest of the month which is about to be pretty awesome – I’m off to Bangkok next week, I will be visiting Canada for the first time and crossing off yet another one of my childhood dreams – seeing the Niagara Falls- from my list. That’s not all tho – The Gods of Rostering have been very generous indeed and very casually scheduled me a Prague flight later in March. And to wrap it all up I have a long and wonderful Oz and Nz trip right at the end. Life is a bliss if you ask me !

Love to all

x

G.

Flying with Friends

Hullo my pets!

Guess what? You darling redhead blogger has been officially flying for a WHOLE frigging year! Are you finding it as hard to believe as I am? Some of you have been with me this entire time since the very start some of you joined just recently but still guys – what a year this one has been huh?! I have taken you with me everywhere I went. You guys tried all the delicious food I ate (wait – why is it just me who gained weight then ?! So not fair!:) and jogged using my poor little legs around Europe, Asia, Australia, USA and Africa . Together we have taken off and landed hundreds of times and went to sleep in so many different beds that if I wasn’t cabin crew I would have to be a… ehm… nevermind :). I feel like every each one of you is a very dear friend of mine and I hope those feelings are mutual.

My Dubai

My Dubai

I’m not in this for the fame or the big bugs (however if any of that comes I won’t refuse:) I blog because I love to talk and I love to share my self-proclaimed wisdom. But I never ever imagined that having a blog will bring so many new and amazing people into my life. Some of you I have had the pleasure of meeting randomly – one of the proudest moments of my life was when I was sat having a coffee with Ryan in the HQ and this girl comes to me and goes:

“OMG Gabby- it’s you ! I loOoOove your blog- I even commented on it a couple of times!”

Ryan’s jaw dropped and I felt so damn special ! That girl was Carmen, who joined a couple of month after me. I have met her a few times since then – at the pool, in a club .. the usual locations of the Dubai expat scene:) Then there is Kamila, a fellow Czech blogger  and my Shangri-la buddy. Her Instagram posts always tickle my taste buds… and my wallet 🙂 Kamila is not ONLY Czech she is also Moravian – which is far more important! I just love listening to her broad accent that takes me a decade back to the times when I still lived and studied in Moravia. She is as close to home as Dubai gets.

My Dubai

My Dubai

Some of you I have flown as passengers – like Noemi for example, whose blog I have been following long long looooong time before I got this job and moved to the Middle East. This time around it was my turn to feel starstruck ! I have read EVERY single post she ever wrote(it dates about 5 years back) and I still remember how very proud I felt when she started following “Journey” and even commented a few times! So  I was casually strolling thru the isle of my flight to Athens when I noticed her sitting in my area. I thought ” no- this can’t be !”. Then I did that very conspicuous turn that only flight attendants are capable of and walked past her again looking right at her quizzically. I have no idea how she hasn’t noticed because everybody else has done and they all must have thought she is in a big trouble. I wanted to make this meeting as special for her as it was for me so I went to business and asked my colleagues for some sweet treats and gathered all of my courage to approach her. It was so bizarre and yet so very amazing! 

My world

My world

 

And then there is a very particular few of you. The few ones that have a blog of their own, are also cabin crew and above all I have flown with. Greta for starters. Greta is an Aussie from Perth (which as you all know is my second home – at least according to my rosters:) and I have “known” her for quite a long time thru her blog and Instagram. Then one day I looked at my roster and there she was. Flying with me to Paris on Xmas day! You know about my trip to Paris already – I spent it all with my sis so I didn’t get much time to get to know Greta as I would have liked to but from the time we did spend together I can honestly tell you she is absolutely lovely – exactly as she comes across in her posts. She is also as obsessed otaku as her Instagram shows 🙂 (Btw Gretz- I went to see Frozen and I know you won’t agree but I prefer Anna to Elsa… and I also hope your back is getting better!)

And Doyle. I have been not so secretly in love with Doyle’s I-gram and keep bragging on about it to everybody, who is willing to listen. I’m a huge fan of visuals. That’s why I love pictures. And Doyle’s pictures are truly something! Go check it out please! Plus he is very strong visual experience himself :p) Yes – there I said it Doyle :)) I have just flown with him- we did a long flight Down Under together. It’s a four day trip to Sydney and onwards to Auckland and back again. We have had plenty of time to chat in the first class galley ( hahahaha first time I made friends with the first class class crew at all actually they aren’t usually very approachable- ops did I say that out loud?:) I have to say – apart from being in love with him and his pictures I also love his outlook on life and how very loudly he thanks everybody for everything! So Doyle – THANK YOU it was lovely flying with you 🙂 .

I hope to meet many more of you in the future y’all seem to be such an interesting bunch

Till then just keep on reading

x

G.

 

Viva La Barca !

I started February in a pretty spectacular way. Flew the very first A380 ever to one of the cultural capitols of Europe – Barcelona. As a passenger. This is pretty much how it happened. I had few days off the start of the month. The weather was what us Dubaians call “sh*t” – meaning the temperature wouldn’t rise above 22 degrees and it overcast most of the time… And I was bored off my head being buried in books whilst studying for my annual recurrent tests in order to renew  my flying licence. So when one of my very good friends suggested I accompany him on his flight to Barcelona I jumped at the opportunity like it was freshly baked chocolate cake with cream on top. I have been once before about a century ago with my mum and all I could remember was how beautiful Barca seemed to me back then. IMG_7550

The first A380 crew to Barcelona... and I was there to document it! Talking about proud moments of my career !

The first A380 crew to Barcelona… and I was there to document it! Talking about proud moments of my career !

And I wasn’t disappointed this time around. I spent the flight over on my Mac reading the manuals over and over. One of the many perks of flying standby and having a friend working in a premium class is getting spoiled rotten with sweets and endless cups of delicious tea and coffee. I couldn’t have asked for a better, more serene and comfortable place to study. In those mere 7 hours I was able to drill in more than in the past few days I spent trying to concentrate on reading in Dubai collectively.

Not the worst of study rooms... :)

Not the worst of study rooms… 🙂

We landed in Barcelona on a lovely crisp winter morning and it felt damn good not to be absolutely exhausted for once. I was ready to venture out and explore. The Captain was nice enough to let me ride the crew bus with the rest of the operating crew to the hotel . After only a year of flying I was surprised how many of the my colleagues I have either met or flown with before. Seems like the flying community of 17 odd thousands crew is a very small one after all.

My friend and I dropped the suitcases and headed to the city centre. The hotel is right by the beach which also sounded very tempting however it was still the 1st of February and despite the sun shining we were both freezing our butts off. Barcelona is extremely easy to navigate in. It took us about half a minute to figure the metro system out and even less to get to where everything happens – to Las Ramblas aka the main street of Barca. I asked my Catalonian friend who operated the flight as well what is The Thing to do when in Barcelona. She said “Eat as much jamon as you can”. So we did. We ate delicious seafood paella, jamon, drank wine – well my friend did and I watched – we strolled the wonderful streets, ate some more, shopped for useless and overpriced keepsakes and generally had a great time. Then it got way too cold and we wen back to the hotel.. Well – what can I say after a year of living in the desert I’m simply not used to bitterly cold winter evenings anymore. IMG_7512 IMG_7521 IMG_7524 IMG_7517 IMG_7530 IMG_7518

I got up extra early the morning enjoying the fact I don’t need to rest before the flight. Met up with my friend and we ventured out for a morning walk. Just in time to find a small cosy caffè opening its doors to all the early morning birds craving a cuppa coffee. We indulged ourselves in even more delicious food – this time a steaming cup of hot chocolate as thick as soup and a basket of fresh croissants to dip in (so here goes the reason why I outgrew most of my jeans recently:). It must have been to sweetest breakfast I have ever had. After having walked for a bit more my friend headed back to bed to rest and I decided to work off some of the consumed calories – got changed and went for a run on the beach.

OMG! Ok – I have had my chance to run literally around the world. I go running on most of my layovers and the settings are usually pretty decent… then there are a few that are spectacular. And then there is Barca. Quite possibly the most amazing jogging “facility” I have ever had the pleasure of using. The promenade keeps on going for miles and miles following a beautifully kept white sand beach. Every half a mile there is a work-out station targeting a different part of your body. There are water fountains all over to quench your thirst. There is the omnipresent sun shining. And most of all there are crowds of sports enthusiasts jogging, walking, playing football, practising yoga and generally exercising all along. The overall atmosphere is just so amazing – it really pushes you to keep on going that little further. IMG_7546 IMG_7537IMG_7542

I got back to the hotel completely besotted by my experience. By the time I reached my room I came up with about 5 different plans how to marry a Spaniard and end up staying in Barcelona forever. It was with a heavy heart that I left this amazing city to go back to Dubai to study and “Jump and slide” once again. One day Barca – I promise we shall be reunited !

Love and hugs

x

Gabs