Comebacks and Second Chances

Would you like to know what is The Number One Question I get asked all the time? It is not “What’s this- water ?” (ok this was a crew joke and unless you’ve ever done a round of drinks you are not likely to understand it.) And strangely it is not “Where are you from?” (oh – how much has my life changed in just two years!). The one thing people always seem to want to know is how long am I “in it for and what’s next?”. How long am I gonna stay in Dubai and have I considered what I wanna do next? As if it is quite impossible to believe that I would want to stay in Dubai forever and fly until I can’t lift my cabin bag no more. 

Dubai is so conveniently located which is one of the reasons why the Airline I work for became so successful. It connects the East and the West, it makes travelling to and from Down Under so much more bearable and brings Asia to everybody’s doorstep. You can now take a flight that’s shorter than 6 hours from pretty much anywhere in Europe, spend a layover in the glorified Sandpit and travel on refreshed a couple of days later. Which is what everyone seems to be doing. The popular opinion is that none in Dubai is here for the long run. All of us expats have come for a more or less a layover that can sometimes last years – to have our fun, earn some tax-free cash, travel as much as we can whilst we have the rest of the world within our reach… and then eventually return back and start living the responsible life. Nobody moves to Dubai to establish themselves. Or do they? Having read back my latest post it occurred to me I could have left you feeling like I don’t particularly like living over here. Which would have been a very wrong impression. I love Dubai and my life here. I don’t love it all day every day. But I love it enough every day to consider it my home and staying here for as long as they would have me.  Not to mention the fact that -unlike many others- I don’t really have anywhere to go back to. See – I don’t do comebacks. When I left Czech all those years ago I always knew that was it. I was never to come back and live there. I do adore my country and I would proudly ramble on about its wonders to everyone who is or isn’t willing to listen. But it’s just not for me. Ever since I could remember I never saw myself actually spending my life in Czech – it was never even an option to consider. So I lived there for as long as I could take it or for as long as it was necessary to come up with a plan and then took off. I never looked back. I never doubted the decision to leave a respectable job in a respectable company where I was earning twice as much as anyone else my age that I knew (I was 22 then). My heart just wasn’t in it. My heart was in the hands of a guy I thought I loved then. So much I would have followed him anywhere in the world. Oh wait – I actually did that! Many years later this romantic affair has ended in a disaster but despite that or maybe just because of that I decided not to run back “home” and heal my wounds but to stay right where I was and make this new life work for me. And so somehow I found myself living in the UK and liking it. But me and the English don’t seem to agree with one another. My relationship with the country has followed the same pattern as the relationship with the guy – after being initially smitten with each other we started to see each other’s flaws in the everyday life’s light and slowly but surely we have come to a point where none of us could take it anymore. I was allergic to pretty much anything the country has laid my way and in return it seemed to have rejected me. I was ready to move on. The only issue was – I was much older than when I so carelessly thrown a great job opportunity away and followed my heart. I was worried. My life wasn’t going the direction I had wanted it to but I felt I was too scared to change it completely. And so I waited. And waited. And waited, For what I did not know. I think I was waiting for the brave 22 yo old girl to wake up in me and take charge of our live again. And as the time passed me by I started to realise that wasn’t going to happen. I was going to have to (wo)man up. And so I did and moved to the Middle East. When I told my family I didn’t get a single “Oh but..” not a single eyebrow was raised not even a little bit. They all knew just like myself that that’s the kinda person I am. The kinda person that takes “moving on” literally. And then up a notch. How was I feeling leaving the UK for Dubai? Relieved most of all. I have come to the end of the road and for all I knew I could never see myself coming back to live there. Because as I told you – I do not do comebacks. Ever. To anywhere. Or anyone.

And that’s where my job comes in. After more than 18 months of flying – it turns out not only do I do comebacks. I also give second chances. Who knew? I most certainly did not. August 2014 saw me give a lot of second chances. It had me coming back to many places I have visited and left behind before too. August 2014 has been one big learning curve, one big journey into the depth of my own self and mind you – it is still not over yet..

 

Exploring new places and flying to new destinations can be exciting… as much as it is tiring. Sometimes all I want from my roster is for it to be easy, short and familiar. And as Asian as possible. And my late summer roster has turned me into the Queen of Asia. Singapore, Bangkok, Shanghai, Hong Kong on top of Rome and Frankfurt. I could not have been happier or more familiar with any of them having visited all of these places at least 3 times before. Sometimes it is just so nice to know what to pack, where to go, what to eat and how to behave. It’s also nice to give another chance to a place I wasn’t too sure about. Like Singapore. It’s a great place no doubts about that. It’s just not the kinda place I thought I would ever want to visit again once I’ve seen it. Singapore is quite spectacular with its clean green and luscious streets, friendly people, big expensive cars and delicious food. It’s also a little too high maintenance for my liking. I feel like I should try hard and harder… like I can’t really let go and be myself in a place that has literally made it to the top of world’s capitols. I always feel a little lost when in Singapore. And as I was wondering and wandering in the SinCity I suddenly found the one spot I needed to calm my slightly agitated senses. I little beach bar on the Sentosa Island. A piece of heaven. A sanctuary. The Bikini Bar. Where they played good music, served mean frozen Margaritas and I could read my book undisturbed. And just like that Singapore and I became friends for life. Because as it turns out I don’t need that much to be friendly. Just a little time and space to be myself…

 

The Bikini Bar

                       The Bikini Bar

 

As for the other comebacks I have mentioned – well not much new has gone down in Bangkok and even less so in Shanghai. And I’m not about to bore you to death talking about my massages . I guess one very successful return I should tell you about was to the Friday Brunch at the Atlantis hotel – the crime scene of my mad birthday bash back in January which I have still not been able to blog about… Some stories should remain untold. There was no particular occasion to celebrate this time apart from Salma coming back to Dubai and with the pressure off we simply let go and enjoyed ourselves to the fullest. And Saffron has not disappointed us.

Brunch in Jan

           Brunch in Jan

Brunch in Aug.. same same

Brunch in Aug.. same same

IMG_7239 IMG_2782IMG_7274 IMG_2828

OK- this post could go on for hours. Yes I indeed have so much on my chest about second chances and comebacks. But I’m gonna spare you this time since I also want to tell you about a few first times I have gone thru in the past month or so… Y’all just wait :)!

Lots of love 

G. 

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Sing-a-pour

Just before my flight to Singapore I found myself in a very unhinged state of mind and wishing I was anywhere else BUT in Dubai. I was literally itching to take off on that big jet plane and land as far as it can get me.

I desperately needed a change of scenery and oh my – what a change it was! Singapore is the more mature, more cultured and more beautiful older sister that Dubai is trying to imitate. Everything is so clean, organised and well thought thru. And also very expensive. It is a truly remarkable city.

The thing that strikes you as as the first and the most obvious one is how very cosmopolitan Singapore is. Not just the airport (naturally) but the streets and bars and restaurants are full of people from all around, the city is buzzing with different nationalities and languages. And to my great relief – everybody understands and speaks English. Even an old man tending to his little street cart selling water.

I was told that Singapore is all about food. To me Singapore was all about cars. And by cars I mean supercars. I’m now quite used to seeing Bentleys and Ferraris on daily basis since I live in the part of the world where Porsche is the new Ford Focus… still in my beloved Sandpit supercars feel very… well.. superficial. Yet admiring a Rolls Royce driving past me in Singapore I felt like the car was made for Singapore. It was so perfectly in sync with its environment- it belonged there, the street complimented the car and the other way around. And as I continued walking I saw it also worked for Astons and BMW’s and Mercedes. Singapore is by far the most luxurious place I have seen. I walked in circles for miles and miles alongside the roads admiring those four-wheeled beauties and occasionally raising my eyes above the street level to snap pictures of the wonderful architecture and luscious greenery that surrounded everything.

The night we arrived I followed some of my crew colleagues to The Marina Bay Sands Hotel because as it turned out that night was a ladies night in Singapore and apparently ” one has to go out when in Singapore on a ladies night”. So I did.  The club I was led to was called Ku De Ta and it’s located right next to the famous infinity pool on the top of he hotel. We were partying in style that was far beyond either of our financial situations but at least we were provided with an absolutely stunning view of the entire city. That was- arguably- for free…IMG_2340 IMG_2333 I admit it with pride – I was the party pooper that night. I went I saw and I left. That’s pretty much my night out in Singapore all summed up. Well not quite – I did have a drink or two and little dance before I sneaked out to avoid having to explain my early departure.

The next day I woke up relatively early and set off in a quest to find the botanical gardens I saw from above the night before. That’s when I got side-tracked car spotting. Couple of hours and bubble teas later I remembered my mission and regained the general direction towards the gardens. It has proven to be a task far more difficult than it looked – the heat and especially the almost 100% humidity were taking their tool on me. When I finally reached the gardens I couldn’t be less bothered about it. I was drenched in my own sweat, tired and dehydrated. I was starting to turn into a very unhappy Gremlin. That’s when you – my dear readers- saved me from myself. I thought “this layover is so far not even worth posting about, c’mon suck it up !”, bought a bottle a water of the earlier-mentioned old man and took an hour long tour thru the gardens. It was beautiful and I’m very glad I did that but I was also very glad when I finally reached my hotel room and crashed out. I love Asia and I love what its humidity does to my hair volume – but man it also drains the heck out of me !

I came back home to Dubai refreshed but happy to feel the dry desert heat on my skin again… Sometimes you have to leave to fully appreciate what you are leaving behind.

Love

x

G.