A Day That Counts

We all have them. The days that seem so pointless it’s like they didn’t even need to happen. The days when the most productive thing you force yourself to do is moving from your bed to the sofa. I call them my “Recharge Days”. I solemnly feel guilty for having one of those every now and then. Because for every Recharge Day there is always a Counter Day. Aka the day that counts as two, as three sometimes even as a whole century of your normal days let along the Recharge Days. I have had many Counter Days in 2013 but I’d like to talk about this one in particular. This is the story of a Counter FriDay 13th September 2013. The day I operated my first ever flight to Prague.

The moment I found out about this duty I decided to make it a surprise and only tell a limited amount of people. One of the hardest decisions I have ever taken because as the date was approaching I found it harder and harder to conceal my excitement when talking to my family and ultimately had to stop talking to them in fear of accidentally dropping a hint.

The night before the flight I hardly slept a wink – I watched the clock slowly move towards my wake up time until I gave up and got ready long before I had to. The 5-hour flight felt like the longest in my life. When we touched down at last I didn’t know whether to cry or laugh- for somebody who has spent the last 7 years globetrotting and trying to move as far away from their homeland as possible feeling so emotional coming back “home” was indeed an experience. Our Captain has observed my pain watching the rest of the crew potter around and taking their sweet time collecting their luggage and what not and has kindly released me to check-in at the hotel well in advance before anybody else. If not for professional image and respect to my uniform I could have kissed him right there.

I was in and out of my hotel room in less than two minutes and rushed to meet one of the most precious people I have ever known- a friend I have met in high school and who has been a huge part of my life ever since, Rudi <3. We talked and talked and talked some more and drunk about 3 litres of coffee -until my jaw hurt from all the talking and heart beat fast from all the coffee. Time flies when you are having fun and especially when you have so much gossip to go thru and next time I looked at my watch I had to go and run  to the train station to pick up my lil step-brother, who had spent the same amount of time on the train to Prague it has taken me to fly over all the way from Dubai. When I spotted him disembarking the train among all the other travellers I realised my plan was coming together exactly as planned and my chest felt really tight and I was out of breath once again. I guess that’s what a complete happiness is all about.

You simply cannot NOT love this person

You simply cannot NOT love this person

And then it was time for the main event of the day – giving my step-sis the shock of her life. She was expecting to see our brother with his fictional Prague (girl)friend and as she has previously shared with me over an email she wasn’t too keen on that being her Friday night plan. What she wasn’t expecting tho was the (girl)friend was to be me. The expression of sheer amazement and disbelief on her face was worth it all- the entire HR process of getting my job, the long and tiring training to get my licence and the endless waiting to get a Prague flight assigned. I would gladly go thru all this a million times over just to see her precious blue eyes filled with tears once again. It was a surprise moment par excellence ! After the initial 10 minutes of talking over each other and laughing and crying we quickly decided what to do with the rest of my layover. And since this was an occasion and we are Czech- we did exactly what all Czechs do on an occasion – we started celebrating. Because “a little party never killed nobody”.

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And boy was that one heck of a celebration! We sang, we drunk, we danced and talked of all the important things people talk about when the bottles are empty the clock shows way past anybody’s bedtime. I think at one point we also slept but I can’t be too sure because the next thing I remember is rushing back to the hotel and pushing the limits of the speed of light putting my make-up and uniform on.  And then… then it was time to check out, kiss everybody good-bye, wipe the tears and the not-so-water-proof mascara of my cheeks and head to the airport with my crew. I landed back in Dubai totally exhausted but happier than ever. My job is a blessing that brings me happiness and fills me with pleasure every time I fly. But I already knew that. What I didn’t know but learned that day was that it can also make people I love the most happy and content. And that my dear readers is a feeling you won’t get from no paycheque.

x

G.

P.S. This post is dedicated to my lil step-bro as a weird way to say “Happy B-day I love you very much”

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What to expect when you’re expecting…

Life is full of surprises. Like for example when you’re expecting to be turning around Islamabad and instead find yourself sat and waiting in the airport stand-by lounge. Or when you see one of your best friends entering the very same lounge and get excited about spending the next 4 hours catching up with her but she gets pulled out for a flight the moment she signs in… Well such is life.

Standing-by is fun. It all starts with the packing part. I got allocated one of the busiest reserve slots there is. The early morning hours at the HQ resemble peak time traffic in any major city. Flights are departing and arriving to and from all the corners of the world. Meaning I could be headed anywhere in the next 5 mins. So when packing up I had to think big. My suitcase that’s usually neatly prepared in advance and carefully thought thru looks like a psychedelic 60′ themed party. The OCD me had to look away and pretend it wasn’t there…

This Islamabad turnaround was supposed to be my first flight of the month followed by a layover in Beijing- which I was super happy about. Going back to China and especially being given the opportunity to fulfil one of my childhood dreams and see the Great Wall was more than I could have wished for in June. However with my unexpected roster change I could as well be going nowhere near the Far East in the next couple of weeks. See – if I do get pulled out of this comfortable haven for a duty longer than 12 hours I will not have enough time to “legally” rest before my Beijing flight and will be taken of it. Which doesn’t make me all that unhappy either since that would be mean I could possibly spend the entire weekend in Dubai, which has not happened for quite a while. I could go for a brunch for example. Or to a gig I really wanted to see. Or just generally chill out. I told you – standing by is fun when you look at this way!

Talking about rosters I realise I haven’t updated you on my flying schedule for the upcoming days. Well – unless there will be more changes such as the one that has happened to me tonight I should be practising my German skills quite a bit in June since I have two weeks full of German and Swiss destinations. I will also be exploring the chewing gum free streets of Singapore and visiting my beloved Sri-Lanka again.

The lady managing tonight’s crew on reserve just received a call and looked my way. Wish me luck! Exciting times !!

Talk to you later from wherever my life takes me !

Lots of love

x

G.