Tag Archives: life

Starting At 31…?

I wrote this post over a month ago and just stumbled upon it… I was hesitating posting it, but here it is… Hope it explains some stuff, hope you enjoy it…

As you all know, this blog is my documentation of me “Starting At 30…” With a new career, new city, new life, etc. I must say, this past year has been a roller coaster ride. It wasn’t easy, and at times it was pretty scary, but it was all worth it. With all the lows, also came the highest of highs. This has been one of my most difficult years financially, and at the same time, the richest one when it comes to experience.
I promised you in my first entry that I’d be honest & share the “not so glamorous” side of flying… Well, because of how busy I’ve been, I’ve really only focused on fun times… I mean, who doesn’t want to focus on the positive stuff?
Well, let me recap a little:
On my 30th birthday, I went home for a little over a week. I visited friends & family all up & down California. I was showered with love & gifts & delicious food. I had three birthday celebrations in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego. I saw so many loved ones and even visited my place of birth (and family there) for the first time in over 20 years! This took place during my beautiful drive down California’s famous Highway 1.
When I returned to Philadelphia, the weather was cold & I was about to experience my first east coast winter (cue suspenseful music). Living with four roommates was about to be a bit of a challenge. We were all going to be home more often, as flying demands slowed. It felt like a reality show. You know…when people stop being polite & start getting real…?! There were good times… and… there was drama. Five personalities from different walks of life in one house during (what’s been said to be) the worst winter in I dunno… ever, put us all to the test… I’ll just leave it at that…
For the first time in my life, I had to work on Thanksgiving. Working at a bank for the past 10 years, I was guaranteed to have holidays off… But, working in the airline industry meant that I got the chance to get people home to their families for the holiday… Not just any people, either. My flight consisted of military men & women who were coming home for the first time in years, after being deployed. It was the most rewarding day on the job to date. I look forward to working the holidays this year.
Once I made it through the brutal winter and all the snow storms, I joined the Spanish-speaking program with the airline. When spring rolled around, I’d only be assigned to fly to Puerto Rico, Madrid & Barcelona. The first day that I had to make Spanish announcements, I was so nervous. I only read from our handbook, word for word. I was terrified when the captain made announcements & I was put on the spot. Now, the (extended) season is coming to and end & I can read my English book & translate the words in my head. I’m proud of how much my Spanish has improved & how confident I’ve become.
Working transatlantic trips opened so many doors for me. I was able to pick up other European destinations from senior flight attendants who met me along the way. This summer was the best summer of my life! I’ve seen some of the most beautiful places & been to some wonderful concerts. Like the time I went to Paris, got paid overtime, got into a show for free & was assigned a hotel room with a view of the Eiffel Tower. I mean, that’s like every girl’s dream, right? Right… Then, I came home to Philadelphia & had to set up a mouse trap…& when it did it’s job, I had to do away with the fury casualty myself. I’m telling you, people… Highest highs & lowest lows.
It wasn’t only Paris, though. This year I’ve also seen Italy, Scotland, England, Ireland and so many other breathtaking places (some of them are still pending blog posts). I’ve been so busy living life & exploring that I haven’t dedicated my time to writing like I’d really like to. It’s not a bad thing, it’s not a good thing… It’s just the way it is.
I have some wonderful posts sitting in my drafts, waiting to be published. I have amazing pictures that I can’t wait for you to see… And most of all, I have so many life experiences that I want to share with you…

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Stay tuned…!!

Soundset

Where do I even start…?
Have you ever had those moments in life where everything is just perfect? Well, I just had a whole long weekend of that exact perfectness. Great weather, delicious food, awesome people & all-access to the most amazing music…
I woke up Saturday morning and rushed to the airport to catch a flight to Minneapolis. I was going to spend Memorial Day Weekend out in Minnesota to catch Soundset, the annual hip hop festival held by Rhymesayers Entertainment at Canterbury Park. I’ve wanted to go to Soundset for a few years, now. This year, it finally happened… on Sunday, May 25, 2014, I spent the day with 30,000 other music lovers at the sold out event…
During my flight, I met a few people who were headed to the festival for the Bboy Competition. I didn’t have any set plans during the day, so, they invited me along. We stopped at The Mall of America and rode a crazy roller coaster. Then headed to the 5-8 club for a famous Juicy Lucy burger.
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After lunch, I met up with the famous, Eddie Sancho, for some drinks before the Soundet Pre-Party . (I’ll share more about Eddie someday soon. Chances are, if you’re a fan of hip hop, you’ve heard his work).
We’re having drinks at the hotel when Eddie asks if I’d like to check out the venue for tonight’s show… It’s at the legendary First AvenueThe house that Prince built – which has been around since 1970 and was featured in the film, Purple Rain. It’s stage has been graced by countless amazing musical acts. Of course I want to see it!

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When we get there, they’re setting up for the #BeforeSoundset show. It’s cool seeing the empty space & witnessing the calm before the storm.

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From there, we head over to the Rhymesayers offices. I’m so excited! This is where a lot of the (behind the scenes) magic happens… We get a private tour of the facilities, have some delicious local beers and grab some gear from the Fifth Element Store. Not to mention, I got to meet some super cool people!
We have dinner near the venue, and get ready for the show. Thanks to Eddie & the amazing team at Rhymesayers, Here’s a little glimpse at how the night went…

20140603-012118-4878694.jpgSlug (Atmosphere) made an appearance to introduce Step Brothers

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Rhymesayers Entertainment

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Slug, Atmosphere

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Dem Atlas

The pre-party definitely set the tone for Sunday… aka Soundset Day. I woke up so excited!
Let me start with the line up…

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from Veterans, to fresh new artists, to some of today’s heavy hitters, the wide range of acts consisted of both, men & women, representing various ethnical backgrounds. With DJ’s, B boys & MC’s on three different stages, a car show, graffiti wall, and skate ramp, there was something there for everyone.
I’ve attended a lot of hip hop festivals before this & I gotta say, this was, by far, my favorite one ever. (Ok, maybe the accommodations and all access pass had a little something to do with that). But, nonetheless, the guys at Rhymesayers really know how to throw a party. I’ll let my pictures do (most of) the talking…

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20140608-005046-3046926.jpgAfter a fun shuttle ride with a great group, we got there just in time to catch Snow Tha Product rockin’ the stage. I learned about her when I saw her on the line up a few weeks before. She’s a young Latina from San Diego and I love what she stands for. Don’t let the pretty face fool you, either, this girl can spit rapid fire!

20140608-011344-4424904.jpgEddie and I enjoying Snow’s set. In the background, (from our fun shuttle ride) is the talented G Koop, the man behind the live instruments on Atmoshpere’s Southsiders.

20140608-012236-4956522.jpgEddie introduced me to Maria Isa, another proud Latina, sharing her message through her music.

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It wasn’t long before I caught up with my favorite Instagram Photographer… Mr. Evidence was hard at work, running the Soundset ig account .

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And of course, these guys weren’t too far behind… Alchemist and DJ Mishaps

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Golf Carts were the preferred mode of transportation… Check out our driver! 😉

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This girl, Alicia, made me feel like the ultimate VIP and took good care of me. She has a great heart & we became friends instantly.

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20140608-014328-6208230.jpgEven though we got there too late to catch their set, I had a chance to meet up with two of my favorite California kids, The Grouch and Eligh

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Monica, another find from the fun shuttle, introduced me to the sounds of (& the man himself) DJ Q Bert

20140608-015806-7086438.jpg I also had the chance to catch Rapsody move the crowd.

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Sky made sure we got to see the view from the side stage…it was amazing!

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I gotta admit, there were moments when I pretended the crowd was cheering for me… I felt like Selena! 😉

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We caught the legendary Cypress Hill from the side stage…

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took a few pics…

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& made some new friends.

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This girl, Taylor, got lost from her group…she was all alone & one of the members of security allowed her access to the side stage so that she could try to spot them. How cool is that?

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I was 2 excited to see 2 Chainz! (See what I did there)? 😉

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Cool shirt, bro

20140608-021423-8063118.jpgOpen container situation with Alc

20140608-021448-8088355.jpgCypress Hill!

20140608-021515-8115242.jpgMy fellow San Diegan & world traveler, Cros One was judging the Bboy battle.

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20140608-021711-8231349.jpgRan into my ladies from the plane…

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20140608-022447-8687342.jpgWiz Khalifa didn’t let being arrested in Texas earlier in the day keep him from performing for his fans. The crowd went absolutely wild when he took his place on stage!

20140608-023105-9065055.jpgEddie and I caught Nas‘s set from the Monster Tower…

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along with this unbelievable view of the festival!

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*Eddie actually worked on Illmatic. The classic album celebrated it’s 20th anniversary this year. Pretty cool stuff, right?

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Maggie, my doll for the day, was another one from the fun group on the shuttle. I had a blast with her.
*Shout out to DJ Abilities

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Soon, it was time for the main event… the hometown heroes from Minneapolis, Atmosphere, closed the show like only they could.

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20140610-181146-65506387.jpgPosing with the host of the event, Sway Calloway, before heading back to First Avenue for the official Soundset After Party…

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I’ve seriously always dreamed of experiencing a music festival in the capacity in which I experienced Soundset. Just hanging out with the artists, behind the scenes, in their element, among friends, family & comrades. I am so glad it finally came to be!
From this (once) small town girl, with big dreams, I encourage each & every one of you to follow your heart & seek out your passion in life. Chase it, hunt it, run after it with all your might. Your heart will never lead you astray… Once you know what it is that you really want in life, the universe will conspire to give it to you. Go after it!

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Shout out to the girls at Glam Doll Donuts for following their love & passion for music (and baking) & turning it into a successful business in such a sweet way!

Thanks for reading along, everyone. What is it that you really want in life? What’s your dream? Or has it already come true…?

*Special thanks to Eddie Sancho, Ashanti Abdullah, Siddiq, & the entire staff & crew at Rhymesayers Entertainment for an unbelievable, unforgettable weekend. Much love. Let’s do it all again next year!

Check out the Soundset 2014 Wrap Up here…
*at 1:39 in…don’t blink! 😉

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The Opportunity of a Lifetime

April 9, 2013, exactly one year ago today, I was in Phoenix, Arizona, interviewing to become a flight attendant for a major airline. It was one of the most exciting days of my life…
It’s 4am when my alarm goes off. When I was working at the bank, the buzzing was always such a dreadful sound…& my mornings would typically consist of a long battle with the snooze button, but not today. Today, I’m excited…before I can even think about hitting that snooze, I jump outta bed & say, “This is it! This is my life. I am a flight attendant. I wake up before the sun comes up, because I have a plane to catch!”
*I learned this technique of “living into the future,” from my work with the Landmark.
I get ready & dress myself in a skirt, a nice fitted peplum blazer (camisole underneath) & some black pumps…I am a flight attendant, after all. 😉 I already have my (carry-on sized) bag packed with all the required items, so, I grab it, and I’m out the door. I’m driving to the airport now…just a typical day for this flight attendant.
I walk through the terminal, looking around at all my fellow airline crew members. When I go through security, I use my passport for ID, because I’m an International Flight Attendant! I board the plane, and I’m off…just another day at work.

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I took this picture in-flight on my way from San Diego to Phoenix & posted it on Instagram exactly one year ago today. This is now “the view from my office!”

When I arrive in Phoenix, a shuttle picks us (other recruits) up from the airport to take us to the interview site. It’s a day full of assessments, activities & interviews. We work in groups, one-on-one & there’s even some down time. After about 8 hours of proving ourselves, and, of course, getting to know each other, the ones who make the final cut are surrounded by crew members, as they welcome us to the airline.
It’s one of the greatest moments in my life! The room bursts into a celebration of screaming, jumping up & down, and even tears of joy…it’s a beautiful moment. The recruiters ask one favor of us, and one favor only, “Please, always remember how excited you are in this moment and take that with you everyday to work.”
After flying for almost 10 months, & one year after my interview date, I know how fortunate I am to be in this position & to live this amazing life. People say that the sky is the limit…and I get to touch the sky as part of my job! 🙂

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This is my photo on my crew badge (my ID for work) they took this after we signed our HR paperwork…you can see how happy I was…& how happy I still am…

I’m posting this from San Juan, Puerto Rico. It’s a beautiful day. I swam in the ocean & danced in the rain. I’m here with a great friend (fellow flight attendant & crew member) & making new ones. I love my life & I love what I do for a living…!

Across the Country Twice in a Day

My trip from Los Angeles got me back to Philadelphia at 6am EST. I had two full days off…so, I decided to catch a flight back to San Diego. I mean, why take the bus & walk in the cold Philly weather to sleep at my place here, when I could sleep on the plane and wake up in warm, sunny San Diego? Sure, I’d only be home for 27 hours…to me, it was so worth it.
I caught a 6:50am flight to Phoenix and I’d continue on to San Diego from there. I slept the entire flight to Phoenix. It felt great.
My connecting flight to San Diego was full, and since I fly stand-by, I didn’t get a seat. The next flight on my airline didn’t leave for 3 more hours. Another great perk of being a flight attendant is that we can actually fly with other carriers for free, too. So, I called to check flights and there was one leaving in an hour.
As I make my way through the terminal, I text my friend, Valerie to see if she’s available to pick me up. She is. I say I want to go on a hike when I land. She says I must have read her mind…
We head to Cowel’s Mountain from the airport. Valerie & I usually hike beautiful Torrey Pines, but today, we wanted a little more of a challenge. This is her first time. I’m excited to show her something new. Valerie’s fairly new to San Diego, so I love introducing her to different parts of this beautiful city.
Our hike was amazing. We got a great workout & the real reward was the beautiful view when we reached the top.

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After our hike, we’re in need of a nutrition break, so we stop at San Diego Blenders for some fresh juice & an acai bowl.

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Now, we’re off to meet Valerie’s brother & sister-in-law. They’re a cute couple. They welcome me into their home. We have some good laughs & share some travel stories. It’s a beautiful day out & the sun is shining & lighting up the living space. It’s these simple little pleasures that I love so much…It’s good to be home.
Later, my sister picks me up. We have dinner plans. Our friends are always raving about a mariscos restaurant in National City called Rincon del Mar…so, it’s time we try it. My friend Joe agreed to take me. My sister, Monica, and her boyfriend, Chris are joining us.
Since Joe is the expert, we let him order. It’s the right choice. He did one heck of a job at stimulating our pallets.

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After dinner, Joe and I grab a few drinks. We head to a local neighborhood bar, where I run into a friend of mine that I haven’t seen in a while. Then, my cousin who lives near by stops to visit briefly. It’s such a fun night.

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The next morning is not as fun. Haha. The night catches up to me as soon as my sister wakes me up. I want to sleep more, but I have to get in action & prepare to fly back to Philadelphia. We stop for a lovely breakfast before she drops me off & heads to work.
My younger sister, Angie, has agreed to drive me to the airport. I get to visit with her & my beautiful niece for a bit. I hear all about their fun two-day trip to Disneyland. My niece, Valentina, will be turning 3 tomorrow…It’s nice being able to deliver her birthday gift in person.

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The three of us have a very satisfying lunch – Pho, one of my favorite dishes. After lunch, it’s time to the airport…
This is the hardest part of flight attendant life…saying bye to my family. It never gets any easier…my eyes water every time. There’s something about airports and tears….right?
I go to get my last 2 year old kisses from my niece “while they’re hot,” as Angie says. Then, I hug, kiss and thank my sister for a wonderful afternoon.

I’m on my way back to the east coast for the second time in the last 48 hours…back and forth across the country, as I commute back to base to report for duty. At least I don’t have to worry about traffic! 😉

Stay tuned to see where I go next…

One Day in England

Working the flight to London was such a delight. I experienced working International Envoy for the first time ever (aka first-class, where we really do serve warm nuts & offer hot towels). I was really excited & maybe just a little nervous.
The crew was great, so helpful, so supportive & very encouraging. To top it off, my passengers were all fantastic. A few of them just wanted to sleep & the ones I did get to provide service to were so pleasant & friendly. It really was a great flight.
When we arrived in London, we rode a shuttle to our hotel. I sat up front. I just wanted to soak in all the sights. London is such a beautiful city. We were expecting rain, but it was clear & beautiful, and actually a bit warmer than the weather in Philly.

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When we arrived to the hotel, most of the crew wanted to rest. I couldn’t blame them. We left Philadelphia a little before 10:00pm EST, and arrived to our hotel around 6:00am EST (11:00am local time). I, however, was set on making my day really count. This was my first time in London & I couldn’t miss a minute of daylight.
It’s been a life-long dream of mine to see the 7 wonders of the world. I’ve always loved stars, astronomy & astrology, so, naturally, Stonehenge has been at the top of the list. I’ve done some previous research. I know that it’s less than a 2 hour trip.
I head to my cozy room, drop my bags, change & head straight to the concierge desk. The young man at the desk is very helpful & is quick to get my tour booked. He says that tours usually must be booked a day in advance, but he’s checking to see what he can do. He notices that there’s a mid-day tour that leaves at 12:30pm. It’s 11:33am. He moves swiftly through the transaction, pulls out a map, and gives me walking directions to the Underground (metro) station.
When I arrive at my stop, I take a lovely walk to the Coach (bus) Station where I board for this journey with a large group of other tourists. We’re on our way to Stonehenge! I can’t even believe this is really happening!

Some shots from my walk…
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The drive is beautiful & informative. Many of the houses cottages we’re passing remind me of The Secret Garden. They’re all so gorgeous. There’s so much to see…every structure, every bridge, every street. We’re passing a cemetery & I catch an airplane coming in for landing…it’s a powerful moment for me. I feel at peace, at one with The Universe…

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As we approach Stonhenge, we also approach a storm. It’s quite chilly and when we exit the bus, the wind is so strong that it breaks my umbrella. The thing just snaps inside out, it’s beyond repair.
The walk to the monument is a bit of a struggle with no defense from the wind & pouring rain. It’s so cold that I’m hiding my face with my coat. Then, I look up & I can see it…Stonehenge is right there, straight ahead of me!
I make my way over & take a deep breath. I tell myself that I’m not going to let a little bit of water and cold air take anything away from this moment. It suddenly isn’t so cold and it’s almost as if the rain & wind have stopped…

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Our designated hour & half fly by…it’s time to go. We head back to the bus, back on the road to London. I’m excited to get out & explore a little more.
I see a Starbucks up ahead & because I’m soaked & freezing, I pop in for some green tea (my favorite) & some wifi access…I’m excited to post a pic & share my Stonehenge moment with my loved ones.
The barista, Imtiaj, is very helpful. I’m asking questions about where I should venture next & he’s looking up directions for me to different areas. Then, I remember something else that was on my London to-do list…the famous Abbey Road!
After drinking my tea, touching up my make up & standing under the hot-air hand-dryers in the restroom for a bit, I muster up the courage to face the weather again. The sun has already set & the streets are lit by the darling street lamps. I hop back on the underground & start my 40 minute trip to the famous crosswalk & studios.

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When I arrive at my stop, the rain has become quite violent. I ask for directions & the gentleman assisting me discourages me to take on the challenge against this “wretched rain.” I’m a little nervous.
I’m standing at the doors of the station, contemplating giving up & heading back to my hotel…it’s really cold & I’m still pretty drenched. The wind is whipping my hair & I rush to the restroom to warm up under the dryers again. This routine goes on for almost an hour…back & forth from the doors, to the dryers, second-guessing my attempt to experience a part of Beatles history…
I suddenly remind myself of the empowering attitude from earlier…Am I really going to let a little bit of water & cold air stop me? Ha! Nope.
I step out from the haven of the station, and, no kidding, the rain seems to lighten up. I jog part of the way there, stopping at any covering I can find.
When I get to my destination, I’m moved & overcome with joy…I’m seriously standing at the famous crosswalk of Abbey Road!
I walk across, singing “With Love, From Me to You…” (My favorite Beatles song) in my head & I make my way to the studios to sign the famous wall.
There are musicians in the doorway, leaving a session…I’m imagining what magic might have just taken place.
After I sign the wall, I look around for someone to snap a shot of me in the street.

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It’s been about an hour, and the first had 3 strangers have taken a better picture of their finger than they did of me. It’s dark & raining, so, I don’t blame them. Then, I see a woman, luggage in hand…& even though I feel bad asking, I approach her for photography assistance. She’s a little irritated by my request at first, but she’s very understanding. We stand in the rain, run back & forth a few times as traffic passes by, maneuvers around & honks at us…& as soon as there’s a break, we rush back for what she says will be her final attempt. I agree. She snaps it…& my phone dies! I hope it’s a good one…

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Boom! 😉 Edited by Jo Roth

After retrieving my phone & thanking my last photographer profusely, I’m ready to go back to my hotel for a warm bath. I was smart & packed food for the day, so, at least I’m well nourished. I’m satisfied from my trail mix, assorted fruit, cheeses, and pasta salad.
During my ride to the hotel, I notice the announcement for one of the stops… “Greenwich Park, this stop for Buckingham Palace.” I pop up out of my seat & rush out the metro doors. I mean, I’m on a roll…might as well make the most of my time here.
I walk through the beautiful park, and soon, I’m standing in front of the palace! When I look back the opposite way, in the distance, beyond the trees, I spot the famous Ferris wheel. I’m so grateful in this moment…for my life, for this amazing career & for all these wonderful experiences… and now I’m ready to say goodnight to London.
I head back to my room, take a hot shower & hop in bead. I’m beat & I know I have a busy work day (8 hour flight) ahead of me.

Until next time…

Thank you all for enduring this long post. I really hope you enjoyed it!

Cheers!

How I made London happen

March 1, 2014: I woke up today knowing that it was going to be a great day. I was assigned airport duty, where I report to work, in uniform, with luggage, prepared to be sent on any trip, if needed. It’s kind of crazy & very exciting at the same time. You just have to be prepared for anything & everything, because you never know where you might end up. There are different time slots to select from. I chose the latest time slot, because I know international flights leave late & I had a good feeling that I’d be sent across the pond.
So, I’m packing my bags & I’m just signing and dancing & being merry. I’m playing some of my favorite music. I start with Chase the Clouds Away by Evidence. The song repeatedly says “I feel happy.” Starting my day with this song is almost a ritual of mine…it really sets the tone for a great day.
I’m preparing for all kinds of weather & filling my suitcase with everything from my bikini to my wool coat. As I’m packing, I’m so mindful of the act & completely in the moment. I know that I’m going on a trip tonight & I’m just so excited.
I give myself plenty if time to get ready for work. I’ve cleaned my room, showered, my hair & make up are done & I’m wearing my formal uniform. The soundtrack for this scene is The Very Best of The Doors *Side note: I’ve always thought that I should have been around in those days, burning my bra, hanging out on Haight & Ashbury, going to Woodstock, and married to Jim Morrison.
Ok, so, It’s time for me to go & I make my way to my bus stop. For the walk, Lady Gaga‘s upbeat Artpop album is appropriate for my mood. “Put some lipstick on, perfume your neck & slip your high heels on…!” It’s hard to contain myself from busting into song on the bus. I’m just smiling at everyone & in a state if pure bliss. I check Facebook and see so much good news…my friends & family all seem to be having a great day, as well. Them being happy makes me happy. A woman on the bus gets my attention. She tells me that she often sees me on the same route & that I always look so happy. She says that she always wanted to be a flight attendant, I encourage her to apply…(it’s never too late)! She’s says she’ll think about it. We’re having a wonderful conversation & she tells me that she knows I’m on the right path & that I’m doing things right in life. Amen!
As I’m walking through the terminal, Lady Gaga is back on & she is boosting my confidence. Up ahead, walking towards me are friends, Devon (fellow Little Monster) & Kalani (who is also my roommate). I sashay over to say hi & we chat for a second. They are just adding to my great mood. They’re on their way out from sitting airport duty…& I have to cut our visit short so I can check in.
My other flight attendant friend, Doug, is in the crew room waiting for me when I arrive. Doug loves to keep me on point & is always encouraging me to take my time & always look my best. I have his approval today. Our shift is scheduled from 8pm to 12am. We’re both set on getting a trip tonight. Doug immediately shares with me that there’s a London trip that might open up. I’m third in seniority out of the four of us sitting airport duty. I’d need the 2 gals ahead of me to “pass” in order for me to go.
Not even 5 minutes into my shift, the phone rings. It’s scheduling. The 2 girls before me decided to pass… I’m going to London!

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