After a blissful day off in the mountains celebrating a year of calling Ryan my "fiancé" instead of "boyfriend" (and eating a rotisserie chicken by the fire), I was forced to return to work. Time always goes by far too fast when you are having fun!
I'd tried my best to get rid of my first flight of my pairing. I'd have to drive to Calgary to fly 30 minutes to Edmonton. For those of you who don't know Alberta, Red Deer is situated exactly in between Edmonton and Calgary, so it was all a bit silly. To make matters worse, a nice blizzard had swept over the area just in time for me to leave. How lovely. The roads were absolutely terrible and travel was not advised... but what was I to do? I had to work. I took it slow. Really, really slow. With white-knuckles I made it to Calgary, witnessing several cars take to the ditch in an attempt to do the same. I thanked my amazing fiancé for forcing winter tires upon me this year. The normal hour journey turned into 2, and by the time I reached the safety of the airport I was ready to pee my freshly-ironed pants.
This pairing was also different in that I was the "floater" flight attendant. Rather than spend 4 days with the same crew going to the same places, I was on my own. Each flight I had brand new faces. I'm sure in the future I may actually enjoy working this way, but as a new and still often lost employee, I longed for the security of having someone to follow and lead me along. When I arrived at the gate, I was all by my lonesome as my crew was still on the inbound flight.
When the plane arrived I boarded and introduced myself. I'd just finished putting my bags away when the captain informed us that we had to switch planes. Apparently I'd brought my bad luck and broke the aircraft. This resulted in the flight being delayed for longer than the actual flight time, which was rather frustrating after the evening I'd had. We finally set off and before we knew it, we were landing into Edmonton. As of next week, Edmonton will be my home. Until we have possession of our house, however, I was off to stay in my hotel. I was staying at a different hotel than the rest of my crew, just to make things a bit more complicated. I found my shuttle and made it to the hotel, feeling a sense of relief that the night was over. Ryan was waiting for me there, and I apologized for being so much later than anticipated. He understood, as he's been tracking my flights for 2 years now and came to the realization that arrival times are always, always subject to change. It was a bit strange being in my own city for a layover, but I wasn't about to complain. Ryan and I watched TV and drank hot chocolate in the warmth of the hotel room. The next day was a Sunday, and I was quite fortunate for the fact that Ryan didn't have to go to work. Instead, we went to Costco to load up on food samples and pick up some photos we'd had printed. Following that, we went to Wal-Mart, and to top the day off, we enjoyed lunch at Ikea! I would have been happy spending the entire day cruising around the city aimlessly, but there were flights to be worked. Ryan dropped me off at my hotel, said goodbye, and I packed up to head to Vegas!! Now before you get too excited... realize that I had to come right back to Edmonton an hour after landing. No gambling, shopping or Cirque du Soleil for me. I'd heard that the flight down was chaotic, and I fully believed it. I've been a passenger on a Vegas flight before, and the entire cabin was quite a party. This flight, however, was shockingly calm. There were few drinkers and time flew by. We landed in Las Vegas, said buh-bye to our passengers, and then made a mad dash for the burrito place in the terminal. I'd been there 2 years ago and still remembered how delicious it was. I'd brought a salad to eat, but after weighing my options I realized that there really was no option. I had US cash in my wallet and I needed that burrito. Together with the rest of my crew, I loaded up on salsa and headed back to the aircraft just in time for boarding. I managed to stuff a few tasty bites in my mouth before carrying on with my job. As soon as we'd finished our service, it was back to the galley. Our lunch kits were out and we chowed down on burritos until our stomaches hurt. Did I regret it? Yup. Was it worth it? Absolutely. The post-burrito fatigue set in and the final hour and a half of the flight passed by so very slowly. We eventually landed into cold Edmonton and I returned to my hotel for a lengthy sleep. Since it was midnight and Ryan had to work in the morning, he couldn't come to join me this time. I slept in, woke up and got ready to do it all over again. Vegas, twice in a row! What a tease.
My crew was great. I'd actually met them the day prior when I'd followed them to their gate and nearly boarded their aircraft before coming to the realization that they were actually going to Phoenix. Of course this ended up being brought up several times during our flight to Vegas, and I blamed it all on being the new girl. We'll see how long that excuse lasts me here. It was another easy day... a few more drinkers than the previous evening, but still quite mellow considering we were going to Sin City. Upon landing in Edmonton we waited for what felt like forever in the cold until our bus finally came to pick us up. I cozied up in bed and wasted some time on my laptop before calling it a night.
I woke up, thrilled when I remembered that it was home day!! I've come to appreciate these days more than I ever thought possible. I'm still adjusting to being on the road (err... sky?) for up to 5 days in a row and by the final day I'm more than ready to sleep in my own bed and cuddle my puppies. The fact that I'd had back to back pairings made this home day even more highly anticipated. I woke up, threw on some clothes and went downstairs to take advantage of the free continental breakfast for the first time that I've woken up early enough to do so. With a chai tea in one hand and a plate of breakfast foods in the other, I went back up to my room to prepare for a couple of quick flights. From my hotel room I could see the signs on the highway indicating that Red Deer was only 100 something kilometres away, but I was taking quite the detour.
We flew to Vancouver. It was easy, quiet, and a great reminder of how much I don't miss the chaos that was every flight at my former airline. At my new place of employment it's not uncommon to go an entire flight without a single call button being pushed. A whole entire flight. If we made it 20 minutes on the 380 we'd be celebrating and talking about how we had the best passengers ever. The way back wasn't much different. 57 little minutes and we were back in Calgary! I'd originally been scheduled to work a flight to Victoria and back right after that, but I dropped it with hopes of beating the snowstorm and getting home before 2 am. As the rest of my crew headed to the next departure gate, I waved goodbye and headed north to Red Deer! Home! At last! It had been a long 4 days and I was extremely content sitting on my couch, cuddling my puppies, and eating the pineapple I'd lovingly hauled back from Maui!