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Australia 2014: Day 1

<4.1.14| 05:41| Home>

I can’t sleep. My body woke up somewhere around 04:30 even though I was up until almost midnight getting things together. There is no sleep left in me. Megan doesn’t come for 6 hours but I’m done sleeping. Maybe this is a good thing since my flight doesn’t leave Los Angeles until 23:45 tonight. Maybe that means I’ll actually sleep on the plane. I’m wondering if I should drug myself.

<4.1.14|17:53| LAX>

Megan showed up right at 09:30, I grabbed my two bags (one to check and one to carry-on) and threw them in the trunk of her car, and we were off! We had to make a stop at Walmart so I could grab a few things. Arron commanded me to bring Hostess pies and butterscotch pudding to Australia. I guess these are some things that he sorely missed from the states. I knew that if I did, they would get smashed in my overpacked carry-on and he’d need to eat his treats with a fork or a spoon. I’m sure that’s his plan with the pudding, but I think he might not want to do that with the pies. For this reason, I ran over to the home department (I think that’s what they call that department) and found a little plastic box to put them in. In a perfect world, this is going to keep Qantas from totally crushing the pies. I’ll let you know how they turn out when I get to Brisbane in about 21 or 22 hours from now.

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Did I mention how grateful I am for Megan? She’s an amazing person and perfect cousin and has saved me from having to pay a ton of money to a cab or transportation service, and she also saved me from having to park Gus (my truck) out in a public parking lot for the entire month of April. She dropped me off at the Salt Lake City International Airport and I grabbed a late breakfast (chicken burrito) at Qdoba and then had to wait about 2 hours for my flight to Los Angeles.

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Since I still had about 10 hours until I was to check-in for my next flight, I decided to go get some lunch at In-N-Out, near LAX. You probably think I’m obsessed with this In-N-Out but I want to assure you that it’s now only a mild obsession that has shrunk exponentially since they now have locations in Utah. Still, “When in Rome…” (Rome being Los Angeles).

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After ordering my #1, animal style, a gal who was also waiting for her order started chatting with me. Her name is Roxie and she just so happens to be one of my coworkers, who is based in Baltimore (my previous base). After being an operations agent in Raleigh for I-don’t-remember-how-many years (close to 30, if I recall) she finally decided a couple years ago that she was going to transfer to inflight and start to see the country. We had a great chat!

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We talked about our experiences in flight attendant training and the fact that her 30-year-old son is going through the exact same training in Dallas at this very moment. We remembered all the stress and head games that we had to live through to earn our wings. Those memories came flooding back! I think I have tried to block most of them out. It was quite common in training for you to get close to someone, thinking they’d become a life-long friend and coworker, only to find out the next day that they’d been sent home for failing a test or for one of a million other reasons. I remember that our training class started with 136, and I think only 84 made it to graduation. Roxie told me that from one test alone (passing of the P.A.s) they lost about 11. Mind games. Stress. Tears. Sleepless nights, pacing the hotel hallways studying- all because you really, really wanted to be a flight attendant.

I remembered a boy from my training class named Edwin. The day before our graduation, he had turned 21. Some of my other classmates decided to go out and celebrate the fact. The next morning, we all went to Love Field for our big day. We were getting our class pictures taken and going over some last-minute career training and then it would be our graduation ceremony. We were going to “get pinned” (receive our wings) in a ceremony later in the afternoon. Edwin never showed up that day because he partied too hard and slept through his alarm or wakeup call. Instead of allowing him to join us later in the day (he had already passed all of his exams), they put him on a flight home. They told us from the very first day in Dallas that we always had to be on time because when we were officially flight attendants, they needed to know that we’d be where we’re suppose to

Edwin never showed up that day because he partied too hard and slept through his alarm or wake-up call. Instead of allowing him to join us later in the day (he had already passed all of his exams), they put him on a flight home. They warned us from the very first day in class that we always had to be on time because when we were officially flight attendants, they needed to know that we’d be where we were suppose to be, when were supposed to be there. Edwin would have made a great flight attendant. I wonder what he’s doing now.

After a quick visit to a pharmacy (I picked up some Zzzquil and some generic Gas-x, just in case), Roxie and I we walked back toward LAX together until it came time for me to turn right, heading to the terminal and Roxie turned left, heading back to her layover hotel. She’s a very cool gal and we exchanged our information so we will hopefully keep in touch.

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I grabbed my bags and lugged them all the way to the international terminal. The international terminal- or terminal 4 is a pretty long hike, especially carrying a bag the size of the one I packed for this trip. I think next time I’ll fork out the $5 to rent one of those easy carts. I nearly passed out, lugging it the whole way.

 

I stepped up to the Qantas ticket counter, wondering if it was too early for me to check in for a plane that wasn’t supposed to leave for hours and hours yet. The agent told me that it was indeed possible and that many of the other passengers had already checked in. She took my passport, scanned it through the groove on her keyboard, checked the screen and asked me if I had any bags to check to Charlotte this evening. I looked at her, confused. “Okay- first of all, I didn’t even know that Qantas flew to Charlotte. Secondly,” I told her, “I am actually going the opposite direction and flying to Brisbane tonight.” She scratched her head and I pulled my confirmation number out of my bag. She scanned my passport again and this time it had me going to Brisbane. Much better!

Once I was through the security line (which was basically nonexistent for me since I happened to be in a flight attendant uniform- awesome benefit!) and a pitstop to the men’s room, I set out to find some chocolate. It is a well-known fact that you should always bring chocolate for your flight crew. Now that you know this, never fly without doing this. Please don’t get the cheap, waxy kind of chocolate either. I was thankful to find a See’s Candies shop in the terminal and grabbed a couple boxes of truffles. I hope the crew is grateful for the gesture.

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