All in Everyday Adventures
With the window exit off, I stepped over the fuselage and into my shoes that were strategically placed outside. As I slipped back into them, I stood up, felt the welcome cool breeze and thought, “Whoa. This is SO COOL!” I was standing on the right wing of a Boeing 727, in the middle of the woods, outside of Portland, Oregon. This wasn’t an emergency. There were no commands that were being shouted or screaming panicked guests to corral. I wasn’t in uniform or at work or commuting to work. And the only danger I faced was accidentally falling off the wing because I was more focussed on getting the right angle to capture a photo, and even then, the fall would be 8ft, max, to the ground.
Some days, I come home from work and wonder why I even bothered to show up? I could swear that no one noticed my presence, nor would they notice my absence. Or maybe it's a day where no matter what I do, I keep hitting dead ends or getting blank stares or seem to get criticized for whatever I do, or don't do. It's when decisions make no sense or your frustrations seem to fall on deaf ears or no matter how much you try to be transparent and fair, it backfires in your face. It's days like those that make me wonder why I do what I do. It's days like those that I go home and I re-evaluate what I'm doing and what I set out to do.
Writing is that loyal love that always makes me feel great, yet I neglect. Whenever I make the time for it, I feel empowered and more creative and genuinely happy. It's my way of taking all of the thoughts, ideas, and feelings that I have running amuck in my head and getting them out. Then why don't I do it all the time? I don't have an answer for that, just excuses.
Last year, I decided to no longer neglect my loyal love and to dedicate more time to writing. I set a stretch goal of writing every single day. And not just jotting down an idea on the Notes section of my phone or scribbling in a journal, but writing to someone. Every. Single. Day. Whether it be a 3 page letter, a post card from a new destination or even a quick hello on hotel stationary, I was going to be writing. To connect with people through prose. To spread the joy only snail mail can provide. To improve my penmanship because even I can't read it sometimes. To commit to something.
Reading 1000 books is on my bucket list, number 16 if we're being specific. As a kid, I used to go to the library almost every week and check out as many books as I could carry. I would read these books late into the night, going into the bathroom for hours under the guise of using the potty when I was secretly just reading. I could finish Book It challenges in a week, easily earning my free personal pan pizza from Pizza Hut. My parents would punish me by taking away my library privileges when I misbehaved--which might be why I was such a good kid. In grade 2, I won a school wide contest for the most pages read in a month, and my school went from Kindergarten to grade 8. I was a bookworm and I loved it.
I have had more difficult conversations this week than I have had in a long time. Some have turned out better than expected while others really cut me to the core and drained me of my energy. Though some were initiated by my, not all of them were my choice. A few of the difficult conversations from this week were in my professional life, a few were in my personal life, and a few were internal ones that I was having with myself. Here are a few things that I've learned to help me have better difficult conversations:
One thing has changed since then though. While I do know several people who have served, I've met them during civilian times, after their service. As with anyone, their history and the path they traveled on before your paths crossed, is something they carry with them, but it can be easy to separate the two because you never witnessed it. Somehow, somewhere, sometime between then and now, I met someone who is currently serving in the military and through him I've learned more about the military, the demands, the details (the ones that can be shared at least) that come with being in the army, which makes Veteran's Day more personal for me this year. Things like overnight shifts, and missing holidays, and classified information (curiosity might truly be the end of me one day), and upcoming deployments. I always knew those things were real, but to actually hear about them one on one...completely different experience.
I read somewhere that every cells are replaced in our body every 7 years, so in a way, every 7 years we're a new person. But are we really? We grow and we change, but how much of that is real change and how much of who we are is the same? Every time I've moved, or started a new job, or met a new person, is a new opportunity to redefine myself, to make that first impression. And while we do change, to an extent, through growth and experience, how much do we really change?
But yesterday, was a glimmer of hope in a dark room. Yesterday people showed up, they voted, they proved that there is still hope and change is possible. Glass ceilings were broken, there were an INCREDIBLE amount of firsts, and it made me believe that we might just be okay after all.
7 months ago, I took a special assignment that took me out of the sky and grounded me for a while. I traded in my wings for a clicker and took a special assignment (a temporary assignment) with the Corporate Learning team at work as an Inflight Instructor.
Why would I stop living the glamorous, flexible, freeing lifestyle of a flight attendant to work in a normal, routine, job? For lots of little reasons and one big one: routine.
Though I still don't consider myself an 'outdoorsy person', my friends, my pictures and my membership to REI would disagree. I'm still not the person who will ask you if you want to go hiking this weekend, but when an invitation is extended, I'll happily accept--with a disclaimer that I'm slow but not a quitter and don't want to hold you back.
Today is November 1st. It's the mark of many things. Halloween candy is on sale. The weather is cooling down here in Northern California so I'm swapping my tanks and sundresses for sweaters and boots. The holiday season is approaching and for the first time in years, I have the holidays off. Today marks 7 months of being in a different work role, one where I'm not flying around the country sleeping in hotel rooms, but rather in an office environment, instructing, and returning to my own bed at the end of the day. And it's the countdown to the last few months of the year, that final push to reach those goals you had set at the beginning of the year or a chance to end the year strong.
Testing, 1 2 3. Is this thing on? (Do you test a blog post the same way you test a mic?) Who knows, but I'm going to give it a chance.
Hi! Hello! How's it going?! I'd say it's been a minute, but that's a blatant lie. It's been 547 days. That's a lot of minutes. Tons. And I wish I could catch you up on all that's happened, but I can't. I don't know what to say or where to start, but I'm hoping that by starting to pick up writing again, I'll be able to fill in the gaps for you--and for me.
This week was tough. Mentally, emotionally and physically. There were moments where I flung up my arms because I just didn't care any more. There were moments where inside I wanted to cry but I kept it together and kept it moving. There were moments where I had to drag my limbs to take that next step and to keep it going. This week was tough. But I made it. I'm here. If you're reading this, I'm still here. Hopefully still kicking butt and taking names, but if not, you can bet your bottom dollar that I'm giving it my all and I'll eventually get there.
Yesterday was a good day. I finished my first solo shift. I helped two different families semi-reunite with missing loved ones. And I held back tears as a wonderful soul shared his story and experience fleeing the Taliban with us (covered in a later post). This is why I'm here.It was my first day of working solo and working an evening shift. And 5/6 people who were working were new. With so many volunteers coming and going, this is pretty typical but it also means you need to think on your feet and just figure things out. Challenge accepted.
As I was telling you last night before I drifted off into deep sleep (melatonin, you are helping me kick jetlag's butt like no one's business!), I had the option of taking it easy yesterday and acclimating, or checking out the camp and helping out. I wanted to do something so I opted to head to Moria camp to finally see with my own eyes the camp that I heard so much about. This black barn right here is the Moria Medical Clinic that's run by Offtrack Health, and where I'll be spending most of my time. I'm what they call a floor manager--I'm responsible for intake of patients, crowd control, recording notes and anything else in between. I stopped by yesterday to see the clinic, meet some people and just get the lay of the land. And to buy a local SIM card nearby.
6 flights, 5 bags (including my purse), 4 days. To say it was a journey to get here would be an understatement. Things were going fairly smoothly, though I am super grateful for some travel tips I follow and kicking myself a bit for some rookie mistakes that I made:
All my bags are packed, (I think) I'm ready to go...Singing that song is how I woke up my roommate this morning at 4:15am to drive me to the airport. (Best roomie ever--for taking me to the airport, and not hitting me for singing.) I, myself, woke up after my second of five alarms went off at 4:05am after an hour of sleep, with the lights on, because I was terrified that I wouldn't wake up. Anyone else have that fear or just me? Today was the day. I was starting the long journey to Lesvos to volunteer at the refugee camps.
In 48 hours, I'll be on a plane starting the long trek towards Lesvos, Greece. I've booked three different round-trip(ish) tickets to get there. On Wednesday, I fly from Portland to Minneapolis to Boston as part of RT Ticket 1. I have a little over 24 hours in Boston, a city I've never been to, and I plan on exploring a little bit (weather pending) before my flight Thursday evening. Thursday evening is the start of RT Ticket 2, Boston to Istanbul to Thessaloniki. I get to Thessaloniki on Friday evening and then I take off Saturday afternoon with RT Ticket 3 to Mytiline. Why so many flights? Why take so long to get there? Simply put: because I'm on a budget and this made the most sense. My first RT Ticket was booked on a voucher, the second RT Ticket was a deal out of Boston to Europe and the third RT Ticket is a domestic flight within Greece (much cheaper than trying to book it all on one ticket). As for the timing, it's the best I could do given schedules and the possible threat of bad weather forcing delays or cancellations.
I'm home, in Portland, for a week. Whoa. That's the longest amount of time I've spent in Portland since early November, and the last time I'll be here for that long for the foreseeable future. <That's just sinking in now.> After 20 months of funemployment, I've accepted a job. I start training mid-February (that I need to pass before I officially am back in the workforce again). I was originally supposed to start training in a week, but it got pushed out, which means I had an extra month and a half of time given to me. I hemmed and hawed about what to do with that time; do I spend it in Portland, getting ready for my next step while also freelancing to make as much money as I can in the meantime? Do I head somewhere warm to top up the consistent bronzed glow I had built up from trip after trip to a warm destination? Do I check something off the bucket list--specifically I was thinking about taking a dance-cation to Cali, Colombia and work on my salsa and Spanish skills? Then I saw this post in a travel group that I'm in on Facebook:
When I see a cheap flight, especially a glitch or error fare, I turn into an animal and pounce like it's my dinner and I haven't eaten in ages. Book now, figure it out later. Thanks to a rule by the Department of Transportation, you have 24 hours to cancel a flight with a full refund—so really, I have nothing to lose and everything to gain when an error fare comes up. That's how I found myself with a flight out from Portland, Oregon to London, England returning from Istanbul, Turkey back to Portland, from mid-November to mid-December for under $500 USD. That was less than a flight home for the holidays. (In the words of my friend, Kenna, #bookthatish!)