Happy Summer my blog followers! To say that it has once again gotten hot in Dubai is an understatement. I walked outside tonight and my skin actually got wet; not because of sweat, but because of the mix of air conditioning and the humidity here. And at night, I mean 11. So yeah, summer has arrived. Can’t say that I am enjoying it, but here is one good thing about it: summer has returned to Europe and I can finally get exploring again there instead of staying in because it has been too darn cold.
So a few things to catch you up on here. First… I bought a car! Yep, I got wheels in Dubai. The world thinks I am such an amazing driver, that they have decided to give me a license in to countries. I do, however, know a lot of people that would argue this decision. I got a Hyundai Elantra and I love scooting myself around the city now. I am starting to feel like a real resident now. Here are a few things I have learned:
1: If you are driving in the left lane, GO FAST!
2: Flashing your lights at someone is more of a habit rather than an action.
3: Horns are loud, but easily avoidable. After a while, you get immune to them.
4: Yes, it is acceptable to zoom past someone and then get right back in front of them, because apparently one car length on the highway is going to get you somewhere.
5: Don’t flick off a local. They have brakes… and they know how to use them in front of you!
I went home a few weeks ago for 10 days. It’s always so nice to go back, but really, I am starting to feel like a foreigner on the Eastern Shore. Like I don’t belong anymore. I overhear people talking about going to Bingo at the Moose Lodge on Saturday night and Pork in the Park was a BIG DEAL that weekend. Ok, yes, I went. But I strictly bought a marshmallow shooter to bring back to Dubai to shoot at my passengers, and that’s it. I also find myself much more aggressive on the road now. Hence the whole driving in Dubai thing. Like, I feel so powerful on 13 and 50 and the poor people driving around me must think…. Crazy PA driver!
I made a trip to Shanghai; my first time there. China just really doesn’t do anything for me. I’m not impressed with it. I would like to see the Great Wall and that’s it. But here is something that is nice about it… the shopping! Lots of knock offs and very cheap! Like a kid in a candy store with all those purses around me. I had lunch at KFC that day since it was the only decent place we could find. The meat… questionable! Remember the part of the world we are in? Yeah, I didn’t eat it all.
After Shanghai, I had some vacation time so I went to visit Cassandra in Paris for the weekend. I somehow managed to get myself from the airport, to a city bus, into Paris, and walk through Champs Elysses with my luggage without getting lost, and made it to the hotel in one piece. Remind you that everything is in French, because France is too good for English. Successful? I think so! One of Cassandras friends, Lars, from Germany also came for the weekend so the three of us took on the city. This was my first time there, so I tried to max it out. Friday night we went to see the Eiffel Tower sparkle and take some pictures. We walked around that area there and had dinner, bought a few things, and then called it a night. Because Saturday morning, it was…. DISNEYLAND TIME!
My mom says that only her daughter would go to Paris and devote an entire day to Disneyland. But you loyal readers, if you remember, one of my goals is to go to all the Disney’s in the world, so I am just working on the list. And ahhhh, I love Paris Disney! The first ride we hit was Space Mountain. And by goly, shut the front door fool, it was out of this world. Totally dark like the rest of them, but this one went much faster, upside down, sideways, and was pretty long. Intense it was! Then we hit the other regular rides, made a trip o Fantasy Land, spent some time catching up with Mickey, and headed over to the other park… Walt Disney Studios. It’s pretty much like MGM with an Aerosmith Roller Coaster.
We hit the park that morning at 9:55 for the 10:00 opening, and left at 10:45 that night. Troopers! And we didn’t stop the whole time, because no way was I coming to Disney ad missing something. It was a perfect park day outside and couldn’t have asked to have spent it with a better person!
The next morning we got up and did a city open bus tour. Beautiful outside once again and we took LOTS of pictures. 287 to be exact, I believe. We went to Notre Dame, St. Michel, Champs Elysses, Eiffel Tower, etc. That night we had dinner at Hard Rock, Cassandras favorite. Cassandra had class the next day so we went back to the hotel and just hung out until we went to sleep.
I woke up the next day at 8:20am to a sleeping Cassandra. And then I realized she needed to be to class at 8:45. Woops! Hectic? Yes! But we said our goodbyes and she got there. My plane didn’t leave Monday until 9:30 that night, so I had the entire day to entertain myself. I did a bit of souvenir shopping and had breakfast in a little café, then took another bus tour on another route of the city. I got to see the Moulin Rouge and some of the quieter areas of Paris. By that late afternoon, it was time to get going to the airport so I made my way there and got myself back to Dubai. J’Adore Paris <3
This past week I have been studying like crazy for my tests for work. Each year we have to take exams to renew our flying and medical licenses. So I have kept myself pretty occupied with that, but I am happy to report that I passed and will be in the friendly skies for another year! Woop woop! And another note of good news…. We begin flying to Lisbon, Portugal on July 9 and guess what girl got chosen by her line manager to work the inaugural flight? If you guessed Jessica Simpson, you are wrong. But if you guessed me, then ding ding ding! So exciting!!!
And oh yeah, did I mention that my grandmother called Emirates and demanded they start flying to DC? Ok, maybe she didn’t exactly do that. But she must have done something, because WE ARE FLYING TO DC STARTING SEPTEMBER 12! Y’all better get ready, because you will be seeing this face a lot more around there. I don’t know if that is fortunate or unfortunate. You can be the judge of that.
My lovely people, I must retire now as tomorrow I depart for Rio De Janeiro and Buenos Aires for 5 days! I will have Thursday-Sunday there, so I think it will be a pretty amazing weekend. I will report back after and let you know how I survived!
It’s been 11 months since I moved to Dubai and it still feels like yesterday that I cried when my plane left the ground from New York. But those tears quickly went away when I got here and started my new life. I knew I was leaving a lot behind, but gaining a lot in return. I just never knew how much.
Starting this post is challenging because there is so much I want to say, but don’t know how to put it all in words, and so much to say that I don’t know where to begin. So I guess I will highlight all the amazing things I have done first:
*I have been to 26 cities in 19 countries on 5 continents.
*I have swum in 3 of the 4 oceans in the world and Lake Victoria in Africa.
*I have been to 16 of the 100 places to visit in the world. Not too shabby.
*I went to the city I’ve always dreamed of going, Vienna, went shopping at the Christmas Market and visited a palace.
*I have sailed through the Sydney Harbor.
*I have eaten schnitzels in Germany!
*I have witnessed that those documentaries on China and the crowded streets are no joke.
*I went to Moscow. The place I had dreams of when I was a kid. I’ve been to Red Square and seen the protests first hand that everyone else saw on TV.
*I had probably one of the best nights of my life in Brisbane. Enough said…
*I spent Christmas Eve in downtown Dusseldorf at a bar turn strip club. (Definitely didn’t see that one coming)
*I traveled to 4 countries in 3 continents over 30 hours to surprise my mom at home on Christmas afternoon. I may have been exhausted, but being home Christmas night with my family, best friend, and most amazing nephew was more than worth it.
*I rang in the New Year in Perth, Australia; 13 hours before my mom did.
*I saw where Hangover 3 was filmed.
*I have prayed in the Vatican and tasted real Italian pizza.
*I have been to Anne Frank’s house.
*I got to see the famous blue doors in Tunisia.
*I went horseback riding along Lake Victoria in Uganda. Serenity at its best.
I have spent this past year traveling the world, seeing these amazing places, and making memories that I will pass down. There have been times during all of this that I think to myself how blessed I am that God has given me this amazing experience and I try to treasure every minute of it. On the outside this looks great, but it’s what I have learned on the inside that has made all the difference.
*I have learned the value of a best friend. We are oceans, continents, and time zones apart, but there is no one I can go to more than her. She has heard the stories, the laughs, the tears, the “I wanna come home’s” to the “I can’t imagine being anywhere else.” Thanks Allison for being the best friend a girl could ask for.
*There is nothing like your family. They may drive me crazy from time to time, but no one will love you like they do. No matter what time it is or where I am, they have never failed me. They have dropped their schedules to get me home in an emergency and given up their Christmas to pick me up from the airport (Thanks, Rae!). When you take a step back, you realize there is no one in the world that loves you like your family does.
*Never say something you don’t mean. One day we are all together, but you never know what tomorrow will bring. And there is a chance you will never get to take back you said. I never get on a plane mad at someone or something. You don’t know what God has in store for you tomorrow, so make the best of where you are today.
*In the event of an emergency, I can make it door to door (Dubai to Salisbury) in 22 hours, with connections. It may be a big world, but I’ve learned how to work it!
*I have seen the poor of the poor in the world. I have seen children walking the streets with no shoes, mothers looking for food, and homes that consist of a tarp. We have been raised in such a materialistic world that we turn our heads when we are presented with this poverty. I have been guilty in the past of complaining about not having everything I wanted, but now I see how blessed I am to have everything I have. These people have nothing and still fight for their life daily, while I see those at home throw their life away. Our lives and health are a precious thing that we too frequently take for granted.
*I have learned to trust no one but myself. We live in a big world with so many different people. What’s acceptable to us may not be to someone else and vice versa. The less you trust, the less you get hurt.
*I’ve met many people, from many backgrounds and cultures. And while our differences may stick out to one another, at the end of the day, we are all human just trying to make it in this big world. Accept those that are different and let them teach you a lesson about life.
*I have become so tolerant of other cultures and religions. While I may not agree with their beliefs, I can understand their views. For the first time in my life, I can look at someone and agree to disagree with them, while still being tolerant of them.
*I said when I first left that sometimes you have to get lost in order to find yourself. No doubt, I’ve been lost. I’ve found myself, and then lost myself again. But each time I get a little closer to finding who I am, and the journey is worth the reward. (I just wish the reward would come sooner!)
People ask me what more could I want? But I’m not done yet. Oddly enough, I’ve just started. So what does this second year have in store? There is a movie called “The Bucket List” with Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman. They both know they are dying so they choose to live out their lives and make a list of everything they want to do before they die in the next year. I’ve made a bucket list, per se, even though I don’t plan on going anywhere any time soon. But it’s just a list of things I want to do while I have the opportunities. There are so many amazing things to do in this world; you just have to look for them!
*I am going to visit every Disney World and Universal Studios in the world! I’m hitting up Paris in May with Cassandra and still have Singapore, Tokyo, and Hong Kong. All the parks in the US—check!
*I want to see the Great Migration in Kenya.
*I want to take a week in Africa spending time with children in the orphanages. Time is better than money.
*I want to climb the Harbor Bridge in Sydney, although I am terrified of the thought.
*I want to gain the courage to go sky diving. I am even more terrified of this than climbing the Harbor Bridge, but I have this fear of falling and the only way to conquer the fear is to live it.
*I want to take a hot air balloon ride in Switzerland through the mountains to see the picturesque landscape and breathtaking castles.
*I really want to go to South Africa. I don’t know why, but I do.
*I want to go to the Greek Islands and see if they actually are better than Mexico.
Maybe that list is asking for a little much, but you know what they say…. Shoot for the moon, even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars. So hey, I can try, right?
This time two years ago I was about to graduate college and thought I had my life planned out. But I was thrown a curveball, a really good curveball. If someone had told me this would be my life, I would have been said ok, but let me figure out where Dubai is first. For those of you that know me well, I’m not the most religious person in the world. And the little faith I did have was certainly challenged when I moved here. But I have come to realize that God does have a plan for all of us. We may not understand the decisions he makes for us, the people he takes from us, or the road he chooses for us. But at the end of the day, we have to believe that he does what’s best for us.
And to end this post, I will just say, I do believe he has done what’s best for me.
Until next time…. Love, Jessica
I haven’t written in a while. And since I have failed on updating my blog, I am going to catch up briefly with everything that has been going on and you will get a condensed version of it. Here is the play-by-play:
*I went to Colombo, Sri Lanka and the day before found out Emirates was extending my layover for 2 days because of an aircraft change, less crew needed, stuff I understand but you probably wouldn’t. So while the crew had to go back to Dubai the next day, I got to stay in Colombo. WIN! I was on my own and out hotel was right on the Indian Ocean, so I took full advantage of the scenery and just gave myself my own tour. I have to say the poverty is pretty incredible and it was heart breaking for me to walk through the streets, but days like those make me so fortunate for everything my family has. At night I would walk to the beach and they had a “boardwalk” (although it was cement?) and would just hang out, put my feet in the water, and talk to the locals.
*I got my drivers license! Scary, I know! But it was really easy just to go in and convert my license over and literally took me 15 minutes unlike the MVA in Salisbury where you have to devote an entire day.
*On my last trip to LA in October, Emil took me to a Lebanese festival. For those of you that know my relationship with Lebanese, you will find the humor in this. And for those of you that don’t, well you’re missing out.
*I was so happy that Emil took me to the Lebanese festival that I brought him back to Dubai with me. Well he bought a ticket and the trip was planned, but I could have offloaded him for having a suspicious item in his bag. So his trip over was half-way based on my willingness to keep him on the plane. During the 16 hour flight, he got to see my do my thing and give that Emirates service!
*So Emil was here for a month and I flew in-between. We did a lot of things (brunch, Burj Khalifa, Aqaurium, etc.) And then one day the trip turned sour when I was washing his clothes and forgot to check his pockets for extra money, paper, etc. I didn’t get out easy on this one; I washed $5,000 worth of Invisaligns that he has to sleep in every night. When I opened the dryer and asked what these weird shaped clear things were, his face turned a different color. I took him to dinner at West 14th (my personal favorite) to make up for it. And I even told the waiter it was his birthday so we could get a dessert out of it. I think we are good now. But I had to send him home after a month because he sheds more than my mother.
*I went to Frankfurt twice in October—one of my favorite cities. While I was there I decided to test the city train system out and see if they actually ever check to see if you have a ticket or not. On my last day, I found out that if you don’t have a ticket, they fine you 40 Euros on the spot. Wanna know how I found out? Because I GOT FINED! Germans….
*Then I went to New York and saw my mom. Wonderful trip; we went to the WTC Memorial, walked through Time Square, and hit Dave & Busters. Side note: don’t waste your time at Dave & Busters there- total disappointment.
*Soon after my trip to New York, I flew out to Bangkok and Sydney for 8 days. AMAZING! Did some serious shopping in Bangkok (don’t worry for those at home, gifts will be arriving next week) with Captain Sybil, got 2 Thai massages that were much needed from my stressful life, and left my peace offering of a McDonalds French fry at their prayer spot. Hey, it would be rude to show up empty handed. Even Ronald was getting his peace on, too. I bought lots of things—purses, wallets, sunglasses, underwear—it was a successful trip. Then it was off to Sydney for 3 days. Our hotel was in the harbor so there was a lot to do. We walked through the harbor, went to dinner in the city, went sailing, hit up the strip club. You know, the norm. Sailing was amazing though. Sometimes I have to remind myself that this is my life and then when I get back on the plane to go home, reality sets in. On my last night there the waiter from dinner gave me a little souvenir from Australia (picture below). And we was Lebanese.
*As I’m writing this I am watching this fabulous new television that I bought while Emil was here. I was satisfied with a reasonable 32 inch, but Emil INSISTED I get the 42 inch instead that was HDMI compatible to hook my laptop up to. You know, I told him to be more reasonable with my money, but he just wasn’t backing down.
*I graduated! When we come to Emirates we are on a 6 month probabation period and if everything is still good at the end, we are officially joined in and good to go. I made it and had my graduation day!
*Britney Spears came to Abu Dhabi this weekend. OMG she was amazing. Cali, Kate, Hamish and I headed down to see her and it was the best concert ever. Love that girl! Oh and I don’t suggest tickling Arabs with feathers in the gas station. Not that I did that or anything….
*Ok, so I upgraded my cell phone plan today. I have a Blackberry, but I was using prepaid because I didn’t want the hassle of a contract and a bill each month. But I decided it was time to move up in the world and become a real person of Dubai and get a proper cell phone plan. I got a great one with unlimited BBM, Facebook, data, and internet globally. Very pleased so far, just not looking forward to the bill in the mail next month.
*I’m going back to New York tomorrow and mom and I are going to see the Rockettes! I went once when I was 6 and loved it, so I am so excited to go again. And then after I get back from New York, I immediately turn around and get on the next flight back to New York to go home for 2 weeks for Thanksgiving. Ahh, the best time of the year and a proper vacation from work and Dubai.
Um, I think I may have gotten almost caught up here. Told ya this would be short. Be on the lookout for my next blog… DUBAI BRUNCHES!
Look whose updating! I know, I know, I’ve been really bad about this. I just get so busy with work and when I’m home in Dubai, I’m either sleeping or getting myself out of the house because I don’t want to waste my time here inside. Who are we kidding? I’m defiantly sleeping when I’m in Dubai! So I’m going to use this blog to play catch up and include and bunch of things and then hopefully I’ll be good for a week or so.
A lot happened in the month of August. I was on reserve this month, so basically on standby at home or at the airport a lot. Most people say they don’t get to work much, but I got a lot of flying hours in so I’ll do ok this month. My first trip was to LA. I was at the pool with Cali and Kate when I got my call that I was going the next morning. SO EXCITED! I really needed a trip to the US simply for the fact of going to Walmart. Everything is so expensive here and I miss the brands that I am use to having. And to make this trip to LA even better… wait for it… I GOT TO GO WITH ANNIE AGAIN! Sa-Weet! (That was so not cool, but I’m not deleting it.) This was my longest trip yet- 16 hours! We got to LA and Annie and I decided to rent a car. But I told her before we did anything that night that I needed to sleep for an hour or so and that’s when she figured that I was actually really tired because she told me she has never heard me admit that I was ever tired. That hour long nap that started at 4:00…. Turned into 7 hours! We both woke up at 11:00 that night. Our night was gone. Butttt we had a car and decided that if we had it, we atleast needed to justify having it for the night so we got dressed and drove down to Hollywood Boulevard, got to see it all lit up at night, then crossed over to Sunset Boulevard and went to In-N-Out Burger. Gosh, we are so cool. And I was f-r-e-e-z-i-n-g! Even though it was the beginning of August, it just felt so cold. So after we ate we figured we would head back to the hotel and take the long way home to see some of LA. And what we saw, well, it was interesting. I’m pretty sure we witnessed a prostitute getting picked up on one of the corners and just to confirm it, I made Annie turn the car around so I could watch. I can’t believe I just admitted that. It was like a real-life version of the show COPS and I needed to see some action since we don’t have anything like that here in Dubai. So after our little detour we finally got back to the hotel and passed out for the evening.
The next morning we got up and walked across the street to Dennys to get some breakfast—Eggs, Pancakes, Hashbrowns, Bacon—ahh I love America! After gaining about 5 pounds and unbuttoning my shorts, we waddled home to get the car and head to… wait for it… WALMART. Yep, I said it. I was giddy just walking in the parking lot. I grabbed my cart and took off like I was on an episode of Supermarket Sweep. (Side note: I’ve always had a fantasy about being on that show. When I was a child, I use to play along and take everything out of our cabinets to pretend I was shopping. No really, as my mom!) I bought anything and everything I could possibly need along with a year’s supply of it. And the beauty of it all, I only spent $250! If I were able to buy all this in Dubai, it probably would have been double or triple the price.
After my shopping spree and Annie having to physically calm me down from all the excitement, we decided to go meet up with Emil. Emil interviewed with Annie and I in New York back in February. She had kept in contact with him during this time, so we went downtown to visit with him and some of his friends. We had a really nice cookout and then hung out upstairs on the patio with a fire pit. Since I was insanely cold and beer was involved, I’m pretty sure I tried to throw myself in there a few times to keep warm. And then I remembered… I HADN’T HAD CHIPOTLE YET! So I took it upon myself to run down Sunset Blvd and see if Chipotle was still open. It was, but they only had pork left, so I had to wait until the next day.
**So I need to introduce you to someone… Meet Max. He his Jenny, Emil’s friends dog. And he is pretty much the chillest dog ever. Like if this dog was human, he would so be my best friend. He just hung out with us all night and was such a good sport at letting me take amazing photos of him**
The next morning we got up and went to Chipotle and at that point, I knew my trip was complete. I was such a happy girl. So I went back to the hotel, got myself ready, put on my red lipstick, donned that fantastic hat of mine, and jetted off for Dubai. LA, you made me proud!
With that fantastic trip, I knew something was going to go wrong on the way home. And it did. Terribly wrong. As I was walking up from First Class, while everyone was fast asleep, a woman complained to me that she was having chest pains. With the fantastic medical training we have had (go back and you will see that I basically call myself an unqualified nurse) I knew what to do! Well, not really, because we all know Jessica panics! And panic is what I did! And at that moment, the woman collapsed into my arms. I stood there holding her, with my eyes shut, trying to recall that day in GMT training that we learned about heart attacks. And then I shouted “HAVE YOU HAD THIS PAIN BEFORE”. But lets back up like two sentences and see that she was unconscious. Yeah, don’t think she was going to answer that question. I got the attention of another attendant who got our managers on board and I ran around like a chicken with my head cut off, or possibly like one of those days when I was teaching and those kindergarteners wouldn’t settle down, and I grabbed every oxygen bottle I could find. I got a lot of weird looks, especially from my Purser. Lets face it, I don’t think I’m going to be nominated for the “Flight Attendant of the Month” award. But luckily she was ok since we were flying over the North Pole and I don’t think Santa Clause has a runway big enough for us to land our B777 on to get her off the plane.
After this trip, I had 10 days off and then headed for Singapore. We got into Singapore late in the evening, around 10:00, but I was wide awake, so myself and 2 others went across the street from the hotel to get some dinner and drinks. There was live music playing so it was nice just to sit outside and enjoy the city. I never knew Singapore was so nice, and so wealthy! I also learned that there is a good deal of Americans working there. We left that place and once of them went back to the hotel while Majid (from Morocco) and I took a walk along the river front and went to a few bars downtown. The city was so beautiful all lit up at night! The next day I slept in for a while because and then went across the street with Majid to get lunch. After that, we went walking again for a bit towards the other side of the city. He headed back for the hotel and I succumbed to the amazing shopping Singapore has. The most beautiful clothes I have ever seen. And they weren’t cheap either. But if you saw what I got, you would totally agree with my splurge! After I fell into a slight depression from my spending, I headed back to my room and took a quick nap before I had to get ready to go to the airport.
While I was previously in LA, Emil told me that whenever I came back, he would take me to Disneyland. And for those of you who know me well, you know that I L-O-V-E Disney. Like weird. Especially Winnie the Pooh. I just go crazy and squeal like a 5 year old when I see him. And the whole running to see Goofy and falling over the rope on Main Street—lets not go there again! Anyhowz… I got a flight to LA again not even 2 weeks later and DISNEY was the first thing that popped into my mind. I told Emil he had made a promise and I was gonna make sure he kept it. So I got to LA (with no heart attacks this time) and had a quiet night in. I have my old US phone so when I go to the US I can call and talk to everyone. (Which was especially important to me on this trip because it would be the last time I would talk to him.) After spending hours on the phone and going through an entire cell phone battery, I ordered room service and a movie—side note: $16 to order a movie in a hotel room is so ridiculous! Good thing we get nice allowances! I watched Bridesmaids; funniest.movie.ever.! So worth the $16. By the time it was over, I was passed out and ready to call it a night, because I knew I had a big day the following morning!
Emil came to my hotel and picked me up the next morning. I could hardly take the anticipation in the car on the way there. And by the time we hit the gates, I was about to burst inside. I got my ticket and turned around the corner to see Main Street. O-M-G (Emil documented the moment)
And I’ll just say he is such a good Disney partner to have because he moves just as fast as me and we love the same rides! Although I did make him go on the Pooh & Friends ride with me. I don’t think he was too thrilled about it and seriously tried to con his way out of it, but oh no, we were going! And as luck would have it just as we were coming out, the most important man in my life was standing in front of me… POOH! Yep, it was picture time. But his revenge was making me go on Splash Mountain and get absolutely soaked in the front. In a white shirt. ‘Nuff said.
So we stayed through the evening and on our way out he saw me eying this little Pooh stuffed animal. I told him I had one back home but had given it to my little cousin to take for me. So he got me a Pooh to take back to Dubai and keep me company. Amazing! And now he travels everywhere with me. (Pictures to follow)
We went over to Downtown Disney and had dinner at this great Mexican restaurant. Towards the end of dinner, I saw this little girl sitting across from me and guess what.. she had the same Pooh! Oh we got a picture!
The next afternoon we went over to Chipotle so I could get my fix. I think I should start making that a routine. And then it was time to go home. Pooh was excited to see his new home in Dubai and was the first passenger on board!
I’m going to include the rest of my month in another post; hopefully I will get it all done tonight. Love you all!
(Side note: I’m listening to Kasey Chambers to inspire my Australian writing.) I headed to the land down under for my first extended trip—5 days! I was off to Brisbane, Australia and Auckland, New Zealand. And what made this trip even better was that I went with Annie, who is American as well and we interviewed in New York together and trained together here in Dubai so it was nice to have a familiar face. So we were off to Brisbane. This was my longest plane ide yet at 13 hours, but the time went by so quickly. The passengers were pretty easy (for the most part), we got a 4 hour break in the CRC (crew rest compartment), and I had an amazing crew to work with which always make every trip better. We all discussed on the plane what we wanted to do when we got to Brisbane. We got in early that morning, around 9:00am. We arrived at the hotel and took a quick power nap for about 2 hours. Then we headed to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. It is winter in Australia right now so it was a bit chilly, but felt nice to get away from the Dubai heat. We had a great driver, Steve, take us who also made a quick stop at the McDonalds drive thru because we (well I) was starving and couldn’t take it any longer. Side note—going through the McDonalds drive thru on the other side of the road and car is totally cool! So then it was off to Lone Pine. I walked in and was like yep, I’m in Australia—kangaroos hopping around and koalas climbing trees. First we headed to see the kangaroos and I’m not going to lie, I was a bit freaked out to have them walking around me. Then we headed over for a koala presentation where we got to learn about how they live, what they eat, etc. And we even got to hold them!
From there we did a bit more walking and saw some dingos and other animals, then headed back to the kangaroos. I got some food and started feeding them. They were so much fun because they just wanted to be near you. But then the big kangaroos would come around and scare the little ones away. And I did see one kangaroo with a joey in her pouch, but wasn’t able to snap a picture. It was amazing just to sit in this field with them hopping around me and I just thought to myself… I can’t believe this is my life!
It was getting late and the sun was setting so we headed back to the city. The rest of the group went on back and Annie and I decided to walk to this little bar and get some dinner and have a drink. My first Australian beer.. loved it! I swear, I am going to be a beer expert by the end of my career!
The next day we were up and headed for Auckland. This was just a short trip, around 2.5 hours. So we got off the plane fully awake and ready to hit the town. So took a ferry from the city port and headed to this little wine island in the Hauraki Gulf called Waiheke Island. It is full of vineyards and famous for its New Zealand wine (which I had plenty of!). It was absolutely breathtaking. The ferry ride was about 40 minutes off shore and there were little mountainous islands all along the way. We went for a short walk around a part of the island and whenever we looked over, we saw a big drop and there would be the sea. I can’t describe the feeling I get when I see things like this and realize just how big this world is and how much I get to see of it. Sometime I just sit quietly and look out and thank God for every opportunity I am given.
We headed to this little restaurant right on the shoreline for dinner called Vino, Vino. Had some fabulous wine and a great dinner, and just sat for a couple hours and talked. It was getting late and we had to make sure we got the last ferry back to Auckland in time so we got out of there and headed back to the hotel. We had a few drinks at the bar of the lobby and then headed to bed.
So what made this trip even better was that Cali (who got me to apply to Emirates) was in Auckland at the same time as me as she had a Sydney/Auckland flight on the 380. The next morning I got up and we met for breakfast at this little restaurant along an alley in town and had a wonderful meal, but it was cold out. Kinda like November back home! After breakfast, we walked around town for a little while and did some window shopping. We both had flights in the afternoon, so we headed back to our hotels and got ready for them. Then I was off to Brisbane once again!
We had a quick trip once again and had another night in Brisbane. We arrived around 6:30 that evening and decided we would head out that night as it was Friday night. Everyone said Brisbane was the best layover city in Australia to go out in. There was a bar that everyone talked about called Fridays down the street from our hotel so we headed over there for the evening. We’ll leave it at that. As Annie and I say, we’ll always have Brisbane <3
The next day, well there wasn’t much of a next day. I’m going to say we all slept in because we were tired from the first part of the trip, but we all know the truth. In the “late” afternoon, Annie and I headed across the street to what we thought was Target. Had the Target name, had the Target look, but definitely was not Target! This store just brought shame to our US Target. We grabbed a late lunch and went back to the hotel to get ready for out flight home. Our long trip had finally come to an end and was definitely the best so far. Great crew and great friends <3
I am constantly being yelled at for not keeping up with my blog and I know I’ve fallen behind. Normally what happens is I get home from a flight sometime between in the wee early morning hours and sleep for my 2 days off because I am so tired from flying and not sleeping on my layovers. But tonight is my catchup night and hopefully I’ll get everything posted!
First stop… Madrid! I knew this was going to be a great trip because on the plane ride there, I started talking to these two guys in front of my jump seat. One fo them told me he lived in DC but was from Spain and stopping in Madrid to see his parents on his way home from working in Indonesia. So first, I thought it was great that he was even from DC. But do you want to know what was even better?? Are you ready for this…!!?? HE IS A FELLOW TERRAPIN! Um.. yeah! On my flight to Dubai to Madrid, I sit across from someone that graduated from Maryland. Tell me that isn’t a sign from God that this was a trip destined for greatness. So I had someone to talk to for 6 hours about football, basketball, and Gary Williams abandoning us. He graduated from the business school in 2002.
Madrid…Can we say amazing! We got to the hotel just after 3:00 in the afternoon. Everything was quiet around the area as we arrived during siesta. I had just enough time to take a shower and catch about an hour of sleep before it was time to hit the city. A group of us caught the bus next to our hotel and went downtown to Puerta del Sol. We did some sight-seeing around the area, checked out some little shops, and took lots of pictures.
After a few hours, we decided to grab a drink at a café in the city. I guess everyone had a good siesta, because they were definitely having a fiesta at the bar. We all just hung around and chatted for a good while until we decided to grab dinner. We found this little dinner show restaurant down an alley. Everyone came in for dinner and watched the flamenco dancers while they ate. It was such a good show and all I could think about was how much my grandmother would love this, so I took lots of videos for her. The show was so great we decided to stay for the second one and keep drinking more sangria. We ordered dinner; I had Acorn de Jamon. Very traditional and good! The time passed so quickly as we were all having a great time and I was lucky to have such a fun crew. About 11:00 we started to head out and as I was ready to catch up on some sleep at the hotel, they talked me into going out since it was a Saturday night. So of course I went! We went down to this little area of bars and literally bar-hopped all night checking out the different places. I had a great time, but was ready to head home by the end of the night.
The next morning I woke myself up early and headed out. The hotel we were at was in this beautiful area of Madrid about 10 minutes outside of the city. It was a great area to just walk around and window shop. One thing I love to do on layovers is just walk around and snap pictures by myself because I love exploring the cities. It was the most picturesque morning with crisp, clear blue skies and just cool enough to give you that little bit of chill when the wind blew. But the sun was shining bright and it quickly warmed up. When I looked down at my watch I realized I had been walking for almost 2 hours and needed to head back to the hotel. So I stopped to grab some breakfast/lunch on my way and got myself ready for my flight.
(Sorry for the lack of pictures. My computer just doesn’t want to load them. Maybe I can get them on later!)
We arrived in Guangzhou just after 9:00 in the evening and by the time we cleared the plane, went through customs, it was about 11:00 when we made it to the hotel. I was so excited to get my new passport stamp and see everything around me written in Mandarin. The bus ride to the hotel was so interesting. As you see in the media, China is extremely overcrowded and there is no extra room. So Guangzhou built their main highway up from the city. The highway runs at about 60 feet above ground, so as your drive, you see buildings from mid-way up to the top, instead of at street level. It must have been amazing to have seen this being built. As the drive went on, the reality of China set in even more. I saw apartments and people, crammed into tiny homes, gates at every window and door, and complete filth. The worst part was, the “filth” I saw, was their normal way of living; that was nice to them, just as my home back in the US or Dubai is nice to me. I had never seen anything like it and some of it was worse than I have have seen in Southeast DC. I was discussing it with one of the other crew members who had been to Guangzhou before and he put it as, “there is a reason everything is so cheap in China.” Cheap labor=Cheaper living! We made it to the hotel and it was BEAUTIFUL! Just stunning. I had been told before Guangzhou had one of the nicest hotels and boy was everyone right. I felt like I was staying in luxury. Because it was so late and we all had been flying for 8 hours, we just went to bed so we could get an early start in the morning. My hotel room was just as nice, with the exception of a very hard, low to the ground bed. But hey, I wasn’t there to sleep long, so it didn’t matter. I turned the TV on and found an episode of Desperate Housewives so I was a happy girl! The next morning, five of us met in the lobby and made our way out to the city. Of course, being in China and the leather capital of the world, us girls wanted to hit the purses. The one guy with us, Gael, was such a trooper and stuck with us the entire time. It was monsoon weather in Guangzhou, so it was hot, humid, muggy, and wet. It rained off and on all day, but that was ok, I enjoyed the weather change.
Then it was time to hit McDonalds for breakfast. Now I know I’m suppose to be eating all the food from other countries and enjoying the “cultural experience” but there was just no way I was eating squid for breakfast! After this we hopped on over to the clothing markets to see if we could snatch a good bargain. Everyone found something except for me. I just wasn’t in to all the clothing, but I enjoyed looking and seeing what they had. We were there fora few hours and then it was lunch time. This time we did the whole cultural food and hit an authentic Chinese restaurant. We all started out with a beer; Tsingtao and Kirin. Then we all ordered some food and tried each other dishes. I got the Fried Peppers with Beef. It was amazing! Perfectly made with no grease unlike the chinese places in America.
Afterwards we decided out trip wouldn’t be complete with a Chinese massage. Gael suggested a place down the street from the hotel that was really nice. So we went there and had a great hour long massage. And it was so cheap. The equivalent of $20 USD. For an entire hour!
It was getting later in the afternoon and our bus was picking us up to head back to the airport that evening so everyone decided to head back to the hotel and sleep for a few hours. I chose to stay behind and walk around the square we were in, getting a few things to take back to Dubai with me and writing out some postcards. It was really cool to just sit and people watch here. I know in the media and in documentaries they talk about the overcrowding in China and wall-to-wall people. It really is like that. No matter where you turn or move, you are bumping into someone. I never knew it could be that bad until I saw it for myself and I could never imagine having to live like that. I was able to squeeze in about an hour long nap, which was a perfect refresher. So we packed up and headed home after our day in China!
This is what I have been waiting for; my first layover! I had been mentally preparing myself for this for weeks because I knew as soon as I landed in Germany, I wasn’t going to be able to control my excitement. And I was right. We got on the bus and started heading to the hotel and my head was glued to the window the entire time. I was looking around, trying to see all I could from the trip. The first thing I noticed was the houses. It really looked like the movies where all the houses looked similar, with the wires going into them, and just had this look to them, like very European. Nothing you would see in America. They sort of looked run down as compared to what I’m use to, but I know that wasn’t the case. There were 17 of us on board and once we all checked into out beautiful hotel (Side note: my room number was 726, which as most of you know, that was the first 3 digits of my phone number back home. Coincidence? I think not!), everyone said they were going to sleep, even though it was 3:00pm. I was like no way, I’m going out to explore. So me and one of the other girls, Stanislava, decided to change real quick and go walking. It was slightly chilly outside, so a sweater was called for, which was a nice change from this crazy Dubai weather. We walked down the street and caught the tram downtown. I was in heaven! It was so beautiful and like nothing I’ve ever seen before. I really did feel like I was watching a movie. Just looking at the architecture and historical sights were breathtaking and something I am new to. So I ran around the city, like a total tourist with my camera out the entire time, snapping as many pictures as I could and bugging people to take pictures of us.
We did a bit of window shopping and I bought a few things from the pharmacy as Dubai is so expensive! Stanislava then suggested that I needed to have my first German beer and I completely agreed with her. So we found this cute little restaurant on the street and sat in the little bit of sun that was out and I enjoyed my first real German beer. I’m not a big beer drinker, but something just made it taste so good. As we were shooting the breeze and drinking, I was just so happy that I had finally made it here and knew it has all been worth it.
We headed back to the hotel to get ready for dinner. We met a few of the crew and both pilots downstairs for Happy Hour. Right before we were heading out for dinner, a guy sitting at the table next to us yelled “that sounds like an American over there.” Everyone was laughing so hard and I was so excited to meet him as I don’t meet many Americans in Dubai or at my job. His name is Hank and he is from New York. He was visiting some friends in Frankfurt that he had met on a cruise about 6 years ago and every year they plan their vacations together. Such an interesting story and why I love talking to everyone.
On our way to dinner, I saw this street called ‘Hamburger Allee’. Obviously, it was referring to the city of Hamburg and Allee is their name for street, road, etc. But I loved this simply because one of the first places I saw earlier in the day was a McDonald’s and I thought to myself, a McDonald’s would be perfect on this street.. you know, McDonalds, Hamburger (laugh with me here).
Se we headed to dinner at this little restaurant called Fido’s downtown. It was exactly how I would picture a small European diner; cozy and intimate. We were greeted by Laurie, the restaurant owner, manager, bartender, hostess, waitress, chef, etc. While she was a bit “crazy” she made the experience so wonderful. She told us these crazy stories and we just drank and laughed all night long. I had my first authentic German meal; roasted pig knuckle with white cabbage and fried potatoes. It was delicious!
We must have been there for hours as we all just sat around laughing and sharing stories. Working with such an international crew, you get to experience so much. From the 7 of us that went to dinner our nationalities were American, British, South African, Norwegian, Bulgarian, Italian, and Polish. We headed out about 10:30 and when I walked into the street, I noticed the sun was still shining in the distance and there was still light in the sky. So amazing to be in different parts of the world! The pilot suggested we walk across the street to this little wine bar that was below ground. As we went down this back alley to get there, once again I was like gosh, this is so movie-like! We had to walk down these small steps and the ground was all cobblestone. We walked in and it was the cutest bar I had ever been to! It was really small with fire places all around and just about any type of wine you could imagine. We then went outside to this little patio they had with benches and just talked some more. It was getting pretty cold by now and I had forgotten what it was like to not be sweating every time I was outside. Around midnight we all decided to call it a night and head back to the hotel. I was beat as I hadn’t stopped since the early morning, but it was so worth it. I think I was asleep before my head hit the pillow.
The next morning I woke up pretty early, probably because Germany is 2 hours behind Dubai time, which was great because I was ready to go for the day. I headed to the restaurant in the hotel lobby and had a wonderful breakfast full of sausage and meatballs; only in Germany! And of course there was some watermelon on the buffet so I had to grab a bit. Stanislava joined me as I was sitting down and we had a really nice table along the windows that looked out onto the terrace gardens and a small stream behind the hotel. It was a little gray outside and was tying to rain, so I grabbed my jacket and we went for a quick walk. We stopped by the supermarket and grabbed a few items that I couldn’t find back in Dubai and then to top off my trip, I got a REAL bottle of Jagermeister. Totally written in German on the bottle. I knew at this point my trip couldn’t get any better. Except for the fact that as were walking I heard an ambulance in the distance getting closer and I was sooooo excited because it had that siren that we don’t have the in US, you know the whole *beep, beep* *beep, beep*. Ok, that was a really, really bad impression. Just watch a movie and you will know what I’m talking about. Kind of reminded me of a scene from a German Nazi movie, maybe Sound of Music or something like that. I was so impressed that I took my camera out and actually took a video of the ambulance going down the street just so I could hear the siren again. Lame! Lame! Lame!
I got back to my room and wrote out a few postcards (you know who you are, so be checking your mailboxes) and just watched the news a bit. It was nice to have an American station, CNN. I just took the morning slow and then started packing to head to the airport. Just as we were loading onto the bus, it started to rain and I said yep, Frankfurt is sad that I’m leaving!
I had such an amazing trip and now I know why I worked so hard in training to get where I’m at today! I got my roster for July today and I will be going to…. Manila, Phillipines; Madrid, Brisbane, Birmingham (UK, NOT Alabama Leigh-Anne!), and Auckland, New Zealand! I’m off to China in the morning and can’t wait to see what this trip holds!
“What do you miss the most?” I get asked this question by everyone and I always say the same things; my mom, grandma, my dogs, etc. And quite frankly, I am tired and giving that lame answer every time. Ok, maybe it isn’t a “lame” answer, since it’s the truth and everyone feels the same way I’m sure. But I thought to myself that there has to be more that I miss from my daily life. So these past few days, I have put together everything that I miss from my daily routines. I was quite surprised to see how much I came up with and even more surprised to learn my reasoning’s behind them. So here is the truth to everything that I miss. Enjoy!
Grass: Yes, grass. You know the green stuff that grows from the ground and when it’s so hot outside you have to cut it and you say “Gosh, I wish I didn’t have to do this.” I’ll do it for you! I miss grass! When I wake up and look outside to my beautiful yard every day, I am reminded that that beautiful yard is back on Brooklyn Avenue. We have sand here. Hot sand. And not the sand that you see in the desert all “Sex & the City.” Like sand that kind of resembles dirt, but isn’t quite dirt, but still looks dirty. Get the picture yet? I’m trying here. Like I can’t walk all barefoot outside in the morning because that would just be disgusting. I like walking outside to see green and beautiful flowers in the beds and all this color that makes a house a home. Segue! (Get it?)
(Actual picture of my yard. Like my additions? This is what I’m talking about here!)
Color: Everything here is a sand color. The sand (no way!), the buildings, the roads, etc. And there is constantly a slight, slight breeze that brings the sand up so it’s never really a totally clear day; there is a little sand always flying around that messes everything up. Is it too much to ask for some tulips or potted plants around here? I mean come on, Dubai is an amazing city. Let’s make it pretty. Now the Palm Jumeirah (that amazing palm tree island in the sea) has got it going on! We are talking grass, flowers, and colors everywhere. But let’s be real here. I push a cart on airplanes and ask “How may I best assist you”. I don’t think I’ll be living on the island anytime soon. But until then, come on Sheikh, lets lighten this place up!
(Are you still reading or have you asked yourself yet what I’m inhaling over here?)
Rain: “Ah crap, it’s cloudy outside, it’s raining, I really wanted to go to the beach today, I HATE THE RAIN.” If these are your normal thoughts, come hang out with me in Dubai. You’ll never see it! You won’t even see clouds! And by the time you leave, you’ll miss it. I’ve been here for two months now and everyday has been clear, sunny, and over 100 degrees. And I’m tired of it! I went to India the other day and it started to rain while we were on ground. Rain! I was so happy to see it! I stuck my hands out of one of the cabin doors just to feel it and it felt so damn good! I rubbed it into my fingers and let them get soaked. Sometimes you need those rainy days to just relax and take things slow. I never thought I’d ever say (or type) this, but I really miss rainy days just lying on the couch, watching the storms roll in on the porch from my house. But when we were leaving India during the rain, I was sitting in the cockpit and as we flew through the rain clouds, I thought to myself, maybe I do like being based out of a city where it doesn’t rain, because if I had to have that much turbulence every time we took off, I’d be turning in my red hat and headed back for New York!
Old Bay: The stuff us Marylanders put on everything. What I would do for some Old Bay! Everything just seems so bland without it. Which leads me into my next point…
Crabs: They are just non-existent here. That’s all I have to say about that.
Silence: What better way to wake up in the morning to hear birds chirping and trees swaying in a light breeze? Or to hear your grandmother yelling at the dogs for once again opening the gates and taking over the neighborhood? These are the things I miss. Ok, maybe not the whole grandmother part, but you get the idea. I miss living in a residential area with a car going down the street once every hour and it being so quiet that you could sleep on the porch and hearing the a dog in the distance barking and seeing people go for their walks down the street and waving hello as they do so. I live on the main highway through Dubai and Abu Dhabi and it never sleeps! Constantly cars flying up and down with 10 lanes of traffic, horns beeping, etc. Sometimes I lay in bed at night and it’s not that I miss home; I just miss it being quiet. The noise doesn’t necessarily stop me from sleeping, but I think I have a hard time falling asleep because of it.
Walmart: Oh yeah, I said it. I don’t think there is much explaining to do, but I just miss being able to walk into one store and buy anything and everything I could ever possibly need or want. And when I see those people lined up at Customer Service to cash their Social Security checks or turn in their Food Stamps, I just feel so much at home. I want that again.
Sundays: There is no better feeling than lying on the couch, curled up, wasting the day away coupon clipping and rooting for whoever is beating the Steelers. The dogs going in and out all day, Grandma coming over for the tenth time to talk about her indigestion and inability to eat salads. And then looking at the clock to see that it’s 5:00 in the afternoon and I’ve gotten absolutely nothing done today. I miss that a lot. I want my Sundays back!
Sitting in the front seat of a car: Not even driving so much, if I could just sit in the front seat I would feel so much better. But like in this country, I guess it’s weird to do that when you have to take a taxi everywhere. But I like to see where we are going and when the taxi driver is going the wrong way, I need to yell and point. I mean taxis are the easiest way to get around here. I will never feel confident enough to drive here. These people drive absolutely insane and once my mom comes, she will never yell at me again for tailgaiting. The thing about taxis is they are cheap and they are very clean. Great! And while the drivers speak decent English, they don’t always understand you. And instead of clarifying, they just assume. (Example) Me: “Good morning, I’m going to Emirates Aviation College.” Driver: “Yes ma’am, yes ma’am.” (Then I notice he missed the exit) Me: “Excuse me, I think we are going the wrong way.” Driver: “No, no this is the way.” (And then 5 minutes later I end up at Emirates Headquarters, totally not where I wanted to go! And I get in a fight about paying the fare and tell him he has lost his mind if he thinks I’m paying for taking me to the wrong place.) And this is why I need to sit in the front seat. So when he is about to miss the exit, I can grab the steering wheel and turn it.
So there it is. Your questions have been answered. There are a lot of other things that I miss, but I won’t overload you all at once with a crazy post.
وداعا! (Goodbye in Arabic)
So I bet you were thinking that I made my first post and then got bored with it. No, really, I didn’t. Two days after getting to Dubai I broke my computer. Soda… All Over It! The worst part is, this isn’t the first time I’ve done this. You would think I would have learned. But nope, not me! It took six weeks to get it fixed, but it’s finally back and I am so happy! So I will try to sum up these past seven weeks…
It was so nice to arrive in Dubai and actually know where I was going! Being here before, I was so excited to see everything again and get to see my friends. The day after I arrived we began our induction week. There were around 60 people in my group, so I got to meet a lot of great people from all over the world. And after the third day of being here, I got sick. Sick! In Dubai! It’s 100 degrees here everyday and I get sick. And the worst part, I’ve pretty much been sick the entire seven weeks I’ve been here. So during our induction week, we learned about the Emirates company, basics of living in Dubai, working together as a team, etc. After the first week we began our SEP (Safety & Emergency Procedures) training. So. Much. Information. Whoever thought being a flight attendant was an easy job, come sit in class one day and you will think again. I spent every night reading and studying. And I never even studied this much in four years of college. Maybe I should think about going back and I could get straight A’s if I studied as much as I did for this training! We had three tests during the two weeks and on my final exam I got a 100%! I don’t think I’ve ever gotten a 100% before, so I was over the moon!
After SEP finished, we began GMT (General Medical Training). And just when I thought the hard part was over, I opened the section in my manual and realized I was going to become a nurse. Ask me the signs/symptoms of anything, and I bet I’ll know it. Oh yeah, and I learned how to deliver a baby! People go to college for years for this, and I learned it in a day. It was pretty graphic, too! As rare as you would think it would be for a someone to have a baby on board, it actually happens about once a month. I was shocked to learn this! We were lucky enough to have such a wonderful instructor, Mona, who made things so simple for us and really helped us make the week as stress-free as possible. But I completed my GMT and week three was over! Now a little bit of relaxing!
So while I’m working hard, I’m playing hard, too! There is so much to do here in Dubai you can never get bored. I live across the street from the tallest building in the world (Burk Khalifa) and one stop away on the Metro from the largest mall in the world. I got it made! (Maybe that’s why I am out of money?) There are a lot of great people in my batch and group and I’ve made some wonderful friends in the short time I’ve been here. And we have had such a great time together; going to dinner, going out at night, going to the beach/pool. Working/living in Dubai really makes you understand other cultures and how to adjust to people from all over the world.
So yeah, we got our uniforms! I’ve been waiting so long to get my red hat. And I love it!
So we began service training. Smile! They taught us to smile! And make drinks, serve food, and how to be polite when a creepy passenger asks you for your phone number. But then again if they aren’t creepy maybe we would want to take their phone number? We had this trainer Nigel. Oh Nigel! He made service totally worth it and I think I would have gotten so tired of our practical assessments if it weren’t for him. I miss him already :( But here we all are, with Nigel! And we all passed service. And with passing service, it means we passed all of training. After seven weeks, I’m done! I can’t believe it! (And the second picture is of me in my red Emirates lipstick and coughing! Thanks Uros!)
So I would be crazy to say that I don’t miss home. I love my family and friends so much and leaving them made me realize how fortunate I am to have them. Some days I feel great being here and others, I just want to get on the plane and go home. But when I get those days, I remind myself of why I’m here and how badly I wanted to get this job. In 2010, 71,756 people from around the world applied to Emirates. Out of that, 35,803 people were actually interviewed. And from there, they hired 2,894 people. Just under 5%. And here I am, one of those fortunate people who made it through and I feel so blessed. I will never take this job for granted and will always know how absolutely lucky I am to be here and have met these wonderful people. I know there will be things I miss at home; porch parties at Grandmas, birthday parties, Jacob taking his first steps, Madeline getting her first dog, Sarah having her precious baby girl. But I have to take whats been handed to me and know that while I miss these milestones now, I am creating a lifetime of memories here.
So I will wrap it up here. And don’t worry, updates will come more frequently as I now have my computer. Although I don’t talk to everyone as much as I would like, just know that I am thinking of you and love you all so much. You have made me who I am and I am so fortunate to have you in my life.
All my love <3 Jessica Leigh