Category Archives: Travel

The In-between (of two trips, not the creepy one…)

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A few days back I had a sudden itch to write…and nowhere to write seeing as it was one of the few times I did not have pen and paper with me. And before anyone asks, no. I couldn’t write on my phone. That’s just an exercise in frustration. So here I am now, still tired and mildly sick (f*** off cold, I’m not calling in sick for you!) and trying to kill some time before I gotta leave for the cinema. More on that later. What caused this sudden spur of inspiration (and most likely the bloody cold)? My most recent and first trip to Bangkok.

I didn’t know what to expect to be honest. The pictures online looked pretty but the stories I heard from fellow cabin crew ranged from hilarious to downright terrifying. I had people try to talk me out of the flight on account of how difficult it can get. Not in terms of weather. (Though we did have to secure the cabin a couple of times on account of anything not bolted doing a vague impression of a trampoline artist.) No…. It’s the worrying amounts of alcohol passengers consume. I kid you not people, we were out of wine by the end of our flight back. That is a feat in and of itself. And not one to be proud of. I get it. It’s over eleven hours stuck in a flying sardine can, it can get boring. But seriously? That’s the solution? Here’s a radical alternative people: READ A BOOK!

But I digress. What I meant to talk about was not my frustration with the amounts of alcohol I had to serve, but rather my first impressions with this new place I visited. And shall be visiting again soon (bless you Scheduling….) I….liked it. I mean this was my first time anywhere in southeast Asia so the novelty factor was strong but still. Despite the incomprehensible (to me) language and writing in the signposting, despite the bone-deep tiredness (and suspiciously little jet-lag), there was just something about the place that made me feel comfortable. Wish I could say what it was though.

Not just the friendliness of the people and the warmth of the weather. Or even the familiarity of a fleet market. (Those of you who have been in Athens, think Monastiraki but bigger.) Whatever it was, it was nice being in a place where I didn’t feel like I need to keep checking over my shoulder every few minutes. And now that I have a first idea of the place I can see about joining a tour or something. Call me a tourist, but dang it I wanna see those floating markets! I’d have done it on my previous trip but let’s just say the pick-up for the tour is at ungodly o’clock and leave it at that…

Anyway I’ll write more about this after I’m back again. Maybe by then I’ll have figured out exactly what about this place makes me so… I don’t know. Comfortable seems to be the best word for it. And between then and now there’s also probably gonna be something about Black Panther. I’m watching it later today! Hurray!

Organised chaos is the way to live

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People often ask me why I chose to work as cabin crew, seeing as the constant human contact and changes of schedule might not be the best for an introvert with an almost pathological fear of missing appointments. Yes, the prospect of travelling is a huge plus but still! How do you deal with the difficulties? Well, dear reader, to answer the first half of this question….. I am a spectacular liar. No, I do not make a habit of making up stories of embellishing the truth. I am however very good as lying about myself. People expect me to be friendly on the job, so sure! I can lie and be friendly, even act like the prospect of being around people without reprieve for, sometimes eleven or twelve hours, is not just easy but also welcome. After, these people will likely never see them again. It also helps that much as I am not comfortable around people, I love listening to stories. Like with travelling, I will put up with A LOT if it means that by the end of it I’ll have a good tale to come back to. Still hate when people get over-friendly though…. Like, we just met? Why the hell are you hugging me like we went to school together?

As for the second bit, yes I enjoy routine to an extent. I like knowing that, if a day goes spectacularly bad, I’ll have a few certainties to fall back to. That however is not the same as needing a schedule to function. Quite the contrary, I operate best when under pressure. Give an adrenaline shot and the need to improvise on the spot and you’ll have me at my best (at least not when research is involved). If I have to chuck the rulebook out the closest window, even better. This was actually on my greatest challenges during training: The Rules. For me they are something to pay attention to, take into consideration and respect. After all, they were put down  for a reason, however obscure it is. And I’d never ignore them just for the giggles if there was a safety issue. But following them like they’re the Bible (or any other religious text of your choice…)? No thanks. Best way to get me to poke at something is to tell me not to question it. Juvenile on my part perhaps, but I’ve always learnt better when I understood the why before the how.

And to build on that I have to question (heh!) something I heard near the end of the first part of my training. Our instructor gave us a personality test, one of the fancy ones that modern companies love and yet is not that far from those I used to take on teen magazines. I’ll spare you the gory details but my results could be summed up as:

  • “give me the facts”
  • “spare me the sob story”
  • “screw the rules, we need results”

And all that to the surprise of no one exactly… What did come to a surprise to me was that, apparently, when it comes to cabin crew airlines like the so-called “fluffy bunnies”. And I don’t mean this as an insult, it’s literally how the type was summed up by the quiz. You know the ones! Super empathetic, super nice, make amazing crying shoulders and, if you’re like me, you avoid them like the plague lest they suffocate you. Absolute sweethearts and gods of customer service/placating but frankly I wouldn’t trust them with a flashlight in an emergency. I’m talking about the general type here, not anyone in particular. I have no doubt there are people out there who go from marshmallow to absolute badass at the drop of the hat. I just wonder, even taking the importance, nay vitality, of happy customers into account, you’d prefer a personality type with a tendency to crack under pressure as your primary choice. Especially considering how important safety is.

Am I being too cynical? Probably. I’ve never been one to trust people explicitly, especially people who’s first question is “how are you feeling?!” instead of “how can we solve the problem?”. Tough love is a thing, you know. A wonderful, wonderful thing.

 

On a completely unrelated note, Thor 3 will be coming out the day after I return from my next trip. Expect ravings of the extra fangirlish, super tired type, as  I ignore my minor jetlag and major lack of sleep to drag myself to the closest cinema and enjoy the cinematic version of the End-All (sorta….not really) before the actual End-All comes up and collectively kicks our asses.

That moment when you land back to Earth…

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I’ve been off the grid here for a while now, haven’t I? Mostly because there are only so many ways I can talk about what it’s like to drudge through a fairly boring day-today, with only the occasional spike in my anxiety to spice things up. But now… now I have Stuff to look ahead to. Pretty sure I mentioned here, what feels like centuries ago, that I was jousting with the pre-employment processes of British Airways. Well! I am delighted to report that I have officially exited that circle of Hell and my life is back on some semblance of track! So what have I been up to these past few months?

Not much really, until I got that blessed e-mail, informing me of my start date. THAT is when things got interesting! Suddenly I had a timeline and a list of things that needed to be completed. Things like finding a new place, filling out a few last pieces of paperwork, booking my medical appointment, sorting out my visa, packing… Oh gods, the packing! My new place is slightly closer to Heathrow, though each really a temporary solution until I get to flying full time and some other things get sorted out… Medical is all booked and I just need to fill out the paperwork I need to present and show up looking pretty and healthy. (Lot’s of fruits and veggies for me in the near future!) The US visa is the one that closest to being at 100% done, mostly because my appointment is next Monday. I’ve also had to hunt down a pair of court shoes and update my closet (my bank account is currently in deep mourning over that fact). The shoes should arrive at the store any day now and once I have them, they will replace my slippers inside the house. Because, let’s be honest. New shoes will hurt your feet the first few times you were them. In my case, it’s usually my heel that takes the brunt of that and I’ve hobbled back home on bleeding feet often enough to know that this is not something I want happening on the first day on the job. As for the wardrobe update….that was one of the few times I went shopping unwillingly. Left to my own devices I’d spend the majority of my life dressed either in PJs or the sort of clothes you’d find in a fantasy show (stakes and magical swords optional). In other words, my office-appropriate outfits could be counted in one hand. And I have anywhere between four and six weeks of training in which I’m expected to show up in office chic. You do the math dear reader.

Speaking of wardrobe updates, here’s a funny thing that happened the other day. I had ordered a few t-shirts online. When the parcel finally arrived (with an unexpected customs charge and wasn’t that fun…) I realised there were a few extra t-shirts on top of the stuff I had ordered. A few e-mails with the company later and here’s what I learnt. Another customer’s order was accidentally packed with mine. Now, under different circumstances I’d roll my eyes at this show of disorganisation. But! It just so happened that the person in question had ordered designs I was planning on getting myself whenever I had money to spare next. And I get to keep them. So no. I’m not complaining. In fact I may have done a mini happy dance on my bed when they told me I didn’t have to return the extras. 😀

What else, what else… I’m trying to motivate myself to exercise a bit more and touch up my German. Neither being activities I particularly enjoy so I haven’t exactly been successful so far. I tell myself to walking around counts for something and my scales seem to agree but unfortunately  that does very little for my flexibility. Looks like I’ll have to look up some yoga tutorials or cheat-sheets or something…. And I need to look into the whole luggage situation. I may have to buy a new cabin bag but given my finances currently looking like they are in their inglorious death-throws I’ll have to put that off for later. And pray there’ll be a huge sale when I get around to actually buying it. I kept getting the feeling that I’m going to school again and let me tell you it’s not just the excitement of learning something new, it’s not just the word “training” being thrown around like spare change, it’s not just meeting other people with the same brand of crazy as me. It’s the avalanche of expenses that come with it. I mean yeah, it’s exciting expenses. Made less exciting by the fact that I am not dragging my mother down the aisle of a store, throwing everything that catches my eye on the cart and not worrying about paying the bill in the end. #thingsImissfrommychildhood

….

My conscience informs me that that is what being an adult means. To which I reply:

Image result for i am an adult, but like an adult cat

(How cute is that cat?)

-ahem- Yeah….

Well this is at the stage where my rambles cease to be even slightly coherent, so I’m gonna sign out.

See y’all soon. Hopefully.

A moment of appreciation please!

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For the outfits that don’t require me to take my shoes off when trying them on!

For the hairstyles that still look in place even as you take off and put on your hat again and again and again….

For London being cold enough to keep me alert but not freezing.

For Wi-Fi hotspots!

For comfortable shoes!

For whoever invented the geek paradise also known as Forbidden Planet! Seriously I spent an hour in there just browsing, and if I didn’t have other places to be I’d stay there longer!

Anyways, I’m somewhere near Oxford Circus and about halfway through my tour de force of Christmas shopping. I have heard beautiful tunes and ear-bleeding mashups and remakes of the Christmas classics. I’m pretty sure I’ve ruined yet another pair of tights. And I’ve found my favourite Christmas Starbucks cup so far!

And all things considered I still look relatively rested, don’t I?

Or at least I will when the coffee kicks in…

It’s a bit strange around here… Like it’s the Christmas season but not quite. I mean the lights and decorations are up and the songs are being played and people are obviously taking advantage of the seasonal sales. Yet there seems to be something…missing… Maybe it’s the 2016 exhaustion finally catching up with everyone now that it’s nearly over, maybe it’s to early yet for people to be in the full swing of things, maybe I’m out of it…

Decorations like this do put me in a good mood though…


And then there’s those people on the list that you just can’t figure out what to get them. Personally I hate the sort of gift that screams I got the first thing that looked vaguely interesting! And for that reason I end up drawing lists over lists, trying to reconcile taste with budget and size (size too, do you have any idea how hard it is to pack for a Christmas visit home when you have only one suitcase and your carry-on?)… Most of the time I can figure something out but there have been occasions where…well…time was sort, so first decent thing was the way to go… 😦

I think I’ll head to Selfridge’s next. I’ve never actually been inside the shop so it’ll be an experience even if I don’t get something. We’ll see! 

Until then, peace out!

Christmas shopping round 1

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Yup! It’s that time of the year again! The time when people realise that Christmas and the assorted December  celebrations are just around the corner and there is a big difference between planning the shopping and actually doing it!

Which finds me at Clive’s, a small fiber on Museum street for breakfast today. Let me tell you, the pancakes are to die for! And since -oh dear, what a coincidence!- I’m in the neighborhood, well, I just have to visit the Atlantis bookshop too! The fact that o would happily spend in there hours is irrelevant. After that it’s Oxford street, Soho Leicester Square market and so on and so forth…

I whine but I kid. Actually my cousin recently asked me how do I know what to get for everyone. Honestly, I ask in case they have their heart set on something. But if they don’t or if they hit me with the dreaded “whatever’s fine” line I go with the rule of the Shoe. Stroll around, browse and wait for something to click. Also get off the high street as much as possible. In most cases, the hardest it is to find a shop, the most unique the gift you’ll buy from it. Unless it’s the TARDIS-like magic sglhop I read about in a story years ago. In that caseyou so much as look at something, you end up in an adventure. Which would be a pretty sweet gift for some…

Anyway, the shops are open, my coffee is growing cold and the day is sadly short so I’ll sign out for now and pick this up on the next coffee break. 

See y’all later and happy shopping!

Μια Κυριακή πήρα το τρένο

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Οι νότες πάλλονται γύρω μου

Και ο ήλιος λάμπει έξω.

Ένα ποτάμι κυλούσε εδώ κάποτε,

Ακούω ακόμα την φωνή του.

Της Κυριακής το όνειρο

Κρατάει ως τη Δευτέρα,

Κι η λύση που βρίσκεις δεύτερη

Συχνά είν’η πιο καλή..

Τα δέντρα ψιθυρίζουμε

 Εδώ θα σου αρέσει!

Χαμογελώ, είναι μια αρχή.

Ας γυρίσουμε τον τροχό ξανά.

In which I debate house and home

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Synonyms are such a bizarre thing, wouldn’t you say? “House”…”Home”… They’re usually used interchangeably even though their connotation is rather different. I say this as a person whose first language uses the same word for both concepts (and then some). I do find myself leaning towards “home” in preference though. “House” feels so impersonal, a word that should be used to describe a building instead of the (hopefully) warm and fuzzy feeling that is “home”. Yes, I think “home” is a feeling, a state of being if you will, instead of a particular place. It’s being safe and comfortable and familiar with all the quirks that come with it.

For me home is Athens (some parts of it more than others), Paros, Norwich, heck! at a stretch I’d add Nottingham. Goodness knows I’ve grown at least used to this confused whirlwind of a city. But home for me is also fire crackling, swimming surrounded by waves, getting lost in a library, walking in the countryside or a very select playlist on my mp3 (no, you don’t get to learn what songs). I’ve travelled, not nearly as much as I wish, and there have been places that felt welcoming, like almost-homes or potential homes, and places I couldn’t wait to get out of. As much trouble as I have reading (real) people, places and atmospheres are open books. Don’t know why. Must be the story-teller in me. If a place has potential for stories to be told in the years to come, you can bet your glossy pages I’ll want to be there!

What has onset my latest bout of philosophical rambling, you ask? My ever-un-pleasant, ever-stressful job hunting. Word to the un-wise: your chances to get that dream job you’re sighing longingly over are probably higher if you stay positive about it, no matter how farfetched. And what better way to do that than to indulge in some daydreaming of walking around the place you’d be living in (if you’re like me and likely to move), find your dream house (never mind your paycheck, this is a daydream after all!)? I didn’t even realise it at first, but one of the most recurring questions running through my head while I was going through Zoopla ads (after “How far from the rail station is it?” and “How do they get away with charging this much for a hole in the wall?”) was “Could I make a home out of this house?”

There’s a question that’s loaded, terrifying and exhilarating at the same time! Especially in the few cases when, while going through apartment pictures, I found myself mentally assigning places for my stuff or imagining what kind of posters I would put on which walls… I mean, I have no concept how far out of my budget I’d be in the places I was looking (probably less than I fear). I suppose that’s the nice thing about dreams. Unless you’re desperate to make them your reality, you are allowed to be as grandiose as you wish…

 

 

 

But what does it say for me, that my idea of grandiose is a successful job interview, an decent apartment with a kitchen I can cook in (and bake, and have a fridge all on my own) and not having to worry about money by the end of the month or whenever bills show up? Welcome to the 21st century, I suppose….

Looking for summer in all the wrong places

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It can’t be helped. Twenty-two years are plenty enough time to build up an image of what summer is supposed to be like. And for me that’s high temperatures and wild winds. Swallowing sea water and dancing in the waves. Long walks under the setting sun and coffee outings that end up to bar visits. Summer is crappy radio signal, family movie nights out on the balcony, fresh figs straight from the tree and fingers sticky from melted ice-cream. And, most importantly, for me summer is feeling the sun on my skin and seeing the world around me through a golden glow. Or at least that’s what summer was.

Fast-forward to now and Yours Truly spending most -if not all- her summer in Nottingham. With its max of 22 C, its on-an-off rains and…well…come on! I could be in a Greek island right now! Does it really bear comparison? Why don’t I fly over you ask? Save us all the inevitable whining? To which I answer, I do want a pretty (preferably above 65%) grade to my thesis. I’m too much of a stereotype I suppose. I physically need sunlight to feel well after a while and of all the givens of childhood an extended summer vacation is the one I’m having more trouble letting go.

So here’s to trying to stay positive and see what a British summer is like. Though, given recent events, England could have the same weather as the Maldives and I would still contemplate not staying. Yes, I’m upset. Yes, I’m scared. And yes, I’m incredibly frustrated. 2016 has been developing like a bad joke, the kind that has a chapter-and-a-half devoted to it in history textbooks and is in the SOS list for final exams. I am not looking forward to telling my future grandkids about the Great Crazy of 2016. And no, the awesome movie line up is not making up for it (no matter how much of a huge nerd I am).

Here I am then. Dazed, confused and far paler than I usually am by the end of June? Any suggestions?

And now I’m back from Dublin

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Back and STILL sleepy. I don’t think I got a full twelve hours of sleep between leaving England and coming back…. Why, do you ask? Well…er had a starting time of 4:30 in the morning. So I figured the most sensible thing was to NOT sleep at all. The library stays open all night anyway so I just hang out there with a friend and we watched movies (Harry Potter of course!) until it was time to meet up with the others. And…

***Never mind, I’ll continue this in 20 minutes. I finally found the original Yu-Gi-Oh! in Japanese and I’m binge-watching***

And now I’m back! A few episodes and quick nap later. And the inevitable frustration that accompanies every waking moment when my laptop decides to act up with zero explanation. But one thing at a time. Where did this all start from? Ah, yes! My all-nighter. it was fun! I swear. Tiring of course and causing me to pass out during the (unfortunately) short flight to Dublin but for the biggest part of the day I was swinging between manic cheerfulness and that fugue-like state you are right before you fall asleep. And this dear friends is why there are no pictures in this post. Kind of hard to take them when you’re speeding through historical Dublin in less than 48 hours and having to consciously concentrate on forming words in the right language and accent. Yes. New discovery: the more tired I am, the more muddled the languages become in my head. In retrospect it’s kind of funny.

Dublin was lovely. Kind of chilly because of the wind but the sun was out all day, both days and not even a hint of rain bothered us. And yes, this is yet another city I’ve barely met yet I’m already sort of in love with. It doesn’t really help that my first introduction to the country was through the Artemis Fowl books (a stipple of my teenage years and I am STILL waiting on the movie!). I was going there prepared to like the place and I left determined to return for further explorations…

Of course, judging my the weather since I returned, Nottingham is a jealous mistress who did not appreciate my going off to a different city for any length of time. Look at this weather forecast! It’s supposed to be spring!

Capture weathre Here’s to hoping BBC is wrong. At which point I will stop as I just nearly broke my jaw yawning. I think dinner, then sweet dreams are in order for me. See you all soon!

I’m going to Dublin!

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For a field trip. Staying only one night. It will probably be the most tiring trip ever. I have to meet-up with the rest of the class at 4:30 in the ever-loving morning. There’ll be -shudder- oral presentations.

WHO CARES? I’M GOING TO IRELAND.

happy-dance

 

 

 

 

 

Just a short post to let everyone know. I’ll probably be flooding Facebook with pictures but I’ll if I can’t save some of the better ones for here. I’m hoping there’ll be Wi-Fi on the hotel. And ugh, roaming charges. Now, that’s the part I’m not looking forward to.

Most of my excitement for this Blitzkrieg of a visit to the Emerald Island stems from the fact that I’ve always wanted to go there. I just hope it doesn’t rain. With all the walking we’ll be doing the last thing we need is soggy socks.

Anyway… I’ve packing to do and arrangements to make so I’ll sign off.

See ya all later!

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