August marked the six year anniversary of my resignation as an American Airlines super stew. Reflecting on the days that led up to that final decision; it remains one of the most difficult decisions I have ever made.
Our son was approaching his first birthday, and I was scheduled to return to work. Well, that never happened.
That does not mean that I have not missed it. Quite the contrary. But I was a different person then. A carefree young girl– cut loose with the world as my playground. Single and living in New York.
I would like to think some things have not changed. I still love an adventure. I love to travel and be spontaneous. I am open to new things, people, cultures. When life becomes stagnant, I need a trip to regain my connection to the world.
A memoir of what I miss the most
I miss the fast pace of my heels click-clacking through an airport pulling my roller board along behind me. Knowing the essence of time. I somehow always knew what time it was, and when and where I had to be. I have not wore a wrist watch since then.
Feeling worldly and a part of a sort of secret in the know society. There are things that the flight attendants know that you will never be privy to.
Knowing the hot spots in every major city including–
Knowing where to find the best food. Sometimes an incredible meal can make a layover, or just knowing where to have a good lunch during some ground time. I have known some amazing meals across the globe. Some of my favorite countries to eat in: Argentina, Paris, and despite its reputation, I have some favorite spots to dine in England (of course, it would be considered ethnic food there).
Shopping. Being able to purchase exotic and rare items that cannot be found in the U.S. and sharing that with family and friends. I got my sisters hooked on the Belgian waffles I would bring back from Belgium and freeze. I definitely got my whole family addicted to Havaianas flip flop’s which I discovered in Brazil. And I never had a better wine collection then during my days of flying.
Meeting celebrities. I think it’s pretty cool and always makes for a great story. Let’s face it, they travel and we know they’re on board, or we find out. And we have access. I was lucky to have many celebrity encounters during my career.
Having amazing plans on my layover. Being able to do anything I wanted or nothing at all.
Two of my favorite European cities: London and Paris. Catching Shakespeare at the reconstructed Globe Theater in London, or what about just taking a stroll in Hyde Park. Spending the day perusing at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, or taking a walk along the Seine River.
The excitement of going to a new city, or returning to a routine created in a familiar one. Visiting the Vatican in Rome, and especially the Sistine Chapel was very memorable to me. Spending hours walking through the Victoria and Albert Museum in London was one of my regular routines there. Or doing something I always dreamed of like visiting the grave of Jim Morrison at Père Lachaise cemetery in Paris, which was very special to me. SO many moments and experiences to recount. Things that I may never have had the opportunity to do or see if I had not become a flight attendant.
The camaraderie of flying an entire month with a great crew. Completely worth mentioning. It can make for an excruciating or wonderful month of flying. People do not realize that often times you may show up to work a trip and have never met anyone on the crew, ever.
Dinner in New York, breakfast in Paris. Nothing like it. “Bonjour” and “merci” to the hotel driver unloading my bags.
To this day, when I ask anyone, “what would you like to drink?” I am transported back to the aisle of an airplane, pushing a beverage cart. I could wake up tomorrow and go back to work on an airplane as if I never left. All of that training evacuating an airplane. I still have dreams (and nightmares) reciting commands in my sleep.
I am forever grateful that I got to have these experiences and cherish the memories, and the many friends I made. I can spend the rest of my life recounting and reliving those moments through my writing. And the truth that I know is once a super stew, always a super stew. That’s just the way it is.