Clear Air.

Month Three. Reserve. #PDX.

The last few weeks have been turbulent.

I shouldn't complain. I'm back in my beautiful Pacific Northwest. I'm reunited with my cat and boyfriend. My best friends are all close by. I have an apartment and it's summer and the livin' should be easy.

It's times like these that you don't expect to be hit with a sudden storm.

Seattle is a small base, and its currently (and inexplicably) overstaffed. This means that I sit on-call most days and don't actually get called in. The few trips I have been assigned don't pay very much. In total, I've only worked about 38 hours so far this month, and I'm getting worried about paying my bills.

And then I get an e-mail. The Portland base is down-sizing, meaning that a good chunk of the PDX crew might be relocating to Seattle. Meaning that the most junior flight attendants might be displaced. As in, forced out. Back to Minneapolis or Denver or Houston or wherever I wasn't excited to be. Right after I finally got home.

A few days ago, the stress of not knowing if I could pay rent (or how much longer I will be paying rent on this place) hit an all-time high. I broke down, wondering if I had made the right decision in pursuing this career. A lot of flight attendants don't make it past their first year. Low pay, being constantly relocated, missing loved ones. It can break down even the toughest adventurer.

I decided that I needed to find some clear air. I called Crew Support and requested to be put on a trip in Portland on my day off. I jumped on a tiny 30-seat Embraer Brasilia 120 (the "bro," as we call 'em) and flew down to the Rose City early on Tuesday.

Waiting for me at Baggage Claim in Portland were the amazingly hospitable Luke and Wynn, my good flight attendant friends, based out of Denver and Portland, respectively.

The guys must have sensed my stress, because before I could say a word, they whisked me off to breakfast and coffee and a day full of river strolls and berry picking and gelato and general much-needed nurturing. After my quick five hour shift in the evening, I returned to the guys' adorable St. John's neighborhood home for a late night full of wine of more amazing conversation.

The next day we all slept too late and Luke and I missed our flights back to our respective home bases. Laughing, we instead walked to coffee where we spent two hours sharing traveling stories and making plans to go to Amsterdam together. It's moments like these where I know everything is going to be okay. I am a dreamer and an adventurer, and as long as I am surrounded by like-minded people (pretty much all of my co-workers!), I know that I have chosen the right path.

The rest of my dreamy day included window-shopping, a giant eclair from a bakery called "Tulip," a visit to the Humane Society (sometimes you just need to cuddle some animals), a magical rainstorm outside a huddle of food trucks, and the best Pulled Pork Sandwich that I have had in a long time.

That evening I hugged my boys goodbye and boarded my little plane back to Seattle. As we descended into the Emerald City, I smiled, seeing Lake Washington and the Space Needle and the Ferries and the gridlocked traffic in my wonderful, expensive, crazy city.

When life knocks you around, sometimes the best thing to do is change your altitude, and take a little break from the choppiness. Get above the clouds, and you'll be able to see that even the biggest storms don't last forever.


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