Day Off.

It's ten in the morning. I just finished breakfast and am now making a pot of coffee on the stove. The washer whirs faintly from the garage, and the fireplace is on. The sky outside is a cheerful grey, the Pacific Northwest's version of a perfect day. Windchimes sound. A minivan rolls down the dead end street that I live on, slowing down to pass the giant oak tree that lives in the middle of the road. I wave to my neighbor.

There is a vase of daffodils in a mason jar on the dining room table in front of me, a gift from Tim and his garden. The table contains remnants from the evening before: two wine glasses, a pile of books and a sweater draped over a chair.

A bubbling noise from the kitchen alerts me that my coffee is ready. I grab one of many mismatched mugs from the cupboard and pour coffee from the Moka Pot: rich sludge hits cracked porcelain. I add a generous spoonful of brown sugar and thick almond milk, then take a sip. Perfection.

Yesterday I finished a hard week of work. Four stand-ups in a row, an illness and a big decision. By the time I left the airport Thursday morning, I was exhausted. Battling downtown buses, I transferred twice and an hour later I finally found myself at the Whidbey Island Ferry Terminal in Mukilteo, Washington.

There is something so cathartic about the ferries here. All the stress of the day melts away when you walk onto the Kittitas, the Wenatchee or the Chelan boats (you learn to identify your favorite boats, each has a personality). Upstairs front he car deck your find a little cafeteria selling sandwiches and coffee, comfortable booths and huge windows for the most breathtaking scenery you can view for $4.75.

After the ferry comes an hour journey on the Island County bus from the south end of the island to Oak Harbor in the north. I grab a seat in the back and curl up, ready to be amazed. The bus meanders out of the little town near the ferry terminal and out into the country. The landscape changes around every turn: Thick, dark evergreen forests transform into flat farmlands and vineyards which evolve into below-sea-level salty coves and beaches.

The bus crowd is diverse: a young mom rummages though her bag while her toddler talks baby-talk to an old hippie lady with dreds and knitting needles. An older gay couple with matching bald heads and scarves talks soccer with a guy in Navy garb. Three ladies from Coupeville discuss some local gossip, laughing loudly as the bus driver snickers. A red-haired teenaged boy smiles and blushes as a beautiful young lady with long dark braids enters the bus. She beams at him and sits down. A few minutes later, her small dark fingers are enveloped in his pale hand.

I take it all in. These are my new neighbors, my new life. Seattle will always be the epicenter of life here in the Pacific Northwest, but I gave up my city living lifestyle for this: island life. The commute is long and sometimes tough, but Whidbey Island makes it all worth it.

And I am so thankful that I am able to live here. If it weren't for the fact that my "little" company is growing so quickly, I would still be in Minneapolis, waiting for the phone call to ring every day that I sat reserve. Most flight attendants don't get to where I am for months, or years … or decades. But I am fortunate that I landed at my company at a time when 1,000 flight attendants were hired right after me. And in this job, the more people below you, the better. Seniority is everything. Upwards and onwards.

I snap back to the present as I hear the dryer buzz. Time to switch the laundry. Most people would hate to sit around on their day off, doing load after load of laundry and cleaning the house, but I love it here. Being home is a luxury to me, and I am taking in every minute of my day.

The wind roars outside. It is blustery and I love it. I put on more coffee and sit closer to the fireplace, my cat stretching lazily at my feet.

Somedays I might be jumpseating to Paris or Tokyo, running through big airports, living the thrilling life of a jetsetting world traveling flight attendant. But today, I am home.

And I couldn't be happier.

Happy homecoming!


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