Four-day weekends and time off work are a rare treat for the normal nine-to-fiver, but for us, Spring Break is just another work weekend.
Welcome to the extended (work) weekend of a flight attendant.
Friday afternoon. I woke up late to the frozen tundra of Edmonton, Alberta. I turned up the heat in my hotel room and made hot cocoa, preparing for an afternoon of online quizzes (we have quarterly online training courses provided to keep up refreshed on important safety information) and digging through my InFlight manual.
Instead I heard a knock on the door. It was Jen and Russ, my pilots. They barged in, bearing gifts of snacks and boozey treats. Before long it was a mini party in my hotel room, complete with "office" gossip, work stories and the usual complaints about scheduling and lack of sleep. But really, we love our jobs.
Soon it was bedtime and then an early morning return to Seattle. Since the three of us all live on the same island north of Seattle, we often carpool, and our Saturday morning turned into a pleasant ferry ride together.
Saturday morning. Back at home I got caught up on some R & R with iced tea and a good book out on the front porch. My boyfriend came home from work, and we caught up over dinner, my cat pawing at me for attention. By nine, it was bedtime and then another early morning.
Sunday morning. I headed to the airport once again. This time, I hopped on a flight (as an actual passenger!) to San Francisco, where I was to be working a redeye that evening. Since I arrived midday, I decided to jump on the BART train and head downtown.
San Francisco on a sunny Sunday afternoon is just perfect. I strolled out of the BART station and towards the Ferry Building. Inside, the locals lined up at places such as Blue Bottle Coffee, Humphry Slocombe Ice Cream and Cowgirl Creamery. I grabbed a cappuccino and strolled up the hill.
Before long I was a little lost but then I found myself in Chinatown. Dumpling soup and Oolong tea for dinner, and then I was back on the BART towards the airport once again.
Midnight. I stood near the entrance of our Embraer 175, welcoming first class onboard. It was my first time working on our company's brand new airplanes, and I was terrified of accidentally deploying the evacuation slides or turning on the automatic briefing system at the wrong time. So many buttons! Luckily, my crew was supportive, and with the help of a Portland captain, French first officer and a red-haired Irish co-flight attendant, we were on our way to Austin, Texas.
Monday morning. After a five hour nap, I was ready to experience this city for the first time ever. My crew met downstairs around lunchtime and we quickly strolled over to a well-known barbecue joint called Iron Works for a taste of Texas. After grabbing a seat at table, we were soon ripping into thick slices of brisket, corn on the cob and slurping up sweet tea with the regulars.
The pilots left us girls to our own devices and soon we had wandered over to Gourdoughs, a doughnut bar. Yep, you read that right. A full bar that only serves booze and doughnuts. Yes.
Several doughnuts and drinks later, we met up with the pilots once again for dinner and an evening stroll. Sixth Street in Austin was lined with lights and the music drifted out of the open windows of businesses. Inside a dive bar, a guy whooped and jumped onto a mechanical bull, only to be tossed down again a minute later. The air smelled smokey and sweet. I decided that I liked it here.
Way too soon, it was bedtime. Back at the hotel, I laughed as read a text message from an acquaintance:
"How was your weekend?"
I just smiled. You have no idea.