Thirty.

Year Two. Month Four. #SEA.


The last two weeks have been a blur.

Two Sundays ago I was a twenty-nine-year old regional flight attendant, standing on the ramp in Santa Barbara, watching the pinks and blues and purples peak over the mountains as the sun rose. I sipped my coffee, wondering what the next twenty-four hours would bring.

It was my last leg as a regional flight attendant. Ever.

The flight went quickly, with most passengers asleep or at peace in their own world. The sun came up and shone bright as we landed into Seattle. I blew a kiss to my old regional jet and hugged my crewmembers.

It was time.



Time to go mainline. Time to become an Alaska Airlines flight attendant.

Walking through the airport I struggled to keep my composure. In the crew lounge, I was bombarded by hugs and well-wishes. My good flight attendant friend Mark offered to drive with me over to the hotel I would be staying at for training. As he got me settled into my new home for the next six weeks, I joked that it felt like he was a mom dropping me off at college.

"Don't party too hard and pass your exams!" Mark laughed as we hugged goodbye.

That evening I met my new roommate, Jenna, and we got to know each other through wine and cupcakes. There was a new trainee social hour, where I met over seventy faces and names. I felt happy, but my heart ached for the old. My old crews. My old planes. My old, familiar regional life.



New is scary.

That evening, as I was preparing my outfit for my first day of Alaska Airlines flight attendant training, I realized that I had forgotten something important: my high heels.

I searched my room and the car, but no heels. And then I remembered something. I had left my shoes at the airport! After some frantic phone calls, I got ahold of Mark. He told me to drive over to the airport and he would walk out to the curb to hand me my shoes. Relieved, I zoomed on over to the departures area and what I saw absolutely melted my heart: a bunch of crewmembers had all walked out to the curb to greet me. I got hugs, more well-wishes and a proper send off. As I drove away I cried, truly grateful for my two years at my little regional airline.

But it was time to move forward.


My last stop of the evening was to meet with my fiancé for a quick dinner before I had to say goodbye. What I didn't realize was that he had organized a lovely little dinner complete with friends and champagne at my favorite restaurant. Being that the next day was my birthday, the server brought out my Pot de Crème complete with a candle. I closed my eyes and made a wish. The night came to a close and I found myself curled up in bed, breathless and excited for my first day of training.

I woke up at six in the morning and looked at myself in the mirror. Thirty years old. Ready for anything. ...I hoped.

My roommate and I walked downstairs to get on the shuttle bus to the Alaska training center. Seventy-four other bright, shiny faces smiled and said good morning. Seventy-four other people's hearts raced as they wondered what they were getting into.


I was one of the last people on the bus. As I boarded the bus, I noticed someone grinning at me. It was Grace, a lovely woman I had met at the Alaska hiring event months ago. As I passed her she shouted, "Happy Birthday, Celessa!" And with that, seventy-four people clapped and burst into song. I was laughing, half crying and overwhelmed by hugs and love as I got to my seat.

Seventy-four wonderful new friends.

We got to the training center and the instructors introduced themselves and gave handshakes and hugs. There was excitement and a sense of we made it! as we sipped our morning coffee and learned about our new lives as mainline flight attendants. Some people were new to the Alaska Airlines world, others had transferred from other departments or from Horizon Air, and some, like me, had waited for this moment for over half a decade.


By the end of the day we were tired, but happy. I was still learning names; still absorbing the fact that I was beginning my dream career with my dream airline on the day of my thirtieth birthday.

Happy birthday to me.

Here's to thirty more years of adventure, of flying, and of living the dream with my new home at Alaska Airlines.

#iamalaska.


Comments

  1. How exciting for you! What a beautiful story! Thanks for sharing! :)

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular Posts