Wings!

I truly believe that everything that we do and everyone that we meet is put in our path for a purpose. There are no accidents; we’re all teachers – if we’re willing to pay attention to the lessons we learn, trust our positive instincts and not be afraid to take risks or wait for some miracle to come knocking at our door.

-Marla Gibbs

The past few months have been very chaotic to say in the least.  This is why I have been so slack at keeping my blog updated… so I do apologise about that!

So here’s a taste of what has been going on lately!  Brace yourself… it’s a long one!

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Ever since we returned from Vietnam (at the end of June) life has been a complete roller coaster.  Long story short, while we were in Vietnam, we were technically being kicked out of our house that we had just moved into two weeks before we left.  Ironically enough, the people kicking us out just so happened to be our “friends” and also my new boss.  Mixing business and friendship isn’t a good idea anyway, but turning a friend into your landlord is far worse.  I could probably go on for hours about how stressed I was on our last few days in Vietnam and how angry I was, but it’s not worth it.  Shit happens and you learn from it… So there’s that! Finding a place to live is a pain in the ass anyway, but we were also in a rush- which doesn’t help!  Lets add the fact I didn’t want to work for someone that I  literally had zero respect for after handling a situation so poorly.  I’m not going to lie, I hated the job anyway.  I decided to take a break from waitressing/bartending and try housekeeping while I was still nannying casually.  Lets just say, it was NOT for me.  I truly hated it.  I can see why some people would thoroughly enjoy doing it because it does have its perks, but the perks were not outweighing the fact that I just hate cleaning in general. I knew I wanted to get a new job for that reason alone, but at the same time I had zero motivation to do it. Then all this happened and it motivated me 110% to get the hell out of there since my “boss” was a horrible person after all.  So in a strange way I guess I could say “Thanks for being shitty people/friends because if you hadn’t been, this new adventure may have never happened. Cheers guys!” 😉

So as we were trying to find a new place to live, I was applying for jobs left and right.  Unfortunately it was still winter time, which is the hardest time to find a job in Noosa.  I wouldn’t necessarily say I was being “picky” at finding a job, but I just wanted something that I was somewhat happy to go to every day.  As I said to my mother “I just want a job that I’m happy to go to… Is that so much to ask?” If you think about it, that is such a simple statement that seems so easy to accomplish, yet for most people it’s not that simple.  Most people aren’t stoked to go to their job everyday, yes I know, but life is already hard enough most days.  Do you really want to wake up every morning and say “Oh my god I actually wish I was deathly ill just so I don’t have to go there ever again…”   No, probably not!    So far, Australia hasn’t been my happy place for work.  I can’t seem to find a place that I’m happy to be working at.  I know at the end of the day a job is a job, and money is money. We all need money to pay our bills and survive, so how can you be so picky?  My brain doesn’t work that simply.  If I hate my job, then I am severely unhappy in almost all aspects of my life.  For those people that go to a job every single day that they absolutely hate, wipe a giant smile on their faces, and go home to their families and pretend everything is ok… Well I truly bow down to you.  I can’t do that.

A few weeks later, we finally found a new place to live!  We were really hoping to find a place that would allow us to get a pet, but that sadly didn’t happen. We literally had to fork over a few thousand dollars to pay 2 weeks rent upfront and an atrocious bond.  Yeah, no big deal.  We weren’t already broke or anything! 🙁 Since we left Hawaii, our living situations have been quite interesting for the past three years. Hostels, tiny studio apartments, vans, crappy roommates,  you name it.  We now officially have our OWN townhouse to come home to.  Well, not our own…. we are still renting, but it’s our own place with no roommates and actual SPACE to live.  It’s a two bedroom, two bathroom gem located in Sunshine Beach- which is a very popular suburb because it’s right on the beach.  Bloody hard to find a place here, but we did it!  Ah I love our new house SO much.

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When I’m on standby and we can’t leave the house…. he goes surfing in the pool 😀 

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Our landlord gave us outdoor furniture… say what??
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Not much too it, but we were stoked to have a backyard! 
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I still get so excited having an actual fridge!  
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Our private pool and carpark next to it. 
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Our bedroom downstairs…. I love having it away from the kitchen and living room. 
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Having a fridge to put photos on… It’s the little things in life 🙂 

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The beach is literally a 2 minute walk from here, but I now prefer the pool.  No sharks 🙂 

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I came to the conclusion that I needed to find a job in the travel and tourism industry if I was going to be happy and satisfied with myself.  I’ve been really wanting to be a flight attendant or a travel agent for quite some time now, but they are both very competitive jobs to get into. I applied for every travel agent opening along the Coast, and had no responses.  I even emailed a few companies asking if I could do free work experience for them, and I was still turned down.  I was beyond frustrated.  As much as I absolutely hate school, I finally came to the conclusion I needed to go back to school and get a travel and tourism certificate.  This would be my gateway to get me out of hospitality and that was more than enough motivation.  Once I found the course I wanted to take, I was 4 days too late.  The school emailed me and said that I could still sign up, I would just have to make up those 4 days I missed.  I was stoked that they would still let me in, but I was getting a strong pull not to do it.  I had no idea why, but something was telling me to just wait a week and see if another course would be available.

As I was walking to my car after work one day, scanning my emails for job responses or school enquiries, I noticed an airline had wrote me. My first thought was “Great, what’s their bloody excuse going to be?” I had to stop in the middle of the street and re-read the email 4 different times….. They wanted me to come for an INTERVIEW in 3 days…. in BRISBANE?!?! I was beyond ecstatic!!  I just so happened to be OFF on the day the interview was happening.  Seriously what were the odds of all this??

I went shopping for a business attire type outfit (because lets face it, I only own shorts and tank tops!), I ironed and re-ironed each piece of clothing about 7 different times. I was so anxious and nervous, you would not even believe it. Usually when I go to an interview, I don’t really care if I get the job or not, so I’m not anxious at all.  This was different.

I drove to Brisbane (1.5 hours away from our house) 3 hours early so I could be early, prepared, and change into my freshly ironed clothes outside the building. They were having two separate interview sessions. The first one started at 9 a.m. and mine started at 1 p.m.  Although I was still really early, I was one of the last people there.  I walked into a room of 9 people who were dressed to the nines.  Each person looked like they were professional business people. As I sat down, I looked around and thought “I do not belong here… There is no way they will choose me.  Ah… well at least I can say I made it to the interview!”   We filled out paperwork, questionnaires about ourselves, facts regarding the company (which I did not know), teamed up and did situational activities (If there was an infant with a broken leg, a man with a gash to his head, a child having an asthma attack, etc. How would you handle this situation?) My first thought: “Um… I would probably have a panic attack myself!”  This 3 hour group interview was the most intense interview I have ever been to… ever! I was shaking so profusely that I could barely write my name.  It was pretty pathetic!  At the end of the interview, they asked me and one other woman to stay behind. This is where we had a one-on-one interview with the bosses. I’m so much better at one-on-one situations, so I felt very relieved they asked me to stay. I felt pretty good about how it went, but I was still 110% confident that I didn’t get it. I know I may sound really hard on myself (because I always am anyway) but I know the facts:  Being a flight attendant is a very sought after job, every single person in that room would have killed to become one, I have zero experience in Aviation, and I don’t have an Australian Passport. That may seem silly, but most Aviation companies will not even look at your application if you don’t have an Australian or New Zealand passport.  (The joys of being an immigrant!)  I really lucked out in this aspect because they had no idea I was American until I was already at the interview. When I handed my passport to one of the women, she was completely thrown off and almost handed it back to me. I quickly said “No, no I’m a Permanent Resident… Here is all my visa information.”  She politely smiled, made a few notes, and walked away.  I instantly thought:  “Yep, I’m definitely out now……”

They made us wait 3 very long agonising days for a response… I literally could not focus on anything.  I felt like a neurotic high school girl that was waiting for the guy to call me back.  I never realised just how bad I wanted this job, but it quickly became apparent that I wanted this job with a deep firey passion! After staring at my phone for hours- willing them to just call me and put me out of my misery- and then talking to one of my references who said they had in fact called her (bless her heart, you know who you are. Thank you so much!)… my phone FINALLY rang. “Hi Kylie… We were really impressed with you at the interview and want to offer you the job….” My heart stopped and I started crying the happiest tears I have ever spilled..  “Kylie, are you there?”  Shit, I was so overwhelmed with emotion I forgot that I hadn’t said anything! I quickly responded “Yes I’m sorry! I literally had to catch my breathe… I am so excited, thank you so much!!!”

Once my contract was officially singed, it hit me like a giant wave crashing down on me- “I have to commute 3 hours a day for this job…. holy shit… what did I just do??”  Here’s what I did: I was given an incredible opportunity that hundreds of other people wanted and it didn’t matter what I had to do to keep this, I would make it work. This has become my daily mantra: “I will make it work.” This entire situation was put in my path for a reason and I need to ride this wave to figure out why it was given to me. Who knows, maybe it will open doors for me that I never knew existed?  Only time will tell.

The most dreaded part about taking this job… Ground School. Those two words still make me cringe.  As they said in the interview “Ground school is intense… I mean it’s really, really intense. There will be exams, practicals, and assessments almost every day. Most days will be 8 hour days, but some will be 10-12 hour days, including Saturdays and Sundays. We need you to basically drop your life for 24 days and fully commit to ground school. Can you do that?” Yikes! With that said, I moved to Brisbane for the month. There was no way in hell I was going to commute 3 hours a day on top of long hours and studying. I ended up renting a room through a “Friend of a friend”.  It was perfect for the time being.

(Unfortunately I can’t post photos from ground school, so I can’t give you a real visual of what it’s like.    Instead there are pictures of some of the awesome experiences I have had since starting this job! )

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I got to fly to Melbourne on the ‘Melbourne Cup’ (basically similar to the Kentucky Derby) So I made a little night of it.  I took the train to downtown and watched all of the people dressed up in their giant hats and fancy dresses.   Then I came to this tourist trap:  Eureka Sky Deck 🙂 

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Views from Eureka Sky deck

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How about those sun rays?? 

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Before ground school even started, we had to complete at least 10 online module courses. Some courses took anywhere between 2-3 hours (just for one) with quizzes at the end.  Sure enough, ground school was everything they said it would be…. plus some. After my first day, I called Patrick that night in tears telling him “I can’t do this… it’s not for me….. I just can’t do it.”  Thankfully he talked me through it and I showed up on the second day. Let me just say, a flight attendant is nothing like I imagined it to be. Everyone- including myself- assumes you are a glorified waitress in the sky with killer benefits. How hard could it possibly be?  All they do is serve food and drinks and make sure their makeup is always perfect, right?   Yeah…. That’s only about 10% of the actual job description. That hit me like a giant stack of bricks. You may be a waitress in the sky, but you are also a police officer, a paramedic, a firefighter, a housekeeper, a nanny, and a caregiver. Yes, all the above!

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The fire day was so much fun.  They took us to a very small building full of smoke where we had to work as a team and find our way back out.  AND use a fire extinguisher! So much fun!  My lovely friend Pilita caught this photo for me.  🙂  

You will learn how to restrain someone with flexicuffs, learn self defence and how to handle various situations (terrorism, hijacks, etc.), memorize fire drills and how to handle and put out various fires, how to handle dangerous goods, aviation medicine, emergency equipment, evacuation drills, how to deal with an incapacitated pilot or flight attendant…. you name it. 90% of the job is safety related.  The aviation medicine and emergency equipment were the hardest things to grasp (for me).  In one day we had to do a one-on-one assessment with an instructor with all the different pieces of emergency equipment. “Ok, so what piece of equipment are you holding? What’s the preflight check for this? What are the precautions? (at least 5 different precautions) Ok, how do you operate it? (step by step) What is its duration and range?”  And then there’s aviation medicine… “What is the recognition for Severe Hypoxia? How would you treat it? If my skin is pale and clammy to the touch and I have chest tightness, what would you say is happening?  How would you treat it?” At one point I thought to myself “Holy shit, I’m not going to school to be a doctor… how do they expect us to remember all of these symptoms and conditions??” Some days we had 3-4 exams just in the morning…. then practicals in the afternoon.  Our last week was solely focused on evacuations (where we sat on the actual aircraft) and how to handle different scenarios. I never thought of myself as being an actress, but I really enjoyed this part.  As you sit in your flight attendant seat, they tell you various scenarios and then one of the instructors announces: “This is the captain… evacuate, evacuate!” As you’re yelling at the top of your lungs the initial commands (word for word) while also checking outside conditions and opening your exits. I wish so badly I could show you a video of it because I know it’s so hard to imagine. You have so much adrenaline pumping through your veins because of the severity of the situation, while also getting to yell at everyone and guide them off the aircraft… it’s pretty incredible! In a nutshell, ground school was probably the hardest thing I have ever done, while also being away from my boyfriend and home. I was convinced I was going to fail ground school, which is why I didn’t really tell anyone that I got the job.  I will admit, I cried a lot during that month.  I had extremely high anxiety and thought about quitting almost every day.   That 24 days of school was more stressful than 6 months of intense culinary school and any other cooking job I have ever had. Crazy, right? Saying that, it’s probably because I was completely out of my comfort zone.  Anything school related (I suck at school), memorising so much information, public speaking, dressing in business attire clothing, acting things out… None of those things come naturally for me.

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If you know me, then you know I hardly ever wear makeup.  Half the time I have to remind myself to brush my hair.  My girly genes are kind of non-existent.  Since it’s mandatory, I learned how to wear makeup.. I figured a few selfies were kind of necessary.  

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On our graduation day, we had two exams and a practical (awesome graduation huh? haha). That afternoon we all got to have a one-on-one talk with the instructors- where I cried again because I was so overwhelmed and excited that I did it! Geeze I sound like such a ball baby huh? We then all changed into our new uniforms, received our certificates, and enjoyed a glass of champagne and food.

WE OFFICIALLY HAVE WINGS!!!!!

(I am dying to post pictures in our uniforms, but unfortunately it’s against company policy. I would get fired before you even finish reading this! )

I drove home that night to see Patrick. I only had one day off until I started my “in-flight training” that Monday. Silly me, I thought once we graduated that was it… not more studying-  but it wasn’t. For four days of flying, I had an instructor following me around and watching my every move. Critiquing my  Over-wing exit briefing, infant briefing, disabled briefing, cabin secure checks, operation of the service door, etc.  Before, during, and after the flight I would be asked random questions from every chapter we read in school, various aviation medicals, you name it. By your third day, the instructor establishes whether you are ready to be “check-to-line”. So the fourth day is the deal breaker. The instructor grades you on every single thing during the flight, along with various theory questions regarding everything we have learned. Those four days on the airplane were more stressful than all of ground school because you’re literally in the AIR with real passengers who are also watching your every move.   Holy shit! Who would have thought that a glorified waitress in the sky goes through THAT much training? I have a newfound respect for every single flight attendant now.   Even though I contemplated whether the stress and distance from Patrick was really worth it, I can confidently say IT WAS VERY MUCH WORTH IT!

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the famous Ayers Rock from the sky 
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Uluru- located in The Northern Territory.   Smack dab in the middle of the desert.  You would be surprised how many tourists come all this way just to se this famous rock.  Not to mention how many AMERICANS come here.  We were lucky enough to do a private charter for a group of Americans.  It was so much fun! 

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When in Uluru, it’s absolutely necessary to wake up at 3:30 a.m. to ride camels.  
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This sunrise was seriously incredible! 

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Now that I’m officially flying full time, I’m currently renting a room in Brisbane for most of the week and then going home to Noosa on my weekends. It’s not ideal, but it is what it is.  Patrick and I are just going backwards in a way. We have pretty much lived together from the very beginning of our relationship and have been inseparable for four years.  Now we are experiencing busy work lives apart, and really enjoying the time we DO have together.  One step at a time…

So far I am absolutely loving this job!! No two days are the same and I am always learning something new.  This is a very exciting way for me to see parts of Australia that I probably would have never seen before.

For the time being, our adventures are put on pause due to the fact we now never see each other, and are extremely broke! Stay tuned….. 🙂

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