about sleeping in the night and eating breakfast in the morning

For the last couple of weeks I gave up on writing.

I would probably say that for the last couple of weeks I gave up on living in some acceptable human way, and that is my only excuse for abandoning my writing.

As I opened this blog, or journal, or anything you would call the thing you are looking at in the moment, I understood how much it is missing, and for all that I have the poorest excuse the world knows: I’ve been busy.

There is not a single word about how I caught the last metro in Paris to see my old friend and spend a night in a student house that looks just like Hogwarts, nothing about how I went on my sixteen hours flight to Houston, Texas, how I visited the actual Apollo mission centre. I didn’t write a single word about how great I felt with the wind in my hair when I rented the city bike in Houston city, or how beautiful it was to get drunk on the beach of small Texas island Galveston and run in the water with my clothes wet.


I did not write a word about how after a night of no sleep I was refused to be taken on board of the plane to my country and how desperate I was to go, how much it hurt when after travelling for 12 hours I had just one day to stay at my parents house.  I probably wouldn’t even know how to explain how I tried to make that day last forever and spend some time with all the people I miss, and how it felt when I had to get up in the morning and take the airport train, again, again, again.

I moved my flat in Dubai. I packed everything I have, a mountain of books, heavy photography albums, Buddha mask made of mango tree, frozen food, all my pillows and clothes I keep on buying to make myself happy. I used some superpowers of my new flatmate and we moved it all, from A to B, so maybe I can start everything from another beginning, in another place.

I was busy and this word is empty. It doesn’t mean anything anymore. Words busy and tired lost its meaning long time ago and I naively keep on using them, with a little trust that maybe this time I will be understood and learning over and over that the vocabulary I brought from my previous life does not have much communication to offer.

Tired, more tired, the most tired

Busy, busier, the busiest

During last month I probably went around the globe some three times, but it does not impress anybody anymore, and most importantly it does not impress me.

I did not write a single word about how after a night of work I jumped on my seven hours flight to get rejected on the assessment day for my dream job, and how I cried a river in a hotel room, the place I live in, with my boyfriend holding me and patiently saying

it will be okay.

It gets my eyes wet right now when I am writing about it too, but I learnt my lesson and I am thankful for it. It always hurts to get back to ground, and I suppose it hurts even more, when you spend most of the time around thirty two thousand feet above the ground.

Growing up in the world of dreams, books, summers and winters, cats and cakes, it gets hard to face the life as it is.

I should have written about how I met an Italian stranger once walking on the Milan main square in the chilly autumn afternoon and how he showed me the city . Maybe it was the smell of the European winter and my Christmas scarf, or maybe his italian accent and refusing to speak in any communicative English, but I couldn’t stop laughing for a second.

The smell of italian bakery, Poland covered in red and yellow leafs, the taste of pierogi. My dad and sister smiling at the airport arrival doors, the wind in my hair once I opened the car window on the Texas journey, the warm nights, the cold evenings. My friend laughing at me at Paris Cité Universitaire station in the night, the wind from the massive engines tugging my uniform once I’m standing on the airport and directing my passengers to the bus. Eating cheese crepes by the river Thames and holding my boyfriends’ warm hand, birds flying around my head in Milan.

Conversations with strangers. Sun rise

from

the

plane

window.

My job is taught, but beautiful. I have too many memories to share them with my friends. I have too many memories happening to watch news. I am too busy to tell my parents where am I going next. I am excited about evenings when there is nothing to do so I can go to bed early.

I feel constantly guilty for people I care about. I feel guilty for not having answered the messages, for not meeting friends the day I was supposed to meet them. I feel guilty because I’m missing birthdays, weddings, Christmas, mother’ days, family arguments, for not knowing what day it is, sometimes even being lost in another month. I bring wrong currencies to wrong countries, sometimes I forget to eat, sometimes I eat in the night and sleep in the day.

All the things I wrote make me realise one fact, which is, I am pretty much left alone with all my memories and my work. To spend most of your time in the sky is beautiful, but pretty lonely.


My life at some point has divided into the life itself and its narration. It is the nature of my job and I don’t want you all to listen to me whining, but instead of describing the places I see and get amazed with, I thought, at once I will describe the place I am in, so maybe you can understand it a little bit.

And if you don’t, it’s okay too.

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About being 32,000 ft above the ground

I love my job

I love my job

Juices, water, soft drinks. More cups. Too much water. I am preparing the cart for the next service. I am doing it mechanically, I feel like I’ve done it so many times now. In the meantime somebody pops up in the kitchen and asks me for the tea. I make the tea, we talk.

Where are you flying to?

This is the question I asked so many times, it could be my name now. It comes out of my mouth naturally, feels almost like I was breathing it out. But it isn’t worn out. The answers still make me smile. The interest on my face is not fake. I want to know. I still can’t believe all the crazy places that people go to, and all the different reasons they have. I am just as passionate about traveling as I was being seventeen. There is more that one million reasons to fly.

The man asks me whether I miss my family. We’ve been already flying for ten hours. I haven’t slept for around twenty, the time zone change is killing me. It is dark in the cabin. All the windows are closed and most of the passengers sleep, some of them stretch their legs next to the kitchen, some watch the movie. From time to time I open the window blind just to look outside, but there is no Sun, it is still dark outside. All the big cities we are passing by look like Christmas trees. Looking at them calms me down. I think about what people do. I wonder whether they are happy. Once I saw how the half of some city got cut out from electricity. I looked at it, and the part of it just turned black, like it was never there.

You know, when the mine gets cut off, or some massive shopping center, everything just stops, people panic, some die.

But when I am up there and I see a part of the world going black, I don’t think about any of these. It is too far away to think about it. It just doesn’t feel realistic.

When the man asks me the question, I feel confused. I do miss my family. And I miss my friends. But I haven’t seen the Sun for more than fifteen hours, we are going West. What I miss the most at this very moment is the world. I think about blending strawberries. I want to blend strawberries. I miss the sound of the cars in the morning, when I sit on the balcony and drink my tea. I miss it how the day changes, how it cools down in the evening and people go out from their houses. I miss people riding their bikes. I miss making a grocery shopping and sitting in my bed eating chocolate. All these things feel so far away. They feel much more afar than these 32,000 ft that actually separates me from them and I don’t know which reality is real: the one up there, or the one I miss.

It is still five more hours to go. I feel tired. But not frustrated. I am doing my job. There is a young mum with a nine months baby girl on her lap in my cabin. The baby girl cries, and the older lady sitting next to her tries to help her best. She smiles.

There is around sixty people in the cabin I am responsible for. All the different kind of people: mother with babies, elderly going on the life trip, students, people who don’t speak any English, people who are tired, sad, happy, excited. I probably won’t recognize their faces on ground, but that is okay, they won’t recognize me neither.

One man comes to the kitchen to stretch his legs. I get him a water. His accent is Australian, but he tells me he goes to Warsaw. It makes me happy. We change to Polish, which uncomfortably distances us with it’s formal “Pan, Pani” (tr. Sir, Madam). It takes a while until our native language start sounding natural.

He moved to Adelaide in 1981, running away from the occupation in Poland. He tells me about these times, and they are still alive in the way he talks about them. There was nothing there, only fear, it didn’t look anything like Poland he is going to see again in next 10 hours. I asked him, why Adelaide. He doesn’t know. He didn’t choose. It was the only place he could go to right now, and back than he couldn’t wait, so he took his things, he took his wife and moved to the other end of the globe, knowing anything about it. We talk for quite a while. He says that life in Australia is just easier. It goes smoother, and that is where he belongs. But we also agree on the way it feels to hear your mother tongue up there, when you don’t expect to hear it at all. It feels a little bit like, out of a sudden, you were being reminded of who you are by a stranger. It is not an easy feeling to describe.

When I am in the plane I think differently. I think a lot about the consequences. I think what may happen, if this container is not latched properly. I think what may happen, when you stand up from your seat too early, or don’t put your seat belt on, or when I am too tired to think and to focus my vision at the fixed point. It is a job and as every job you do most of your time, it turns into a routine. But the part of my routine is also to think, at every single take off and landing, about how to evacuate all of my passengers the quickest I can. Whether I can open my doors or not. Whether I can open or block my doors if we land on water. I make sure whether the sound that the plane made, while the wheels got out is normal. Whether the wing looks all right. I think about where the oxygen bottle is, in case if the lady sitting in front of me looking pale faints. I wonder what medicines takes the older man in the other seat and whether it won’t work differently in the cabin pressure.

What I wanted to say is, that after fifteen hours flight you can forget you are the human being. You don’t think about whether you have to do washing next day or not, or whether your bills are paid. Up there everything is different. The air feels different. The sounds are different. Me, other crew (that I only met few hours ago), and all the three hundred people who go around the world for their own, unique reasons are in this all together. You can be tired to the point you are not sure whether you can stand straight, but you are responsible and there is no way out. I think this is my greatest lesson from my job. There is no way out different than patience.

Being a cabin crew is not only about going to all these amazing places and taking photos with the Eiffel Tower, buying all these great souvenirs and sending postcards to your friends, looking great on the airports.

You know what do I dream about when we get on the ground? That maybe somebody waits for me with the flowers on the airport. I always catch myself staring at name plates people hold on waiting in the arrivals meeting point. They stare at me too, but none of the plates has my name written on it. We go straight to the bus, load the suitcases.

The job is done.

SYD, Australia

I was planning to write about Sydney since a while.  While it comes relatively easy to write and talk about faraway places that are so so different from all you know, it is not an easy task to write about Sydney and to show it the way I want to. The places like China, Sri Lanka, Nigeria, they shocked me. I loved them just like I love Sydney, but that was a different kind of love: a love to something new, shocking, unpredictable. In Asia people eat bugs on a sticks, in Nigeria sell shoes on the highways, Sri Lankans ride these crazy three-wheel vehicles on a busy roads: you cannot believe what you see, but it’s a fact, it’s a thing you can’t deny. Nobody eats bugs in Sydney (at least this is what I hope for), and all the cars look pretty normal. You get your shoes from topshop or h&m and there’s no much fuss about it neither.

Being a cabin crew gives you some new, different perspective. You go and see places, but you don’t live any of them. Most of the places don’t become anything personal for you. You get a general definition, but you see them from some kind of distance. I suppose it makes it much easier to write about them. I guess I’m able to tell you in few words what is Bejing and quite probably I will hit the nail better then a person who lives there for years. Does it mean that I know it? Not at all.

Believe it or not, but this 24 hours distanced perspective I get makes it much easier to describe and compare what I see. Have you ever noticed that the look of people faces in the certain places are so much different? Some places are made of proud faces, some of the tired ones, some ashamed. Living in one place makes you loose the ability to see that. Living nowhere makes you see it black on white.

In a way Sydney became my home for three nights and three days; even if the timezone change made nights the days and the other way round. Anyway, this most faraway place I will probably ever get to see, was not faraway at all.

In fact, it was so much  n o t  a faraway place that in the beginning I felt a bit confused. After a 14 hours chasing the sunrise flight, switching your watch to some crazy timezone in which you message your boyfriend saying “goodnight” in the morning, you do expect something shocking. More specifically, you expect to open the doors and get out to Narnia or something like that.

But Sydney just looks like it could be home.

I suppose it is shocking in a way. It is a place that comforts you. It is a place where older people hold hands walking in the park, where dogs look like they were smiling at all times and their tails go left and right, left and right. There’re no prices in the local grocery stores so after a while you decide to stop bombarding the shop assistant with billion of questions and just buy what you feel like. Massive buildings are surrounded by the parks where parrots chase you for a biscuit, people lie on a grass or go on a beach to say hello to the seagull. Maybe you’ll see some young couple getting married near the Sydney Opera House with all the strangers standing around, smiling and taking photos, just like they got a special invitation. People don’t seem to worry much in Sydney.

Time zone makes me wake up really early and really hungry, so I’ll go out as soon as the Sun comes up. I’m feeling restless in bed. I like these busy week mornings in a city a lot: people wear smart suits, they talk on the phones and walk fast. The sound of heels mixes up with the honks of the cars and seagulls singing, it wakes you up better than a coffee.

At the same time there’s a different reality going on five minutes away on feet. The high fence surrounded by the trees full of singing birds separate the busy, crowded Sydney from the Sydney of people holding hands and babies chasing the parrots. And I think this is my favourite one. Doesn’t matter how many times you go to Botanical Gardens: every time I get lost or find a path that didn’t know about. There’s a field full of birds not bothered about photographers, there’s a spices garden that makes your nose go funny, there’s a path next to the Sydney river full of boats going there and back, a small Greek garden and a palm house. And in all these places children run, people smile and dogs get their tongues out looking happy.

It does sound like a dream, and it does look like one too. But this dream has its price too.

There are no prices on the grocery stores and it’s okay coz I just buy a small coconut water. It’s relatively cheap, but still the most expensive I had. On a flight back I talk with the couple of European immigrants. They told me the Sydney gets more and more expensive. It was their heaven on the earth, they said, but they can’t afford this heaven anymore.

Is it the way of not getting the heaven overcrowded? I suppose so. I’m pretty sure there are more immigrants in Sydney than Aussie people. It may, or may not be a good thing. And as much as I’m trying to be objective and distanced, I cannot blame anybody who moved the half of the globe to spend there their life. It just seems like a right thing to do.