For the superstitious type, boarding a transatlantic flight on Friday the 13th would be a very undesirable situation. Add to that the fact that the flight is notoriously known for being one of the most challenging long-haul journeys in terms of demanding passengers and many crew would be tempted to call in sick and stay safe at home in bed.
I, on the other hand, was actually quite excited for the day ahead. Some crew called in sick. Whether they were actually ill, superstitious, or just really despise the flight, we'll never know. The rest of us boarded a plane bound for Toronto, Canada... my beautiful home country!
I'd be lying if I said that the flight was easy, but with the thought of the finish line (and Tim Horton's coffee) in my mind, I persevered through the endless call bells and non-stop running around the cabin for 13 hours.
After a long day in the sky, we landed! I was back in Canada! It had only been a few weeks since my last visit, but that didn't stop me from being just as excited as always. After waiting for what felt like forever for the crew to make their way to the bus, we were on our way. One thing that I love about Toronto is how unknown our airline is. I love how people stare and take photos as we file into the hotel lobby. For those few moments, I'm a celebrity. What I love even more, is the fact that after I take off the uniform I can blend into society like a normal person. I don't stand out as cabin crew, and for just a few days it's fun to pretend that I lead a normal daily life.
My first plan of action was obviously to venture to Tim Horton's. Dinner and coffee were calling, so I headed to the restaurant beside the hotel to grab a bowl of chili and sample the brand new mint chocolate iced capp. It was yummy, but I think the original tastes just as good. I had so many plans before landing but now that I'd arrived and fatigue had set in, I decided that an evening spent lounging around my hotel room was exactly what I needed. Ryan and I talked online as I watched a marathon of wedding shows on TV. I still can't believe the amount that some girls will spend on a wedding gown! I tried hard to stay awake, but my body was fighting it. I knew that an early night would mean an extra early morning, but I was too tired to care. I curled up in bed and slept like a baby... until 3 am. Jet lag on this particular trip really gets to me, and as the rest of the city slept or returned home from Friday night parties, I was up and ready to start my day despite having went to bed only 5 hours earlier.
I showered, got ready, and returned to Timmy's (open 24 hours!) to grab breakfast and caffeine. I killed time watching TV and packing a smaller bag to take to my Grandma's house until it was time to head to the station to catch my train. I rode the train to the station and got off to see my grandma waiting for me! Yay, family!
Naturally, our first stop was Tim Horton's. Yes, again. We sat and chatted over coffee and tea, keeping warm and dry on a rainy spring day. We planned on going to a bridal shop to look at veils, as she is going to make mine for my upcoming wedding. Having only seen photos of me wearing wedding gowns, I agreed to try some on to show her. I'll never say no to trying on pretty dresses! She took photos and admired the beautiful gowns as I ignored the huge dark circles under my eyes and tried to envision what I'll look like in 8 months!
We left the bridal shop and continued our girly day by heading to the "Women's Show". People tried to sell us all sorts of girly products as I happily sampled the snacks laid out on some of the booths. We left with a delicious bag of kettle popcorn... my favourite!
Back at my grandma's house, I was feeling the effects of my early morning and snuck in a nap before it was time for dinner! I couldn't wait to eat the delicious food at my uncle's house. I loaded my plate with steak, salmon, potatoes and veggies, all very yummy. Knowing that a big meal would make me sleepy, I tried to avoid overeating. I failed, going back for seconds because I just can't resist salmon!
We stayed for awhile to visit before calling it a night and heading to bed. These across-the-world trips are tiring!
The next day I was up early once again. After my grandparents returned from church, it was time for shopping! I'm certain that very few other people share my enthusiasm when it come to trips to the mega-store Walmart, but I couldn't wait. I eagerly grabbed a basket and tossed in all of the essentials that I can never find in Dubai. Happy with my purchases, it was back to grandma's house, where we got ready before leaving to pick up my great grandma and head to a birthday party for a family member who was turning 90! What an amazing milestone. I grew up on the other side of Canada, so throughout the afternoon I was introduced to many family members that I didn't know existed. The table of snacks was all too hard to resist, and I found myself repeatedly visiting it to load up on cookies and cakes, and sending my cousin Colton to grab me some more brownies when I felt as though people were going to start judging me and my dessert addiction. Once I'd finally had enough, plates with birthday cake were brought around the room. How could I say no?! It's a terrible thing to go to a birthday and refuse cake. I indulged in the chocolately goodness and didn't regret it.
After we left and I'd filled up on junk food, it was dinner time. I wasn't hungry, but the long wait at the restaurant gave me time to find my appetite. We'd arrived at a buffet and I was expecting the typical Chinese cuisine. They had that, and soooo much more...Crab legs, sushi, pizza, and a massive salad bar and dessert area! All that I could think of was Ryan and how much he'd love it. I'm quite certain that I ate enough for the both of us.
Back at the house, we attempted to watch a movie but instead I found myself falling asleep. I gave in and called it a night.
Monday had arrived too soon, and it was time for me to go back to Toronto. My uncle Troy picked me up in the morning and we made the trip to the city. I was determined to stock up on fresh fruit to bring back to Dubai, so we headed to the St. Lawrence Market to get some yummy and cheap groceries. I was very disappointed to find that the market was closed on Mondays. Where would I get my raspberries now?!
Fortunately, there was a large grocery store across the street and I loaded up on all sorts of goodies to take back to the desert with me. Not wanting my fun to be over but knowing that I needed to get some sleep before the flight, I said goodbye to my uncle as I returned to my hotel room to sleep the afternoon away. What I hadn't considered was the fact that I'd had a great night's sleep and I just wasn't tired enough to take a nap. I headed out for lunch, hoping to make myself sleepy, but no such luck. Finally, with only an hour to go before my wake up call, I accepted my fate and headed to Starbucks for an extra espresso latte. I love Tim Horton's, but I needed something strong to get me through this.
Running on caffeine and no sleep, it was time to go to the airport. I made the usual small talk with the crew about what they'd done over their layover, trying not to focus on the fact that I hadn't slept. Whenever I think about how tired I should be, it hits me. I managed to stay awake for the duration of the flight thanks to a great crew. It's people like them that make me love my job. Even with a plane full of annoying passengers, a great crew makes all of the difference!
I was relieved to finally land in Dubai and sleep for many, many hours. Normally I'd be sad to be back after a short visit to Canada, but I'll be back in a few short weeks, with a certain boy that I'm engaged to! Life is good!
My Awesome Grandparents!