I believe that sometimes we must take risks in life. But always determine if the risk is worth it. For me at that moment, it was either throwing the bottle away and try to sleep naturally again or face a fine. The worst case scenario could’ve been that I had to leave China immediately after arriving. This would’ve been an embarrassment to the company and would’ve been cause for termination. The company and Arabic cultures in general are typically really concerned about what people think about them and the image to the outside world needs to be perfect. I mean, when we are in uniform and at the airport, we cannot even enter a store where alcohol is displayed. But going back to my dilemma at the airport, I knew that they’d never check crew at the airport how they’re supposed to be checked. Knowing that I could keep the medicine inside my suitcase, but you know since my time here in the middle east and in this company, I felt really 'locked up' and I hated the feeling so much. I knew that I would never do something to get myself into jail and that’s the reason why I threw the bottle away. It just wasn’t worth it.
After some time we were ready to leave for China, the worst flight ever. It was a full flight with only Chinese people and no one could speak English. Just imagine the language barrier. Other than that I am still not sure if these Chinese people are rude or if it’s a cultural thing, but from my perspective, they were so rude. They were demanding, and even yelled at me. As I mentioned earlier, no one will ever disrespect me or yell at me, so the moment this customer yelled at me I gave him a very arrogant look and said: “Sir.. listen carefully to me, In my aircraft, we don’t yell at people. I will serve you once I am finished with the other customers”. If he understood what I said, that’s another question. Other than this, we also had a common thing onboard. Whenever we’d start the service we would distribute menu cards to all our customers, which means u have some time to go through the menu and decide what u want. Customers often wait until the moment you’re standing in front of them to look through the menu and decide what they want to eat. I just couldn’t stand that and sometimes I just left them and went to serve another customer.
Finally, the flight ended and the next day It was time for the Great Wall. Walking those stairs was a magical feeling, u can feel this magical atmosphere around u. It was a feeling I can’t really describe, but It made me do a lot of thinking as well. As I was standing there, I realized that I’d already seen 19 countries since starting the job, and a random fact I’ve visited all the continents on this earth. I am more than blessed with this opportunity to indeed travel the world. But on the other hand, I was constantly tired and never really had time to contact my friends and family due to the crazy schedules. My crew was always very nice, but it was for a short period of time. For me seeing the world would be much nicer with people around me who I adore and love the most. I am not saying that I didn’t enjoy seeing all these countries, but for me, there was always a small piece missing.
As a flight attendant, u are either sleeping or tearing your body apart. I often had times where I was awake for almost 30 hours and still roaming around the city just to see the country. For me, it was necessary to see the countries because that was one of the main reasons I did this job. I also experienced a lot of loneliness at the home-base as well. I had times where I would just sleep order food and sleep again. There wasn’t really much to do other than just sleeping or go for a drink in one of the expensive hotels, where a Heineken beer costs €15. Also, the culture didn’t suit me at all but of course I respected it, but I believe that it limits u in many ways. Especially if you are from a western country. I never had the urge to go home directly but sometimes u just know that at a certain place you will never feel home and that a dream can be lived but doesn’t need to be lived forever. But how do u know u need to stop living the dream when there are so many countries to be seen in this world?
The feelings mentioned above were feelings I was constantly dealing with as I was enjoying the beautiful layovers. And the thing with feelings is, you can always hide them but never deny them. So for me, it was time to make a decision.