Calling For Home

Once again I’m writing late into the month. I received some very sad news whilst I was on a layover in Adelaide, Australia only two days ago. One of my family dogs passed away because of a tumour on his spleen. He only recently turned seven, he was taken from us far too young and has left his sister, one of our other dogs behind. Unfortunately we had to put him to sleep as he was struggling to recover after his operation and it was the kindest thing to do.

Whilst it was first thing in the morning in Adelaide, it was last thing at night in the UK. After receiving a text from my mum I rang her hoping they’d made a mistake and it wasn’t true. I cried into my pillow feeling helpless and lonely. This time of year is difficult as it is being away from home, but to loose what I can only describe as a member of our family feels horrendous.

We have three dogs at home and when I left I was sure I would be able to see all of them again. They all seemed healthy and full of life as though they weren’t going anywhere soon. I feel so hard done by, and at times like these all you want is to be surrounded by your family.

The 12 hour flight back to Dubai was a real struggle. The load was light so I had too much opportunity to let my mind wander. I often became teary eyed and locked myself in the toilets. I tried to hold it together, telling myself as soon as I get back to my apartment I can let it all out. In a normal job you’d have support from your colleagues because it’s likely you would’ve known them for years. Although people were kind to me I felt so alone only knowing these people a short time.

Carlos will be sorely missed by our family, he was a lovely dog and a huge part of our family. This time of year a lot of people tend to buy dogs, but nothing can prepare you for their short life and the heartbreak their departure brings. 

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December has been a difficult month. Christmas is hugely celebrated in my house, it’s a time where we all come together as a family. This year I feel excluded from the celebrations but I’m trying to stay as positive as possible because I have ten days leave in January, plus I chose this path for all the positive elements it brings. I can’t explain how excited I am to get home and spend time with all my friends, family and especially my two dogs.

At the beginning of this month I actually got my first flight to the UK. Before I received December’s rosta I thought to myself, knowing my luck I’ll get a UK flight the week both my parents were on holiday in India and my older sister was travelling around Asia, and yes, that’s exactly what happened. Nevertheless a flight to Glasgow was a God send and I was heading straight down that motorway home.

I’m so fortunate to have such good friends and a little sister who picked me up from the hotel, took me home and had a spread of absolute treats, including gin and sausage rolls waiting fro me. We had the best night catching up, it was so nice to see everyone. After a while it felt like I’d never been away.

Because most of my family were away on holiday, all of the dogs were in the kennels. So there were no sofa snuggles from my babies, it really has been a long time since I’ve seen them all, making it all the more difficult saying goodbye to Carlos.

After a dreamy sleep in my own bed I woke up early with so much to cram in. I wanted to get a much needed hair cut from my friend, take my grandma for lunch and spend my whole allowance on a Tesco food shop. I splurged out buying prosecco for Christmas day and some of my favourite sweets. I also stocked up on my favourite hair products, there’s some things you just can’t live without.

A flight to the UK was exactly what I needed so although I want to see the world I’ll be welcoming many more flights to my home country.

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After my Glasgow flight I was supposed to be going to Casablanca, Morocco but suddenly, last minute, I got a rosta change to Hong Kong. I was over the moon because a friend of mine from home has moved there to study abroad for a year. I messaged him straight away to make plans for the 26 hour lay over.

After a quick nap he came to my hotel to meet me and had an itinerary planned to a T. First we went for something to eat only round the corner from the crew hotel called Mihn & Kok at Fashion Walk in Causeway Bay. It was nice to try some different food but the dinning out experience as a whole was unusual. I felt as though the service and hospitality was lacking in manners and politeness. It wasn’t something I’m used to but it was interesting to experience how that type of industry differs to what I know as I have a wide background in hospitality.

I’ve never been to New York but walking through the streets of Hong Kong is what I imagine New York is like. Busy streets, tall buildings, flashing billboards and non-stop traffic. I loved the city, it had a great vibe about it.

After dinner we headed to the supermarket to buy some drinks to take to Red Bar at IFC. Alcohol is quite expensive in Hong Kong so apparently the thing to do is buy your own from the supermarket and take it to this bar. I thought that wouldn’t be allowed but no one batted an eye lid. The views were amazing and the entire atmosphere was just chilled out whilst we listened to music in the back ground.

Later into the night we headed to SEVVA which I can honestly say was lovely and I’d highly recommend it.. if you’re willing to pay £18 for a medium sized glass of wine. Don’t get me wrong, the wine was lovely but that glass was about a third of my allowance. Again the views of the city were incredible, especially because it was night time and the whole place was lit up.

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Finally we ended the night playing pool in a really cool bar called Tazmania, which was at the top of a hill at what could’ve been mistaken for the Magaluf strip. The place was bouncing with music and people walking through the streets. It was fascinating how many different vibes the city gave off.

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That evening I was cautious as to what time I needed to stop drinking. Any alcohol needed to be out of my system before flying back to Dubai. So I headed home feeling fine just extremely tired after only having a short nap. However, after only a short while I found myself in my pyjamas on another floor to where my room was located. I woke up feeling panicked as I realised I’d slept walked through the hotel and locked myself out. Thankfully the hotel staff were really helpful and understanding and gave me a new key.

When I got back to the room I googled why people sleep walk because I’d never done it before and I was confused as to why I’d started now. After a little bit of research I learnt that sleep walking is most common among young children, and adults who are sleep deprived. This made perfect sense to me. It did’t stop me from being afraid of the possibilities which could’ve occurred during this though.

The next day my friend Sam took me up Victoria Peak to see even more views of the city whilst enjoying a morning coffee, trying to recover from the night before. Again going up to the peak gave me another insight as to what Hong Kong is like. There are so many different aspects to it which was really interesting to see.

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Finally we took a boat across the water to The Ritz Lounge & Bar which was on the hundred and second floor, not great from someone who isn’t that good with heights. Luckily though you couldn’t really see straight down, only across at the magnificent views of Hong Kong. We only paid about £25 for an all inclusive buffet overlooking Hong Kong. It was a perfect end to a really good layover. The food was amazing, as well as the company and views.

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Only a few days before my flight to Adelaide I was lucky enough to get a layover in Colombo, Sri Lanka. We have numerous flights a day there and although it’s a 4 hour flight most of them are turnarounds. Turnarounds like that are bound to be exhausting but luckily I haven’t had to experience one yet.

Sri Lanka was another place to tick off my list as I’ve never been there before. But soon after returning I thought, does it really count when you barely left the hotel? I lay by the pool for most of the day drifting in and out of sleep, continuously applying suncream to my face so I didn’t fly back looking burnt.

Later in the evening me and three other crew members too a taxi to Beach Road where there are various restaurants located on the sea front. We were recommended a restaurant called King Coconut by other crew members who had done this layover before. The taxi driver told us the chef had changed and Tastee’s Banana was much better. I couldn’t help but think he was on commission, but we took his word for it anyway.

Before I knew it, it was time for bed and to get some rest before tomorrows short flight back to Dubai where I was looking forward to spending some time off with my friend.

Sri Lanka is definitely somewhere I would like to see more of. The people were nice, the weather was glorious and Colombo definitely had something to offer. Hopefully if I get the layover again and I’ll explore some more of the city, rather than sleeping in the sun trying to catch a tan. Which by the way, is also a brilliant way to spend a lay over,

Nicola x

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