It is the evening before my early morning departure to
– Dallas, Texas –
and I am desperately trying to get some rest before my flight…still being jet lagged from my previous US trip to Los Angeles -.- Around 8pm I am finally in bed with my eyes closed…not knowing that only one hour later I will be forcefully woken up by a screaming child down the hallway. My rest is ruined and as much as I am trying to get back to sleep it just won’t happen. So I decide to use my time efficiently and kick in a little pre flight run as usual. With temperatures now rising up until 50 degrees celsius during the day this is the perfect -and probably also only- time to fit in a run 🙂
Fully charged and all excited I enter the briefing room cheerfully lilting my usual happy greetings to everyone, but when the door swings open I realize that I am the only one. Not a single person is present yet and for the first time in a long while I find myself in an empty room. Suddenly it dawns on me that in my enthusiasm I might have left a little too early…well I guess it’s better being early than rocking up too late and so I start mentally preparing myself for the next 20h of duty…realizing how crazy that must sound.
The average age of our customers must be around 50 as we have a lot of wheelchair passengers and elderly who seem very frail and tired from their connecting flights. One lady concerns me in particular as she seems to be extremely exhausted and when I pull her aside during boarding to check on her I find out that she is in extreme pain suffering from arthritis and taking several medications. For those ultra long haul flights it is very important to ensure everyone is fit and healthy to travel as we will be flying for 16h over some very remote places with very little (aka no) options for an emergency landing. So during boarding it is pretty much one of my main duties to spot those critical cases in order to avoid trouble later. I quickly take all details of the lady mentally scanning her through our medical check up list and together with my senior we finally clear her as fit to fly. But I surely keep a close eye on her for the rest of the flight. A few hours later into the flight I visit her at her seat offering some snacks and refreshments which she happily accepts weakly smiling back at me. I start involving her into a casual conversation and find out that apart from her suffering she has much more to share…I learn that she is a retired English teacher in her home country Bangladesh and now homeschooling little children who don’t have access to basic education. After many years of being apart the lady is finally going to visit her daughter in the United States, the place of her dreams and the land of endless opportunities. I suddenly realize how blessed I am in life and that we take the simplest things for granted whilst other people have absolutely nothing in life and are still able to give so much to others. So even though we probably could not be any more different I suddenly feel that we have something in common…our love for the States ❤
When we finally touch down after a very long flight I stand by the door for my usual farewells welcoming everyone into the United States. I stop as someone suddenly grabs my hand and places a tiny kiss on my cheeks. I turn and look straight into the old ladies eyes and find her crying overwhelmed with endless thankfulness. We hug each other goodbye glad about having both reached our happy place and exchange warm well wishes. I will never forget that special encounter and believe that these moments are worth much more than any salary could ever pay.
Finally in the hotel I am more than ready for my post flight nap in order to hit the town just a few hours later. What would I do or where would I be without coffee?! I wake up and head down straight to the next Starbucks shop (my personal mecca) only to find out that it’s closed. How will I survive?! I cannot function properly without my daily intake. And yes you can go ahead and judge me because I am an addict. In my despair I run down the lobby searching for a coffee machine when a hotel staff approaches me with an American accent asking me the magic question ‘Ya lookin’ for coffee mam?!’ YES! YES I AM! ‘Please help me’ I nearly beg him. And boy did he help me. I instantly got my cup of happiness-for free whohoo 🙂
Now I am ready to go and chase some cowboys 😉 I decide to follow the friendly immigration officers tip who must have seen my excitement on arrival and join some crew on a night out at the Forth Worth Stockyards, the historic district of town starring the famous bull riding shows. I am still fascinated by the old country-style and the all American flair this place holds.
After a 40min drive we enter the first available bar and the guys order their usual pints of beer when my eyes spot something very fancy called a ‘Jack Daniels Honey Bellini’. It is obvious that I cannot leave this place without having tried one of these. And let me tell you: it tastes just delicious! I am honestly not a very big fan of Whiskey as I believe it’s a mens drink but remembering that I still have a nearly untouched bottle of JD Honey in my fridge at home I will definitely try to make those myself. Check out some of the awesome ways to spice it up yourself: https://www.pinterest.com/recipes/jack-daniels-honey-liqueur/
Never having been to a bull riding contest I am very excited and also a bit scared as I am not a big fan of animal cruelty in general and heard some very horrifying stories about this place..but as usual I won’t judge something before I have seen it with my own eyes and so we make our way into the ring to watch those crazy cowboys swing their lassoes 😉 The show starts with a girl riding into the field paying her personal tribute to the stars and stripes theme in a very mesmerizing way…an immediate sense of pride goes through the audience as suddenly everyone sings along this song:
God bless America. I gotta admit that I am not a huge fan of the whole bull chasing thing but the spirit at this venue is definitely unbeatable and it surely fascinates me how families casually come out here on weekends to send their own kids inside the ring to teach them some real country-style rodeo. With vivid childhood memories on farmland myself the distinctive smell of barn (to put it in a nice way) gets even too heavy for me after a while and so I excuse myself after the first round and quickly get out of there. It is dark outside already and the streets are now filled with cowboys and other crazy people like the drunk dude from Southern Alabama who likes to make friends with the entire world asking me about a million times if I’m sure not to be from Alabama myself haha…I stroll around without knowing where I’m actually heading until I hear some great live music from one of the tiny side streets. And so it happens by total coincidence that I end up in an amazing open bar place with some really good vibes and a guy on stage totally nailing the guitar. I decide to stay for a drink&some nachos and enjoy the great atmosphere along with some really good music.
So if you ever have a chance to go out in Forth Worth and maybe also wanna grab a bite to eat just head straight to the ‘Love Shack’ and enjoy some really good music 🙂
The next day I do some serious shopping (you cannot leave the states without it!) and also work off some of my friends and families wish lists…until I find out that the rolling stones are coming to town that night…as much as I like to continue shopping I cannot miss that opportunity! And so I head back for an early dinner at one my fav places in the world…Wholefoods
The concert is hosted at one of the biggest stadiums I’ve ever seen and with a seat capacity of 85,000 simply enormous. Having been to many concerts around the world before I must say I was a little bit shocked by the fact that people actually prefer to sit down while watching rock legends like the Stones. In great company and fully equipped with popcorn and beer I was ready to enjoy the show, but when ‘Satisfaction’ came on I could not hold myself anymore and just jumped off my seat regardless of all the people sitting behind me haha…
All in all I had a really great time and even though I hardly slept on this layover I do not want to miss out on a single second I spent awake out in the States.