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To hell in a hatrack, and back. - katori blog [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
susan smitten

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To hell in a hatrack, and back. [Mar. 18th, 2004|05:36 pm]
susan smitten
I haven't updated or even checked my email for two weeks. Sorry, guys!

Yesterday I completed my two weeks of Safety and Emergency Procedures training, minus one test I'll sit Saturday for my Boeing 777 Aircraft Type Rating. It will be hard, but the worst of it is behind me.

Don't think I'm not having a good time! I hardly recognize my own life. Last week I was sitting in an Irish pub on a lunch break, with dear new friends Shady, Samuele, Megan, Tariq, and Nissrine. Six people - and seven nationalities. We carried passports from Egypt, Italy, Singapore, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Morocco, and the U.S.A. (In an Irish pub in Dubai.)

This resembles my everyday, non-school portion of my life. Dubai attracts the adventurous, and Emirates recruits the charming, open, and friendly. (I'd like to include myself in that category ;-) The skyscraper next door to mine has a cafe/bakery, a Japanese restaurant, and a Lebanese shisha patio on the ground floor (Saj Express). You'll find me at the last one nearly every evening, taking shisha and za'tar on the sidewalk, with Nissrine, Shady, and other young and beautiful flowers.

Samuele made pasta last night, around one o'clock in the morning. One of our SEP instructors showed up, and so did a large Singaporean contingency. We played Truth or Dare... I felt 13 again. After sunrise, a few of us hit the pool on the roof, and then Shady showed me his favorite breakfast place. Tonight, there's a party with my batchmates (fellow ab initio and other same-time hires). It's sure to be a wild scene, and while I prefer last night's format for a good time, I'm going so as not to miss anything.

I hardly recognise my own life. I said that before, American-style. My hair is auburn now, not blond. I wear the uniform. Some of you are familiar with it. I wear loads of makeup, iron my clothes, and even moisturize my cuticles. I shower every day. Don't worry - it hasn't changed me. I've become very used to carrying a suitcase at all times. I know a lot of things about different kinds of aircraft. Which brings me to SEP training, which I've been putting off (for the last hour) attempting to describe.

For one week, I experienced every kind of emergency, as many as twenty times per day. Crash landings, water landings, returns to field, severe turbulence, rapid decompression, toilet fires, seat fires... Emirates has got a great simulator, and it's impossible not to feel rattled, when you're demonstrating your competency as four instructors scribble notes and then tear you apart while a large part of the fuselage is being ripped apart (or so your five senses are telling you). I think I now feel comfortable evacuating a smoke-filled aircraft with a burned engine, leading hundreds to survival at sea or in the desert.

The second week was largely paper-study. You know, there's a lot of stuff on planes. Show me an Airbus 330 or 340, or a 777-200 or -300, and I'll show you in which hatrack, doghouse, or floor or galley stowage you'll find a specified number of SRAKs, Halons, PBE's, EMKs, FAPs and FAKs, ELTs or R406s, and O2 bottles. If that doesn't make sense to you, you know how I felt two weeks ago. And if it does, you know how I feel now.

I've put out a few large fires, learned how to restrain passengers who endanger the flight, workshopped a few fatal flights, and familiarized myself with procedures concerned with hijacking or discovering explosives while in flight.

It's fun.

Every day, we have two or three tests. A lot of them are practical - physical work done on simulators. The shuttle bus drops me at home around midnight or later, and I do homework. When I get tired of that, I study Arabic. (Yeah, that's right - no internet at home!) When I wake up I study with two or more groups, migrating from one to the other. We're picked up for training at 3:00 pm. Sometimes I forget to eat. After training, I always unwind at Saj Express, on the patio, snaring homeward-bound 21st Centuryites when they walk past. And just as often, I'm ensnared. I don't hit the books as hard as anyone else I know, but my marks have been among the best in the class. (I'm not brilliant, but I listen well and take a lot of notes.) If I dedicated myself to the training as well as my classmates, I think I'd have kittens.

I've had a hectic three weeks, and three more to follow. And then... look for me in the sky! I can't wait. A friend-of-a-friend just graduated, and her first operating flight turned out to be Athens, with a lengthy stopover.

If you are reading this, then I probably know you and miss you a lot. Sorry I haven't been too good about keeping in touch. I'll get started on those postcards! And by the way, sorry to anybody I didn't get to say goodbye to. I'm really grateful to all the support you guys gave me when I decided to pick up and leave in a hurry.

Next week, I study basic medicine. It will be hard, but I'm quite looking forward to it. Besides that, in the next three weeks they'll give us intensive courses in Arabic, gourmet and bartending, and of course, serving meals! Chicken or fish?
linkReply

Comments:
[User Picture]From: starkodama
2004-03-18 06:50 am (UTC)
Sounds great! I'm glad you're having a good time!!
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[User Picture]From: chu_hi
2004-03-26 05:43 am (UTC)
Thanks!!
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[User Picture]From: subapooh
2004-03-18 07:19 am (UTC)
susan, you're reminding me of a bond girl with this worldy fun. keep at it, study hard, breaks some records, before long you'll own the joint. i will say this, you've inspired me to take up arabic again, along with hindi it's one of the languages i lost when i moved to american in `87.

moisturize them cuticles girl! :D

ps: even if they are sparse, still, thank you for updating with your goings on, i can say this, it's refreshing to see your entires now, more than ever. =]

cheers!
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[User Picture]From: chu_hi
2004-03-26 05:44 am (UTC)
I'm loving Arabic, so far. Especially the writing! It's gorgeous, isn't it?
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[User Picture]From: subapooh
2004-03-28 02:39 pm (UTC)
fluid and very gorgeous indeed. =]

don't stop updating, i enjoy them. =D
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[User Picture]From: indianasweetie
2004-03-18 08:11 am (UTC)
I can't relate to the full complexity of what you're going through, but I've done it on a much smaller scale.

Have a great time and it only gets better from here. (with a little bit of worse mixed in... heh.)
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[User Picture]From: chu_hi
2004-03-26 05:45 am (UTC)
Thanks, Sweetie! I can't wait to fly.. it's the only thing I can think about right now!
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From: istara
2004-03-18 09:13 am (UTC)

You moisturise your CUTICLES?!!!

Have you gone Beirut Princess?!

Glad to hear it's going well. I was in Saj Express just last night.

Good luck with getting through the training. We must do karaoke again soon ;)
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[User Picture]From: chu_hi
2004-03-26 05:48 am (UTC)

Re: You moisturise your CUTICLES?!!!

No way, you were in Saj Express? I've spent the last week in La Marquise French Bakery. I walked past Harry Ghatto's on my way to the 51st floor last night and considered ditching my friends to sing. We've got to do it again, okay?
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From: istara
2004-03-26 07:11 am (UTC)

Re: You moisturise your CUTICLES?!!!

I am in Second Cup and Japengos reasonably frequently, because of friends in the building. Saj is quite nice if I am feeling healthier (lots of salads and lean meat) though I sort of prefer Automatic in some ways.

How is the training going? Hope all's well! Will it be like that (crap) movie with Gwyneth Paltrow, where those that do best in the training get to fly to Paris, and the others are on four-times daily all-economy flights to Kish?!

Be cool if with your Japanese they put you on lots of the long haul East Asian flights.
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[User Picture]From: plumb76
2004-03-18 01:09 pm (UTC)
wow- thats so exciting!!! i hope you keep posting here every once in a while, as i know next to nothing about not only that type of lifestyle, but that part of the world as well. good lck to you, it sounds fantastic!
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[User Picture]From: chu_hi
2004-03-26 05:48 am (UTC)
I also know nothing, but I'm having a blast. Wish you were here!
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[User Picture]From: zenmondo
2004-03-18 10:18 pm (UTC)
I can't wait for the pictures! :)

My favorite plane to ride in is the 767. :) I hate the 747 like crazy. Never rode a 777, they is the big ones, right?
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[User Picture]From: chu_hi
2004-03-26 05:49 am (UTC)
They're rather large, yes. ;-) Pictures coming soon!
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[User Picture]From: antivert
2004-03-19 11:29 am (UTC)

Just one thing..

PLEASE REMEMBER TO EAT!! :P
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[User Picture]From: chu_hi
2004-03-26 05:50 am (UTC)

Re: Just one thing..

Thanks, cutie! You'd be proud of me.. I've started eating BREAKFAST!
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[User Picture]From: etherealmommy
2004-03-19 12:18 pm (UTC)
...amazing...and BUSY..and very tiring. Sounds almost like what I hear from Erik every night when he comes home (the aviation jargon). I cannot wait to see some pictures!
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[User Picture]From: chu_hi
2004-03-26 05:52 am (UTC)
I can't imagine what his training must be like! I'm busy, but not so tired, as I'm enjoying every minute. Hey, I just read your entries, and I miss you SO much! Say 'hi' to your family for me!
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[User Picture]From: joshdavis
2004-03-21 07:33 pm (UTC)

Soozan One becomes Jack of all trades (Jaclyn of all trades?)

*smooch* You'll be great! It's like paramilitary/paramedical training. Wowzers. :)
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[User Picture]From: antivert
2004-03-21 10:26 pm (UTC)

Re: Soozan One becomes Jack of all trades (Jaclyn of all trades?)

ALSO WATCH THE SMOOCHES.

I don't get any, you certainly do not get any!
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[User Picture]From: joshdavis
2004-03-23 08:31 pm (UTC)

Re: Soozan One becomes Jack of all trades (Jaclyn of all trades?)

It was purely a platonic cheek kiss; however, I would not want to imbue the professional or personal environment with further difficulties. *shakes hand* Congratulations on your aparent excellent progress in this new field. :)
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[User Picture]From: chu_hi
2004-03-26 05:53 am (UTC)

Re: a SMOOCH for Don

Hahahahahahaha!!!!
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From: (Anonymous)
2004-04-10 01:34 am (UTC)

Guess what!?

Hey Susan! What's up? I'm grad you're doin' fine!
Guess what!?
I have a new 彼女(you know her name, don't you?)!
I'm now very happy!
スーザン、仕事大変だと思うけど頑張れよ!
↑just to make sure you're not forgetting japanese!
Lookin' forward to see you someday!
See ya!
kazu
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