Friday, March 27, 2009

48 Hours of Goodbyes

On my last flight from San Francisco to Seoul, I was giddily excited and weirdly smiling the entire twelve hours or so. The plane was half empty and the passengers were really nice. Or maybe, I was just on a high that nothing could actually annoy me. Two hours prior to landing I was surprised with thirteen glasses of champagne, a message from the manager and a card with notes from my all-Korean cabin crew workmates for the flight. A senior even called up the cockpit so I could come in and take pictures.

From the airport to the hotel, I was uncannily awake and I was tuned to my iPod and I kinda smiled remembering this might be the last time I'd ever ride the airport bus in Seoul. The smile reached the driver's seat. Checked in, I got my favorite room 406. Took my 'ref bag' and as soon as I got to my room, it all just sunk in.

I opened my bag and just stared at everything in it. It's time. I shall be packing one last time and soon enough, I'd be done living out of a suitcase. No more handwashing my laundry in the shallow sink, no more eating canned-microwave-heated food all the time, no more checking in on Creworld if my showup got delayed... And the list goes on.

Morning came and I was up at eight. Took a bath and headed to the office. I paid the tickets for my parents' US-UK trip, which by the way costed me around $1200, then went to see the overseas crew deputy general manager, Mr. Won. I didn't know what to say when he asked, "What can I do for you," I just handed him a piece of paper with something printed that I had drafted over two months ago.

"My resignation letter," I said to answer his questioning gaze.

We talked on what the problem was, and I was able to give my honest to goodness insight on how it was with Asiana, and what possible solutions they can give. I was surprised that I was delivering every line without bitterness or hatred. It was as if I was a third person and not at all the person affected by all the things I was talking about. I was calm, and I was speaking to him with grace, confidence and conviction. He must've asked me three times if it was my final decision and he would receive a very confident yes. If only he knew!

On my way back to the hotel, I felt like I was in transition. In Manila, on the day before I leave each month, I have what I call my transition period when I fall silent and I'm just watching everyone around me, trying to absorb "home" and preparing myself for another few weeks of broken English or possibly nobody to talk to all the time. But this time it was the other way around; the intake was for Korea. At one intersection, I glanced over to see the hotel where we stayed at during the training, and on the left was the supermarket where we gladly go to every weekend of it.

Soon as I arrive, I packed my stuff. We--Gillian, Cha, Kara and I--had samgyupsal for dinner. We hanged out at my room until now, and half past three in the morning, where we were joined by Jila, Precious and Kat too. I was able to see Ms Revi, Debbie, Denise and Gandy at the lounge and I was happy that they were able to see the happiness in me when I told them that I quit. "Twinkle in [her] eyes," as Ms Debs puts it.


I will be forever thankful to have been able to travel and see some of the most interesting places on earth, but most importantly I believe that my almost-three-years stay had made me stronger, more independent and matured in so many ways.

To my seniors, thank you for all the guidance, tutoring and help especially when we barely even knew what the galley even looks like.

Thank you--
Ms Kara and Kat, for spending the last night with me.
Ms Tonette, for making me realize that I have the option to quit and not wait til it may be too late. And that life will not end after Asiana; that it may actually start. You are one of my biggest influences on my decision. I am glad to have flown with you.

To my batchmates, I will so miss you. From training days, to church days, to everything. We've learned to depend on each other and without all of you we wouldn't have been able to survive the bulls**ts in flights, the scarcity of food, nor the times when we would get sick and homesick.

My special thanks--
Precious, my roomie. For being ever so honest and dependable. Alam mo na yun.
MM, for the insights I sometimes overlook but you never fail to present to me.
Gillian, from yosi breaks to, yes, sharing life stories.
Cha, the frankness on what to do and what nots.
Mica, for all the time that I've felt I found a true friend in you.
Jila, my churchmate, alam mo na yun.

To my nine batchmates no longer with Asiana, well welcome me to the club as your tenth member! Leona, Erika, Mara, Sebie, Anne, Bianca, Ate Jacq, Kat and Gab: I feel the excitement. I know you guys are happy with where you are now and I know you feel how I feel--that Asiana days would always be buried deep inside our hearts.

For the last time, sugohashutsumnida. Annyeonghi gyeshipsio. Safe flights always.

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