We've been kinda preparing for Pae to leave for Jordan in the past month, but travel details were slow coming from Amman. She was supposed to leave May 1st, but it was postponed to the 6th then to the 14th. It seemed like we were just waiting for one day when they called and said that they cancelled the new hire contracts because of the financial situation or volcanic ash...Pae was told at her final interview that each successful candidate would be allowed 100 kilograms of baggage, so we had 60 kilos of that strewn about the room, on the table, floor, bed, hanging here, hanging there...for a few weeks already. four suitcases at the ready, also taking up space.
I had planned unpaid vacation from school to spend the last couple days with Pae and her family, as they also planned to take vacation from their respective jobs to come to Bangkok to send Pae to Amman. As the days crept by with no news on Pae's departure date we started to "re-root" back into "life as usual".Then the airline confirmed that there would be two groups leaving on the 11th and 14th of May. Pae had originally chosen to be part of the second batch of girls to train so we assumed she was on the list to fly on the 14th.Big surprise came for what we assumed was the first batch when a cabin crew web board sprang into panic at about 10PM on the 10th...The first batch of girls were told in an email that they needed to go to the airport in BKK and be ready to fly in less than three hours! It was a 12:30 midnight flight...making it technically May 11th. Turns out that only 6 girls made that flight, probably causing someone in Amman some headaches.
We felt bad for the girls and mentally began preparing for something similar to happen late-night on the 13th for the second batch. I made it to work Monday morning still the 11th of May. No sooner than I got settled and ready to sit and do nothing all day, Pae called me...long story short, 2:00 AM email, 9:00 AM call from a friend notifying her of the email, 9:00 call to me telling me to come home.40 girls to fly to Jordan, report to the airport at 9:00 PM for 12:30 midnight flight. So, our "Lets go have ice cream", "Lets eat at this restaurant", "Where will we go with mom and dad when they get here?" plans changed to, "Lets spend the day packing and getting in some quality hugs" rush time.
Pae called her mom who was also at work, an 8 hour drive away over on the border of Laos and Thailand basically. She would arrive in Bangkok a couple hours before we headed to the airport. Dad was at a meeting in Bangkok already and he showed up after mom in time to eat some street food and jump in the car and drive to Suvarnabhumi Airport together.The 100 kilograms of luggage turned out to be a max of 40 kilograms...so we had to pick and choose what Pae could bring with her...for a boy, simple...a couple shirts, shorts, pairs of skivies, tooth brush...that's it...I moved my whole life here to BKK in a carry on size suitcase and backpack! But for girls...WOW...shoes, hose, makeup, blouses, shirts, sleeping shirts, skirts, pants, shorts, leggings...the list goes on.We heard that there was a $30 charge for each kilogram over 40 kilograms. We pared the bags down to roughly 49 kilograms and just planned to pay the excess, under $300. They also allow only one carry on, but we risked it with a max size carry on and laptop bag stuffed with things. We got lucky at check in as they bent a little and allowed Pae's 49 kilos of life and both carry ons with no extra charge.
Many friends made it to the airport for Pae's sending off, which was great as many of them are like family. Friends from high school, friends from her first airline (Orient Thai Airline) and friends that she will likely find an apartment with in Amman were all able to spend a couple hours with Pae and her family. Everyone was excited for Pae and very happy for her, but you could see the sense of loss in the occasional "100 mile stare".We all know that she's going to do great and that she's going to have fun while missing us all. It was very sudden, her leaving last night, but we'll all adjust to having her in our lives from afar. We'll have to save our money to go visit her often and send her things from home that she misses. Might even try to use those last few frequent flier miles for a weekend rendezvous in Paris...getting a wee bit ahead of myself! Apologies...I just need to stop and take a deep breathe!
Flight attendanting isn't just smiling, handing out peanuts and looking pretty, it's a very difficult profession and puts a lot of responsibility on a person. I hope you'll join me in wishing her good luck and safe flights as well as the occasional prayer for her personal growth as well as safety. She's not alone, she's there with 40 new friends, all experiencing the same thing, but send her some love whenever at firstname.lastname@example.org and add her to your Skype contact list, just in case the time difference isn't too bad you might cross paths sometime...her Skype id is paenattakarn. If you want her phone number, I just got that from her too, mail me if you want that.