After all the insanity of packing and running around to find the right shoes and stockings and hairnets (believe me you need loads) I finally am driving to the airport. Saying my goodbyes have been sad, but so much fun. I made the most of the time I had with my friend and family. Now I’m driving, SO many things in the car, and I’ve never been more excited, but I’m scared. My gran is with me and my mom, and she’s telling me to remember all the tidbits of information on how to stay healthy. My mom is quiet, I think it just hit her that I’m moving to another country. In the last couple of weeks, I was home.
We get to the airport and I mission my massive luggage out of the car and onto a trolley. We weave through hundreds of people on the same mission as me. People are crying and laughing and having lunch and dinner and calling each other and running and sitting and unpacking and repacking. Its chaos.
I’m standing in line, wearing a black dress with my hair dead straight and my jacket draped over my arm. At the check-in counter the lady is so friendly, she addresses me by my last name (I am now Miss Meintjes) and asks if I’m ready for the ride of my life. Now I’m hoping she’s talking about the new job and not the plane I’m boarding in a couple of hours. I smile, but I’m sure I’ll cry soon. I ran through the airport looking for the other guy joining with me, Gareth, also a chef. Finally, I cant find him and I HAVE to go through security or I’ll miss my flight.
I look over to my mom, my gran and my two friends. And I instantly burst into tears. Goodbyes suck, but I have to go. So I swallow my tears, I hug them as tight as I can and I walk ever confidently head held high with my heart stuck in my throat, through to security. Then I get called back. “Miss Meintjes?” Yeah that’s me? “You have a new ticket, we’ve upgraded you to Business Class” 🙂 Thank you very much! “Enjoy”
Boarded, and seated next to Gareth (haha found him!) we’re off to Abu Dhabi. The Food And Beverage Manager comes over, offers me a glass of Champagne, I happily accept and Gareth and I cheers to our new future.
We’ve taken off and I’m being offered a menu. Service is perfect. The F&B Manager is amazing, he makes us feel as if we’ve been part of the company for years! Settling into my new life, one massage option at a time and 600 hours of entertainment on EBox, lets do this.
After landing, the madness starts. We walk into the unknown oven. Good grief its hot and humid. Down the steps to the bus, past loads of Etihad planes standing in a row. We get out of the bus, into the lovely air conditioned airport (phew!) and mission our way through all the people. We have fast track cards, so we get helped along the way, shown where to go and soon we’re standing in a line with two people in front of us. At the counter, we’re asked for our passports and visas, and we receive our original visa. Then we walk around the corner to the eye-scan (it really happens) and we get greeted and our passports get stamped. Walk through more security and WELCOME TO ABU DHABI!
As soon as we get our baggage, we walk down a ramp and say hello to our new home. We’re greeted by a driver shouting our names and escorted back into the heat of the outside. 3 minutes later a Mercedes drives up and the driver smiles says Hayyakum and starts packing our bags into the back of the car. After about 40 minutes we arrive at our hotel. My baggage is taken away to who knows where, and we go to check in.
Room 408. I have a kitchen in my hotel room, someone must have told them I’m a chef. I connected to the wifi and I called my mom. Sleep time. Exhausted. So happy.