Monday, January 23, 2012

Flying High

Last night, we returned from our three-day trip to Amsterdam. It was wonderful, and I took lots of pictures with my trusty iPhone. (As I'm married to the iMan, it's about time I become the iWoman, I guess.) We took a boat cruise along the canals of the city, and--despite the overcast skies--that was lovely. We also toured the Anne Frank House, which was a very moving experience. I need to devote a whole post to that alone, which I plan to do later in the week.

I find that I'm on a bit of a high this morning, shaking my head in wonder at the fact that I have now been fortunate enough to visit two beautiful European cities with my husband. (And also marveling at the fact that I got business class both ways, on both trips--and now I am admittedly spoiled rotten!) I have some great pictures to share, but first I have to figure out how to transfer them from my iPhone to my computer so that I can post them on this blog. I experimented with this photo, one of me sitting in the cockpit shortly before we took off in Amsterdam yesterday morning. It took me three tries to figure out how to transfer it, so I'm going to wait until my hubby wakes up to transfer the rest. I'm quite sure there's a quicker and easier method than the one I used! Anyway, here's me in my husband's claustrophobia-inducing "office." There are so many buttons, screens, lights, switches, and gauges up there; it's absolutely mind-boggling to me that anyone could keep track of it all. I've always been in awe of--and terrified of--the miracle of human flight; sitting in that cockpit had the effect of making me even more awestruck, but also less afraid. Those guys who sit up there and man those controls are a rare breed, and they know what they're doing. (But sitting in my husband's seat made me appreciate my roomy, comfy, reclining business class seat even more, and as soon as this picture was snapped, I was anxious to get back to it!)

One of the big things I took away from my recent trips to Nice and Amsterdam with my husband is that, although most people think the life of an airline pilot (particularly a pilot who flies almost exclusively to European destinations) is a very glamorous one, his job is extremely tough. It's an exhausting routine. For my husband, it starts with a drive to Logan Airport in Boston and a commuter flight from there to Laguardia in NYC, followed by a cab ride over to JFK. Then there's the long flight (sitting in a cramped cockpit) across the Atlantic, and upon arrival in Europe, the crew shuttle bus ride to the layover hotel. There's a short respite during the layover, with time to do a bit of sightseeing if you're so inclined and to have a decent meal out; but the bottom line is that while you might be in an exotic locale that makes others envy you, the whole time you're there you're sleeping in a strange bed and living out of a suitcase, and you're carefully planning your sleep schedule to avoid jet lag so you're ready for the return flight (and in his case, you're also really missing home). And often, my husband returns from a trip in the evening, has one home-cooked dinner, sleeps in his own bed for one night, and the next day he's right back at it: driving to Logan, flying to Laguardia, taking a cab from Laguardia to JFK, flying across the Atlantic...

Whenever I've had to see a doctor, especially when it involved surgical procedures, I've felt so grateful. How fortunate we all are that there are people in the world who are willing to practice medicine, because I can't even imagine doing the things that doctors do. I feel the same way about pilots. People want to go places, and they want to get where they're going as fast as possible. It's hard to imagine life in our modern world without airline travel--even a landlubber like myself depends on it, with my children spread out so far these days. Thank God that there are people who are willing to do what pilots do--people like my husband. I've always appreciated him and the hard work he does (not only for our family, but for the countless passengers who've flown with him), but accompanying him to work made me appreciate him even more.

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