My Trip into the Gateway Arch

I had two days off last week and this girl I know had a hotel for the night in St. Louis, so I hopped on a flight and became a tourist for the day. My main reason for going was to hopefully bump into Nelly, but also I’ve never been to St. Louis so I was excited to see what it was like.

Anyways, picture the most touristy things a human can do in one day and I did them. We went to the Botanical Gardens, we went to the zoo and we went to the Gateway Arch – the crown jewel of St. Louis’ landmarks. All that was missing was my fannypack and dad jeans.

I probably should back up, I have kind of been to St. Louis. On our way to Frontier Ranch in Colorado for a Younglife trip in high school, we drove through STL. I vividly remember being half awake, lying on the gum-riddled floor of a greyhound bus as the sun was rising when we were passing through. Our Younglife leader, Phil, calls back, “Hey we’re passing the Arch if anyone is up.” As tough as it was to leave my Tempur-pedic spot on the floor I decided I’d check it out. I was the only one awake other than Phil. We passed it on the highway, the sun was just coming up and the sky was orange and red and it was a picture-perfect scene. All I can remember thinking is, “Damn, should’ve kept sleeping.”

Honestly, I don’t mean to be rude but I remember thinking okay cool, there it is. That’s definitely an arch.

But actually having the chance to be on the ground floor and experience this thing for real was special. It is MASSIVE. 630 feet high, taller than the Statue of Liberty. Once we decided to actually go up in it, I got even more excited. Think about how far you can see from up there! I started to feel bad for my lackluster opinion of it beforehand.

So we bought our ticket ($13, fair price) and stood in line. I’m on the tips of my toes trying to see over everyone, curious as to what type of contraption is going to take us to the top of this parabola. As we got the tickets, the asked if we had any issue with claustrophobia, we said no. I figured it was just a necessary warning, kind of like the ‘WARNING: Gas is flammable’ label on gas pumps. So we stand in groups of five in front of elevator-type doors to get into our ‘tram’. Now, when I tell you this tram was the size of a large softball I’m talking about maximum two humans should’ve been allowed in this thing. They’ve crammed five of us in there and I’m sitting with my knees in my face and my feet in Natalie’s lap with three strangers like we’re huddling for warmth in the winter. Five people my ass.

But whatever, to be expected I guess.

When we reach the top, I get out of our Yeti cooler and ascend the flight of stairs to the viewing area. The first thing I notice once I’m there isn’t the astounding architecture or the panoramic views – it’s the smell. The top of the Gateway Arch smells like a middle school locker room. It smells like ComicCon walked around all day trying to catch ’em all and then wrung out their underwear into a two-week old hamper. It’s a small area with a lot of people, there’s bound to be an odor – I get it. If you’ve read my last blog post, you know that I’ll sweat if I chew too hard so I understand body odor, really. Again, to be expected.

Once my nostrils get over the offense, I regain my excitement to look over historic St. Louis and the Mighty Mississippi River. Just one problem, the viewing windows are the size of your rear view mirror. It’s like trying to see the skyline of a major city in your rear-view mirror in your car. And another problem, there’s nothing to see. I mean yeah there’s the river, but I can see the whole thing from the ground. At least there was downtown St. Louis? I guess?

We look out one side, send some snapchats. Look out the other side, send some snapchats. 90 seconds in, we look at each other, “Ok, ready to go back down?”

If you’re a St. Louis person, I’m sorry I’m really not trying to dog on y’all. The Botanical Garden was magnificent and your zoo was the best zoo I’ve ever seen with truly enlightening exhibits. But your Arch sucks, I’m sorry.

 

 

 

Thoughts on life after 3 months of attending flights

After finishing up roughly 3 months of being a flight attendant, I’ve realized a few things:

  1. With a schedule like this, the only way to survive is to eat when you’re hungry, sleep when you’re tired, and make the most of a Tuesday afternoon when you’re off and everyone else is working.
  2. People from all over the world are pretty fantastic (excluding the occasional person who uses me as their verbal punching bag while squeezed in a middle seat on a plane). Just because someone doesn’t look like you or speak your language, does not mean they should be discounted or brushed off. Put yourself in their shoes and treat them with the utmost respect just as you would want to be treated.
  3. Pictures can’t justify our world’s beauty; although I still manage to take at least 50 per layover, there’s just nothing quite like experiencing it in person.
  4. You never know what kind of day someone is having. Planes transport people to weddings and celebrations or to funerals and life changing doctor visits. Random acts of kindness, a genuine smile and a few sweet words can go a long way and have a lasting impact on a human being.

With all of the negative things happening in this world, sometimes it’s scary to travel. My family worries about me and all I can do is reassure them that I will be safe and smart.  One of the recent shootings that just happened was in the city I live in. But you can’t live in a box. Getting out of your comfort zone and exploring a new city or a new country is gratifying, exhilarating, and changes your perspective on how you view everyday life.

Being across the country from my close friends and family is hard but has also taught me to grow up and learn a lot. I am at the happiest in my life right now because having some solitude has made me focus on the important things in life. Be positive and warm to those around you- you don’t know what path of life they are on. Enjoy the warmth of the summer air on your skin or the salty ocean breeze when possible. Take care of your mind and body and be conscious of what you’re putting into it. Cherish the little things- like coming home to a clean house, a home cooked meal, or a movie day during a thunderstorm. Give compliments to people and they will come back around when you need a pick-me-up. Put an effort towards your relationships with people and don’t take anyone for granted, you never know when they could be gone.

While working for a major airline and traveling somewhere new every week sounds totally glamorous, its not all of the time. The hours are hard on your body, the days are long, and you never know how hard it is to pull out a smile until you’ve been flying across the country and back overnight for 12 hours with delays and unhappy people. But one thing I try to always remember, is to never get complacent; with my job and being responsible for the safety of so many; with days off and wanting to sleep all day when I know I shouldn’t but sometimes you just need to. And most of all- with the love and people I have in my life. Stay on your toes and sensitive to the people who emotionally give to you, and be ready to return that when they need it.

Much Love.

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London, England

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San Juan, Puerto Rico

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Chicago, IL

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Stillwater, MN

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Phoenix, AZ

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Nassau, Bahamas

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Paris, France