"This is your Captain speaking. Hope you enjoyed your time in Atlanta - our flight to Los Angeles should take approximately..." It is August 3rd and time to go back home.
During the Week...
I have had an incredible time in Atlanta. Between my own travel itinerary and Captain K and family taking me to some amazing and less-touristy places, I have seen many awesome things. I stayed at the Holiday Inn Express by the airport (which I highly recommend because it is cheap and has breakfast and really nice employees). I saw the Coca-Cola Museum, The ATL Botanical Gardens, an AMAZING Aquarium (by far the coolest one I have ever seen), the MARTA (ATL Subway system, similar in experience/design to Washington DC), Confederate Park AMAZING Laser Light Show (sponsored by Marriott), the Westin Hotel Peachtree Plaza (still undergoing renovation from the Hurricane many years ago and still smells like dampness/mildew inside - not pleasant), the CNN Center (where I met Dr. Gupta - the person who currently holds my future job!), and I even went to the Varsity (where the food leaves a lot to be desired, but it IS an experience you must have once...no really, just once). Talking about food, I experienced some delicious places in ATL. For starters, Capt K and NK took me to The Porter in an eclectic part of town. It is an old train depot and the decor still has luggage and is super cool. I had some awesome fish 'n chips there. I also went to Rays in the Town during Restaurant Week (sponsored by BofA) and had a salad the likes of which I have never experienced before. It was a Shrimp with Feta cheese and watermelon in a lemon sauce. This was the most amazing combo of flavors I have ever experienced in a salad. I loved it. And I got SUPER excited about the main dish, thinking it would be similarly awesome. Unfortunately, my Parmesan-encrusted flounder was both uninspired and unmemorable. It was actually just cafeteria quality food. Too bad, because if it was like the salad I would have come back forever. Another cool place I ate was called Tap. Billed as a "gastropub", it captured my attention with a grilled/roasted grapefruit - definitely something worth trying. Your mind can't decide whether you are eating fruit or BBQ; and that is a pretty cool combo for your mind to be confused about!
Other than the humidity, ATL was super cool and I'm so glad I got to experience it! Thank you to ASA for giving me an opportunity to interview and meet some awesome folks at their company, also. (And for those of you wondering, yes I was offered a position, but no I was unable to take the offer because of family commitments back home).
One Week Prior (July 28)...
I didn't sleep much last night. I had been anticipating this day for months - actually, a whole year, from the first time I took the exam and missed passing by a few points. A year ago, it was like my whole life was thrown upside down - again - as I sat in the Yaldizzle's home staring at a screen that showed what I had been dreading - I hadn't passed. I thought I couldn't be seeing it right - I HAD to pass! In the hospital, I knew what to do almost every time - what the hell happened? But no, the screen wasn't lying and my eyes weren't playing tricks on me. This time, however, I had a different game plan. I reviewed the material like my life depended on it and I went into the exam ready to do battle. Usually, results came out in 3 weeks - so I had my heebie-jeebies last week waiting for results. But they never came. And today, I was flying to Atlanta for a week! I was interviewing with a regional airline for a flight attendant job and was super excited about that; but also excited that I could explore Atlanta, a city I had not yet seen. But my scores just HAD to come out today and I was anticipating, finally, becoming a Doctor, officially.
The only solution was to hand over control - something I continue to work on and improve on. So, thank God for AA who graciously offered to take my password and look up my scores. Afterwards, she would describe the same pulse-racing, heart pumping out-of-your-chest, palm-sweating, head-hurting feelings I felt the week before. Surprisingly, I didn't feel that as much this time - probably because I was on an airplane at 35,000 feet when Andrea looked up the results. But until I got on the airplane, I think AA was ready to kill me because my texts to her started at 5am. AA is generally pleasant...unless you wake her up. Let's just say I'm alive today because she gave me a TON of leeway today. When we landed in SLC and I hurriedly turned on my phone, the very first text I received was from DA: "congrats Doctor" was all I saw on my preview screen and I lost it. There, in a metal tube, as we taxied to the gate in SLC, I broke down and released the tears of joy that had been suppressed for over a year. The stress of a year finally was instantly released and I felt so light. And God placed the best flight attendant on that flight that day, who gave me a reassuring look and a tissue. But interestingly, she didn't ask what is wrong - she instead asked "what happened?" A minor detail but it seemed like people knew that this was good news (perhaps the tears juxtaposed with the huge friggin' smile on my face gave it away?)
And SA was right about chocolate - eating it during the exam raised my score significantly.
Four Weeks Prior (June 30)...
Today was the big day - I was staring down 350 questions and 9 hours at a computer. I was ready. This exam was NOT going to defeat me. I would prevail. And through each block of questions, I kept thinking about what SA had told me - she raised her score about 13% by eating chocolate and she claims there is a study about this. Ya ya, we'll see. (My chocolate is ready in my locker to eat inbetween each block.)
It has been a long week and I slept quite well last night after I got home from ATL. Today, I will celebrate with family and friends. I feel very blessed to finally be, Doctor.