Category Archives: Life

The 30 Year Jump: SkyDive Dubai

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As some of you may remember, when I turned 30 in December 2013 (which means I’m about to be 32.. EEP!!) Alan amazingly gifted me with a SkyDive Dubai voucher. In return, I promised to gift him the same and that we would do our jumps together. Due to our severely conflicting schedules and one cancelled jump due to weather, we finally made the jump in April of this year, just one month after Alan turned 30 in March.

I wouldn’t necessarily call myself a thrill seeker, but I am an adventure-ish type and do like to try new things. This was definitely unlike anything I have tried in my life! Many people have been talking about it throughout my 5 years in Dubai, and I was finally going to make the jump (pun intended!). I was actually sick with a stomach bug just the day before, but I woke up feeling well – I just didn’t eat anything before the jump!

At a steep 1999AED (about $544USD), its definitely not cheap, but I can tell you, that if you’re like me and will probably only do it once in your life, doing it in Dubai is the way to go. The jump is only allowed during certain times of the year, and is done over the Palm Jumeira – the man made peninsula shaped like a palm tree. The price includes professional photos and a nicely (although full of stock footage) edited video documenting your harrowing but life-changing experience!

I guess at this point I should just shut up and show you the pics!

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This was by far one of the most amazing experiences I got to share with Alan. I can tell you that it was an odd feeling for me – as I work on airplanes and am 35,000 feet in the air for more than half the month, it was strange that I was actually going to jump out of the plane. I wasn’t really nervous at all.. in the beginning.

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This is my jump instructor, and me looking a bit unsure! Take off was great, climbing was fine, it wasn’t until that roll up door opened and the chilly air from 6000 feet high rushed in. Immediately, I’m thinking, “WTFFFFFFF!”

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At this point, I literally screamed “FUCK NOOOOOOO!” as he shoved me out of the plane!

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BUT IT WAS WORTH IT!

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The G-force was incredibly strong, and air was cold, so my weak little arms couldn’t hold out for long. In addition, I was wearing contact lenses so my eye mask was strapped on extra tight.

The 10 second freefall was definitely the scariest moments of the jump itself – when you watch the video, you can see that we actually flipped upside down when exiting the plane, so to see the glorious blue sky – land – blue sky – land – was a bit trippy! But after the parachute is pulled, the view of the world is breathtaking – almost surreal – that the fear escapes you and all you can do is absorb the beauty experience into your entire soul.

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Alan took both our videos and combined them into one – the original video contains short interviews and since I wasn’t feeling great I looked a bit stupid! But take a look at our video below!

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Feature on CabinCrewHQ

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Great news! I’ve been featured in an interview with the popular crew site, CabinCrewHQ.com. Their first interview with crew personality was with An International Fly Guy. Jay and I started our aviation careers on the ground in my hometown. I was very honored to be approached for an interview. You can find other flight crew interviews and their blogs there as well. It’s also a good site with information on cabin crew jobs and how to secure them. So please, visit the site and check out my interview!

Cabin Crew HQ Interview

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Upgrading to New Horizons

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Hi everyone! Wow, it’s been quite some time since my last post I see. I have started up some new projects during my absence, such as getting back into the cosplay circuit, starting up a new geek community in the Middle East, having various family visit, and most importantly, I just completed two weeks of training to move into the role of Senior Flight Stewardess, beginning as soon as June 3. I have one more flight working in business class to Colombo, Sri Lanka, and it will be my first layover in Colombo, since I have only been to Hikkaduwa on holiday and only spent time in Colombo to get to the airport. So to highlight some of the above mentioned stuff… In past entries and my bio, I have mentioned my geeky side, as well as attending the first ever Middle East Film and Comicon, as well as the second one last year. I also may have mentioned my past in cosplaying at various events in the US, most specifically, the San Diego Comic-con International for multiple years. Even though I was lucky enough to go back in 2012, I hadn’t really made any significant new cosplay, and I don’t really count the last minute female Louis from Left 4 Dead I made to join my family’s group cosplay!

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My brother and his kids make up the remaining Survivors of one of my favorite zombie video games.

Many factors had kept me from coming back to cosplay – the fact that I didn’t know WHERE to find supplies, what kind of events I could wear them to, the dress-code factor of the Middle East, and most of all, not having my mom around the guide me. She had been the mastermind of all my cosplays – she was a self-taught and talented seamstress who manage to create the perfect patterns and alterations that is the crazy world of cosplay. I could do a lot myself, but when I was stuck or needed help, she was the one I could go to. Because I no longer had her, I felt emotionally blocked from attempting to cosplay again.

My mom helped design the structure of this top - keeping it true to the character of Elika from Prince of Persia, but also making it functional, stable, and immune to malfunctions!

My mom helped design the structure of this top – keeping it true to the character of Elika from Prince of Persia, but also making it functional, stable, and immune to malfunctions!

I eventually met a friend who was currently cosplaying in Dubai, and she helped me find places to buy supplies, and I must say, AMAZING supplies that really inspired me to get back into cosplay. So with the comic-con coming up in April, I finally decided to start on a costume I had been wanting to complete for years, since I played the game in 2009.

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Momohime from the Wii game, Muramasa: The Demon Blade

While I did encounter many obstacles, I did try to think back at how my mom might have done things or what kind of solution she would have came up with. Getting back into the creative world of cosplay was so therapeutic for me, and I felt like a small hole in my geek heart had been refilled! I even managed to get in touch with Yaya Han (yayahan.com), a well-known cosplayer in the US I had met a few times and did a cosplay group with once, who was coming the MEFCC as a guest and offered to take her on some sites around Dubai.

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With cosplay legend Yaya Han, her boyfriend Bryan, and my family.

Any cosplay fans, please check out my Facebook page, Jinx Cosplay, and Like and share. 🙂 In addition, I started up a website to try and link all geeks, whether local or expats, in the Middle East region to network and socialize. It’s still under construction but please take a look!

The Middle East Geek website, The Middle East Geek Facebook.

My sister, cousin (who lives in Bahrain) and his parents came to visit during MEFCC, and a month later, Alan’s brother and his girlfriend came to visit from the UK, so I will be highlighting those visits in my next few posts. Keep an eye out! I do also have a few new destinations I will be posting up soon. In the mean time, I’m still trying to analyze and understand all the knowledge I’ve gained throughout the last two weeks in my new role as a senior onboard. Being on ground for two weeks was a huge change to my body clock but I am back to flying in the early hours tomorrow morning! Thanks for those that stayed with my blog, even when it was dead for a while. 🙂

Alan’s Birthday Weekend

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Even though Alan only turned 29 (not like me, who joined the Dirty Thirties Club in December) on March 13, I felt like being in a festive mood and made some special plans for his birthday.  Instead of paying for a dinner somewhere fancy, I opted for the annual Taste of Dubai, a weekend long festival where restaurants all over the city, from casual to fine dining, sets up a booth and offers a “taste” of their menu. There’s also live musical performances, cooking classes, as well as live demonstrations from cooks from all over the world.

British Airways VIP tent

British Airways VIP tent

French Chef Jean-Christophe Novelli does a lot of talking and very little cooking...

French Chef Jean-Christophe Novelli does a lot of talking and very little cooking…

Alan and I taken by Ahlan! Magazine (no, really!)

Alan and I taken by Ahlan! Magazine (no, really!)

Food booths.. yum!

Food booths.. yum!

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Cooking competition

Cooking competition

Also, I had made it a goal to photograph each plate I got, but I had starved myself beforehand and devoured each plate as soon as I got it! So here’s the only picture I have of food.. and it’s half eaten…

Delicious Thai green chili prawns and crab cakes

Delicious Thai green chili prawns and crab cakes

Every dish we tried was amazingly delicious! I even cheated on my low-carb diet and had a really yummy red velvet cupcake with cream cheese frosting.. ohhh maaaan I can still taste it!

Afterwards, we stopped by a friend’s place for a nightcap, and spotted an almost aerial view of the festival:

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The next day, although weather reports were showing to be quite wet for normally dry Dubai, we hired a yacht and invited some friends out. We were fairly lucky as it was only semi-overcast and sprinkled lightly for a few short bursts, but we couldn’t sail anywhere and just stayed put in one spot. It’s ok, we all still had a great time:

Lots of boats out not sailing, just like us!

Lots of boats out not sailing, just like us!

And this crazy guy...

And this crazy guy…

All the girls on the boat!

All the girls on the boat!

Aaaand birthday boy!

Aaaand birthday boy!

Jessy’s Journeys.. in Cooking

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cooking6If you’ve been following my blog long enough, you’ll already know how much I love food. Like, I REALLY love food. And I mentioned previously that I am just starting to learn how to cook. Well, not really, my mom taught me a few Filipino dishes before she passed away, and I do know bits here and there from helping her and watching her be an amazing cook. Unfortunately, I was so young and stubborn that I didn’t really care to learn from her. But nowadays, I try a little bit here and there. In Dubai, one of the biggest conveniences (but inconvenient to your health!) is that everywhere delivers. And Alan has tried to get me to be healthier, so I’ve dipped into what used to be No Man’s Land for me – the world of cooking.

Now, for the average person, cooking is probably something that is just second nature. Especially in the US, eating out is either too expensive or too bad for your health if you opt for the cheap fast food. So since Alan and I have moved in together last year, we’ve slowly been learning how to cook (he has a bit more knowledge than I do). To me, cooking, recipes and ingredients are quite like another language – I usually ask my sister or friends on the minor details usually left out of the generic recipe. I once asked a friend, “Do I need to put oil in the pan before I put the chicken in?” Yes, it’s true. Nowadays, I’m a bit better, thanks to Google, Pinterest, Youtube, and whatever I can stream from Netflix.

Christmas after my mother passed away, my sister sent me a really lovely gift – a recipe book with a few of my mom’s recipes. She usually hand wrote her recipes and kept it in a little box, and I had asked my sister to send me some recipes. I was quite surprised when she sent over this little gem:

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I’m considering sharing some of my mom’s recipes, but not sure I want to yet, for now I’ll just share what I have done so far. I had already been very familiar with her signature chicken adobo, and had made it for her a few times, even when I went back home to visit while she was having chemotherapy.

My mom would make cucumber slices in a vinegar/water/sugar mix to go along with the salty soy sauce taste

My mom would make cucumber slices in a vinegar/water/sugar mix to go along with the salty soy sauce taste

So I had already been quite confident in making it for Alan and my friend, Natalie. Because my lovely Brit and Irish don’t fancy meat on the bone, I made this with all boneless chicken, although my mom ensures that the real flavor comes from the bone, which is why I feel the flavor was slightly lacking, but still good. The next Filipino dish I attempted was a fairly easy one, it just took some time – bistek (translated to beef steak), which are thin slices of beef marinated in soy sauce and calamansi juice – tiny lime like fruits. Unfortunately, at the time I didn’t have any calamansi so I had to substitute it with lemon. I remember watching my mom slave over the stove for what seemed like hours frying the individual pieces of slim beef, and I’d always come over and steal one or two before she covered it in gravy. I actually preferred the beef without the gravy so when I made mine, I went without:

I used the marinade as the sauce, and cooked the onions in it after the beef

I used the marinade as the sauce, and cooked the onions in it after the beef

The next recipe I tried from my mom’s cookbook is a typical Asian style dish, lemon chicken. She did is a bit different by breading the chicken first, and I added onto it with vegetables. Alan, being a personal trainer, is a bit finicky when it comes to food. A lot of popular Filipino dishes lack vegetables and boast rice – because that’s how it was. So in order for him to enjoy it, I added extra vegetables to my mom’s signature lemon chicken.

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Now, being an Asian of course, I should know how to make fried rice. I wish I had the recipes I could link you, but it’s been a while since I cooked this up. I googled a few different recipes as well as asked my fellow Asians on Facebook and came up with this:

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While it was tasty, it was a bit too salty (too much soy sauce) and I haven’t really had the chance to make it again, since like I said, Alan wouldn’t eat just this as a meal and would have to supplement a main dish.

I looked through the rest of my mom’s recipes and decided they were to try later when I had a special event/more practice/the right ingredients. Food in Dubai is actually not that great. Most of what you find in the grocery stores are imported and previously frozen, so the taste is not always there. There are a few farmer’s markets but honestly Alan and I are quite lazy to go farther than our local shop, and also because we don’t have a car it’s not always convenient to just hop in a cab to go to the co-op. I have been exploring the grocery stores on my layovers more and more, and learning from the local crew from each area what is best to buy. I was recently in Capetown, when beef is king, and meats are good and cheap in general:

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And so, I’ve started developing a theme when cooking: Alan must always have a protein and lots of vegetables, and the starch is usually optional (mandatory for me!) so when I do cook I try and think of these three basic elements. What I have been cooking lately has been more “western” style and less Asian inspired, but don’t worry, I will get back to that someday soon.

 

Salmon in mustard honey glaze (recipe found from the Big Oven app) and sweet potato mash

Salmon in mustard honey glaze (recipe found from the Big Oven app) and sweet potato mash

Bolognese (with a jar of Arrabiata sauce and extra tomato sauce) loaded up on vegetables

Bolognese (with a jar of Arrabiata sauce and extra tomato sauce) loaded up on vegetables

Tacos!!! (Don't really need to know how to cook to make tacos)

Fajitas!!! (Don’t really need to know how to cook to make fajitas)

Many people have been keeping a Pinterest of various boards, and I keep one for cooking, and actually have tried a few of the recipes I found there. Here’s one really yummy salmon one that turned out really well:

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I used this recipe I found on Pinterest, which called for mixed spices for the salmon coating and salsa. The salsa I made fresh from a different recipe found here, which I make quite often now. I love having fresh salsa to use for snacks and for breakfast. The rice was a simple cilantro lime rice (which I need to improve on) I found somewhere on google that I used in my rice cooker.

This is the latest cooking adventure using preseasoned lamb chops I purchased in South Africa, and making carrot and potato mash, and vegetables cooked in butter and covered in thick layers of lemon pepper. Yum!

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I have to say that cooking is actually quite easy.. to be fair, I haven’t been too adventurous and I’m still learning how all these flavors mix together, but it does feel good to eat something you made yourself and know what was put into it. I’ll be posting more about cooking as the journeys keep coming and hope to gain knowledge about different ingredients and recipes from all the places I visit in the world.

Have a signature recipe to share? Let’s have it! 🙂

 

 

New Addition to Our Family

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I admit it – I’m a dog person through and through. I wrote about my dog back in the USA, who is now a part of my aunt’s loving family in Texas. But in my last apartment, my housemate had a lovely cat she rescued off the street, so I was missing a bit of furry companionship in our new apartment. Dubai is known for having numerous stray cats – in fact, its a common and sad fact that many expats will take a pet, only to leave them behind when they depart back to their home countries. Some at least have the courage to ask a rescue group for help, but others leave the sad and helpless animals on the streets.

Being cabin crew, I did have some “requirements” for our future family members – it sounds strange, but sleep is so important to me, and in my last apartment, the cat, albeit lovely, was very noisy and needy and constantly meowed at our bedroom doors. So I thought I could adopt an adult or young adult cat, and could ask their foster parents for a cat that’s personality fit our lifestyle.

I contacted a rescue group called The Bin Kitty Collective, a group of volunteers to save and rehome cats found on the street. I have also inquired with Feline Friends and Friends of Animals, just a few of the animal rescue groups who tirelessly give their time to save these poor animals’ lives. If you are an animal lover, please help them out by donating to their cause and their rising vet bills, or if you are in Dubai and looking for a furry friend, please please please don’t buy from pet shops – many of these beautiful creatures are in desperate need of homes!

We found Lynx, a small cat who was saved from the Dubai Municipality on the way to euthanization. At first meeting she was scared, but the foster mother thinks it’s due to the new fosters she’d just taken in and of course, two new guests. We decided to take her on a trial, and immediately she warmed up, sitting by us for forever strokes and eating loads! While I wish she was more of a lapcat, she is still a sweetie pie and I am hoping she will become more social and comfortable as time goes on. Right now, if we aren’t giving her immediate attention, she spends her time under the bed, but we have been very happy to have her in our little home.

She hasn't posed for me properly yet so this pic is from her foster mother.

She hasn’t posed for me properly yet so this pic is from her foster mother.

Lynx looks to be a full breed Arabian Mau.

Lynx looks to be a full breed Arabian Mau.

I can haz sleeps on warm lappy?

I can haz sleeps on warm lappy?

She's a computer nerd...

She’s a computer nerd…

Keep an eye out for more pics of Lynx!

New Year’s Eve in Melbourne

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photo (4)As luck would have it, I was rostered a long multisector trip to Singapore and Melbourne, Australia, over the New Year’s Eve holiday. And even luckier, I have family in Melbourne and was to be in the city for about 30 hours entering the new year smack dab in the middle of it, so I was looking forward to a big family get-together and lots of Filipino food (yum!).The crew were really great and I would have loved to celebrate with them, but I was really happy have been able to spend it with family. I’d been to Melbourne and Singapore many times before, so keep an eye out for those posts coming soon. On this blog, I’ll just be sharing pictures from the NYE party and celebrations.

Most of my cousins that were in attendance! It was Hawaiian themed!

Most of my cousins that were in attendance! It was Hawaiian themed!

I’ve mentioned my Aussie family before, but here’s a complete explanation: My dad’s mother’s sister emigrated to Australia with her 4 children, and those 4 children grew up to have more children, and even their children have even more children. So like a good Filipino, she’s set up a whole network of Pinoy down under. I actually didn’t even know they existed until I moved to Dubai and an uncle of mine from the US had traveled over, and told me about them. Two of my second cousins, were actually living here, and left three months after I arrived! But my cousin Cathy has since moved back to Dubai.

At midnight, hugs and kisses everywhere!

At midnight, hugs and kisses everywhere!

So I was very happy and excited to be able to be a part of their New Year’s Eve celebrations! There was a gift exchange, loads and loads of food, Skyping cousin Cathy (who was actually spending her NYE in Norway) and sparklers (I haven’t played with sparklers since I was a kid!)

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Looking forward to great things in 2014! Happy new year all!