zondag 4 september 2022

Back at KLM!

Exactly one year ago I started my KLM Cityhopper adventure, and now I am back at 'big brother' KLM! Last week I had my training and tomorrow my first intercontinental flight to Singapore. So excited! I leave tomorrow night and I am coming back on Sunday morning. We first fly to Singapore, stay there for 48 hours, then we do the turnaround to Bali, and then again 48 hours Singapore before heading back to Amsterdam. The best part is, I am flying with a friend, and Singapore is kind of our destination. 

First a little recap of Cityhopper. All of a sudden just before our holiday to Colombia I received an email that I could go back to KLM a month earlier then planned. Reason for this was that they have enough people now at Cityhopper and they are in need of crew at KLM. Hence why we 'left' earlier'. Therefore I did Cityhopper for 11 months in total, I operated 355 flights!!! YES that is a LOT, more then a lot. In those 11 months I had around 5/6 weeks of holidays. Therefore in 9.5 months I did those 355 flights. I have seen 37 European cities, and been away for 86 nights. 


Lyon (5x), Basel (5x), Newcastle (5x), Luxemburg (4x), Bologna (4x), Nurnberg (4x), Brussels (4x), Gdansk (3x), Linkoping (3x), Stavanger (3x), Aalborg (3x), Nice (2x), Bilbao (2x), Stuttgart (2x), Toulouse (2x), Trondheim (3x), Venice (2x), Munich (2x), Bremen (2x), Florence (2x), Milan (2x), Dusseldorf (2x), Glasgow, Hannover, Aberdeen, Bergen, Leeds, Zagreb, Frankfurt, Belgrado, Valencia, Bristol, Gothenburg, Hamburg, Kristiansand, Cork. 

Many destinations, many flights and many different colleagues. Learnt a lot in those months. Laughed, cried, went through all the emotions you can imagine. Had to arrest somebody on day 1, helped a guy who had an epileptic seizure, heard many happy stories but also some sad corona stories. Now time to go back to 'big' KLM! After Singapore heading to Salt Lake City for 3 full days, and then also 3 full days in Bonaire! Work hard, play harder! If anybody has any tips for Salt Lake City and Bonaire, let me know! 

Special shoutout to my friend Danique who made my last 2 days rememberable! Can't wait for her to be back at KLM next year so we can fly together again! I have deep respect for everybody at Cityhopper. They work extremely hard and they all do it with a smile, I did have a good time with all those amazing people! Now time to have 400 people again in one plane! :D 

maandag 8 augustus 2022

Colombia for a Wedding

Last year we received a beautiful invitation for the wedding of Jorge and Felice. Felice is a dear friend of mine that I already know for a long time, we met at our university and always stayed in touch. Over the past years Felice even stopped by in Dubai, and when she and Jorge lived in Buenos Aires, I was at their goodbye party, by accident (I had a flight there with KLM). Little side note, the wedding was going to take place in Santa Marta in COLOMBIA! You probably think why Colombia, but you can already feel it coming, Jorge is Colombian! haha! 

I could not put in a request anymore about my summer holiday, unfortunately. So had to wait till the holidays were published. There is a whole system where you can put your holiday up for changing with somebody else and within 2 weeks everything was sorted. I got two weeks of holidays in July and the wedding was in the middle! Yeey! 

Pieter was invited too, so there we went. With all the chaos at the airport I was for sure stressing out if we would make it to the gate, and then if we would get on the actual fight to Cartagena. All my colleagues I was working with the days before the flight told me, don't stress, there's always people missing their flight so you for sure get on. We were at the airport at 06.00am on a Saturday and our flight was at 10.10am. Surprise surprise we managed to pass through all the security points at exactly 08.00am. First obstacle we managed, on to the gate. We arrived at the gate pretty chilled, until the lady from the ground staff told us, oef, this is not looking too good, everybody checked in, so we think everybody will show up. Sh*t...... Then the crew came, I was checking if I knew anybody, but I didn't know anybody. The ground staff was talking to the captain about the standby crew and he nodded in a way saying everything will be fine. Around 10.05am we were called to the ground staff and she handed our boarding passes, mine was going to the cockpit and Pieter had the jumpseat in the back. We had the very very last available seats on the plane! Woehoe! The mother of one of the pilots was also on the flight so in the end we had one jumpseat and one normal seat. I started on the jumpseat for take off and then swapped with Pieter after 4 hours. He actually liked sitting there, all the space in the world and just chilling while he was getting a VIP treatment by the crew with nice snacks. 

Most important thing was that we were on the flight and on our way to Cartagena, first stop Bogota! At Bogota we had to leave the aircraft and go through security again and fly another hour to Cartagena. Once we got on the plane again, the senior purser told us, now we have space in Business Class, you can sit there for the last hour! We were so happy, even for an hour! I slept the whole way. 

Once we finally arrived in Cartagena we took a taxi to our hotel. Hanneke, my friend, was also on the same flight as us so we shared a taxi to the city centre. Because we were travelling on standby I booked a cheap hotel, just in case we didn't make it on the flight it would not that expensive to spend a night shorter in Cartagena. Well, this is a mistake that I will probably hear for the rest of my life. The room we got allocated was somewhere in the back, without any windows and the ceiling was very short. It was so short that Pieter could not stand up straight. Whoops... 

The first night we had dinner in the area Getsemani with Hanneke, but we were so tired and jetlagged that straight after dinner we went to bed. The next day we did one of those free walking tours, that you only give a tip at the end. But it was our first day and we had to adjust to the head, it was about 35 degrees celsius and full sun. We had to drink a lot of water. 

We stayed two night in Cartagena and then we took a boat to one of the Rosario Islands. That morning it was even cloudy and some rain, and once we were on the boat and left the harbor we got into a bit of storm. While we were on the boat I saw a sword fish jumping out of the water 3 times, so cool! Once we finally arrived at our island it was time to relax. We had a very cute small cabana next to the sea. The ceiling was so high you couldn't even reach it even if you wanted, even Pieter couldn't reach it! Points for me booking a proper accommodation! Winning! The next day we did a boat tour around the islands and we even saw one of Pablo Escobar's houses, and even his plane that crashed into the sea right in front of it. There's not more you can do on an island besides playing Qwixx, reading a book, chilling, swim in the sea and eat and drink. But that was fine by me, I needed to detox from the fast world for a minute and just don't do anything else. 

After the Rosario Islands we went back to Cartagena for another two night before heading to Santa Marta for the wedding. Those days in Cartagena we just went to a mall, the highest rooftop of Cartagena and we already met some of the other wedding guest for a drink. From Cartagena it is about a 4 hour drive to Santa Marta. We shared a taxi with another couple that was also going to the wedding. 

During the drive we same some small villages that are extremely poor, a big contrast than with Cartagena where tourism is thriving in the city. They told us as well, that the further you go beyond Palomino, which is a bit further then Santa Marta, it is more dangerous and more crimes are happening there. So we made sure to not go further then Tayrona (which is in between Santa Marta and Palomino). 

Jorge and Felice organized a small gathering on Friday evening for everybody to meet each other and there would be a special performance, little did we know we were going to do salsa dancing for about an hour and a half. All the dutch people that were there were not the best salsa dancers (good thing I don't know how it works with videos on blogspot). It was lovely to see everybody again and sharing travel stories. By now I know these girls already for 10 years, all from our university. 

Saturday was the BIG day! In the morning at breakfast you could feel the tension some people had, but Jorge and Felice were probably the most chilled persons in the morning! Around 1ish the first girls came to my room for their hair and make-up. I offered to do it, since I am good with hair and make-up. Within an hour the whole room turnt into a beautysalon with some bubbles to start the celebrations. In the end I think I did the hair of 6 people and about 3 also their make-up. The mistake I made when I was younger, was leaving myself to the end. This time I was fully ready to do everybody's hair and not having to stress about my own. 

At 15.40pm we had to go down for the shuttle to pick us up and drive to the location. The location was in one word majestical. The view was beautiful, on one side there was an area where the ceremony was being held, on the other side were two long tables for dinner, and just before that was a dance floor with lights as a ceiling in the open air. 

The ceremony was held by a dear friend of Felice and Jorge, Lineke, and also some indigenous people of Colombia, super special. 

After the ceremony the guests had a little drink while the newlyweds had a photoshoot. After the drink we even had a speech by one of Jorge his friends, and then it was time for dinner. Where Felice her father did a speech, the sister of Jorge as well, and Felice her little sister even sang a song acapella. But save the best for last, was of course the party. 

We had so much fun celebrating the love we have for Jorge and Felice. Apparently in Colombia it is 'normal' to have what they call, 'hora loca' (crazy hour), and within seconds the whole dance floor was filled with inflatables, wigs, and other party attributes. Put on the song Links-Rechts and the party went through the roof, if there would be any! At 01.00am the party finished and we went back to the hotel, tired but with memories to last a lifetime. 

The day after, we all had a hangover. But all we had to do was chill by the pool. For dinner we went to the city of Santa Marta with a group of 12 people. The next day we all left for the next adventure on our trip. Pieter and I left for Minca with a few others. It was raining all day and we even had to take a motor to our hotel, since normal cars don't go that far up the mountain. After a busy weekend it was nice to relax for a moment and don't do anything. 

On Tuesday we went to the hotel where some of our friends were staying to do this hike up a waterfall. The waterfall wasn't the most beautiful I have seen, but it was lovely to spend some more time together. In the afternoon we left to go to a hotel close by Tayrona National Park. The next day we left in the early morning to go to the park. We started at the 'common' entrance called El Zaino, and from there we walked 1.5 hour to our first stop, Cabo San Juan. This hike is pretty known in Colombia and you can even do it on flip-flops. 

But the second hike to Playa Brava was very intense and it took us 2.5 hours. The first hour/hour and a half it was very intense walking up a mountain. The scenery was beautiful and we even heard some monkeys howling. We only packed one backpack for the park, otherwise you have to carry everything with you. Good thing I have a strong guy with me who can carry most of the backpack! :D 

Playa Brava can only be reached by walking, and we had this beautiful private ecolodge for the two of us on the beach. In total I think there stayed around 20 people, because you can also rent a hammock for the night. 

The next day in the early morning we left after breakfast to walk out of the park through the exit called Calabazos, this took us again a full hour walking up the mountain to then take some motors for the last bit, we were done walking. 

Back at the hotel where we left our bags, the guy from the hotel drove us to Santa Marta (otherwise we had to wait 1.5 hour for a taxi), and from there we took the bus back to Cartagena. Which took another 4.5 hours. Back in Cartagena it was our final night before heading back to Amsterdam, if of course we would get on the flight. Luckily this time the girl at the check-in desk told us there were 5 people travelling on standby and Pieter and I were number 2 and 3, so that was a big relief! We even got Economy Comfort seats and that was the end of a lovely two weeks travelling in Cartagena, with the highlight of attending the wedding of Jorge and Felice. A trip to remember, and for Pieter the first time to Colombia, but definitely not his last. The people are lovely, the food is good, and relativity cheap compared to European cities. Big diversity as well, if you want to chill there are some islands, if you want to hike you have many parks where you can do this and even visit big cities like Medellin or Bogota, Colombia has it all, so definitely worth a visit if you ask me!     


donderdag 30 december 2021

2021 you were gentle, 2022 you will be wonderful!

And just like that it's almost the last day of 2021, traditionally I write a blog about the past year. It has been a hell of a ride. A year of ups, but also some downs. Work wise things have changed. From long layovers in the Caribbean to short overnights in Europe. From flights of 10/12 hours to flights of 20 minutes, and yes people those flights exist. I did a flight the other day from Amsterdam to Brussels and it took us only 20 minutes to get there. During those 20 minutes you still have to do service, but with Emirates in the back of my mind, doing a service in 20 minutes for a maximum of 88 people is a piece of cake for an allrounder stewardess like me. Doing a service in 40 minutes in a full economy class on the A380 (427 passengers), that was a challenge. 

I am now flying for around 3.5 months with KLM Cityhopper, and as explained in my previous blog this was due to the Coronavirus. Not going to lie, it is hard, harder than I thought. You can do a maximum of 4 flights a day and sometimes your day starts 6am and sometimes your day starts at 3pm. So you can imagine when you start at 3pm and then have to do 4 flights, you reach the hotel around 11/12ish at night. For me, personally, I prefer the early morning flights. Passengers are still a bit tired, only want tea or coffee and sleep. Whereas in the night, passengers think they are in the bar and all they want is to drink alcohol and eat. Of course, keep in mind that with the whole face mask world nowadays it is also more of an issue at night. The amount of times passengers are trying to go in discussion with me why they cannot wear a face mask is ridiculous. I have seen it all, from grown up man licking a lolly, to people saying they can't breathe, well, welcome to my life, was my reaction, haha. 

On my first day at Cityhopper we already had to arrest somebody for not wearing his face mask and then going off at my colleague shouting her to f*ck off. As soon as we landed into Amsterdam the marechaussee was waiting for him to take him off the plane, and hopefully he will be put on the No Fly- list for the next 5 years with KLM and partners. I understand we are in a difficult situation but that is no reason to act like a child on the plane. Even for myself, and I am sure I speak for everybody who has to work with a face mask, we do not like it either. But if that's the way for us to be able to travel, you sit down, put your face mask on and don't give the crew a hard time. If you don't want to be on the plane, rent a car and drive to your destination. No mercy for no face mask people for me on the plane anymore. What you do at home I don't care but when you pay for your ticket you agree to comply with the cabin crew rules, and if you don't follow them you are not flying, easy as that.  On the other hand I have seen passenger whom gave us chocolates because they respect our hard job we have to do these days, and they are so extremely happy to be able to see friends and family again after 2/3 years. The next 8.5 months are going to be tough, but I will manage, try to go to the gym more en route, eat healthier on the plane and have a holiday after every 2/3 months. That's the game plan. Because I fly so much now, I hardly see Pieter and that I don't like. Good thing it is only temporarily. 

At the beginning of 2021 I managed to have a little getaway to Bonaire to visit my friend Valerie who was working there at the time. It was so nice to feel the warmth on my body, read some books and study some Spanish. I even passed my KLM Spanish exam, and I am so proud of myself. With only 2/2.5 months of lessons, I studied hard for my oral exam, and pff you can get a lot of questions in 45 minutes! It took forever, but I did it! 

My birthday bash this year was AMAZING! Got to spend it with my lovely friends and family. The day after was probably the hardest day of 2021 as well. The hangover was insane and all I could do was watch a Disney movie. 

Pieter and I also went to Marbella again this year and it was beautiful, some days together and then some days filled with friends. We even played golf (yes I got my VGB this year too), went to Rhonda, the beach, Puerto Banos and many more. 

But the biggest change in 2021 was me moving in with Pieter! We changed the whole house and even painted the walls. It looks so cosy and homey now, I love it. And the best part is, Pieter is here too! It feels so natural to be living together, and of course sometimes we don't agree (mostly who gets to most food xD) but in the end he is the love of my life and I can't wait what the future holds for us. I hope more fun, joy and laughter and of course that we also stay healthy, we (he is) going on a diet on the 2nd of January. Many exciting things ahead for us in 2022. And if I learned one thing during this whole pandemic, don't look at the things you can't do, but look at the things you can do. Joy is in the little things in life, seeing my nephew grow up is one of those priceless things, soon he will get a little brother or sister, so excited! Keep you posted! 

I wish everybody an amazing New Years Eve with loads of champagne, music and laughter. May all of your dreams come true in 2022. <3          

vrijdag 2 juli 2021

My love story

How time flies when you're having fun! And no, I wasn't living under a rock the past year. I experienced the pandemic like everybody else. Feeling unsure about my job, my loved ones, it the world going to be a normal place again, when will this be over? Overall, it was a busy year. But it was also a year that I fell in love, head over heels. I have been on many dates, trust me, always putting myself out there, getting the perfect wine for a picknick in the park, outfit-stress for somebody that wasn't even worth it, and not to forget all the guys that ghosted me, yes people that's a thing. It means that guys pretend to like you and message you and then all of a sudden POEF gone with the wind. Leaving you behind not knowing why they did that. And what was I looking for? To be honest, I probably didn't even know it at that time. Until, for some reason, I met Pieter. There were so many reason why we shouldn't have met, but we did. I have to give some credits here to my friend Sara, she pushed me to download this dating app, again. When you're in one of those phases that you download it, on it for 2/3 weeks and then delete it again. She said, come on, just download it, there are some nice guys on it. After 1 hour she asked me again, and did you download it?! So I basically had no reason not to do it. And there he was, this guy with a big smile on his face, he gave me one as well. So, I did what I had to do, I swipped right, and we were a match the next day. However, with this app (Bumble) it is the woman who need to send the first message within 24 hours of the match, if not, match is gone. If the guy doesn't reply within 24 hours of your message, the match is gone. We matched on a Tuesday, just by saying: Hi Pieter, how are you doing? Where he responded: Hi Merel, how cool we are a match, how are we going to celebrate? I thought, nice one, 10 points for this guy. And so it happened that we met the next day in this bar in Amsterdam, close to my place (a good thing when you set your radar maximum 5 km away). I had zero expectations and I thought, there's probably something about this one as well, or he doesn't even look like his photo. Wrong, he turned out to be exactly everything I was looking for, charming, amazing smile, humor, handsome, seen the world, but most of all, he looks at me as if I'am the most beautiful girl in this world. I feel blessed to be raised by that example, and that's all I wanted in a guy and he gives me that. I am head over heels, even my Louboutins don't even come close. Since I never had a boyfriend I didn't know what I was missing, and it's great. He's my go-to for everything, we laugh, we cry, we make an effort for each other and just like to spend time together. He makes me a very happy woman, and hopefully I will make him a very happy man. And yes peeps, I have some news as well. We are going to live together, I'am moving in!!!! So excited for this new phase in our lives, and more news to come as well. Going to KLM Cityhopper for the next year. They need people and KLM have too many, so it's a logic choice, even-though it wasn't mine to choose, but it's going to be an adventure and now I'am very excited what this new year is going to bring. I can't believe it's been 3 years since I left Emirates. Sometimes I think about my time in Dubai and I think, did this really happen? Did I really just left home at 21 and live in Dubai for 4.5 years. What were my parents thinking? So much respect for them, just to let me go. Not to forget, I left for a reason as well, and I'am happy I did. Look at me now, 3 years later, moving in with the man I love, heading for new adventures at Cityhopper, and most of all, going to enjoy my last year in my twenties, believe it or not, I turned 29 a few weeks ago!! All I can say, the hangovers are not getting easier! 

Here's to love, because what would we do without it! <3     

vrijdag 20 maart 2020

Be positive, Stay positive

Normally I write a blog about my recent adventures from the last few months. But with these recent developments all you hear is corona this, corona that. I want to speak my mind here with you, and help you to see everything in perspective and mostly to be positive and stay positive. You can't switch on the tv without hearing news about this horrible virus, facebook is full of stay at home workout videos or people singing from their balconies in countries that are under full lockdown. I completely understand that this is the world we live in now, but please people don't let the media influence you too much. Stay positive. Yes, it is unbelievable the world we live in and we should not underestimate the seriousness of this case, and we basically don't have a social life for a few weeks (hopefully). But, use this time to hit the reset button, take this time to clean out your closet, read the book you already want to read for a long time, drink loads of water, eat healthy (take extra vitamines) and go outside for a run so you can get some fresh air. Time to focus on you, and help where you can.

I was supposed to have 2 weeks of holidays and I would visit my dear friend Maki at the Gold Coast and meet other friends in Brisbane. As you might suspect, I am still at home. If I would have left for Australia I would not be able to get back. Also my year contract was in the proces of being extended, however, during these unforeseen circumstances KLM could terminate my contract. But, I heard yesterday that they are going to extend my contract, even now. So you can imagine I was a very happy girl yesterday. The next few months will be hard for the airline industry. Seeing our CEO on the tv a few times in the past weeks and being powerful in this statements and willing to work to overcome this crisis with his help, I tell you, he has the whole company (33.000 employees) behind him. One by one who are all ready to do everything in their power to survive this horrible crisis. I am super proud to be part of this incredible blue family KLM.

Be grateful what you have people. I am grateful to be living together with somebody. Hanneke has to work from home, but we keep each other company. I am a good wifey, she's working while I clean the windows, I start cooking when she's almost finished with her work. Bring her tea. Or maybe I am too single, you chose haha! What else do I do all day I can hear you wondering. I don't set an alarm, and every day I wake up around 8/8.30, then I put on my gym outfit and go for a run in the park, or I find one of those outdoors boxing areas where you box outside for free. When I come back I make breakfast with a fresh grapefruit and some yoghurt. Then the rest of the day is either organizing my closet, clean the windows, bathroom, living room, bedroom. And of course I also watch some Netflix or in my case also Disney+ (Frozen 2 is online and it's amazing).

Then on a positive note.
The last few weeks/months have been extremely busy, but only with fun stuff. At the beginning of January I had a 9 day trip to Singapore with my friend Karlien. The last time we were in Singapore it was insane with all the partying, so this time we said, we are going to relax, sleep, eat healthy and do some sports. Surprise surprise, we didn't even drink in those days.

Once back in Amsterdam Hanneke and I were organizing late New Years drinks party at our place. Our first party in our apartment in Amsterdam, it was a big succes so once this whole thing is blown over and we can go back to normal life we will definitely organize another party.

On the 18th of January it was the first birthday of my cute little nephew. Can't believe he's already 1 year, time flies and he grows like there is no tomorrow. He will be my length when he's 10 years old.

My friend Florien was coming with me on a 7 day Buenos Aires trip, the first time I took somebody with me on the flight. It's so much fun if you bring somebody on your flight that you know! The weather was amazing and Flo used to live in Buenos Aires, so she was over the moon being back after 2 years and seeing all her friends. For once I didn't have to think where to go and what to do, Flo knows the city, perfect!
After Buenos Aires I was catching a plane straight away to go to Dubai for a week on my holidays! As some of you might have seen on instagram I was staying with my dear friend Koen and his brother Kristof, and they are living in the Burj Khalifa. You know, the largest tower in the world. Not going to lie, when I grabbed a taxi at the airport and he asked me where to go, I couldn't wait to tell him Burj Khalifa Residences. Something I already wanted to say for all the years I was actually living in Dubai, and now when I'am not living there anymore I could finally say it. I felt cool (sorry not sorry), who wouldn't feel cool if they could stay in the Burj. Anyway, long story short I went out almost everyday and saw most of my friends. Dubai feels comfortable, but it doesn't feel like home anymore. I feel extremely grateful for the whole Dubai experience and meeting so many amazing people from all over the world and seeing so many places. But now, after almost 2 years being back, it feels like a bubble, almost like a dream. And now I am super happy being back in the Netherlands, and live in the best city in the world; Amsterdam.
After Dubai I was home for a day before taking the bus to Austria and go snowboarding for a week with the girls. I know these girls for around 10 years, some of us thought this would be a relaxing trip with not too much alcohol. Well, that didn't work out. From the 8 nights we were in Flachau we went out 6 of them. We laughed so much we almost cried, and we made so many memories to last a few years, and talk about forever. 

While writing all of this on my couch (since I can't go anywhere) I feel so happy and blessed to have had a great start of 2020 with amazing people around me. So when you feel a bit down, sad or even a bit lonely, think about the great memories you have created recently. I honestly believe we all get through this and become stronger persons and even a stronger nation. We will survive this, but now we are forced to take a break from it all and stand still for a moment. My last flight was to Japan and I was talking to the Japanese crew about the Japanese traditions and cultures. I read a book the other day and I would recommend it to everybody, especially now. It is called 'Ichigo-Ichie', about that every moment in your life is unique, and that it is very important to cherish all those moments. Especially in times like these, it doesn't cost you anything to be nice to each other, and we all need a little bit of all the kindness in the world. We should take care of each other to make this world a better one. Mother nature has spoken and has hit the pause button. Every disadvantage will have advantages as well, see the positives in this situation. Parents have more time now to reconnect with their children, if you go outside you see people running in the park and enjoying the fresh air and nature around them, the other day we all started clapping at 20.00 for the people that work in health care, this morning at 8.45 the same song was played 'You will never walk alone' at more then 190 radio stations. See what something bad is turning people into doing something good. Let's restore the balans, take care of each other, and people Buy Flowers Not Toiletpaper! <3

- Ichigo-Ichie -

donderdag 28 november 2019

Coincidences one after the other...

Unbelievable, how can Christmas already be next month? Where has the time gone? They say time flies when you're having fun, and I'm definitely having a lot of fun but it scares me as well that the months go by so fast. I wanna do so many things, travel more, see more friends and chill more. Life is busy, a good type of busy don't get me wrong.


This summer was an amazing summer with lots of festivals as mentioned in my previous blog. But in my opinion the party of the year was the gala. Every 5 years the union of the pilots hold a gala, but it's not your typical dance. They have an enormous budget, amazing location and food and drinks are free. Me and my friends heard about this gala a few months before, and me being me, I needed to be there no matter what. However, the only way you can get access if you're a plus 1 of a pilot who's going. Since I was only flying for a few months I didn't know that many pilots yet. So challenge accepted. It took us and the girls about 3/4 weeks before we found ourselves some 'dates', blind dates. Karlien's roommate knows this pilot guy and his friends were looking for dates, so that was settled! Time for some dress shopping, even though I had a deal with Hanneke to not buy clothes for 3 months, but I needed a dress. Besides that, I didn't buy anything else those 3 months.
September 7th was the day, time to get ready for a party! We went for dinner with the guys before, so we actually knew who we were going with as well. We were with 6 guys and 4 girls for dinner before we walked to the Concert Building at Museumsquare. Once we arrived there was a guy playing on a saxophone, and once you entered the building some girls were singing. Tickets got scanned and then we got our first glass of champagne, how lovely. When we entered the ballroom we even saw girls hanging from chandeliers who were pouring more champagne! What kind of party is this?! One, you didn't want to miss for sure. The whole night we could get champagne, gin&tonics and literally any other drink you can think of. The performances during the night were also of a next level. Some famous dutch artists were singing their hearts out for 2000 pilots! I don't blame them haha. I have been to many parties this year but this one is getting into the top 3 of this year. Not to forget the amount of food they handed out, from caviar, oysters, 'bitterballen', hamburgers, tartare, name it and it was there. It was very much a couple party, and then there was us. Just dancing and having a good time. I love men in suits so this was a perfect party. At the end I could not stand on my feet anymore, it was the Louboutins to blame. Yes people I still wear them, quit often actually. They are too expensive just to stand in my closet. After grabbing one last frites it was time to call it a night and head home. What a party, and how fortunate that I could attend it with the girls.

Time to recover before an Europe trip. I have said this before but sometimes you meet colleagues and you just connect, if only falling in love would be this easy. I met a girl on my flight Sara, and from the moment we met we started talking and didn't finish until we were back in Amsterdam 3 days later. It's just so nice to talk to somebody who just understands certain situations, yes talking about men situations. As if it was meant to be we met, very lucky to have this girl in my life now. She even flew with Wouter a few weeks ago!

Then I was on my way to Rio de Janeiro to meet my dear friend Florien. Oh no way, there was a festival in Rio, while I am there? What a coincidence..... NOT! This was so planned. Florien got me tickets for the biggest Rock festival in Brazil, Rock in Rio, how cool. She just moved to Madrid to do a masters degree. There we were, 2 dutch girls in the middle of all these Brazilians, nothing we can't handle. Had such a great time, and again so fortunate to be able to fly around the world to see my friend and make more great memories together.
Rock in Rio 

Exactly one month after that crazy dance it was the birthday of KLM. KLM was celebrating it's 100th birthday, and being the oldest airline in the world still operating under the same name. I had a lovely flight to Lagos that day, and once we arrived at the hotel the staff even got a banner, cake and snacks.
On the airport in Lagos

When it's somebody's birthday we throw a party, even a company as big as KLM. However, the day of the party I had a flight to Barcelona and would land back at 22.00, while the party would last until 22.30... So Houston, we have a problem. However, problems are there to be solved so I called crew control and see if they could swap a flight for one that would bring me back earlier. Somebody up there wanted me to go to this party because it worked, they gave me a short London and around 20.30 I was holding a beer in my hand and celebrate KLM's 100th birthday. Thank you! Even ran into the CEO and got a cheesy photo.
Pieter Elbers, Marissa and me

After the birthday party we had another Kuala Lumpur trip planned with the girls, and same as always it was good fun, we chilled a lot, got some ice coffees, only coffee I ever drink. You could notice that it wasn't summer holidays anymore, otherwise it's more busy during the week if you go out. But we still had a few great nights.
Dinner with the girls

In between flights I also spend some time at home with mom and dad, and not to forget my adorable little nephew. He's the cutest ever, and I am a very proud auntie, and my nephew is the best in the world, obviously.

It's funny how sometimes you go to flights and you think oh this will be a quiet one, I will just pack a sweater and that's it. Well, lesson learned. On our flight to Edmonton in Canada we had Armin van Buuren on the flight, and I don't think this guy needs any introduction. Once I arrived at the table where you shake hands with the pursers, (same senior purser as when I flew to Lagos, mentioned before), she straight away said WE HAVE ARMIN ON BOARD! And he's performing tonight at this Scream festival, we are trying to get tickets! First thing that popped in my head was, I only have a sweater with me, this is not happening. So there I went, 40 minutes before briefing started I was running over Plaza (shopping area at the airport before customs) looking for some sort of shirt I could wear, also got a celebration card for Armin (since he launched his new album the day before) and I got him a chocolate letter (some dutch celebration we do on the 5th of december, will not explain now). During the flight everybody wrote something on the card, including myself. The senior purser said, since I bought everything and made the effort, I was the one who should give it to him. At one point I got a call, Merel come to the front now, he's awake and soon going back to sleep. So I had the honor to say something to him, give his card and then as a surprise give him his chocolate letter. And no joke, he was pleasantly surprised and he even got a bit shy, he said, you got this specially for me? I said, of course!! Then he gave me a high five... I was going for the hug or 3 kisses, but hey a high five is better then nothing! He then said his famous words, if you guys wanna come to the festival tonight I think we can sort something out! Me and my big mouth said, no way, are you sure? I also just bought a new shirt because I only packed a sweater...... Merel, Merel, Merel, WHYYYYYY! Anyway it didn't scare him because that night we went VIP to his party and it was insane! Had the best time. How to think a 'boring' Edmonton can turn out VIP at Armin van Buuren, guess life has its funny ways of making things happen. On the way back we had 85 special meals and 75 wheelchairs, what to say... life has it's funny ways, but it was worth it!
read this first
Scream Festival

While I was packing my bags again for another trip, this time 9 day trip to Singapore with my friend Karlien, I thought, let's check if maybe some cool dj is playing while we are there. Guess what, DJ Chuckie might not be as famous as Armin but it's a dutch DJ. One of the crew on our flight to Singapore happens to know dj Chuckie personally, what a surprise... She got in touch with him and put us on the list, so there we went VIP dj Chuckie in Singapore, why not. Dancing all night long behind the dj table, while somebody was just handing out Veuve Clicquot. I'm an easy drinker so champagne it was.
DJ Chuckie

But, the party is not over yet. After Singapore I had a trip to Fortaleza, which is in Brazil. Didn't know this before either. My friend Marissa was staying there to learn kitesurfing so I managed to get the flight and spend 2 days on the coast to chill and relax. I needed some vitamin sun. Just drinking water out of a coconut and get some tan.

While writing this blog I realize that a lot has happend in the past few months, all good things though so not complaining. Yesterday I was supposed to go to Bangalore in India. I was again flying with somebody I know. However, 3 hours into the flight we had a technical issue that we had to turn back to Amsterdam. Obviously this is not normal so we had to be flexible with the services, trying to calm down the passengers and let everything run as smooth as possible. These things happen, in the airline industry they do not take any risk when it comes to safety. It was a minor technical issue that they couldn't fix short term in Bangalore. All passengers who had to stay the night in Amsterdam got a hotel and they left this morning with another plane to Bangalore. The cabin crew got today and tomorrow off and I'm flying to Lagos on Saturday, but they said I could fly back as a passenger, so we will see! Fingers crossed!

I always end my blog with a bit of self reflection, and even this time I want to share some thoughts. The other day I read a book, yes people I read books, it was called Ichigo-Ichie. It sounds very strange but it's about the Japanese wisdom of how to live in the moment. Be more aware in the moment you live. Everybody knows that in Japan around March you have the cherry blossom season, the japanese take this moment to reflect and appreciate to have yet another cherry blossom season. In the book they describe that every moment is an unique one so we need to make the most out it. It's a very interesting book and it really makes you open your eyes and look around. Smile more at the people around, because you know what they say, from a good deed comes a good deed. Especially with the holidays coming up, be nice to each other and enjoy every moment because you never know what the day might bring!

donderdag 5 september 2019

Bye Summer, Hello Autumn

My second summer in the Netherlands, and it has been a good one! Been to multiple festivals in Amsterdam, and not to forget I did go to Tomorrowland again. This time not a whole weekend but just the pre-party at the camping and the first day of the first weekend with my friend Yolanda. It has been her dream to go to Tomorrowland for years and my friend Koen still had one ticket left. So he made Yolanda a very happy girl. Festival season started with a few Festimi festivals on sundays. Been to a Thuishaven party and went to De Zon festival. De Zon festival was at the NDSM-wharf, which is a rural area just above the river in Amsterdam. It was also my best friends birthday so we had a great time, with lovely weather.

TML '19 with Yolanda

Believe it or not, but in between I was flying as well. Been already to so many amazing places with KLM. I'am already flying for 5 months, and it has been my best decision ever. My colleagues are amazing, the company is the best to work for and get to see amazing cities, where I can actually have time to see and do things. With EK we only had 24 hours at most destinations, but not the KLM! It is great to see that if you work with people that speak your language, have the same norms and values you work in a better way. You work for each other and with each other.
Lifting the plane in Venice
Flew my own plane again

A few weeks ago I did a 7 day trip to Kuala Lumpur. I mean 7 days, for real! The best thing was that I was flying with 2 new friends of mine.
Marissa, me and Karlien

Actually funny story. About 2 months ago I was on reserve and they called me, I had to fly to Atlanta, so there I went. On my flight was a girl around my age, but I didn't really talk to her since she was working in the back and I was working in the front. Anyway long story short, on our way back to the crew centre in Amsterdam we started talking and she mentioned this party called 'United for Stripes', which was held in 2 days in Bloemendaal. Of course, I would be me if I didn't invite myself to this party. Karlien also invited two friends of her Marissa and Kurtine. So there we went off to Bloemendaal for an airline party and we had so much fun. And from that day on we have been friends, going to drinks together in Amsterdam or go to KLM gatherings. When I went to Kuala Lumpur I flew with Karlien and Marissa and we had an amazing few days in KL, didn't really do much sightseeing but we experienced KL nightlife to its fullest (4 nights). In the middle we also had to do a shuttle to Jakarta. You fly to KL, off for 2 days, then do the shuttle and then off again for 2 days before heading back to Amsterdam. PERFECT!

It's funny how small events and decision make such a big impact on your life. I mean I know these girls for 2 months now and it feels like I know them for years. They live in Amsterdan and Kurtine lives in Rotterdam, we are all single and ready to mingle. It is nice to have people living in the same city who also have days off during the week and want to hang out and do things. I know a lot of people but not so many who want to go out on a monday or tuesday, since sometimes I don't have weekend on saturday and sunday.

The party of the year is this saturday. It's a ball from the union of the pilots. The union holds a ball every 5 years, however you can't just buy tickets. You need to be part of this union and then you can bring a +1 (like a date). This year it is in a very iconic building in Amsterdam, at the Concert Building near Museumsquare. Once we heard about this ball we did every possible thing to get invited by a pilot to be somebody's date. And guess what, it worked. I'am going on a blind date with a guy named Daniel and Karlien is going with one of his friends. Can you imagine so many pilots in their suits, it's like a dream come true haha! Can't wait till it's saturday. Got a beautiful long black dress and golden statement earrings. Need to look at my very best. Photos will follow on my next blog!

It's the 5th of September today and most likely it won't be summer weather again for a long time. But it's fine, will just ask for warm destinations to keep my tan game on point. But not gonna lie I'am looking forward to wearing boots, big sweaters and cosy nights on the couch chilling.

A few weeks ago my father turned 60! Sounds so old but he doesn't look like it or feels like it, which is a good thing. We had a big bbq party in the garden, and we even performed a song specially made for my dad about my dad. As a gift I told him that he can come on one of my flights, I will pay the ticket for him and he will pay the rest. He wants to go to Buenos Aires. Can't wait to take him on my flight and enjoy Buenos Aires together, drink a lot of red wine and eat steak!
handsome daddy
And not to forget my cute nephew

This summer made me realize how happy I am to be back, back in the Netherlands, back with my dear family and back with my friends. They mean everything to me. Super grateful for the experience I have had in Dubai and to work for Emirates but extremely happy to be back home. As if there is some sort of peace, not having to worry about what is next, who is next and where will I see my future. It is here, right here in the Netherlands, and for now I call Amsterdam my home. But who knows what the future brings, but for now I'am the happiest I have ever been. Grateful to be able to spend time with my family and be there for them. Life is full of moments, you decide how you fill these. I will fill them with joy, happiness and laughter.