After doing a year in economy and graduating to business class last February, it was time to go back to training college for another painful week that preceded my graduation to first class.
Last year I'd hoped that there would be unlimited cheese board access and dessert eating and was sorely disappointed when I realised that the only food I'd be eating would be quickly inhaled when no-one was looking! This year, I didn't get too excited and expected to spend another week starving with non-existent breaks due to classes going over their time limits. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that not only would we be heating and serving all the food on the menu, but that we were allowed to EAT it! There were yummy little hot canapes, yoghurt with muesli, delicious cheese and a fairly ordinary hot breakfast selection. On the sly, it's the same stuff as business, but in a different bowl.
There was even more emphasis on the wanky open hand gestures than last year and some outrageous necessity to memorise not one, but THREE separate wine lists (18 in total) in 2 days.
How does "not happening" sound to you?!
We had a few rejoining crew, two of which were pursers. I felt sorry for them, as they'd just gone through all their initial training, business class and first class training and THEN had to go on to do their senior training. All up, they'll have been at college for about 10 weeks - not ideal in my opinion! Training college still smells like a nasty old institution and but the food at the cafeteria in the new building is much better. I developed a rather odd addiction to pre-packaged chicken caeser salad and yoghurt. Clearly I'm a girl who loves her food! Good news though, I have lost a few kgs since starting the protein shakes - I definitely recommend them.
Graduation this year was packed. One of the largest graduations in history apparently. There were almost as many business class crew as there were ab-initios (new crew) and there were almost 20 pursers. Our little first class group looked rather puny, with only 6 graduating.
Getting up on stage was a little scary again - falling over my large feet in front of hundreds of people would have been rather embarrassing. The MC at our graduation made a show of saying "congratulations" in the language of each person who was presented with a certificate. I was the last of us to get up and when he introduced me, he called me LAURA. He managed to correctly pronounce a super long Thai name that contained just about all the letters of the alphabet, but I guess Lauren is a pretty difficult name to pronounce......
After sitting through more painful speeches that are the same every week and are trotted out with different hand gestures, we scooted upstairs for some graduation cake and tasty little sandwiches. We finally drove home and later that night we went out for dinner and drinks to Ginseng, a lovely dark and cosy place that serves great Asian tapas. After Ginseng we were off to Barasti and after a drink or two I was ready for bed! All those late nights and early mornings studying were catching up with me!
So now that I'm officially qualified to serve the Pope, a President or a celeb like Angelina Jolie, my expectations for first class are as follows: even less people, even less baggage and an even smaller desperation for water. I hope to see some mega bling and meet a few famous people!