All those colleges to try and finish my degree couldn’t have prepared me for life abroad….

Before I tell you about all the badness that happened in Amsterdam, it’s important for you to know that although I completely ignored the pilot’s repetitive order “NOT TO HANG OUT WITH THE CLIENTS”, this is not something that happens with my clients often, if at all. This was my first and maybe only time in Europe and I was taking full advantage! There was a chance they could find out and probably never hire me again, but I had to go for it and I’m so glad I did. You’ll find out why later, this won’t be the last time you hear about Froggie.

After he slipped me the note with the invite, I couldn’t get off that plane fast enough. One of the many great things about being crew on private jets is the airport service. Once the passengers exit, my job is to clean the interior, deflate the airbeds if needed, donate leftover food to the airport staff and take inventory for provisioning, among other things. While that’s going on, the rental car is pulled right up to the baggage exit door, our bags are nicely placed into the trunk with keys happily waiting in the ignition.

But this time our hotel was located near everything so the FBO called us a taxi, no rental needed. Our cabbie pulled up, stuffed the 3 of us in the backseat and drove off like a mad man. I wasn’t sure we were going to make it out of that vehicle alive. It’s been 15 ½ years since that day, but I will never forget the fear when he drove off the main road and onto the train tracks, like he was being chased by the law. The pilots were big guys so we were packed in the back like sardines, which for me was great; they were like two padded cushions to soften the blow if one of those trains hit us. It may have only lasted about 45 seconds, but it seemed like minutes as the 3 of us kept quiet, but held on. I’m sure the guy was laughing as he looked in the rear view to see the whites of our eyes light up the inside of the car. Then all of a sudden, we were at our hotel, apparently that was completely normal. The drivers know the train schedules so they take shortcuts on the tracks when they can.

I’m not going to lie, I was super excited about hanging out with them, but I was even more excited that I was about to sit in a smoke shop and legally burn. It had been a while since my sleepless ‘party’ weekends and I partook here and there when she was around, but only because I was too scared to buy it for myself. I sped down the hall, threw my bags in the room, found the Concierge and was quickly sent on my way to the nearest ‘Green House Lounge’.

It was so freeing, (I think that’s the emotion I’m looking for), to be allowed to just enjoy yourself without being judged. I had about an hour to chill before it was time to head back and get ready when a local struck up a conversation. He asked me why I was in Amsterdam and as I told my story….it hit me, like a ton of imaginary bricks.

This was all really happening and to me! A week ago I was struggling to afford gas and now I’m making $300 a day while traveling Europe, I started to cry, tears of joy mostly but also because it was very overwhelming. The 2 of us sat under a mural of Bob Marley, sipping coffee and exchanging stories. I learned that you are allowed to purchase some to go but you are only allowed to smoke at home, in a hotel and smoke shops, anywhere else, like outdoors, is considered rude. So up to the counter I went to buy myself a little stash before skipping back to my room to get dressed.

As I entered the cab in front of my hotel, the driver assured me that no train track driving would be necessary, my destination was just up the road. This ride was great and slow so I was able to get a good look at the architecture, the local’s sense of style, how different the street lights were, all of it. What really stood out to me though was how it was the first week of November and the streets were filled with people in winter coats, all riding bicycles. It seemed like every single person in town was outside, just living…..The streets were packed and you couldn’t help but notice them politely kiss each other 3 times on the cheeks to say hello, one more than the French.

It was around 9 pm when I arrived and the party had been well underway. There was a drink in my hand before I could blink an eye and of course a nice selection of Amsterdam’s finest. The atmosphere in the room was contagious as we all chatted away while dancing on the balcony which overlooked the city. Once the smoke filled room cleared and the mini bar was empty, it was time to head towards our first destination, ‘A live sex show’, ”excuse me, a what?” Let’s just say I giggled through the entire thing as the couple tried to put on an erotic performance while their red velvet, round bed kept spinning in circles. Seriously though, it was funny, but by no means did I think anyone would have been turned on by it, but you never know.

Our next stop was the Red Light District, now this place I had heard of and it was pretty cool. Ladies safely marketed themselves in small rooms with a tall glass window so you can see them from head to toe. Many of girls wore different outfits with themes like cowgirl or bad teacher, it was all very professional. If she was unavailable, her curtain would be closed and reopened when ready. If any of the suitors were out of hand, there was a panic button to push for safety. We didn’t stay long, just took a slow stroll along the street filled with red street lights, kind of felt like window shopping, but different!

After that he treated us to a very late dinner at a fancy restaurant. There were bottomless bottles of red wine magically poured into our giant glasses, plates of appetizers were passed around, by the time my steak arrived, there was no room for more, but I ate every last bite anyway. That was back before I quit meat cold turkey for 4 years and when I was a ball of energy, naturally, all the time, so my metabolism would burn it off.

It had to have been 4 am when I hit the bed and with nothing to do the next day, I slept in a bit. After fully recovering it was time to rent a bike and ride like the locals, no matter how cold it was. Then after an early dinner at an outdoor café sipping tea and people watching, it was time for bed. We had a long flight back to Miami the next morning and I needed my rest. The flight home was a success with all of us acting as if we hadn’t seen each other the entire time and to my knowledge, the pilots never caught on.

2 days after landing, reality set in as I put my waitress uniform back on and headed to my dead end job. The restaurant was corporate so we were only allowed 4 tables a shift, which made it hard to build up tips. Even though waiting tables and making terrible money wasn’t where I had imaged my life at 30, I was good at it and could easily handle 8 tables with my eyes closed. The thought of finding a better job though and having to memorize new menus and start from the bottom again was worse than just staying where I was.

As my regulars drilled me on the details, I bragged about how well I did and that they would be calling any day now to hire me again. That was in early November, by mid January, my high hopes had sunk. Maybe the pilots did know about me hanging out with the clients, maybe the client called and said bad things about me, what was it, why weren’t they calling?????? It was driving me crazy!!!! My lease was up the end of February, my apartment was too expensive and I hadn’t even begun looking for a new place.

Then I received the call of a lifetime, the one that changed everything and you’ll never guess who was on the other line……ribbett?????

(the pictures above are me in Nice first the morning after the big go kart fiasco and the other 2 are Amsterdam, one with me and the bicycle I rented) (oh and used my cell camera to take a photo of those photos, lol, so quality is actually spot on, the photos are old)


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