I can't say my 4-day Christmas weekend was relaxing, but it was awesome. We got to Brussels early Christmas morning and checked into our hotel. The first thing we did was order a bottle of champagne from room service.
I was expecting Christmas night to be quiet and dull, but I was wrong. Not far from our hotel was a Christmas festival crowded with revelers. Row upon row of booths sold everything from toys, clothing and jewelry to food and glühwein. (Vin chaud, or mulled wine, guaranteed to keep you warm.)
As the cup kept my fingers warm and music filled the air, it struck me that everyone was in groups of friends, families with children or couples. And it made me glad I was able to join JB on his trip so that neither of us had to be alone on Christmas.
I was mesmerized by one of the carousels at the festival. I'm not sure I would have appreciated it as a child, in fact I'm sure it would have scared the crap out of me. Even from my mature perspective, it definitely doesn't seem like a suitable children's amusement ride. Not without a tetanus booster and a liability waver signed by both parents. It's a Victorian steam-punk contraption that reminded me of Something Wicket This Way Comes.
Sunday was relaxing and fun. We got up early and were the first to hit the hotel's breakfast buffet. (I wasn't going all the way to Belgium without having waffles.) We met up with some of the other crew members in a pub and shared drinks and laughter by a roaring fire. But the flight home was looming in the back of my mind. Fortunately I was able to get a seat on JB's flight Monday morning. As I watched JB work I realized how much he enjoys his job and how good he is at it, and I thought about how that creates a self-reinforcing cycle. He wore his reindeer antlers which delighted the children onboard, and the grownups too. He related genuinely with the passengers in his cabin and, before landing, took time to thank each one personally.
As we touched down in Atlanta JB gave the standard "Welcome to Atlanta, please remain in your seats..." announcement. At the end he threw in, "On behalf of your Atlanta-based flight crew, I hope you had a merry Christmas and would like to wish each of you a happy, healthy and prosperous 2011!" This was met with spontaneous applause from the passengers. I joined in and added a whistle.