A big shrug woke me up. Immediately I open my eyes, rub my cold nose and put on a puzzled look on my face.
"Yes?" I ask the kind Welsh guy sitting next to me.
"She's asking if you want chicken or beef for dinner," he explains pointing at the flight attendant.
"Umm, chicken thanks" I answer quickly without thinking.
Well I could use chicken AND beef right now.
The flight attendant nods politely and walks off as she prepares my fancy-economic-flight meal.
"Thank you for waking me up, otherwise I'll be starving to death." I say to my tatooed neighbour. He laughs.
"No problem!" he replies.
I fidget. To the left. Pull my so-called blanket. Fix my shoes. Rub my tired eyes.
The least you can do is provide me a comfy flight. After all I am doing this for the sake of the company.
I remember when the Project Director asked for a "volunteer" to be sent to France for one year.
"3 representatives are picked from each country, we will send you to our headquarter in Paris, France, give you training and you will be a part of our new system development. Of course, it will be a tough competition. First there will be a regional jury and then a national jury who will give the final decision. All section heads please send me the list of candidates by the end of the week, of course considering the competency and knowledge of each individual," explained our over-enthusiastic Project Director.
"OK Guys, I think we all know this is an exciting news for all of us! I think we should give this chance to our seniors. What do you think?" asked my all-smiley section head. Silence. "Ally, Rick and Dan. You will be my candidates, you all know the system well and you're young, this experience will be....life changing!" Dave finished his sentence dramatically.
"Umm sorry, Dave, umm I really don't think I can. I mean it's France. I don't want any life-changing experience, I have family here. No offence, it's a great offer though, thanks." stuttered Rick, facing the floor.
"That's OK Rick, besides what will we do without you here. What about you Dan?" asked Dave, looking hopeful.
"I'm definitely in Dave! This is so exciting!" Dan said excitedly. His eyes looked as if it was about to pop.
"And Ally? Al? AL?! Stop it with your twittering!" complained Dave.
I stopped immediately.
How did he know I was twittering? Pscyhic boss.
"Dave, I wasn't twittering, just answering some e-mails, work e-mails" I said making excuses.
"You don't have work e-mail installed on your Blackberry,"
Again! Supernatural power.
"I installed it this morning, anyway you were saying? Paris? Sure! I'm in." I gave him a wink and went back to my precious Blackberry on Twitter.
As if I'm going to Paris, I'm not that lucky dear boss. I tweeted.
And somehow here I am now in my economic seat, on my way to Paris. Four seats in a row. Ridiculous. I can barely fit my feet in the space in front of me.
"Where are you off dear? Paris is it? Or are you taking a connecting flight?" ask the woman on my left.
"Paris" I smile at the mid-fifty lady.
"Studying? You'll love Paris, my daughter used to live there. It's great for you young people. It's almost like Singapore, but even better she said," explain the lady while rubbing her hands for some extra warmth.
"No, it's for work." Short simple answer.
"Oh I see, well it really doesn't matter whether you work or study. Paris will love you! Can you speak Mandarin?"
"Ah well thank you. No actually I don't have the slightest clue of Mandarin," I tell her apologetically.
"You look like you can speak it. Are you mixed race love? You don't look 100% Asian to me!" Another question.
"Yes well, I'm not, it's that obvious? My dad is British, my mum is from Singapore."
"Ah well that explain. Anyway, can you see if the toilet is free? My bladder just can't take this cold, I'm not so young anymore!" the lady explain.
"It's free, you see, the green light" I tell her pointing towards the toilet behind our seat.
"Thank you love, excuse me..." she makes her way to the toilet.
Sigh. I need my twitter.
Truth be told. The only reason I gave my all to be here in my position is one reason: to get away from everything. My lousy routine every morning, my again failed relationship. The two main reasons. I needed a challenge. And here it is the challenge. I'm heading towards it.
I already miss Singapore though. It was hard saying goodbye to my family and my friends, but I assured myself that it's for my own good.
"Excuse me again love, I'm relieved now, I think dinner is ready, I saw that lovely flight attendant getting it all set and ready," say the woman, giddy and excited as if she has just told me a big secret.
"That's nice, just what I need now, my dinner."