Ghosts of girlfriends past. Part 5.

Right, I’ll do something else now. I’ll re-visit a few of my short-time and long-time girlfriends (don’t worry, there’s not many of them!) and do a short summary of it. I might turn out anything from hilarious (mostly the first ones) to very serious crap. Anyway, I’ll do it because it feels like something I want to do.

Girlfriend #5: The Marriage

Who was she?
She was the one I married and stayed together with for 10 years exactly. I met her online via myspace in the summer of 2006 after giving up local girls and aiming for the foreigners again. I didn’t even plan this one. It just happened. We had a long distance relationship for a few years which gave me the pleasure of travel. I love travel. She moved to my country and we lived toghether for several years after that.

Why did you date her?
She was exotic and beyond pretty. Extremely smart, smarter than me perhaps. She liked the same music, and was into science fiction as well. We quickly developed a common sense of humour which worked really well. We worked really well toghether being out travelling. She pushed me to write books and follow my interests. We got two dogs and had a pretty good time for quite some time. We married. Mostly because it made living together easier, but I loved her dearly for a long time.  There’s more on everything else in all my other posts though, so I’m not gonna repeat myself.

Why didn’t it work out?
I honestly don’t know. I know what her issues were, and I could not find a good way to help her deal with it all. At some point she just didn’t find me interesting I guess? And I gave up. I just gave up trying to get her to go to bed at normal hours. I gave up trying to make her do her bit around the house. Oh, and the IVF project really took its toll. It simply died out. If she hadn’t initiated anything, I think I would have anyway. I sometimes think I deserve better, but what relationship is perfect?

Where is she now?
She still lives in our old house. I moved out. She has a job now. She finally found one when I was moving out. I don’t know how she’s doing or anything. I don’t know. I don’t want to know.

What would you like to tell her?
What happened? I don’t really understand. I can only act on the present and the information I had and have. When did all the shit happen and go so badly? I honestly did everything I could. I was patient, I did everything around the house. I was being realistic about the IVF, I know, and was terrible at comforting you. I honestly don’t know what I could have differently. I am often worried that you feel very depressed and feel lonely – but hey, your decision. I thank you for having the guts to initiate the break up. I don’t think I would have had the balls. I don’t know. I want you to be happy. I hope you’re getting the help you need and can sort through everything that goes on inside of you. I’m doing alright now, but I am terribly sorry I lost my best friend. The most horrible memory I have is from the day you came to me and showed me the stick that said you were pregnant. Your voice was trembling when you said it. It meant so much to you. But of course, like a lot of things in your life, it doesn’t go the way you want. I am so sorry. I guess that was the make or break moment. The pregnancy was nothing but a chemical pregnancy and simply disappeared.

When all that stuff happened, I often played this song. I knew I was in for troubling times. I felt the rain coming in.

Ghost of girlfriends past. Part 2.

Right, I’ll do something else now. I’ll re-visit a few of my short-time and long-time girlfriends (don’t worry, there’s not many of them!) and do a short summary of it. I might turn out anything from hilarious (mostly the first ones) to very serious crap. Anyway, I’ll do it because it feels like something I want to do.

Girlfriend #2: The American

Who was she?
She was a quiet, American girl with dark hair from Texas. We spent countless of hours talking online through several years. Maybe three years. Maybe more. We exchanged so many e-mails, and had so many chats online. She had the same interests as me (sci-fi, music, aviation and so on). She had very low confidence and few friends. Her dad yelled at her a lot. At her sibblings too. We were instantly drawn to each other because of those interests and quite simply for being lonely. She came to visit me for a week in 2000. We hung out and made out even if she had a boyfriend back home. I came over to see her in the summer of 2001. Then, some time in late 2001, things fizzled out communication-wise. We still talk, but rarely. Often when she’s out driving or going somwhere when she’s away from her boyfriend.

Why did you date her?
I didn’t really date her, but we were very close. People living so far away from each other can still have a very tight and personal relationship. For a good while, she was my only friend. Without her, it would have been a very lonely state of affairs. I really liked her. I liked her because I found her pretty and smart. She was insecure and lonely. So was I. My only friend.

Why didn’t it work out?
Well, she found a boyfriend in 2000. She’s still with him. He’s in my opinion not good enough for her. He ruined everything. That and drugs. I wasn’t into pot, and I am still not into pot. She got into it, most likely because of him. And so we naturally drifted apart when I met someone else in late 2001 early 2002.

Where is she now?
I think she’s somewhere in in the southern states working as a waitress and living in a trailer? It’s a sad situation really. She should have finished college, gotten a degree, a good house, a good income and a good supporting husband. Instead she got none of it. Just braindead boyfriend with a fucking drug addiction.

What would you like to tell her?
You should stop this before you look back at your life and understand how much you have missed out on. You love travelling, have you done any of that? No. Shouldn’t you aim for something better? You are too good for your shit job. Too good for him as well. I know your dad really messed you up, and your low confidence and self esteem is due to that, but you don’t have go on about it like this. You deserve so much more. I’m sorry I couldn’t help you or guide you. I felt it was impossible for me to assist you in any way.

Please, break up with him. Move somewhere else, get help from your sister (she really wants to help you), find a proper job, meet someone that treats you right. Otherwise this will simply turn out to be a wasted life when you had the chance for so much more. That’s heartbreaking for me to know.

She was a big music fan. Often of the modern (at the time) nu-metal bands of the day. While I can’t really define Tool as nu-metal, she was a big fan. This song was on the radio the entire time when I was in the States visiting her.

Ghosts of girlfriends past. Part 1

Right, I’ll do something else now. I’ll re-visit a few of my short-time and long-time girlfriends (don’t worry, there’s not many of them!) and do a short summary of it. I might turn out anything from hilarious (mostly the first ones) to very serious crap. Anyway, I’ll do it because it feels like something I want to do.

Girlfriend #1: The first kisser

Who was she?
I was 12 and she was 11. She was the prettiest girl in elementary school. Albeit a small school, I can’t believe I managed to pull that one off. But hey – we just kissed. We were kids after all. She loved Micheal Jackson. Her whole room was plastered in Micheal Jackson posters. When MJ died in 2009 I sent her a message about it, but I felt she didn’t really give a shit any longer. I guess not all stick to their guns, so to speak. Can’t blame her for it though. She kissed me in the dark while at a birthday party once. We shut the light off and pretended to play hide and seek. I think she kissed me even twice. It rocked.

Why did you date her?
She was pretty. That’s about it. I liked pretty girls, and I still like pretty girls.

Why didn’t it work out?
Well, after a while she decided to drop me and be into someone in her own class. I was actually a bit depressed about it. The I forgot all about it. She called me one afternoon and wanted to break up, but didn’t have the heart to tell me. So, she made me spell it, dropping one letter at the time.

When she graduated high school and the school newspaper had a short introduction about her, it was mentioned she once had a very short boyfriend. I didn’t really prefer that funny remark (still don’t).

Where is she now?
I think she lives in Oslo. She has a small child. Older guy perhaps? That’s about it. She’s on my Facebook though. Not really someone I mingle with daily. She’s still stunningly pretty though.

What would you like to tell her?
I hope you’re not dumping boyfriends by making them spell the letters any more. And the guy you dumped me for is so fucking fat now. Your loss. 😉

I remember we watched this, sitting on the floor at my parents house – holding hands. Good times though.

A View From the Gallery

This post just came to me while I was out walking the dogs, so I’ll get this down at once (just need a beer from the fridge first – right – done!).

My past year and a half of downright torture can be summed up into phases. A psychologist would most likely go “yeah, of course you daft idiot”, but sometimes I can have a personal ephipany and I need to put it down. Like this one.

Phase 1: Deal with the break up. Deal with anger. February 2016 – May 2016

From that moment when she said those first words of breaking up, I had to deal with it. I had to deal with the fact that we wouldn’t be together. I had to deal with the fact that my life was about to change into something I wasn’t prepared for at all. I reacted with anger. I was angry. I was angry at her. Pissed off. I ofen called her a few profanities and then ten minutes later apologised to her. After a while I retracted into my shell and distanced myself from her. We went to councelling, and when the woman we had said “looks like you two are done”, I thought “finally, just get this done with”. Not once did I try to save anything about the marriage. Not once did I ask my ex if there was anything we could do to hang on and try. I didn’t care. She couldn’t give me the family I wanted. I had just been waiting for the right signal to get away. I almost feel evil by writing this. I was disappointed, and I was angry at her. Angry that she was just being herself. Angry at her sicknesses, angry at her mental state. Angry that she never bothered to help me one bit with anything. Angry that I wasted so many years with her. Angry at myself for picking the wrong girl. And so I used the next months to distance myself. I guess it went relatively easy because she had already distanced herself from me without me noticing. We decided I would continue to live there until I had found good house option and a proper way to move out. She was always decent like that. Very professional if you may. Nothing childish. I sometimes do wonder what happened though. Perhaps out relationship just died out? Did I do something wrong, somewhere? I never really believed her when she told the counsellor I deserved someone better than her. I’m not that daft. But I didn’t care. I just wanted a family, and she could A) not give it to me and B) not deal with it if that had happened.

Phase 2: Untangle myself, move out, move in. Deal with everyone else. May 2016 – October 2016

One of the hardest part of it all was to tell my mother. Like most sons, I care deeply for my mother and I would never want to hurt her. Others do get involved when there are break-ups involved. I told her the situation via many, many words. She understood and she said she supported me no matter what. I told her my desire for children and the entire affair. We’ve never spoken about it again. And so I was ready to move out. I tried waiting for the right moment and the right house. Friends told me to move out at once. I didn’t listen. I waited until I was pleased with my opions, and I was right in the end. I found the right house. During that summer I spent many hours on my bike. Just biking around the countryside. I had to get away. In June I exchanged lots of messages with a girl. We never got anywhere except talking on SMS, but it helped. Thank you. It put my mind on something else. I sent out a message to everyone else on Facebook with “breaking news”. I think I told a very good friend at work the last. I didn’t want to upset her. This period was more about bureaucracy than anything else. It takes time to untangle everything. Some couples never do, and so you get all these weird constellations with women living in houses owned by their ex-husbands and what not. Not a good idea by the way. Well, we had meetings with the bank, splitting up accounts and all of that stuff. All down to the electricity bills. It’s not mentally challenging, but it takes time and it needs to be done right. Plenty of people doesn’t. And so with the first phase being about dealing with the relationship ending, this phase was all about logistics and like I said, bureaucracy.

I wasn’t really prepared for phase 3. It hit me like a brick wall.

Phase 3: Deal with being alone.  Deal with sorrow and pain. November 2016 – April 2017

Up until the fall of 2016 I had been doing alright. The hardest part had been telling my mother and the initial shock I had of the break-up. I had been very clear on what I wanted; a family. My ex wife couldn’t provide one. I felt I had plenty to offer girls – I am decent looking chap, nothing majorly horrible physically. Good education, nice job and I could always pull the author card if all else failed (and I confess I did a few times).

And so I met my now ex-girlfriend. I told her about my intentions of wanting children, and she agreed to the deal. I was pleased, but yet I wasn’t happy. I couldn’t really understand why. I was simply blue. Anything could throw me off and I would start sobbing. I remember one night walking the dogs, looking up at the crisp, clear sky with thousands of stars and feeling like the loneliest person in the world. I was looking in jealousy at parents taking their children to kindergarten every day. I was not able to deal with my job. I did not understand what I did wrong to deserve all this. I lost my hobby of writing – I was not able to write any longer. I felt horrible for my mother who so badly wanted grandchildren and all I did was fuck everything up. I screamed at myself inside my own head. I called myself names. Telling myself I was a disgusting, useless piece of shit (yeah, over and over again). I didn’t know what was wrong with me. I went back to counselling, but this time not because of a relationship, but because of me. The counsellor said to me once “you want a family” and I could do nothing else but nod with tears in my eyes. It was so unlike me. I wasn’t myself. In January my ex girlfriend thought she was pregnant for a few days. I suddenly felt happy,  but she was scared. And then she had a change of heart. I sometimes wonder if we simply pulled both of ourselves downwards. I guess she had a mental breakdown of sort because she had a change of heart about children and didn’t know how to handle it. Like I told a good friend “I did not deserve that”. She must have thought I was one of the most emotional guys she had ever met. And I most likely was. I wasn’t feeling well. I was grieving over the IVF and not having children or a family, and she didn’t really understand. I confessed to her how I felt bad for my mother – like I let her down. My ex just went into defence mode and told me I shouldn’t get children just for my own mothers sake. I should have said; “Jesus fucking Christ, it’s not about THAT!”. In the end I felt she used my grief against me – telling me I was not alright in my own head. Going on the defensive and arguing against everything I said. Like there was something terribly wrong with me. I don’t think I will forgive her for that. But it made my decision easier. Not to say it was easy. I even tried downing a bottle of wine in an hour to see if that would help, but it didn’t. Worth a shot though! But I will say this; she only wants to be loved too. To have stability and a functioning family. I sometimes feel awfully sorry for her. Sorry for her past experiences with men, and sorry for not being the right person for her. Maybe she was right all along, we should have met 10 years ago. I think it would have worked out great if we had.

Phase 4: Rise from the ashes. Look back and accept it. May 2017 – present

A trip to England in March did me well. I was slowly coming back to life. I finished the counselling in May. I started to feel better again. The counsellor said I looked better. Maybe I did? I owe her my deepest thanks for how she helped me. I can still think of certain things and feel very sad, but I’m almost back to my normal self again. I can write (like this) again. I don’t have horrible periods where I want to hide away in my own bedroom any longer. And so I am able to look back at everything and get a better perspective of things. Sometimes I am extremely scared of ending back where I was in January, but I don’t think I will. I don’t live the life I truly want, but I have a good shot at getting it right. One can always hope. I think it’s gonna be alright in the end. 🙂 If not, at least I did my absolute best. There’s shit I can’t control, and sometimes it just happens to rain on someone. It could be me, but I will try my best to run away from it.

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Signs and Portents

If you have challenges in your life, and most people do, here’s something you might find soothing. Be creative! I created art. Posters on my wall. Framed.

I find being creative comforting in trying times and situations. Many people find comfort in music or lyrics. Perhaps books, movies or art.

For many, playing an album and reading lyrics might be enough, but I found combining lyrics to my own art or expressions to be a very positive experience.

While not all of these posters are my own art, some are. I will explain more below each photo and what they represent. The peculiar thing with lyrics is that they can mean anything to you – even though the original writer meant something else. I am confident that most of these lyrics means something totally different to the writer itself – but to me, it’s about specific situations or life experiences.

This idea came to me after being sent a photo of a friends wall in his house. It was a photo of a certain lyric written by Axl Rose. The song is Estranged by Guns N’ Roses, one of the songs by GNR which means a lot to the hardcore fangroup. So I decided to do something like that myself, but adding more of my own creativity and also including several other bands that I keep close. This whole collection is now on my wall in the second floor – and one of the things I am most pleased about in my house.

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AEROSMITH: Seasons of Wither.

One of my fave Aerosmith songs, “Season of Wither”. Much better than any of their other ballads in my opinion. For me, this represents my ex-wife. While not everything is something I can relate to (I do not feel I am any devil really). However. My ex was always sleepy. She slept until noon sometimes. Maybe hours longer. I would always get up early, walk the dogs and spend the next hours writing on a book while she was sleeping. She was always blues hearted as she was perhaps more depressed than I understood her to be. She often said “this year has been the worst for me” and she kept repeating it every year. I reacted the wrong way, by being annoyed, upset or even angry. I took it as a personaøl insult as I went out of my way to make her happy. I often replied to her that I had had a great year and didn’t understand why she felt like this. And this kept going on for too long. We fell into decline. Our relationship dwindled. Wither.

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GUNS N’ ROSES: Estranged.

Almost self-explanatory. It covers everything. From trying, failing and trying again. Maybe Next time I will get it right. Every persons life has certain Seasons that keeps changing. Nothing is constant except change. Axl Rose have a way with lyrics which most lyricists can’t compete with. It’s depressive, but yet optimistic. Never give up hope that next time you will get it right. Whatever that may be. That being a relationship and exploring why it fell through or whatever it may be. Do some soul-searching, and try again next time. Maybe then you will get it right in the end. The image itself is one I am very proud of. Axl on the rail of a big oil tanker about to jump off. Taken from the video. Axl and GNR was very hooked on symolism back then. I think he still is. This sole lyric means a lot to me.

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WESTWORLD: Limbo

An almost GNRish epic ballad by Tony Harnells Project called WestWorld. To me it deals with loneliness, being in a limbo. Not either here nor there but simply waiting for the next chapter in ones life. I think this is where I am right now. The song is extremely personal to me. And it must be to Tony as well. It’s a wonderful song of what I believe is about his first divorce. I can feel like I have nothing to show. I have no girlfriend, no wife, no children, no family. I keep myself up and I get tired of it because I have nothing to show and feel below everyone else and their more fullfilling lives. So for me, it’s about both my divorce and not being where I am supposed to be – but in the middle neither here nor there.

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SISTER: Let it bleed.

To me this is about my last, short relationship. My request of wanting children, and she agreeing to it – but later changing her mind. It was an absolute turmoil in my head. My request of children turned into weakness in her eyes as she thought I had mental issues dealing with lack of fatherhood. I was very depressed then I must admit, and with the season being dark and cold – it truly felt like darkness was covering me. With her changing her mind over what I call “a dealbreaker” (children) I broke up with her. I guess she broke up with me too. She thought I was weak and sent me some nasty accusations my way. So instead of going along with something I couldn’t do any longer, I let her go. I mentally bled for a week or so, but I set it right. If I am to go be with someone, they have to open for children. I let it bleed and I set it right.

There are a few others as well, but I thought these were the best.

 

Chapter 5: No Surrender, No Retreat

I can only speak for myself, but I was always of the impression that pregnancies could happen at any time – anywhere as long as your penis circulated a vagina area. Fine, I exaggerate a tad, but it was to prove a point. Babies happened. It was all over the TV. Soaps showing unexpected pregnancies in all ages, and shows on MTV about teen pregnancies. A friend of mine got pregnant when she was 16. To me, this should have been one of the easier tasks in life. What would come later would be hard part – the upbringing. I expected babies to happen as soon as we went for it.

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Most people have one or two things they struggle with. Physically or mentally. Perhaps you were raped as a teenager. Maybe your mother was an alcoholic, or you lost your significant other in a car crash. Maybe your father died when you were young and always longed for a father figure. Maybe you have no self confidence, maybe you are under-performing in life and know it. Humans always seem to have one or two “soft” spots. I often wondered what mine was – now that I had broken free from a shaky start of adult life to excel in what I was doing, I almost expected something to pop up.

Turns out it was lack of pregnancies. She simply did not become pregnant. We tried for a couple of years, nothing happened. Perhaps it something physically wrong. Maybe it was her mental state of stress. She was always stressed out. Perhaps it was hormonal. More than likely a mix of all. We just didn’t know. All we knew was that it wasn’t me that had a problem.

We were referred to IVF treatment. First three times are free in this country. I didn’t know much about it, but figured this would be a safe bet. Considering it was a 30% chance on each try, the math was good. A 90% chance. In theory it would work. We talked about children names and prepared like any other couple. First try didn’t work out, and I started to calculate the chances in different ways.  By each step in the process, 50% of the eggs would disappear. The Norwegian approach is also to be very conservative and not insert many eggs – compared to Israel where it was more of a “go flat out” approach with many eggs and considerable amount of twins being born. I read articles online saying it was mentally demanding. Physically as well – for the female.

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First try was a failure even before got to the insemination part. She made a mistake with her drug injections prior to the date we had at the hospital. It didn’t cost us a try.

Second one went alright. Six eggs was taken out. Three  didn’t evolve. Three was alright, but two of them did not develop properly. We had one left, which was inserted. The nurse talked about “the golden egg” which I found odd. Why bet on a “golden egg” when chances would increase if you bet on several of them at one try? Their response was that they didn’t know her body well enough to know how things would go. They were simply being cautious, but in my world that cost us two tries before they found the right dosage of drugs and what not. It was like putting your hand out in a dark closet and hoping to find that shirt you want to wear on that particular day. Among so many others. The more I calculated based on how they were doing things, the less positive I got. And it took months and months between each try. It was all a process. And a painful one at that.
Second try was aborted while we were halfway to the hospital by train. It was a two hour ride. None of the eggs had developed. We jumped off the train and went back home with our hopes shattered for a second time. I realized at some point that this may as well not work. I could end up not being able to form a family at all.

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I thought it to be very ironic. Of everyone I knew when I was growing up, I always considered myself as very capable with children. I adored children. My confidence in fatherhood had not even gone down when my self-confidence was low and I was insecure. If it was one thing I was good at, it was professional and personal care for others.

And in the midst of this painfully slow and tough process, we were growing apart from each other.  Or maybe she had already disappeared from me, she just couldn’t find a way out.

Chapter 4: And the Sky Full of Stars

I made over ten return trips to Israel between 2006 and 2012. I often photographed a lot of it, videotaped some of my travels as well. While the destination was always what I was looking forward to, I often found the travel itself an added bonus. I loved flying. The photos on this specific blog post are all mine. Often taken with a low quality cell phone camera, standard of 2007-2008.

You can decide to hate airports and air travel, or you can decide to embrace it and make your journey a bit more fun. An airport is the modern day roadcross. From airports, people will travel to all destinations of the world. Being at an airport made me understand that I can travel to any of the destinations on the board. It is a feeling of freedom. It is at an airport I feel I am most in touch with the world.

My journeys to Israel took about 15 hours, give or take. That included all legs of my travel. It would often start with getting a lift to the bus stop by my parents. From the bus I would often send my girlfriend a notice I was on my way. I often seperated my journey into four parts; bus to airport, flight to Prague (I often used Prague as my transfer), flight to Tel Aviv and the train ride up north.

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Blurry photo of boarding a CSA flight in 2009

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Gate at Oslo Airport

From the bus going to Oslo Airport, I would often gaze at the outside surroundings of often melting snow, a foggy landscape slowly waking up to spring while knowing Israel was already in full summer mode (I rarely did the trip in summer or fall). At the airport I would check in my bag at a counter still manned by people. This has now for the most part a disappeared from most airports with all the self-service check-in counters popping up. I would often study people around me, I spotted Israeli-Norwegian couples, business travelers or holiday-makers simply off to Prague. The Oslo-Prague-Tel Aviv route with Czech Airlines was at the time (a decade ago) one of the cheaper and easier options of routing down to Israel. I could often identify people going all the way and seperate them from those only flying to Prague. Nowadays, the route is operated from both Arlanda and Kastrup by SAS and Norwegian, but theres still no direct flight from OSL. Other carriers I flew (with transit) were KLM, Austrian, Swizz, or a mix of carriers within Star Alliance. Other carriers with a connection somewhere would be Lufthansa, British Airways and Air Baltic which I never tried.

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CSA dirty 737 wing flying over Norway

Having good time at an airport is essential for me. I often settled down somewhere with a pizza slice or two and looked at 737s arriving and departing from gates. Perhaps going for a pint of beer if I had the time. My flight departed around 15:40 and arrived in Prague two hours later. From there, there was a good six hour wait for the midnight departure at 23:55 to Tel Aviv. I never thought of those hours as boring as most people would have. I used to sit down in a pub somewhere with my laptop, a Czech beer in hand and surfed the web while the aircraft were passing by outside. During the last years I often used www.flightradar24.com and track incoming traffic on my computer while keeping an eye out for the aircraft outside. On a budget, I often used the KFC restaurant in the departure area for a late dinner. Czech Airlines operated a check-in counter inside the departure area for connecting passengers to Tel Aviv. Here, to handed out boarding passes.

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Laptop and a Czech beer makes for a good time

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Prague Airport getting more and more quiet as night falls

All through the evening, the airport got a little less crowded as each flight left to its destinations. I noticed Prague often had obscure destinations for holiday goers. For example Bournemouth in Britain. It was obviously meant for Brits to come to Prague to party. By 23:55, the airport was usually entirely empty except for those people going to Tel Aviv and the security guards walking around.

The flight to Tel Aviv was usually never fully booked. I could often use all three seats to stretch my legs and sleep for most of the time. One time, I woke up after a short nap, and looked straight down at a major European city, shining in the night. I believe it was either Vienna or Budapest. I often used my MP3 player and tunes in to whatever FM signals it recieved – and by the language I could pinpoint where I was. However, Czech Airlines often used a rather new Airbus on this flight with small screens for each row with the complimentary live flight tracker.

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KFC to go at Prague Airport

After having done several flights, I knew how to ask for certain things to get the most out of their service onboard. Like two cans of Coke and extra water, or other gems they might offer but you need to ask specifically for. Later on, most of Czech Airlines trolly service went all “pay”. Too bad.

The most interesting part of the flight was the last 20 minutes or so approaching Tel Aviv. I could clearly see the lights from the shores of Israel from some distance away. If I was seated on the left side, I could almost see as far as Haifa. Coming in to land, the highways below were often empty, but for a few cars and trucks.

Already slightly jet-lagged, I had to stand at passport control in front of a young Israeli girl in uniform asking me questions she had done thousands of times before – totally uninterested in her line of work. “What is your purpose of your visit?” “Where do you live?” “What is your girlfriends name?” Regardless of these young girls unimpressive approach, I found Ben Gurion Airport very safe due to all the checks they did. Especially when departing.

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Czech beer for this first flight down to Prague, ca 2007

Sleep deprived, I found my way through the final checks, picked up my baggage, and met up with my girlfriend waiting in the terminal. The clock was often around four or five in the morning which meant she had been taking a train down to Tel Aviv in the middle of the night to meet me. Both lacking sleep, we often hurried to the train for the last part of the journey up north. Usually, we went to sleep at eight in the morning. A long travel, but I always enjoyed it. I was traveling the world, had a girlfriend from abroad and had stars in my eyes.

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One interesting incident in 2008; the captain of this CSA PRG-OSL flight forgot to add flaps before take-off, subsequently aborting take off halfway down the runway