The last week of January, I returned to San Francisco for the first time in two years. The main reason for my visit was a GYROTONIC® certification update course, but I had many other things and people to attend to … Continue reading
The weekend before Thanksgiving, my parents left to visit my aunt in California. Still focused on recovery, I opted to stay home a few extra days so I could fit in 2 physical therapy sessions. While I was home alone, … Continue reading
My vacation has finally ended. The past 3 months have been a bit of a blur! I traveled a lot, and was blessed to be able to spend time with friends and family. Here are some of the highlights.
After about a week back “home” in San Francisco, I went to visit a very close friend in Portland. We were mainly focused on catching up, but also managed to do some tourist activities. She took me downtown a few times and convinced me, quite easily, that I should move to the Pearl District when I’m done with ships. We also drove out to Multnomah Falls. Due to heavy snow, we weren’t able to climb up the bridge, but the view was amazing!
I went back to SF for a training course, and then packed up my winter gear and went to visit family in Charlottesville, VA. I enjoyed some much needed time with my sisters, took a few yoga classes, and played in the snow! Unfortunately, I don’t know how to drive in snow, so I was housebound for most of my visit. I’m now an expert at snow angels, however!
My next stop was Romania. I went to visit a gentleman from the ship that lives outside of Bucharest. Early in the trip, we went to Peles, a beautiful castle built in the German Renaissance style.
We also went on a tour in Bucharest. Our first stop was the Museum of the Romanian Peasant, where we were able to walk around a village of sorts featuring houses, mills, and chapels in traditional styles from across the country.
After lunch at a Lebanese restaurant, we went to the House of Parliament. It is the second largest government building, after the Pentagon. We took a tour inside, during which I learned a lot about the country. The decor is beautiful, and I was fascinated to learn that all of the materials used to build and decorate the building, except for one set of doors, are from Romania.
Towards the end of my trip, we went to Brasov. We went up to a ski slope to meet some friends, wandered in the city, and took advantage of the nightlife. It was a great week. I was able to explore a new country, learn more about a special friend, and meet some wonderful people.
Upon returning to the States, I spent some time with one of my sisters in Northern Virginia. From there, a friend from the ship picked me up to drive to New York. There, I saw a few ship folks, including my roomie, and some recently relocated friends from SF. I did a few touristy activities, like going to the MoMA and walking through Central Park, but mostly made the rounds to see my people.
My next stop was Texas. I was able to spend a good few weeks with my parents, see my old friends perform with the ballet, throw my best friend a bridal shower, and do a photoshoot with an old dance buddy. It was nice to be home, but I was anxious to get moving again. I needed to feel like I had a purpose once more.
For the past few days, I’ve been back in Florida. I just started rehearsals for my next ship, the Adventure. In the past 3 days, we’ve learned a hip hop routine, a lindy, cha cha cha, foxtrot, and quickstep. Only one of the dancers from my last cast is with me this time, so I’ve also been busy getting to know my new group. So far, things are going well! Check back next week for more updates from rehearsals!
I’ve now been home for about a week and a half. In that time, I’ve reflected a lot on my experiences the past 8 months. Overall I had an excellent first contract. I was challenged in many ways, but also liberated. I saw many new places and met some wonderful people. Returning to “the real word”, normal life, has proven to be a bit of a challenge. Right now, I don’t want to be in the real world. I want to continue the adventures. I want to seize the day, take chances, make mistakes, and live my life. But more on that later…
First, I want to share a few of the highlights from my contract on the Voyager of the Seas.
Most Beautiful Countries
Favorite Overall Ports
Obviously, I had a pretty incredible time.
While working on the ship, many things were taken care of for me. I felt more relaxed than usual, and loosening the reigns a bit allowed me to grow. I was less stressed, more carefree. I felt like a person, rather than a walking calendar. I was less focused on budgeting, and more focused on experiencing. It was wonderful.
When I returned to San Francisco, I felt like I never left. While it was comforting to return to such a familiar environment, I expected to feel different. I’ve changed, so why hasn’t the city? Shouldn’t I be seeing things differently? The longer I spend there, the more I feel myself slipping into my old skin. I’m acting like the person my friends remember, rather than the person I’ve become. The main challenge of this vacation will be learning how to blend the two versions of me. I must learn to face reality without losing my sense of freedom.
Over the next few months, I’ll be traveling around the country to visit family and friends. I was very isolated on the ship, so now there are a lot of people I want to reconnect with! During this time, I will not be posting. The blog will be up and running again at the end of April when I return to Florida to start rehearsing for my second contract. Then, I’ll be embarking on a European tour on the Adventure of the Seas.
Thank you for reading, and stay tuned!
Although I’m thrilled with my cast and am enjoying getting to know them, I’ve started feeling a little homesick. I miss my friends and my “normal” life. Don’t get too concerned, I think exhaustion has just made me emotional. Luckily, my friends in SF loaded me up with lots of little goodies that make me smile when I’m feeling blue.
At my going away party, I was given a few items that I would not have thought to buy myself, but that I really appreciate having. The masterminds behind the party gave me a big bottle of sunscreen, to protect my oh-so delicate skin. I’ve been applying some everyday before walking to the studio, and while I’ve still gotten a bit of color, this lovely banana scented bottle is the thing saving me from becoming a lobster. Best of all, it makes me think of the awesome girls that gave it to me.
One of my other girls gave me a cute little baggy full of bandaids, motion sickness medicine, mints, and various other emergency items. The bag is adorable, and all of the items were really thoughtful. I’ve already gone through a pack of mints!
Another very close friend came to town to help me pack up my apartment. She knew my bags were full, so she sent me the above photo with some sweet little reminders, rather than actual objects. It came on a day that I was feeling pretty overwhelmed, and succeeded in restoring my hope and happiness.
Each evening when I walk home from the rehearsal studios, I smile as I walk past what I’ve dubbed “The Ferngully Tree”. This bizarre, twisted tree reminds me of my sisters, and watching Ferngully with them when we were young. I can’t wait for them to come visit in a few weeks!
My little bedroom is far from “homey”, so it’s been nice having these reminders of my support system. While I’m still suffering from FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out), I know these friends and family members will be available to encourage me while I’m away, and will be around when I return in 8 months.
To my friends and family, thank you and I love you!
Saturday night I left San Francisco, my home for nearly 4 years, to fly to Florida for rehearsals. The last week in SF was bittersweet. I had tons of fun, spending as much time as possible with friends, but also had a lot of work to do!
Packing my life into a storage unit was difficult! It was also really hard to decide what I will need in the next 8 months. I only can have 2 suitcases with me, so I had to leave many things behind. All of my other things are strategically arranged in a 7″x10″ unit in San Francisco. My movers arrived early Thursday morning, so I hadn’t actually finished packing yet! They worked at lightning speed, so I left some nick nacks to deal with later. They had everything else moved out and into the unit in just 2 hours! The following day I finished boxing things up, rented a ZipVan for 3 hours, and with the help of some amazing friends, finished moving into the unit just in time.
I wanted to see as many people as possible, so in addition to a going away party planned by 2 of my girls, I had an endless stream of coffee dates, out of town visitors, and my weekly kickball mess. It was a lot of fun, but there were still many people I wanted to see and spend more time with. I’ve never been good with goodbyes, so leaving is always a challenge!
My new “crew” has helped ease the transition! I’m living in a 3 bedroom apartment with 5 other girls! There are 7 girls and 6 boys in my cast, and we are already living in pretty close quarters. The other dancers/singers have come from all over the world… Britain, New Zealand, Australia, Canada. I am one of 2 new hires, so I feel lucky to be part of such an experienced group! The returning dancers have helped show me the ropes, put up with my never ending stream of questions, and have calmed me down when I start feeling stressed out. They are wonderful! I’m looking forward to getting to know them better over the next few months.
I was a little concerned about rehearsals, since I haven’t danced full time since Nutcracker season. So far, they have been challenging but fun! Choreography is taught quickly and efficiently. Monday started with orientation, so we just danced in the afternoon. In that time, we learned the Welcome number and a Farewell piece. Tuesday was also a shorter day than usual, but we knocked out the opening of the Broadway show, as well as a part of the West Side Story bit. It’s been awhile since I’ve done much jazz dance, so it’s taking me a minute to get back into “sassy” mode. I’m loving it though!
While this has been a week of changes, I’m feeling good. I can’t wait to see what the next week will bring!