Coming from sunny Florida, moving into a cold and snowy environment is such a colossal change. Not only do you have to wear layers and layers of clothes, you also have to adjust the way you drive. Driving in snow and/or ice was my biggest concern and fear. Snow tires, anti-freeze, these were all foreign things to me. And not only do you have to adjust the way you drive, you also have to start your car at least five minutes early before you go and then go back inside the house while waiting for it to heat up, otherwise you’d be a frozen popsicle! Starting your car is another thing. My poor CRV, not used to such low temps and being parked outside, initially tried to cough and sputter but eventually started running. I was so happy I got it to start on my very first day!
In order to familiarize myself with the route to work, the following day after our arrival, my hubby and my host-friend hopped into the car while I was on the wheel for the first time in Connecticut. The ride took us about 20-25 minutes, 14 miles roughly. I was driving through a Parkway with winding roads, uphills and downhills and snow covered grounds – none on the road itself though. This Parkway is going to be my main route going to and from work for the next thirteen weeks. Speed limit was “supposedly” 55 miles/hr but people here appear not to follow it. Might as well take the signs off and make it an autobahn road. I tried to be like the Romans but my friend cautioned me as I am not yet familiar with the road. Sage advice. They also told me I don’t really need the snow tires and the anti-freeze as it was almost springtime. *I can’t wait for spring!*
The time came for hubby to go back to Florida. It was such a bittersweet moment at the airport that I will leave it at that. Actually, it has been a bittersweet and difficult journey for us from the very beginning and we were just trying to avoid the inevitable. But goodbyes had to be said, hugs and kisses had to be done and a quick “I’ll see you in two weeks” felt like a light at the end of the tunnel moment. Am I making the right decisions here? Why am I feeling this way?
Maybe my feelings are valid, maybe not. Maybe it is all separation anxiety turning me into a ball of quivering nerves. I guess that’s how mothers feel when their babies go to school for the very first time.
So Orientation week begins. Not just at the hospital but being a temporary Connecticut resident. I had my first sense of “belongingness” when I opened a Stop and Shop rewards card. I have found a replacement to my Publix grocery store! Familiarizing myself with the basic stops, gas, grocery, church, Panera bread, the mall (which happened to be close to work) and side roads going to my new home became my mantra for the week. I still use my GPS to travel because I don’t want to be caught in a traffic jam or a road detour and not know where I am and how to get to where I am supposed to be going and then scrambling for the GPS in the glove compartment. Call me OCD, yes please.
Work has also been a big change. You have to learn everything again, from the way to the cafeteria to the charting. I feel so small and lost in this new environment. I already knew beforehand that this is one of the challenges of travel nursing. You have to be flexible and adaptable and quick to learn. As a newbie, I still have a long way to go. I love the new things that I have learned thus far, and realized that to become a successful travel nurse, you must go with the flow. Never compare your old facility with the new one as every place is different and have a way of doing things differently. To each his own. I love that my eyes are opened to a whole different world, one that I would never see had I remained in one place forever. Sometimes, I have doubts and fears. But I am not one to back out from a challenge. With God by my side and trusting in His guidance, I go on with a smile and believe that I will get through this. Suck it up, buttercup!
Coming up next week, working on my own…