“How not to Get Off a Platform” [Another Short Video]

Okay, this one is hilarious!!! This was the very last challenge after all the grueling, arm-hurting, body-hanging, log-hugging challenges that we did. Stepping off a platform.

I would like to believe that I am an adrenaline junkie, a daredevil in a not so crazy way. But this one tops the cake. Memories of jumping off a 30 ft cliff into a pool of water in the Philippines come rushing to my mind. I was paralyzed with fear, literally. Someone almost pushed me off the ledge because it took me, I think, about 15 minutes before I jumped. Everyone was looking at me, either cheering me on to jump or telling me it’s okay if I don’t. But I did jump for the life of me to save my reputation.

Cagayan de Oro, Philippines
Cagayan de Oro, Philippines

Unlike the Philippines, this time, as you can see, I didn’t jump voluntarily. Many thanks to the brave soul who dared “push” me. Without him, I would probably be still up there debating with myself internally. Hehe.

Pushing yourself to your limits, thinking outside your box and challenging your body to what it can do always has this feel good effect on me. No matter how tired or hungry or angry I am.

I did finish the trail, YAY!!!

“How To Walk Through a Rope Loop and Look Graceful Doing it” [A Short Video]

So this is part two of my “adventure” blog. I had to email my best friend in Connecticut to send me the video that she took of me being pushed off the platform. Little did I know (and remember) that there was another video she took of me while high up doing the rope loops. I don’t know what they are technically called, rope loops sounded descriptive enough. This was on a more difficult trail, not THE most difficult one, but, as you can see, it was such a huge challenge! Do I make it look easy enough like I was floating on air? HAHA! Go ahead and try it.

The video itself, is raw and unedited, as I do not have the video editing skills, yet. I do not know if I will have the patience to learn it as I just found out that I cannot upload videos directly to wordpress without buying extra video space. And I am not yet ready to do that. I am enjoying my FREE wordpress account right now. To be able to upload these videos, I had to go to YouTube, open an account and upload them there first before I can even post it here. Whew! That just goes to show how technically-challenged I am! LOL!!!

Anyway, enjoy the video! You can laugh at me too, I’d really like that.

 

 

 

Up, Up in the Trees: The Adventure Park Experience

Fun and exciting things happen when you have three bottles of wine and three ladies plotting over the dinner table as to what to do the following day….

The masterminds

Hangover or not, the next morning, we woke up bright and early to bring the whole herd to this adventure place at Bridgeport, Connecticut (This was when I was doing travel nursing earlier this year). The Adventure Park at the Discovery Museum is a park for the outdoor lovers and the thrill seekers. The minute I walked into its entrance, saw all the tall trees surrounding me with the wires and the ropes, I knew I would love this place!

I’ve had experience zip lining before in the Philippines on what was reputed to be Asia’s longest dual zip line at 840 meters with an elevation of 4500 feet above sea level. Throw in all the figures for added bragging rights! Now, that was something else. You felt like Superman for a few exhilarating minutes.

Whizzing past tree tops at Dahilayan Adventure Park in the Philippines
Whizzing past tree tops at Dahilayan Adventure Park in the Philippines

So when my friend mentioned going zip lining here I thought it was just literally nothing but zip lines. But, no, I was wrong. It was more than that. This place is also an aerial ropes course where platforms are built up in the trees and interconnected by bridges or cables in varying designs and heights. It definitely is not for the faint of heart.

After registering, we were given harnesses and gloves and then proceeded to the briefing area. The 15 minute or so orientation showed you how to work your carabineers which was a little tricky at first because I had to get used to twisting and turning them this way and that to lock and unlock. You need to be really sure you do it the right way because this is what is holding you and keeping you from falling 10-20 feet off the ground!

By then, the place was already packed with kids of all ages. No fears, no worries. All excited to climb and fly through the trees. I do not have a fear of heights. In fact, I love being way up high and seeing everything down below me from a different perspective. But this time, I had my concerns. Once you are on the main platform, you chose a trail based on its level of difficulty, from beginner to advanced, much like skiing, with different colors to mark them. And then you are on your own. The staff are all scattered through out the park and can verbally guide and support you from down below while you are up there having trouble navigating or completing a particular challenge. I’m sure they can go up too and help you if you get stuck somewhere.

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Of course, we tried the easiest first as a warm up and then proceeded to the next level. This time, with more balancing skills and upper body strength needed. It doesn’t help if all of you are giggling while hanging on to a trapeze trying to swing to get to the platform across. However which way you do it, as long as you get it done.

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We eventually eased our way to the second most difficult trail. This was also our last one for the day. No, I refused to do the double black trail because just the previous trails alone proved to be such a physical challenge! I had such poor upper body and arm strength that by that time, I was already exhausted. I wished there were more zip lines.

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This is EASY!
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This one is NOT. By far, the hardest for me.
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Like a giant spider web

In the end, we all had an amazing day. I ended the challenge by being pushed off a platform! Regardless, it was a “necessary evil.” I don’t have a lot of pictures because I didn’t bring my camera along and I left my cell phone on purpose because I didn’t want to be distracted when I was up high in the trees. Thank you to my wonderful friends who provided me with the photos! And thank you guys for this adrenaline pumping experience. This definitely won’t be my last.

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PS: The next day I had so many bruises on my arms to prove that I had such a grand time!

Week Two: On My Own

After two weeks out here in Connecticut, I have learned two things: that in the Merritt Parkway, the 55 speed limit is simply a suggestion to drivers and that there will always be lazy people wherever you go.

The following day or two of driving, I attempted to do a 70 this time, not sustained but at short intervals and yet, people are still whizzing by past me. I think they were doing a 90! Oh boy! That’s where I draw the line. At night, most especially when the roads are wet, I drive safe and slow (at least a 60), my hands clutching the steering wheel so tight and my body sitting up ramrod straight for 12 miles. Not until then after I exit do I give a huge sigh of relief, say a quick silent prayer and release my death hold from my steering wheel.

At work, there were some issues with certain access codes and computer charting but that was for all the hired travelers throughout the hospital. I was already on my own and that made doing our work independently somewhat hard and encumbered having to constantly ask someone to help you out with access. They eventually ended up fixing the glitches. Of course, I had a million questions to bug everyone with and they were more than happy to answer all of them. That’s what happens when you only have two days of floor orientation. When you’re a travel nurse, you get thrown into the arena right away.

Patients are the same wherever you go. They have the same disease processes, signs and symptoms and to some extent, same interventions. What varies are the facility policies and procedures and the staff that work there. For the most part, the staff were really very helpful to me and very patient considering it was my first assignment. But there are always a few rotten apples. You just learn how to deal with them. Laziness is my number one pet peeve at work. Sorry, but if my first impression of you is laziness, it will have to take so much for me to think otherwise.

At the end of my day, which is usually what you normal people call breakfast and I call it a night, I try to eat healthy and look at my “Florida” happy mug and think that Life is Good!

I will be turning 40 at the end of week two in Connecticut. Stay tuned for a special birthday post and watch out for “senti and emo” moments.

Week One: The Orientation

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!

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First day of orientation

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!*

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On the way to take hubby to the airport

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

The Move

About two weeks after I decided to drastically change my life and everyone else’s (most especially my hubby’s), I arrive here in Norwalk, Connecticut. Going back the past few days before “The Move”, friends have been so generous with their time and support and prayers, not to mention the going away presents that just tugged at my heart strings. I was and still am so deeply appreciative of everything that it almost made me sentimental about leaving town.

So, my husband and I left Melbourne on a gloomy and overcast morning, got into cold and windy Georgia, drove through South Carolina without much incident and called it a night in Raleigh, North Carolina. The following morning, we headed north onwards to Virginia, then Baltimore and then to heavy traffic in New Jersey and New York. The last few hours were the hardest! I knew my husband was super tired but he just kept on driving and waited patiently for the cars to move. Not once did he complain nor honk his horn. He would sigh several times though and that was just about the only sign I can tell from him that he wanted us to get there already. 

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“Are we there yet?”

Finally, after about twenty hours on the road total (we broke the trip into two days), we get to my friend’s home in Norwalk. This will be my new temporary home for the next thirteen weeks.

I am very grateful that they opened up their home to me. Being new to this place, the transition would make it somewhat easier if a familiar face was there to help you and show you the way. As a novice travel nurse, I couldn’t ask for more!

So, in the course of this assignment, I will try to share with you my weekly musings and random thoughts and of course, the lessons I have learned from this whole “travel nursing experience”.  I hope and pray that they are good ones, and if I fall, I will have to learn to stand up and be brave and move on, as with life and everything else.