Wednesday, September 30, 2015

A Brief Paradise

It's been quite some time that's passed since I wrote anything down and I'm sad that I've lost a lot of memories that way. I might at one time would have hand written many things down to type later but knowing my tendency toward tendonitis when I hand write, I decided against it considering my current location and job description. I was back in paradise one last time.

It's an oxymoron really. It's the life I loved and lost. It's the life I regained for one last contract, one last voyage, one last Alaska, one last time.

I wish I could have entertained you with tales from that past four months at sea, but my computer hard drive crashed just a couple weeks after embarking, just when things were starting to settle down so I could find time to write. It would seem easy to get a computer fixed on land perhaps, but at sea it's another matter entirely. Needless to say, I have only had it back for a couple of weeks and those weeks were filled with friends and family so I haven't had a moment to spare.

I've loved this life and I will miss it, even though it's time. It's time for something new. It's time to move on. It's time to reinvent myself. It's time to tackle new goals and aspirations. It's simply time.

I'll start at the beginning of this contract and recount a few of the fun stories and interesting times that are the every day of cruise life.

The very first day, I boarded the ship in Fort Lauderdale in shorts and a t shirt, excited to finally walk across that gangway back to what has always felt like home to me. It had been a few years so everything felt so familiar, yet so strange. But I loved every bit of it. In the first hour that I was on board, it was discovered I had no room to live. The room I was assigned had someone waiting to move out, that had no place to go yet. So I was relegated to wandering the ship, loitering in the officer's bar, and dragging my luggage from one place to another to try to keep it from being in the way. I was supposed to start performing on stage at 5:00 p.m. that night, but I was still sweaty and casual with only teased hope that I'd have a room that night. At 6:00 p.m., the sweet entertainment manager opened her room to me to shower, change, and leave my belongings for a couple of hours while I went to work. By the time I dropped back by at 9:00 to gather my luggage and take it to the now empty, yet not clean room I was assigned, she was getting in bed. I felt very grateful for her kindness and sorry to be such an inconvenience. I took my luggage to my cabin, returned to the lounge to finish the night with one more set and then collapsed, unpacked into bed. What a long day.

Over the last four months, I've had two friends on board, and my dad cruise three times and almost a fourth. It's been absolutely amazing despite the struggles. I got to eat Mexican tacos, chill on the beach, swim in the ocean, tour Stanley Park Vancouver, go hiking, glacier trekking, whale watching, otter scouting, bear observing, and I met old friends and made new friends. I've loved and laughed, cried and sighed. It was a whirlwind of as much as I could handle and I feel so blessed to be me.

Swimming on shore next to the ship in Mexico.

A giant coconut, sunshine, sand, and the salt sea air!

Oh yes, I love fresh hand made and super cheap Mexican tacos! YUM

Puerto Vallarta, my favorite Mexican port.

Goose and gosling crossing in Stanley Park, Vancouver.

Playing with the face in the picture mode for a pic of a really old tree skeleton.

Posing under a large tree.

1st hike of the Alaska season to the top of Mt. Roberts in Juneau!

Climbing every mountain :)

Enjoying my favorite biscuits and gravy with a waffle at the Pioneer Cafe in Ketchikan.

Glacier hiking YES

Yes, I too dance under falling rocks...   :-/

A festival I happened upon in Fremont one sunny Seattle day!

This is how the night started....I won't show you how the night ended...  :-/

A glacier view from a sea plane.

A short video of the massive amounts of ice. It was mind blowing!

Whale watching never gets old :)

By sea or by plane....both please :)

A perk of hiking past the first couple miles???  Fresh blueberries the bears hadn't found!!!

And we ate them ALL  hehehe   no one will ever know ;-p

The trail leads off into the haze to the cabin that's barely visible.

Just chilling on the top of Mt Juneau after a killer hike.

A panorama of Mt Juneau

A goblet of sake for brunch is not a bad way to start my day!

Mendenhall Glacier and Lake

The most beautiful day I think I've seen in Sitka....from the ship :(

Beacon Hill Park, Victoria at night.

On top of Thunder Mt in Juneau enjoying lunch before a nap. Not a bad view for either!

Mt. Edgecumbe, the volcano in Sitka AK

I'm gonna get that ball!!!

An absolutely delicious eggs benedict hash at Pike's Place with a view of the water front. 

One of my favorite parts of hiking...squelch squelch

The Flume Trail in Juneau on a beautiful fall day.

With that wingspan I should have played the bass.

Braving the cold for a better view of the scenery.


Adorable otter face. Missed his "see no evil, speak no evil" buddies.

Seals sunbathing soiree

Literally sitting up and begging for a treat.

Trying to take flight.

Profile Shot Please.

Playing, er, posing in the snow :-)

Now, where did that trail go???

YES!!!  Waterfall shower!!!

Such a cute little guy. He was super small.

Back when I'd worked on ships previously I'd performed in a string quartet. This time I played violin with a pianist. Unknown to me when I started my gig, was a new requirement that I have to stand while I perform. Once on board I was granted medical clearance twice, which should never have even been necessary because it's a regulation that's disregarding the purpose, which is playing beautiful music. Even so, the looming issue (for me) was the fact the ceiling in the lounge was so low I could easily touch it without heels, so imagine if I wear heels to play every night. I tried to stand sometimes in the first week and it was a disaster. I kept hitting the tip of my bow and freaking out, therefore stopping playing, because I was afraid I was going to break my bow. Hitting the tip is one of the easiest ways to break a bow so my fear was well founded. But there was no concern given to that fact, nor that it is a multi thousand dollar, multi month shopping project to find a replacement. It was suggested that I just "play smaller". I guess I was unaware that I'd been hired for a professional standing position and not a professional violinist position. What's kind of funny is that I didn't realize the issue hadn't been resolved a couple of months into the contract since I'd secured a chair and everything seemed ok. Because I emailed asking about future work since our reviews were so good and our ratings were consistently quite high. The response I received asked if I was going to be healthy enough to stand.... um, what?! I'm healthy enough to stand up, but not in high heels for hours on end with a constant fear of breaking my instrument. Nope, that's non negotiable. And thus, I'm no longer hireable, nor desire to perform where there is such a lack of respect for my profession, my instrument, and the years of training to get me to this point.

Now, I'm back on land and performing in symphonies for the remainder of the calendar year and then I'll see what happens. Hoping to take a vacation to South America and complete a demo for a new show. But who knows. My life is unplanned on purposed :)  Leaves room for all the adventures!