You might be wondering what ship life has been like this time around, what my work schedule is like, and how I'm coping with all of it... well... here's where you'll find out!!:)
When we first arrived on board, it was a HUGE culture shock for many of us. Imagine living and really interacting with 30 of the same people for 2 months straight. Now imagine suddenly being introduced to at least 300 people in one day and moving from AFRICA to pretty much a small America. Needless to say, it was tough. I was searching for my friends all of the time and pretty resistant to new people at first. I was 'homesick' if you will... I missed being with my 'family' all of the time, I missed the home I created, I missed my roommate, I even kinda missed my rat...sorta.. haha:)
But as time has gone on, I've certainly had my ups and downs. I've been long past the 'honeymoon' phase for a while, and I'm hoping that I'll soon enter another phase past the trying to find my footing phase. Meeting new people and finding new friends has proved semi-difficult, since at my job we've gotten to know eachother, but after a 12 hour day, or 3 12 hour days together, generally, we have had enough of eachother for a while. On the other hand, other departments have super close bonds(especially the nurses), but luckily they're mostly willing to let new people in. The other difficult part is that most of those people that I meet are going to be leaving within the next week to 3 months... then you have to decide the line- how close do i get- how much do I let you in, etc. That's been really really difficult. I also face the fact that 1/2 of the people I am close with now will be gone at the end of the year, but I've decided to just embrace it and not let that get in the way of our friendship.
Now, enough of the intense stuff- I want to let you in on my schedule... it's a little wacky, but my days off are certainly well-earned(I think).
A typical work day:
Up around 7:10
Eat some breakfast
Start work at 8
Work, work, work until 12- 'Rush hour' begins around 10:30, lunch starts at 11:30ish
1 Hour lunch break(I love this feature)
Work work work until 5- rush hour starts around 3:30, dinner starts at 4:45
1 hour dinner break
Clean, clean, clean- we have to put all leftovers away, wash all dishes by hand,
Now let me break it down for you a bit.
Lunch normally consists of leftovers from the night before that we try to fancy-up a bit so it at least seems like you're eating a different meal... normally takes a bit of creativity, but we're generally successful. Sometimes, if whatever was made the night before was super great and the crew ate all of it, we have to make a whole new meal, which is normally aweesommee, but most times, that doesnt happen.
Dinner is almost allllways new food. We have a menu set at the beginning of the week, but we are indeed in Africa, so sometimes the things we need, we just dont have, so we have to improvise and figure something else out. You have to be flexible- this is no 5 star restaurant where if you dont have what you need you freak out.. you just take a deep breath and move on. I'm fortunate to have a great leader who just rolls with the punches. He's also started to notice what my strengths are and lets me do those more- though sometimes I have to work on a weakeness, such as butchering beef... that's one of my least favorite tasks.. its.. just so hard hah:) I am indeed getting better at it though.
So, we work 2 days, off 2 days, on 3 days, off 2 days, on 2 days, off 3 days... well.. let me just show you..
If I work Monday Tuesday, I'm of Wednesday Thursday, but work Friday Saturday Sunday
If I'm off Monday Tuesday, I work Wednesday Thursday and I'm off Friday Saturday Sunday
Weekends in general suck just because your friends are all off work(generally) and are off having fun, while you work. Also, sundays we're up around 5:30 or 6:30 to start breakfast(scrambled eggs and bacon). Sunday is the only day we have a hot breakfast. The other days it's cereal, and currently amazing rolls and pastries because we have a wonderful German baker on board:) Thank God it's only one day a week we have hot breakfast though, because if we had hot breakfast every day, we'd be up at 4:30 daily and work until we're done cleaning..
Now cleaning... we have to put away leftovers, wash all dishes by hand(dishes used to hold food as well as the dishes down in the ward... our Day Volunteers make the food for the ward, so we are responsible for washing the dishes.. it's quite the task with well over 80 bowls and spoons.), Scrub all of the floors, sanitize all surfaces, and make sure everything is set for the next day. Normally we get out around 7:30, but on a really bad day, like this past monday, we were there until about 9:30 due to a shortage of people helping- we were down 2 workers and a few day workers... so there were 4 of us near the end with a mountain of dishes to be washed... that's a bad day..:)
Now... for your viewing pleasure.. some pictures I wanted to post earlier, but never really got to;)
The Hole my rat Malcom chewed in my pants the day before we left him.
My birthday banner I talked about in the last blog:)
Me attempting to intibate my 'patient' at the Open House in the hospital.
My 'patient' once I successfully intibated him.. though.. I 'broke his teeth'...;)
Me being a 'nurse' for a day.... trying to get the bed pan before my patient had an accident... I was too late... luckily I dodged the projectile fluid before it got me... it was coffee grounds and water just fyi;)
Me being a good nurse... forcing meds on my patient.
That is all for now... more to come later:)