Wednesday, September 30, 2009

It is not about the place you are in, but the people that you are with that truly matters...

This is my very first Mt. Pleasant friend, Kristen! The day I met her, I went home and called my parents and told them that I made a friend! I felt like a kid again finishing her first day of school...But I am so incredibly thankful that I was introduced to her because she has made my time here much more enjoyable since last Thursday. If you remember from my previous post, I was very unhappy and not feeling good vibes from where I'm currently located. I knew we would develop a special friendship after she popped into my office (she's a speech therapist), introduced herself and proceeded to say that we should grab a drink after work. Our birthdays are two days this weekend we are having a big birthday bash to celebrate her 26th and my 27th (eek). If the weather permits, we plan on doing some jet skiing during the day with some BBQ'ing followed by listening to live music at a local seafood restaurant and then who knows. Anyway, a very true friend she already is and I feel like I have known her for years. This picture was taken infront of Lake Bob Sandlin, which is a 9400 acre lake surrounded by miles of state parks. This hidden gem is located just a few minutes from my cottage. It was absolutely do not give this lake justice.
Anyway, as I hoped and prayed for, things are starting to look more is still work and frustrating at times because I still have not received a formal orientation; thus I have been left fending for myself. With each passing day, I am still so proud and thankful for the education and training I received from MGH and know that if I never started out there as a new clinician; I could never handle what I am currently dealing with today and for the next 4 months.
To finish up, I wanted to let you all know what I've been up to the past 8 days and all the things I've learned...until next time kids!
1. Texas vocabularly--> "Fixin" means "getting ready, preparing"
"Do what?" means "what did you say?"
"Reckon" means "I agree or I know."
"Shootfire" means "of course!"
"Cussing" means "swearing" and NEVER EVER say goddamn around anyone from Texas, they find it very offensive (understandably so).
2. Foods I've tried--> Aligator Sausage (sooo delicious!), Boutin Balls (hushpuppy like fried balls full of rice, crawfish, crab meat, cajun spices, and boudin). You will never find them in the Northeast so I might have to order some to take back with me, b/c they are to die for! and lastly, frog Legs...yes, I know, scary!
3. Things I've learned about Texans: THEY ALL LOVE WHISKEY! Everyone smokes, but they all know how to have a good time and are incredibly polite and welcoming!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Is the glass half full or half empty? A few days of reflection...

Well, after 1830 miles and 28 hours later, my brother and I finally made it to Pittsburg, TX where Mrs. B's cottage (aka my new home) awaited my arrival. The cottage is sweet, cozy, and huge, but the decor can go. It does give the cottage "character" per say, but my eyes begin to burn after looking at floral print for more than 5 hours or so. I love my landlord and my housekeeper (yes, you heard that right). The cottage is joined with the local B&B down the street that offers complimentary breakfast for their guests as well as a housekeeper. Her name is Corinna, and probably the most adorable woman ever! The first day I arrived, she came over to introduce herself and while I helped her finish cleaning, she told me a little bit about herself, her beautiful family, heritage, location of the local grocery store, and area lakes to visit. We finished the conversation by her offering me free, home cooked, Mexican dishes after her Wednesday night church events(mmmm enchiladas)! Don't worry, I plan to re-pay her back with some good ole' American delights! After she left, I looked at my brother and said she will be my mom away from home and I know it's only the beginning to a long and beautiful friendship.

On the downfall, I think the cottage and all it's amenities and perks that come along with it are the only great thing about this assignment. Pittsburg, TX is...well...small and uneventful. I have yet to see anyone my own age. Almost all of the "shops" in Pittsburg's "downtown" are vacated and dark, and the train is unbearable when it roars through the town right when I'm trying to get to sleep. In addition, the bugs are gigantic (everything is bigger in Texas right?). I will be lucky if my poor windshield makes it out of Texas without a crack or permanent bug guts. They are constantly splattering all over your windshield as you drive down the highway. I must also mention, that a BIRD hit my windshield too and left black markings on the hood of my poor Jetta! I also woke up to a cockroach lying upside down on my kitchen floor as I fixed myself some tea this morning...YUCK! Oh, and talk about roadkill...if people were not allowed to drive 70 mph on back roads and highways (not kidding, this is the speed limit), maybe we could slow down and allow those poor armadillos, skunks, squirrels, turtles, porcupines, and dogs (yes, 1 dog and 1 puppy :( ) to safely cross the road to the other side.

Aside from the town, I think I will have a tough time adjusting to my new facility. After doing some reflection on my drive home from my first day today, I realized how spoiled I really was at MGH. Hand hygiene and patient care was something that MGH would pride themselves on and I am thankful for this. There was maybe one hand disinfectant in each hallway of the facility; there was 1 located outside of each room at MGH. MGH offered a lot of support and supervision; I'm the only OT at this facility and delegate my work to two COTA's throughout the day. Insurance drives everything and I was lucky enough to have case management and administration offices handle that for me at MGH; I am responsible for all of this at my new facility. And to top everything off, my rehab manager called in sick today and no one in the department knew I was even hired!!! Yes, I felt like the new kid on the block and very very uncomfortable for the first time in a long time. I left work early (no one cared or seemed to notice) because there was no more work and needed to decompress for a bit. So, the second I sat in my car, tears began to form in my eyes. OK, I'll admit it, I cried. I cried because of my chaotic day, the fact that I missed my friends and family tremendously, and the fact that I was extremely overtired from traveling still. But as I drove home and approached Mrs. B's cottage, my tears stopped and I felt a sense of comfort as I stepped into my new home and looked at the ugly floral print...for the first time I was happy to see it!

It's amazing how unpleasant first impressions have the ability to look so beautiful and comforting later, with time... My point is, my first impressions of my new job and little town just need time and hopefully in the end, I'll be more sad than happy that my 4 months is up.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Texas Bucket List

Here I am with less than 12 hours away from driving to TX and it still feels so surreal. I remember the day I put my notice into MGH, back in June and thinking it was still so far away. I was blessed that my boss from MGH allowed me to "burn my ET" out, which means that I was able to basically use all my earned time and treat it as a vacation. So yes, I must brag a bit, but I had the best time for the past month. When speaking with my good friend, Anna and reflecting back to what I did this past month...I am so lucky that I took the time when I did. From sunbathing to BBQ's, to tubing, to dinner, to pit fires, to coffee and dinner dates, reggae cruises, brunch gatherings, movie nights, swimming, late night stargazing, and bar nights...I had the time of my life. Most importantly though, I was able to spend so much with time with my family. I have not been able to spend more than a weekend with my godson and nephew since the day he was born, so I feel fortunate that I was able to watch him grow and learn for an entire month. It's amazing the how much he did grow within this past month too...I learnt something new about him everyday. Like the fact that he loves to kiss, clap his hands, dance, laugh, EAT, look at nature, and play with our yellow lab, Buster. Within the past few days, he started taking 1, 2, or even 4 steps, which was exciting to see! My dear sister has even taught him sign language so he communicates "more" and "all done" when eating, which is so adorable! It was difficult saying good-bye to him as he does not understand yet that "auntie" is going away for a few as he laughed and waved his usual good-bye, which consists of flopping his entire arm up and down, tears formed in my eyes. He is just so beautiful and precious. I'm am so grateful that I was asked to be his godmother and cannot wait for the times we have ahead of us.

So to end this post, I wanted to let you all know that I have decided to make a "bucket list" persay of things I want to do in each state that I live in. I also want your comments and feedback as several of you that follow my blog have been to more states than I, so any insight that you have into the "hot spots," please do not hesitate to contribute! So here goes, Texas:

1. Austin City Limits Music Festival (weekend of my birthday!)

2. Pineywoods Wine Trail (there is a vineyard convienantly located 3 mi from my cottage!)

3. Bob Sandlin Lake and Park (my town that I'll be living in is aka "Bass City")

4. Big Bend National Park for some quality rafting and hiking

5. Hill Country Horseback Riding

6. Spruce up my skills with country line dancing (p.s. I already have the cowboy boots from my previous TX visit)

7. Greer Farm

8. Go back to my favorite place...Rice Village in Houston



...I know it's small so please add your thoughts!

Goodbye for now, the next time I'll write, I'll be in my new home, Pittsburg, TX. Here is the link to where I'll be staying: Mrs. B's cottage! It definitely has a lot of character and floral prints! hehe. BUT, I get free, complimentary breakfast every morning! Grits and potatah's, here I come!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

"Now Kristi, why would you ever want to leave the best city and one of the best practicing hospitals in the U.S.?"

The above title was a question that a very dear friend of mine asked me the other day, which surprisingly took me a few minutes to respond to. Here I am only a few days left until I make one of the first biggest changes in my life, and I STILL ask myself this very question since the day I woke up in April as my plane landed in Boston, MA. I was just returning from an amazing vacation in Key West, FLA and was having a dream of myself running by the water, laughing, and feeling this intense emotion...I was incredibly happy. I felt like myself again...I remember waking up, disappointed that the dream was just a dream and instantly getting the very pit in my stomach that I felt for the past couple of years once I saw that Boston skyline everytime I returned from a Maine weekend. I told my mom about my dream, stressing how Key West gave me this very same feeling and I realized how happy I really can be and have not been for the past year or so. I remember her saying, "Kristi life is not always paradise..." I agreed with her, but my point was, I had not felt that level of contentment and happiness in a long time and I wanted it again. So, yes, maybe the beautiful sunsets, delicious cocktails, fun music, cute boys, and wonderful company (my best friend from college), and friendly faces from home (Ben, Chels, and Rob) helped to create that feeling for me...BUT I knew I was not happy anymore in Boston and it was time for a change. I returned to work the next day and tried to focus, but I was so excited to start my research. However, each time I tried to pull away from the thought of staying at MGH, I continued to feel like I was in a tug o' war. On one, heavily weighted side, I had the pull of my amazing colleagues, excellent learning opportunities, fabulous benefits, great salary, amazing family/friends within close proximity, and comfortable routine pulling me to the left and the thought of traveling throughout the U.S. every 3-4 months and experiencing some of the most beautiful places that no one has even experienced my age, to the right. For the 2 months following that time, I did extensive research, spoke to other traveling therapists, and made a list of pro's and con's before I made the decision to resign from Mass General Hospital. My biggest fear was that I was making the biggest mistake but then I learned to accept that we learn from our mistakes and you will not grow if you do not jump outside of your comfort zone. I am blessed that both my supervisor, colleagues, friends, and family were all incredibly supportive, which has made this transition easier on my conscious. So here I am today...days away from driving to my first assignment in Mount Pleasant, TX. I will be there for 4 months with the hopes of doing my 2nd assignmet in Colorado for the winter months.

So, Ned to answer your question, "When I finished college, I wanted to achieve two professional at MGH and become a traveling therapist and whichever order they came in, it was meant to be. I'm thankful for the opportunity I had to first work at MGH because I feel confident in my skills and feel I can work work anywhere...I am also no longer happy with who I became living in the city, so I need to see where I fit in and belong. Although each opportunity might not be all peaches and cream, at least I can be happy knowing that I experienced it somewhere new. "

Welcome to my blog and I look forward to your words of wisdom along the way...