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Posts Tagged ‘family’

This is How You Remind Me

In Uncategorized on March 29, 2014 at 4:58 am

I think that everyone who lives away from their families has certain things that remind them of home. It’s always interesting to see what is most important to each individual person. For me, the winter has a lot of things that remind me of home. For one, Ukrainian Christmas, which we’ve talked about. Two other events this year really made me miss home:

Number 1:
Winter Olympics. As a horseback rider and gymnast, Summer Olympics are generally the one that I can’t get enough of, however my sister is a figure skater and has been since we were kids. Every Winter Olympics, as far back as I can remember, my whole family would gather on the couch with hot chocolate and blankets and we would watch the figure skating (also other parts, but skating is most vivid in my mind) and my sister would analyze the performances and tell us all about each move. We would also often be at the skating rink to see my sister in action. This year, watching the skating on the TVs on the ship, I really missed my family. Winter Olympics also of course, mean hockey, and that also makes me miss the sense of community and togetherness that hockey brings to any Canadian city, especially during a Canada vs US Olympic game!!

Number 2:
Oscars!! Oscar time is exciting for everyone and I always enjoy them no matter where I might be. But for some reason this year I could hear my mom and grandma’s voices in my head all day. Oscar time in my house was always followed by days or weeks of magazine page tearing out, dress examining, and decisive statements like: ‘we HAVE to go see this movie, it was up for an Oscar’. I think we only actually went to the movies a handful of times, but we were always really excited about the prospect of going. Even during the rest of the year, mom would come home with rental movies (and now that rental places are extinct, movies on Netflix, or Tivoed) for us to watch solely because they had generated Oscar buzz.

I’m not entirely certain why I am extra nostalgic this year, possibly because I haven’t really been home for a long period of time in two or three years. Possibly because even though we make our own families out here on the seven seas, nothing is quite the same as home. I do know that as much as I love what I do and where I am, I also love that I can still surprise myself with the things that send me home for a little mental family time.

This contract is flying by, 33 days until I am home sweet home! I can’t wait to criticize Oscar fashion choices and cozy up on the couch with my family!! What reminds you of home??

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It’s a Celebration

In Uncategorized on January 6, 2014 at 8:00 pm

Well it’s my second holiday season on board a cruise ship and this year was exceptionally fun. The holidays can be tricky when you’re surrounded by so many cultures, both the crew and the guests. People can be so touchy about their religions and the way they celebrate, and when you spend all day with guests, you have to be careful not to offend anyone. Obviously we do the traditional December 25th celebrating, and we do fun things like a Christmas show with the dancers and other crew members. We also make it snow in the lobby, so much fun!! When I’m at home with my family, we celebrate both the standard December 25th holiday and Ukrainian Christmas, on January 7th. For me, the Ukrainian holiday is actually more meaningful. My grandpa was very connected to our Ukrainian heritage and always wanted us to learn more about it. To this day one of my only regrets in my life is that I never learned Ukrainian from him while he was still with us. The traditional Christmas is always so stressful, traveling to see family, battling traffic, etc, plus it’s so commercialized that sometimes it feels like it’s only about presents. On Ukrainian Christmas, my family gets together and has an amazing dinner with traditional Ukrainian food and there are so many fun traditions that we do. For instance, we don’t eat dinner until the second child has seen the first star in the sky. We’ve always celebrated this way and I actually consider my Christmas to be January 7th. The funny thing is that I didn’t even realize that my Christmas is in fact Orthodox Christmas until I came to ships and found other people that celebrate it as well. It’s not that I’m actually religious in any way, for me it’s about tradition and family. Since I’ve come on board I’ve found many other people who also celebrate when I do which makes it a little easier to be away from my family. This year there is a whole group of us are celebrating Christmas together on January 7th which I’m super excited about!! This is the hardest day for me to be away from my family and I’m missing them terribly, but I know that I’m with them in spirit and they know that I’m always thinking of them. It still makes me sad to not be home doing all the traditional Christmas things with them, but my ship family makes it a little bit easier! Happy Holidays everybody!!!!

The Vacation Story

In adventure, friends, fun, Uncategorized on March 30, 2013 at 7:56 am

Well, I’ve been promising a more detailed vacation blog post for almost a month now. And I figured now is the time to do it, as I head back to work!!  I love writing while traveling! Currently I am in gypsy heaven, the two seats next to me on the plane are empty, and being a human of the long-legged variety, I am taking very great pleasure in stretching out over ALL the seats.

Vacation has been amazing. For the first two weeks I actually went to cruise with a friend on another Carnival ship, the Carnival Inspiration, for two weeks. I had the best time being a guest. It’s a very different experience than being a crew member. I really learned a lot about what it’s like to cruise from the guest perspective. I went to all the shows, ate on lido deck, and lounged! I also got to see what it’s like to board the ship as a guest, which is something we never experience as crew. The Carnival Inspiration does 3 and 4 day cruises to Ensenada, Mexico and Santa Catalina out of Long Beach, California. So since I spent two weeks on board, I got to do a lot of embarking and debarking. As technically I was a guest, even though I was crew traveling, I still had to debark the ship with the guests and embark again a few hours later with the next group of guests. It’s in my nature to make friends with strangers and every time I got off the ship, there were usually the same staff working, so by the time I debarked after my last voyage I got hugs and high fives from the security, the shoreside crew, and even some CPB officers. I think that having the experience of cruising from the guest’s perspective will really help me be a better Guest Services Associate. The ports were fun too! Santa Catalina is gorgeous!! A tiny little marina town with beautiful yachts, colorful Spanish style villas and palm trees! There were seals and dolphins leaping around the small tender boats used to take us ashore and some cheeky seals even hopped up on the marina buoys as if they were circus performers!

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Ensenada, Mexico is also a cool place. We found lots of delicious little restaurants and one day there was even a really fun street fair celebrating something fantastically Mexican. It’s a very different Mexican experience than Cozumel. Cozumel is quite commercialized, with a very well developed cruise center. Ensenada is beautiful, with the LARGEST flag I have ever seen, Mexican or otherwise, but less developed than Cozumel. There are many families on the streets trying to sell you beaded bracelets and scorpions shaped out of wire. It’s very interesting to see the differences after being in Cozumel every two weeks for the last 6 months.

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Once I came back from cruising, I went to visit a friend who lives on Gabriola Island, one of the gorgeous Gulf Islands! We went for forest runs, beach walks and even kayaking in the ocean. I actually had a small incident where I fell in the ocean and it was almost a catastrophe, but it all ended up just fine. There was a pair of sea lions playing about 10 feet away from me and I was on the fence as to whether they might eat me or assist me back into my kayak, neither of which happened. Gabriola is beautiful and quiet and I really enjoyed the time to relax.

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After a few more days back in Victoria, my sister and I went to Vancouver for the weekend, as she was invited to attend Vancouver fashion week, and I was her plus one!! It was so much fun. My sister is my very best friend in the whole world and getting to spend a whole weekend with her was just the best ever. Plus we got to see some really awesome new fashion, and hang out in downtown Vancouver!

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In the time I got to spend at home in Victoria, I visited some wonderful friends, my amazing family, and even some of my favorite animal friends! Ship work, although it is wonderful, it is certainly tiring and after a contract, it’s really necessary to take downtime to find yourself again. I’m so happy and refreshed and ready to go back to work!! I have so many thoughts to share about my new ship, but we’ll save those for tomorrow!!

My favorite

In Uncategorized on March 26, 2013 at 3:56 am

I know I keep promising a fabulous update. And it is coming. I’ve really been enjoying my vacation, doing things I love, and being with people I love. That brings me to my glorious amazing sister. I adore her and am so lucky to have her!! Last weekend she and I attended the Vancouver Fashion Week shows. Since she is a fashion blogger, she got invited and I was lucky enough to tag along. We had an amazing weekend spending quality time together and watching fashion shows! Check us out, aren’t we cute?!

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Silver Dining Room

In Carnival, Carnival Cruise Line, Cruise on December 20, 2012 at 12:08 pm

One of the funnest things  I got to do with my parents was eat in the main guest dining room all week. It’s amazing to see what the guests see. It’s a whole other side of the ship!! Every evening, the dining room staff do a dance or sing a song of some kind and it almost always involves everyone flinging their napkins around wildly….so of course I joined in!! Today is my birthday!! Steakhouse tonight!! YAY!

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Priorities

In Bahamas, Carnival, Carnival Cruise Line, Cruise, travel, traveling on September 19, 2012 at 3:14 pm

It’s a really good thing that my computer knows what day it is because I had completely forgotten! We just finished our final test and await grading!! I feel very confident about the results, and hopefully it went as well as I think it did because otherwise I’m coming home sooner than expected!! I won’t get the grade until tomorrow and that’s also when I will get my ship assignment!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So excited!!!

An interesting thing happened yesterday. We were in one of our hospitality training sessions and it was about diversity. We all went around the room and said a few things about each of our countries and then did an exercise where we talked about our favorite movies and music etc. We all had VERY different taste in everything, different reasons for coming to work for Carnival, and very different backgrounds. Finally, we came to the question, “What is the most important thing to you?” Without hesitation we all said “FAMILY.” That was the first and only thing we all agreed upon! It was amazing that through all our different beliefs, upbringings, languages, likes and dislikes, we were all unanimous in this matter. I think one of my favorite things about getting older is that I have developed such a clearly defined idea of the values that I want to see in the people I surround myself with.  Obviously I cant expect everyone I come in contact with to have all the values I like the most, however, I do have control over the people I let into my inner circle, and as I think about all my closest friends, they all have a very strong dedication to their family, be it blood relatives, or a family you make out of friends. I think it shows a certain amount of selflessness to put your family before money, or fun, or career, and I respect that in others. So here I am, thousands of miles away from home, and still surrounded by people who have that same core value. And guess what, now we’re family, and it really feels like that.

SHIP ASSIGNMENT SOON!!!!!!!!!!!! Eek! I’m posting this a day after I wrote it, yesterday we went onshore to Half Moon Cay after our test and frolicked in the ocean! Half Moon is a private island owned by Holland American which is under the Carnival Corporation umbrella so therefore it’s ours too! It’s so so stunning! As per usual I took pictures, which I will post eventually!! Tonight I get my new ship assignment!! Very exciting! Tomorrow will be a whirlwind of activity, signing off my ship and onto a new one, I may have some layover time in a hotel depending on when and where my new ship docks, but I will know more about that later!! Either way, it’s adventure time!!

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Happy Father’s Day!

In family, friends, fun, holiday on June 19, 2012 at 2:48 am

I know I’m a day late with this post, but I was so busy having such a fun day with my family yesterday that I didn’t have a chance to post! My family is probably the most important thing in the world to me, and I’m always thrilled when I get to spend time with them. On father’s day, my dad’s favorite thing to do is go on a family hike. So bright and early, my sister, dad and I (mom was in Vancouver) went for a hike in East Sooke Park. It was oh so magical. I really enjoy these times I have with my family because soon I will be off on a cruise ship and I won’t be able to enjoy their company. Being out in a park, smelling the ocean breeze, and chatting with my favorite people is really the happiest I could possibly be on a sunday morning and I am so so grateful to have such a close bond with my family. So happy belated father’s day to all the lovely dads out there, I hope you all had as wonderful a day with your dads as I did with mine!!