Week 2

img_2482My schedule for the 2nd week was a little different than my first. The week started (on Wednesday) at MFL. I was able to review the information I learned last week as well as start to go over more specifics for our medical records system. I have a big binder of information that can be overwhelming at times, so I made myself a “cheat sheet” with shortcuts to where certain documents are or how to fill out commonly used forms, etc. I feel like this will come in handy for a while until I get the hang of all 742 different types of forms, etc I will have to use 😉 I also feel “official” with my MFL t-shirts. Being that this is a theatrical production and I have to wear black when covering the show, it’s good to have a couple more shirts to throw into the rotation. Sometimes I feel like a ninja walking around in all black..in the dark. Ok maybe a blind ninja. Yes there are some rope lights that help guide the way on stage left or right, but its pretty black up there. People can sneak up on you (or the other way around) because everyone is trying not to be seen.  However, i’m getting pretty good at recognizing people’s silhouettes.

If you’ve ever been to Las Vegas you know that you are so overstimulated by all the lights, sounds, and people that it’s pretty easy to be wide awake at all hours of the night. Well, when I’m at work in the basement of the theatre this isn’t the case, so sometimes by the time 2nd show is starting (930pm) I’m ready for a nap. One night after work,  I met some co-workers for midnight special bowling after work. I think it was around 1:45am when we left and I wasn’t the slightest bit tired. Then when I got home, of course I couldn’t fall asleep until after 3am. My body is more on Vegas time now. Typically this wouldn’t be a big deal since most of my days don’t start until 3pm, but I just so happened to be attending an emergency medical responder course at 9am the following day. This was the first time that I’ve really had to deal with “traffic”. I decided to take side roads to get there and attempted the freeway to get home. Lesson learned, next time just take the side roads both ways. It will end up being faster, even with stoplights. Generally speaking Las Vegas drivers are pretty tame compared to Chicago. I guess its all a matter of perspective though as I’ve heard a couple people mention that Las Vegas drivers are horrible. I then proceed to ask if they’ve ever driven in Chicago; the answer is always no.

One of the days this past week (don’t ask me which one because I really never know img_2480what day it is) I got a taste of the second show I’ll be working on. We had some emergency training skill sessions and document review at the “O” theatre in the Bellagio. Emergency action plans are a big part of my job. With there being such a high level of skill and performance in all of the shows, there needs to be an equally high level of prep incase something goes wrong. After the training, I stayed to check out their treatments, meet some of the artists, and watch the show. I had never seen “O” before, and watching it for the first time from the stage was pretty cool.

I was back over at MFL for the rest of the week. I’ve gotten the routine of things down. Treatments are going well, the artists are great to work with, and I’m getting better with remembering everyone’s names/departments. I’m excited to be on my own very soon!

After some more training, I was able to play “tourist” for an afternoon and wandered around the Bellagio Conservatory. They change out the scenery 4 times per year based on the season. I’ve seen 2 different scenes on previous trips to Vegas, but this one was probably my favorite. The current theme is “tour of Italy.” If you know me at all, I don’t need to explain why this was my favorite.

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All week I’ve been making it a point to organize at least one thing in my apartment each day. Its getting closer to looking like someone actually lives here. As I was unpacking all of my wine, I realized that I think I left a couple bottles back home by accident. That or I drank them and forgot. Either way, my wine corner is almost complete. Next up is getting stuff on my walls. If I’m able to get it done within the next 2 weeks it will be a record. I’ve never gotten everything up in under a month before. Stay tuned…

Week 1

Its kind of hard to believe that I’ve only been here for just over a week. I’ve been so busy that it feels like a month already. It took about a day and a half to get my apartment “organized enough” for now. Most things have their place, all the furniture is put together (FYI I’m pretty much an expert at putting together IKEA stuff now), and all the new linens have been purchased. I probably spent about a total of 3 hours trying to decide on what color sheets, towels, shower curtain, etc to buy. That seems excessive right? I’m sure the security footage of me pacing through the aisles of Target is hilarious to watch.

Las Vegas is pretty easy to navigate. Typically I’m able to look up where a store is and get there without using my GPS. This did backfire one time when I thought I knew how to get to Bed Bath and Beyond based on the map…and I was wrong. Then I thought I knew how to get turned around and head back to where I was supposed to go..wrong again. So I finally caved and decided to use the GPS on my phone. Now typically this wouldn’t seem like a big deal, however being new to Las Vegas I made a rookie mistake of setting my phone on the passenger seat while I was driving. If you’ve ever been to Vegas you know it gets really hot. So hot, in fact, that your iPhone will refuse to work when its left in the sun too long. No iPhone = no GPS. Lesson learned.

I can tell I’m already adjusting to the heat. It had been in the low 100s the first several days I was here. Then I was out running errands (which seems to be a second job at this point), and noticed that it felt kinda cold. I checked the temp and it said 94. Wait 94 is “kinda cold” to me now? That escalated quickly.

IMG_2472OK enough of that boring stuff, you all probably want to hear about my new job. Well I have successfully made it through my first week as a Resident Therapist for Cirque du Soleil. Over the course of my first year I will be working with two of the shows here in Las Vegas. My primary responsibility will be at Criss Angel MINDFREAK Live, however I will also be working at “O.”

My first day at MFL was overwhelming and exciting at the same time. There were logistical things to take care of such as ID badges, parking passes, etc. I was given a tour of the theatre, met the cast/crew, and started gathering info for my binder of endless information related to the show and the performance medicine department in general. Most shows have 2 performances each night, one at 7pm and one at 930pm, with an hour break between. I watched the 1st show from the front of house (audience). I had never seen it (or any magic show for that matter) before, so I was able to get an unbiased view of what I will be working with. For the second show I shadowed another therapist to learn what acts I will be covering during the showimg_2471-e1502130768925.jpg

Over the course of the next several days, I continued to meet more of the cast/crew. Everyone has been very welcoming and friendly. I actually find that true of everyone I’ve met in Vegas in general. I have now seen the show from just about every angle you can imagine. I’ve tracked with every department so see their perspective on the show, and learn all the possible areas of potential injury that can occur. It has been very helpful to see all these different sides of what goes on backstage so I have a better understanding of what the artists are doing/need to be able to do.

The rest of my time has been spent doing evals, treatments, etc and learning how to input into their system. I’ve also been reviewing all the emergency procedures for the show, as I will have to know those before I can “cover” a show on my own. Overall its been a good first week, however I’m thankful for a couple days off. Mondays are my Saturdays. This new schedule (3-11pm) is quite an adjustment from what I’m used too. Also working in general is an adjustment since I’ve had the last month off. The first night when I got home after work I wasn’t able to fall asleep until around 2am and I would wake up before 8am. Luckily that is no longer the case.

Looking forward to what the week will bring.

 

All Signs Point to Cirque

You know when people ask you “What do you see yourself doing in 5 years?” Well I never would have said,”moving accross the country to start a Job working with Cirque du Soleil.” Yet, here I am doing just that. While this may not be what I had ever thought I would get to do, more than one thing lead me down this path. Here’s a few examples of how all signs point to Cirque.

Ever since I’ve set foot in California (San Diego to be specific), I knew I wanted to move there. Something about the environment, the ocean, the warmth, felt like the place I wanted to be. Flash forward 9 years and I find myself on a job board selecting “California” as the state in the search box. The decision to FINALLY move to California had happened about a year prior, I just had to wait for my lease to be up. (I also had to wait until I was actually brave enough to “pull the trigger”-more on that later). As I spent every day conducting a new search for jobs in California on various sites, one day in particular I noticed something pop up on the side bar. Cirque du Soleil was hiring for positions in Las Vegas. Hmm, that’s not California, but its close and HELLO CIRQUE DU SOLEIL….how could I not at least apply?! I had already sent in an application for one CA job, a resume for another, and was working on a third. Even after sending my application to Cirque, I continued to search for CA jobs. I did not find anything else (and the ones I did find were not exactly jumping off the page at me). I also never heard a thing from any of the jobs I sent resumes to. I wasn’t meant to be in CA right now.

Several years ago, in 2013, I remember one particular Sunday morning at the gym when a few of the coaches were messing around after a workout. We were working on various handstand holds, and decided to snap some pics to document our attempts. There was a picture taken of me holding a handstand on top of two kettle bells. I posted it to Instagram on November 24th. It has remained my profile picture since that day. Oh, and the caption under it reads “practicing for cirque du Soleil.” Perhaps I was predicting the future…

Celine Dion has been my favorite artist since I can remember. Back in the day when CD’s were a thing, her “Falling into You” album was the first CD I purchased. My love of her music has been present, sometimes stronger that others, since that day. Within the last several years, as I was going through a bit of a self-discovery journey, I found myself really needing her voice and her words and her energy in my life again. It has not been until more recently that I find myself being more vocal about just how much her music affects me. Seeing as how she lives and performs in Las Vegas, I find myself drawn there simply for her presence.

My first trip to Las Vegas happened in June 2013. I was out there for the NATA convention. My two friends from college and I were out there a day early to attend pre-conference workshops. My one friend went to the Cirque du Soleil workshop. I went to a kinesiotaping seminar. I wanted to go to both. Little did I know that I would get my chance 4 years later.

If you have ever been into my apartment or been on a trip with me to Mexico, you know I am obsessed with those sun/moon decorations. I love the balance, the light, the contrast, the guidance, the beauty of them and what they represent. Heck, I even have a Sun/Moon tattoo. Soleil is French for “Sun”. The sun can be many things, among them a light. One of my favorite song lyrics is “Shine a light ahead when the next step in unclear.” My “next step” was trying to find a new job/move across the country. My “light” was finding Cirque.

I’m excited for the journey ahead. Would I still be on this path without all of the above mentioned “signs”? I don’t know; but it doesn’t matter. What matters is I’m about to embark on an adventure into the unknown and I can’t wait to see what unfolds. I am going to do my best to be present in each moment that comes, taking it all in, enjoying the process. I am excited to share my journey with others, and perhaps inspire one of you to take that leap of faith and create your own adventure.

So Much Driving…

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Day 1 (7.26.17) Stats:
Kankakee, IL to Tulsa, OK
7:40am-6:55pm
652 Miles
10:15 drive time (3 stops)
29 license plates

As I sit in my hotel room in Tulsa, I have a few observations/insights about the drive today. Illinois is an incredibly boring state to drive through. Nothing but corn fields and trucks to look at. St. Louis highways are all kinds of crazy. I’ve always been a passenger in the car going through St. Louis, but having to be the driver and actually pay attention today was a little nuts. There were 42 roads on one sign and sometimes the road I wanted was on there and sometimes it wasn’t. (Disclaimer: I, like an idiot, did NOT have my GPS going at the time..I was just trying to follow my dad who was driving in front, but in all the traffic it got a little crazy for a while)

Once you get out of the St. Louis area, I can sum up Missouri in one word: horses. That’s all I saw on the side of the road. After what seemed like forever, we entered Oklahoma and its lovely toll roads (Turnpikes). At $4.50 a pop, it makes the tolls in Chicago seem like nothing. I’m only about 100 or so miles into OK at this point, but if I had to sum it up in one word, it would be: cattle. That’s all I’ve seen. My favorite was the one who decided it wasn’t enough to drink from the pond in the field, he needed to take a full on bath in the middle of it. Along with all the roaming cows, I did see a couple random signs, such as “don’t drive into the smoke,” “free restrooms,” and my personal favorite, “Hitchhikers may be escaping inmates!”

Overall I’d say the day went pretty well, considering I HATE driving and this was the longest day, I’m hoping the next two days go by fast. Amen for cruise control and higher speed limits in these middle of nowhere states. I’ve got playlists, podcasts, French lessons, and more cattle to keep me company on the way to Albuquerque.

 

Day 2 (7.27.17) Stats:IMG_0009
Tulsa, OK to Albuquerque, NM
7:47am-4:50pm (gained 1 hour)
649 Miles
9:16 drive time (1 stop)
8 more license plates (37 total)

My observation of Oklahoma from yesterday continued today….more cattle. That’s about the extent of the excitement driving through that state. We stopped for lunch/gas at a travel center and I was able to pick up an OK shot glass. (For those that may not know, I collect shot glasses. I have a shelf of ones I’ve gotten and a shelf of ones my friends and family have bought for me from their travels around the world). This particular shot glass was both hilarious and false advertising. It had a map of Oklahoma, a cowboy, Buffalo (I didn’t see any-thus the false advertising) and tornados (hilarious that they completely own it!).

Next up was a drive through the panhandle of Texas. Texas in one word: wind turbines(they had lots of them). Or land. Everywhere you look there’s just miles and miles of land that doesn’t have an end point. It’s Crazy. Since there was nothing interesting to look at, I decided it would be a good time to start my learn French podcasts. I was able to get through the first 4 lessons before it was getting too complicated to do without having the printouts in front of me.

Once I got into New Mexico, the scenery started to change. There seemed to be more “life” compared to Texas. Made it to Albuquerque by late afternoon (thank you time change). We then met up with my Aunt, Cousin, and his GF for dinner at a cute Route 66 diner.

Day 2 seemed “easier” than day 1. Even my Dad said “I could have gone another 250 miles (past Albuquerque) .” I agree, after the rest stop just outside of Texas, I kind of just got into a groove and could have driven further

Day 3 (7.28.17) Stats:IMG_0010 Albuquerque,NM to Las Vegas, NV
7:05am-3:00pm (gained 1 hour)
581 miles
8:40 drive time (1 stop)
6 more license plates-INCLUDING HAWAII (43 total)

New Mexico was probably the most scenic part of my drive. There were cool mountains, pretty colors, and a pretty crazy rain cloud. I could see the huge thunderhead and the rain coming from in off in the distance. This picture doesn’t really do it justice. There was sun all around and then you could see cloud to ground lightening in this one little patch. I had about 3 minutes of really big rain drops when I went “through” it, but then it was back to blue skies and sunshine. One other thing I noticed about New Mexico was all of the trains. SO MANY TRAINS. Most of them seemed to be moving at a snails pace, but it was pretty neat to get to see them along the road.

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My last state to get through was Arizona. This was probably one of the longest stretches of the drive, partly because there wasn’t very much to look at (its not as pretty as New Mexico) and also because I was just ready to be done with this drive. I made one pit stop a little past Flagstaff. There was some pretty decent construction that slowed me down little bit. However, I could start to see the light at the end of the tunnel when I finally saw “Las Vegas 100 miles” on one of those green signs along the road. I think I literally shrieked because I knew I was getting close.

 

I had thought about stopping at the Hoover Dam as I crossed over into Nevada, but I was so close to my destination and decided to just keep driving. I did get a pretty cool view of Lake Mead from my rear view mirror. I figured I live close enough now that I can head back there at some point to check it out. As I made my way onto the 215, I could see the Strip in the distance. I was almost there. Turning into my apartment complex, lined with palm trees, I was so happy to be done with my 3 days of driving.

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Yay Palm Trees!

After unloading my car, I was able to take a small nap on my living room floor before my parents arrived. It is much faster unloading a car with 3 people vs 1 person. The only other necessary task for the day was heading to IKEA to buy a mattress so I had something to sleep on. I had done the legwork portion of finding a mattress and furniture on my previous trip out here, so all we had to do was go pick it up. The mattress came rolled up, which made it easy for transport, and hilarious to set up. Imagine a package of crescent rolls when you use the spoon to open it and the contents seem to explode out. This is basically what happened when we unpacked the mattress. I wish I would have taken a video, because it was so funny! Prior to opening the mattress I just had to try some “mattress cleans” because why not?!

Side note: the next day we made another trip to IKEA to get the rest of my furniture. It may or may not have all fit inside the back of my parents SUV

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My Sunshine State of Mind

I thought it would be fitting for my first post to explain why I chose the name I did for my blog (or rather my attempt at blogging-not sure how long this will last or if I’ll be able to keep it updated). I debated back and forth for a long time about various titles, but they all involved “light” or “sun”. (I also debated back and forth for a long time about even starting this). I consider myself an optimistic, “good vibes only” kind of person and how can you not feel good from the sun? I guess this is my take on “the glass is half full.” I decided to ad a French twist for a couple reasons, but mostly just because I liked it.

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