beyond the sea

I can't believe I'm approaching the end of the first month of my contract. Time really flies when you're having fun, and I'm having a TON of fun! In a nutshell: singing with the band is a complete joy, and it's so fulfilling to have my knowledge and skill challenged on a daily basis. My performance is improving day by day, so none of this ever feels like work. The only difficulty is keeping my vocal health up; I sing a large portion of my sets near a smoking area on board, so I am affected by the secondhand smoke on a regular basis. I do have a handful of medical tools to help keep my chords lubricated and in tip top shape, and it's simply a matter of staying on the ball. I'm enjoying my company, and I'm learning to be more social, which can be difficult for me sometimes. But I keep reminding myself that this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I'm trying to live each moment to the fullest.

I've continued to think about what I want to do after this contract is over, and day after day, my answer stays the same. I'm going to expose myself to some musical opportunities here on board to help me explore what exactly I'd like to immerse myself in next to help me keep all my options open. Though I'm starting to see that my hopes and desires are well developed and getting to the point of fruition. Which is so so so exciting, but there is a part of me that feels like I might not be ready to grow up yet and take the plunge into adulthood. There is a lot more I want to see and do in this world before I settle down, if I ultimately decide to get settled, and I wonder if those things will fall to the wayside while I pursue my greater goals. Perhaps all this is needless speculating, but it's the kind of thing you've got to consider when making giant decisions, right?

Well, while that's happening, I might as well take things as they come. That's all I can expect to do, after all.

Pictures to come soon!


getting my sea legs


I just completed my first week with the Carnival Sensation, and I'm happy to announce that things have been, well, sensational! As was expected, I've had an overwhelming seven days, chock full of employee training, performance observing, show rehearsing, and environmental orienting. This life will be a tough one to adapt to, mostly because everywhere I go, the floor seems to be sliding out from under me! I've got Dramamine on hand, in case my motion sickness takes the turn for the worst, but I'm hoping that my body will naturally adjust itself sooner or later. And it better be sooner rather than later or else this will be a very long six months.

My first impressions:

  1. This boat has a LOT of neon. I mean, it's like Vegas threw up a cruise ship and sent it sailing to the Bahamas. The Sensation was built in 1993, and it hasn't gone under any renovations since then. It still maintains its original tacky splendor. But hey, it's as good a place as any to call home.
  2. The clientele are not the type of people I was originally expecting. There aren't too many families, and the few that are here have children of all ages, from toddlers to older teens. Mostly it's middle-aged and older couples. There are a lot of Black Americans, but there are surprisingly a large number of foreigners traveling too, which I really didn't expect.
  3. In terms of the crew and staff, there are very few Americans. I think I'm one of maybe nine or ten out of a total of 800-ish employees on board. I've learned it's because Carnival doesn't have to pay taxes on any employees except Americans. So I'm a rare breed here on board. It's a bit confusing though because there are a TON of Filipinos, and a lot of them think I'm Filipino. Until I start speaking perfect American English. Then it's another story altogether.
  4. My bandmates are AWESOME! I'm singing with four guys - wait, take it in, four STRAIGHT guys - and all of them are extremely talented musicians. They seem to like me well enough, but at this point, I can't tell if they're just being nice to the new girl. Their humor is going to take some getting used to; I forgot how raunchy straight guys can be, and that level of raunchiness grows exponentially when there are more of them congregated together. I think I'll have to take a lesson or two from Robin Scherbatsky. (Side note: I'm re-watching season one of How I Met Your Mother, and I completely forgot how incredible that season was. It might just be my favorite.)
  5. I am always hungry! I think because we're not allowed to have food in our cabins, I'm eating less in general than I would normally. Also, there are set meal times, so I can't just aimlessly eat. I have to plan my meals, which makes me more conscious of what I consume. This is probably a good thing.
  6. I'm not stateside very often. We only port in Florida twice a week, and when we are there, we're only there till 3:00 pm. I'm a lot more isolated than I thought I would be. This is also probably a good thing.
  7. #6 means that I may not get to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part One in movie theaters. I'm very sad about that.
  8. My first official performance happened yesterday, Wednesday night. (I had a "preview" of sorts Monday night in one of the ship lounges that doesn't prove to be very popular on Monday nights, so I had an audience of about 6.) It was AMAZING! I had so much fun singing and laughing with the guests, and they were having fun too, apparently, because about halfway through the set, the audience started cheering, "We love Gina! We love Gina!" Afterwards, the band and I received compliments from many people, saying that we made their entire vacation. I'm so happy to have put smiles on so many faces and really enjoy myself while I'm doing it!
  9. I've done a lot of thinking about whether to stay at home or move back to New York after this contract. Every night this week, I have written in a journal about my feelings toward each place and what I hope to get out of either home of New York. It has been extremely enlightening, and things are much clearer. My decision will be an easy one, I'm sure of it. In fact, I probably already know what I want to do. But I'm going to let myself continue to write out my feelings because there is always the possibility that my decision could change in the next few weeks or months. However, at this point in time, I can say that what I seem to be headed toward is making me very very happy.

Two cruises down, fifty one more to go!