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Irons, Yoga and Dots. Oh My!

The adventures of Carol Brown, representing Norwegian Cruise Line on a 6-month mission on the open sea to train the crew, explore new ports, seek new friends and experiences, and to boldly go where she has not gone before.

Carol’s log: Sea date: May 3, 2011

I wake up at 6:30, a full half hour before the alarm clock is set to ring and decide to iron the outfit I’ve chosen to wear. I’ve chosen this particular outfit—long dress pants, a camisole and a ¾ length sleeve top—because the room we are in is freezing cold from the air conditioning. I’m starting to think that Vito is a little furnace because he thinks it is hot in the room while the rest of us are blue with cold and our teeth hurt from chattering. So I pull out the iron and iron board, get it all set up and get ready to knock out those wrinkles. Only the iron doesn’t work. I check that the outlet is working and even push the little red reset button on the side of the iron but nothing happens. I call the Careline here at the hotel and in short order a housekeeper comes up with a replacement iron. We swap irons, I thank her and get this one all set up ready to press my clothes, but again, nothing. I hesitate to call the Careline again and decide to wear my red wrap dress instead. Luckily, it doesn’t need to be ironed. I leave a note for my housekeeper that the iron isn’t working. She leaves me one in return. It reads, “Iron works fine. I can teach you how to use it.” I’m embarrassed that I don’t know how to use an iron, rationalize that that is probably because it is an American iron and now I’m avoiding the housekeeper.

Following a yummy breakfast of scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, potatoes, orange juice and a banana, Kristine and I join Nellie by the pool for a little deep breathing Yoga. Nellie’s voice is soothing and she does a wonderful job of getting me to focus on the babbling sound of the hotel’s pond despite the horrible and too loud music that is playing directly above our heads. By the end of the session, I’m relaxed, my mind is calm and my body feels as if it has been nourished. I hope we get a chance to do this again. Thanks Nellie!

There is a three-level mall beside the hotel. I don’t just mean beside the hotel I mean connected to the hotel. You go through this door and you are in merchandise heaven, or hell, depending on your perspective. Most stores, of course, sell beachwear and other casual clothes but there are a number of stores that sell accessories, jewellery and shoes. I don’t get the style of women in Miami, my training colleagues excluded. Every shoe store I’ve been in seems to carry either only 4-inch or higher stiletto heels or flip flops, neither of which I’d ever subject my size 10, or 11 feet to. And all the clothes either cling to you revealing every curve, roll of fat or dimple of cellulite or dips low enough to expose cleavages and butt cracks or is short enough that there is no guessing what colour the underwear is or worse, that there is not underwear! I’m not a prude, well, okay maybe I am, but I don’t need to know all of that and see all of that especially before breakfast!

The Train-the-Trainer Conference that I’m in Miami for is going really well. We have the most amazing group of women, (and Vito) working hard to get us ready to be successful at our roles as Training Specialists. Today we were given a section of a new manager’s training manual and had to prepare to deliver the content the next days. Sounds like nothing much but you should have seen the excitement with which Nellie taught this. She had dots handed out each time we shouted “Woo Hoo!” to something that we liked. Let me take a minute to explain the dots. At the beginning of the week, Vito gave us each a folder which we taped open on the wall. Each time we showed excitement, volunteered, asked a great question or answered one or showed support for each other, we would earn a dot to add to our folder. We couldn’t add dots to our own folder but we could add dots to each other’s folder. You should see these folders. They are covered in a myriad of multi-coloured dots. We cheered and supported each other. We’ve asked and answered questions. And we’ve “Woo Hooed” for each other. I’ve never felt so supported by a group of people that only three short days ago were strangers. Can I get a Woo Hoo?!

Tonight I decide to stay in my room and order room service. I order my favourite, chicken wings and wait patiently for my food to be delivered. The short heavyset Latina server comes up with a tray in no time flat and she has added an order of bread (which I’m not eating but you’ll hear more about that tomorrow), celery and carrot sticks and a bottle of water. She explains “I bring you bread and water.” Suddenly, I feel like a prison getting my daily food ration except for the delicious aroma of the chicken wings. She asks me to sign the cheque and tells me it will be added to my room charge. I politely tell her that I have a food voucher and proceed to fish it out of my pocket. She looks at the voucher and questions whether or not she can take it. It is for the restaurant downstairs she says so she’ll have to call to check. She turns a knob on the walkie talkie she has around her very ample waist picks it up and speaks into it. Nothing happens. She tries again. Nothing. She asks if she can use my telephone to call and of course I say yes. She speaks a few words into the phone in Spanish, because no one in Miami speaks English, and replaces the receiver. “No, jou canna juse dat.” she says in her Spanish accented English. My meal of 10 chicken wings with celery and carrot sticks ($9.00), a few slices of bread (no charge), and a bottle of water (no charge) costs me $18.00 after the room services charge, the gratuity (18% automatically added) and the taxes ($3.00). I’ll never order room service again!

Oh and I was wrong. Vivi is from Colombia not Costa Rica. She’s fabulous too!

The voyage continues…


I make learning fun...and sticky!

Sharon on May 6, 2011 AT 01 pm


Camara on May 6, 2011 AT 05 pm

LOL! …avoiding the housekeeper… LOL!