Panic ? Who me ?

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: Cruise Date: May 24, 2011 (Juneau)

Basic safety training today was incredible. It was fire fighting. We got to put on the fire fighting uniform complete with blacked out masks and tanks. We were to work in teams of four and talk each other through an obstacle course. I experienced my second ever panic attack when they pulled the blacked out mask over my face. My heart raced, my body temperature shot up, I started to sweat and I couldn’t breath. They had to pull the mask off my face. I gulped air and soon felt better but I couldn’t do the mask again. I promised to keep my eyes closed and not wear my glasses (not that I can see without my glasses anyway) for the exercise and they allowed me to continue. It was fun. After we had completed our turn we were taken back through the course so we could “see” where we had been. Surprisingly, the obstacles that we climbed over were no more than small pieces of wood placed on the floor. Blind, they seemed so huge. It was a good simulation of condition in a ship board fire.

The second part of the training was fighting a fire with water hoses. We got drenched with salt water. The hoses were remarkably heavy and it took three of us to hold it. We learned the different spray patterns necessary to handle different stages of the fire. We were chilled after the exercise as it was only 4 degrees outside the compartment we were in. In another life, I could have been a fire fighter, except for that whole panic attack thing.

I don’t even want to talk about the Matrix except to say that Filippo took it from us. He realized that we don’t know what we are doing and took it from us. I’m disappointed, to say the least, with all the hours that we have wasted. I’m going to brush up on Excel formulas when I get home so this never happens again.

I’m a bit frustrated with the lack of English spoken on this ship. Everyone is speaking their own language and don’t even switch to English when there are “others” around. I feel like an outsider and an unwitting eavesdropper to conversations I don’t understand. Some times an apology comes and the explanation that some things are easier discussed in whatever language but often nothing is offered. I think really? Honestly? And then I wished I spoke another language and could do the same but that would only compound the problem. How do we as trainers deal with this situation? Another mission for me.

Another port I don’t get to explore but there will be other opportunities especially since we’ll be on this run until September. My only friend Jude leaves in two days. She is from South Africa and is the Spa Manager. I’ll miss her. I have met someone else, Manuela, from Poland. I think we will be good friends as we are the same age and have children that are the same age. I have to listen carefully when she speaks because of her accent. This will improve my listening skills.

My on ship boys check in today to find out when the church service is, about accessing the internet and where the safety office is. One even asked me for personal advice. I’m glad I can help and wonder why my own children don’t ask me advice about stuff.

The voyage continues…

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