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When In Doubt, It is a Bird

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 2, 2011

The day starts early. I’m awake at 4:30 a.m. and can’t go back to sleep. I turn on the television to check out American TV and I’m disappointed. I can’t find the stations I’m used to and news or sports seem to dominate all the other channels. I decide to update my contacts in Gmail. It
is a tedious and time-consuming process. I recently switched from a PALM Pilot to an Android phone and the two don’t talk to each other so I have to do this the long slow way, one contact at a time. I’m sitting in an awkward position because the printed pages I’m working from won’t lie flat. I’m hunched over the computer keyboard when I’m typing but twisted at the shoulder when gathering the information from the pages. As boring as this is, I get deep into it and it is 7:30 a.m. before I realize. When I rise to stand, aches and pains gallop down my back and burn across my shoulders.

So it’s quick into the shower—the hot water cascades over my body and relaxes my tired shoulder muscles. Soon I’m feeling better and dress quickly pulling a denim dress over my head. Then I run into a problem. I can’t do up my zipper. No matter how I twist and turn, bend and reach, I can’t get to the zipper to pull it up. I finish dressing, pack my purse and head out, zipper
still down.

The elevator arrives and there is a gentleman inside. I breeze into the elevator and say, “Good morning!” He nods and smiles back. “Could I ask a favour?” I ask tentatively. “Could you please zip me up?” I say turning my back to him. He laughs and easily zips me up. “It’s a tricky one when you try to do it yourself,” he says. I thank him and exit the elevator when the door opens at the Lobby. I head to the restaurant for a delicious breakfast of eggs, potatoes, bacon, sausage, fruit salad, orange juice and my reliable banana. I sit alone but look around at the other patrons and wonder which ones are there for the same training I am.

My suspicion includes, to my left is a woman in a grey pants suit. She’s got red hair and looks to be in her early 30s. On my right is a Brown man, obviously from Trinidad by his accent. He’s impeccably dressed in an aquamarine shirt with a pink striped tie and black dress pants. He sits with another Brown woman who is wearing a knee-length skirt and jacket. Yep, they probably are attending the same training.

At 8:45 a.m. I head into the meeting room and my suspicions are confirmed. The red-haired woman is Kristine. The Brown man is Richard and the Brown woman is Anne (who I’ll meet later). The other Training Specialists are: Laarni, who is a Filipina and my co-trainer on the Norwegian Star; Semin, an East African woman and fellow Torontoian; Daniel, a fabulous gay American man; Natasha, a Black American woman and a land-based trainer; and Steph, a Romanian woman. Most of us are new to this role (less than 6 months) though most of them have ship-board experience.

Our facilitators are Vito, a gregarious Italian man and the boss; Gaby, a slender Mexican woman and Vito’s right hand; Karen a beautiful young Venezuelan woman; Vivi, a Costa Rican woman and Danielle or “Nellie” as she prefers to be called is a yoga instructor and American.

The training runs all day and is intensive. The meeting room is freezing and I duck out to grab my fleece blanket from my room (thanks Marsha for packing it). It is wrapped securely around me for the rest of the day. But I’m not the only one that is cold.  Everyone is…except for Vito. We go outside to warm up during our breaks and it is gloriously hot!

We trainers bond with each other quickly and soon are laughing and sharing our personal stories and experiences. At the lunch the chatter is a non-stop buzz about ship board life and training.

A pizza and salad dinner is hosted by our facilitators and is followed by a vicious game of Pictionary. The teams are the old trainers vs. the new trainers. I warn my team that I am a terrible artist and that when they are in doubt about what I’m drawing, say “Bird”. This proves very useful in solving the word Egghead. Competition is fierce. The new trainers quickly rack
up the points but are slow moving around the board. The old trainers reach the finish line first but the score is 8 to 13 in the new trainers favour. We think we’ve won, but they think they’ve won too. The debate rages on.

The evening ends by the pool with Laarni and Semin giving me the real scoop on being a Training Specialist. Laarni confirms that we heading to Los Angeles to join the Norwegian Star and that we’ll be on the Alaska route for a while. When all was said and done, we all agreed that I’m gonna love it!

The voyage continues…


I make learning fun...and sticky!

Parastoo on May 4, 2011 AT 08 am

AMAZING , You are more awesome than you believe 🙂

Have FUN

Sharon on May 4, 2011 AT 02 pm

When you said you were going to be on a ship and getting sun, I laughed and said it was probably Alaska. Then I took it back because I know how much you want sun. And here you are going to Alaska — which happens to be the cruise site that the Abraham-Hicks organization loves! By the way, doesn’t one of your high-fangled devices takes pictures?

    C. Carol Brown on May 5, 2011 AT 05 am

    I was actually blaming you for my Alaska assignment but then realized that at this time of the year Alaska is fairly warm and beautiful. I’m embracing all that will come my way through this experience–the good, the bad, and the ugly!

    Yes, my new Acer Liquid E Android does take pictures but the quality (5.0 mega pixels) is not as great as the camera (12.1 mega pixel) is. I don’t even know what a megapixel is but the higher the better apparently! I bought one yesterday for $49–a Sony Cybershot in Orange no less! Watch for my pics!

Vickie on May 4, 2011 AT 08 pm

Hey…if you’re going to be on the Alaska run, you’ll be around these parts. Puuullllease email me if you are going to be in Victoria. We’ll do tea and I’ll listen intently to your stories of high-seas adventure. The LOVE boat, doo, doo dee doo doo doo!

    C. Carol Brown on May 5, 2011 AT 04 am

    Hi Vickie!

    I will be in Victoria but not until September. I’ll keep you in the loop and hope to see you while I’m in port. The Love Boat was definitely my inspiration for doing something like this. I was always hoping I’d get adopted by a cruise ship captain!