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Time is flying

I was just thinking tonight… how are we already at the end of January, of TWO THOUSAND AND EIGHTEEN? What?! I keep seeing all of these memes talking about how “January is 6 months long” and ” January never ends” and ” I hate January.”

First of all- that’s my birthday month. Shut your piehole. Without that month, we wouldn’t have a lot of really awesome people (like me).

Secondly, I think we ALL (myself definitely included) tend to get so stuck in the “rat race,” the motions, the every day rigamaroll of life, and we are ALWAYS waiting and pushing for the next thing. “I can’t wait for summer!” or “My birthday is only six months away.” One day, we’re all going to look back and wonder where the time went and why we spent so much of it stressed and anxious, and wishing it away.

*END RANT*

Anyway! In conjunction with my thought that time is just a-flyin’…. I am approaching the (original) end date of my time in Tucson. WHAT?! I was actually supposed to be done this Friday. BANANAS! Fastest three months of my life. I ended up extending my contract here in Tucson by a few weeks, as my California license was taking FOREVER and I wanted some additional time to find my next assignment.

Finding the next assignment is proving to be a bit of a struggle. California is a large state, and there are a lot of jobs. But, being me, I of course have specific requests- warm weather! Guess what? So does every other traveler. So, we are still waiting in the wings, while I finish up Tucson.

Some highlights since my last update?

  • I went to Dallas to visit my pals from last year and my first assignment. So good to see everyone, so good to do everything, and so good to eat all the food!

 

  • I celebrated my birthday last weekend! And what a celebration it was! I had, the best day, on Friday my actual birthday! Lots of phone calls (including my niece at 4:30am our time- thanks Gab 😉 ), a massage and facial, the biggest french toast breakfast I have ever seen, and a movie. I rounded out the night with a dinner full of new friends. It astounded me to see a table full of people, in a city I’ve only been in for such a short period of time. I felt incredibly lucky, happy and #blessed to enjoy an evening with such wonderful people. Saturday I headed down to “Arizona Wine Country” with my friend Amanda and her husband Sam. We had – a BLAST. Who knew, nestled in the mountains, was this oasis of over 10 wineries, in beautiful natural sagebrush scenery. We had such a great time, laughing and trying wine and exploring. Sunday, we rounded the weekend out with a delicious breakfast of farm fresh eggs provided by our AirBnB host, hiking and rounding out the weekend trying this cool little microbrewery. Needless to say, I was super tired come Sunday night!

This coming Sunday is the Superbowl! Anyone else feeling ring #6 ?!

Next time, hopefully I’ll be able to update y’all with my next stop!

xoxo

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New Year, New Me?

 

AZTucson

You know… I have thought about sitting down and writing in this blog multiple times over the last few months, and just completely lost track of time, motivation and desire.

Hopefully, with the new year, I can make this into a resolution to be more dedicated to blogging, as I actually do enjoy it!

So, ARIZONA! Where to start. To sum it up… Arizona is different. Different than anywhere else I’ve worked, ever lived. I mean.. I knew it was a desert.. but it is DRY. Within one of my first few weeks of working here, I took myself to the River Walk for a bike ride… one would think, river = water. Even Google Maps showed blue. When I got there, unpacked my bike, started riding… I realized, no water. Nothing. Dry as a bone. Thought it was hysterical.

It’s a strange phenomenon to look outside, in any given direction, and see beautiful mountain ranges. Surrounding Tucson on all sides. The Catalina’s in the north turn a gorgeous shade of purple at sunset.

I have now hiked real, actual mountains! That’s something I can’t say I ever did in New England. First of all, Rhode Island/Boston has hills, not mountains. I’d have to go to Western MA or New Hampshire or Vermont to get real mountains, and as a New Englander, that was FAR too long of a drive to try. But here, 30-45 minutes and I can hike. A real mountain!

My first hike, I decided to look up the trail online. It rated a 3/10 on Trailvoyant. I thought, “SURE!” Less than 6 miles, I had 1.5-2L of water, should be good. I survived, and had fun, but certainly leaned to do a few things next time. Bring MORE WATER. 95 degrees in a desert calls for ALL THE WATER. Also, I decided a little more research was reasonable. While Trailvoyant was great, it was slightly off with its calculation of distance… I ended up hiking nearly 9 miles that day. Solo. I felt like a complete badass. An exhausted badass, but a badass nonetheless.

AZAshHike

Another first for me, a brew bike! Or a party tavern, or bar-on-wheels, whatever you’d like the call it. My friend Amanda, her husband Sam and I rode the Arizona Party Bike to see Christmas Lights! There is this neighborhood in Tucson called Winterhaven, that every year, goes ALL OUT with Christmas lights, and it’s been a Tucson tradition for an insane amount of time (68 years!). All of the houses go crazy with lights, and themes, and they even have food trucks and hayrides, and now… a brew bike! We rode for 45 minutes, sipping on some adult beverages and enjoying some awesome holiday music and the festiveness of the lights.  One of my favorite displays below… AZStranerThingsLights.jpg

Having family nearby has been great, too. I visited with Aunt Claire, Uncle Steve, Maddie and Erika for Thanksgiving in Queen Creek, which was awesome. Erika also came down to visit me for a weekend, which was awesome! It really was our first opportunity, pretty much ever, to spend time together one on one and getting to know one another, and we had a blast. We explored downtown a bit, and at night went to “Brew at the Zoo” which involved holiday lights and a whole ton of local breweries setting up and providing samples of their drinks. What a fun way to try different local beers, see some beautiful lights, and enjoy the festiveness of the season. We even took a photo with Santa and Mrs. Claus, which is definitely going into the scrapbook!

AZAshErika

Now, I have just about a month left in AZ- feels like time has flown, which is has. The standard contract feels so short, given I’ve had two longer than usual contracts.I was planning on taking a roadtrip to Tombstone this weekend with Erika; however, I got bit by the flubug and knocked down a bit this week, so lots of rest and fluids has been the only thing on my agenda.

This upcoming weekend, I am flying to Dallas to see some pals I met just over a year ago! I love how traveling has afforded me the opportunity to develop and maintain friendships, and opened up so many opportunities!

 

Hopefully, more hiking/biking and adventures will help me round out my time in dry Arizona! Keep it weird, Tucson!

AZAshHike2

Starting over….

Not in life, just the whole “blogging” thing. It’s safe to say I ended up having too much fun on Nantucket to worry about blogging and writing. Which I guess is a good thing.

I completed slightly over 5 months on ACK, and enjoyed every second of being on that little East Coast island. Sure, it got cold, and foggy, and it got annoying sometimes having limited resources, but I’m so thankful I did it. I met some awesome people, gained experience in a setting I had never been in, and learned so much.

The day I ended my assignment in ACK, I had no clue where my next step would be. I ended up interviewing that evening for a job at a hospital down in Tucson, AZ- and long story short, accepted! They didn’t need me to start until November 6th, so I spent 3 weeks hanging at home,  celebrating Becky, being an auntie and watching the pups while my parents went on vacation. It was an awesome, relaxing three weeks.

October 28th Dad and I set off on an epic, monumental cross-country American road trip. We decided to take our time and sight see (well, I decided and Dad rolled his eyes and sighed). Our first stop was initially Harrisburg, PA- but then we realized we didn’t need to travel that far south to make the same goals. We ended up driving through the gorgeous mountains of PA on Sunday and enjoyed the fog and the view (though there was rain to be had, too). We even got to see an Amish buggy (man, those things move fast!). Sunday night we landed in Indianapolis and experienced some local brews.

Monday we checked out St. Louis and travelled up in the arch, which was awesome and something I was super pumped to see and do. Dad and I enjoyed walked a bit in the city and passing the Cardinals stadium, and again checking out the local brews. Springfield, MO is where we landed that night- in a Route 66 converted motel! It was awesome, with vintage gas pumps and cars outside, and a cute retro eating area.

Arch

Back on the road, we flew through the rest of MO, all of Oklahoma (not the most exciting state, and way too clean of roads to count roadkill on), and landed in Tucumari, NM. This, after sighseeing whatever we could that was Route 66 related. I ended up finding an authentic Route 66 motel (straight outta the movie Cars, people) and it was awesome! Everything was authentic, right down to the magazines from the ’30’s and the rotary telephone.

Wednesday was the day we landed in Arizona. We chose the northern route to enter the state, to travel through the Petrified Forest and Painted Desert- well worth the $20 admission to drive through and see some amazing, beautiful and natural works of art. Driving south, we ended up staying over in the White Mountains of AZ- where you would swear you were in New Hampshire. The funniest thing was my lungs could feel the difference in elevation- I was short of breath at 6,000 feet!

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Thursday we arrived in Tucson after meeting Aunt Claire for lunch in Queen Creek. Friday we moved in all my stuff, made a few Walmart trip for provisions, and ended up mini-golfing and grabbing a bite to eat before setting back in for our last night.

 

Overall, I am so grateful my Dad was with my for that drive for so many reasons. 1) it’s a crazy long drive, and it would have definitely taken me double the time to get down to Arizona without him. 2) When else in my life am I going to get to spend 1:1 time with my father for that long?! 3) We had so much fun laughing, counting roadkill, sightseeing and just chatting. 4) Honesty, we make a pretty good team navigating and driving!

Now, I am in a new city, where I don’t know a soul. I have family 2 hours away, which is always a great thing, but new to everything and everyone else down here. It’s funny, but I haven’t actually done that since my first assignment in Dallas. I knew Kim in Charleston, and Dawn in Nantucket, so I always knew I had a buffer. So, while it’s a great thing, I know it’s going to take me some time to get used to being comfortable with being solo again. I moved into a house with two roommates, and they’ve been great so far with providing suggestions on where to go and what to see. Time to take a deep breath and jump in. I can only hope it works out as well as Dallas did and I get to meet some amazing people!

DiaDeLosMeurtosBeer

Wish me luck!

Livin’ the dream

Wow. I thought it was bad when I neglected writing in this blog for 5 weeks, and then I proceeded to ignore it for an entire summer. Whoops!

But with good reason. I have been living “my best life.” This summer has been a whirlwind! I have been lucky to have so many visitors from near and far, and all corners of my life, come to experience a little slice of New England. I guess I have been experiencing life rather than writing about it! But, I’ll try to provide a small synopsis.

I had guests nearly every weekend from  June 23rd until  August 26th, with the exception of leaving the island twice. It was AWESOME. From Texas, to Rhode Island, to Massachusetts… I had people from all parts of my life travel and spend quality time with me. With every guest I hosted, I got to explore a little more of Nantucket.

I’ve also made some great friends out here! From fellow travelers, to year- rounders… I’ve met some awesome people. I’ve shared beautiful sunsets, and laughs on the beach, and drinks at the brewery.

It hasn’t been without it’s bumps in the road…. I injured my back, while at work, back in July. While I was obviously physically hurting, I was so embarrassed because… well, duh. A physical therapist should be the person to not hurt their back…. but, well, life happens. It taught me a few lessons. 1) Empathy. I can understand pain better, because now I’ve experienced it, and sought help for it. 2) I am not invincible. I really didn’t think I was, but now I know. My body and my health, is my lifeline and career. If I don’t have that, I am in big trouble. 3) Physical therapists who really understand manual techniques, are amazing. My fellow traveler literally fixed me, with hands on manual techniques- and I learned so much from that! As a therapist and a patient.

Now it’s September, supposedly ” the best time in Nantucket.” The summer people are gone, the weather is still beautiful, there is so much less traffic!!!! I extended my contract until October 6th, so I have about a month of soaking in New England left before whatever comes next. (Hint: think west)!

‘Til next time, here’s a few Nantucket photos. Thanks for reading!

 

MomAuntBrant
Mom and Aunt Peg- Brant Point Light
Nanfire
Fire on the beach at sunset
Nansun
Wood shingle house, sunset, sea grass
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Cisco

I feel like a bad mother…

I mean, I created this little blog… and have completely NEGLECTED it for the past…. 5 weeks or so.  All the shame emoji happening right now.

I want to update those who read this thing on my #ACKventures and #ACKsploring (so proud of my little puns!), but first, I wanted to touch upon a topic that’s been on my brain.

When I started out even thinking and brainstorming and talking about trying travel PT, I was greeted with nothing but support. Friends, family, coworkers… everyone was so uber supportive. Even now, 9 months into this journey (HOLY MOLY), people are still super supportive, excited to hear about things, and incredibly understanding when I can’t be present for an event. And man…. have I missed things. Saying “YES” to one opportunity certainly means you end up inevitably saying “NO” to another (or a whole bunch of others).

I’ve missed holidays, birthdays, Mother’s and Father’s day, acting performances, soccer games, first baby steps, bridal showers, bachelorette parties, WEDDINGS… the list goes on. For every “YES” I’ve grabbed ahold of, I’ve had to say an awful lot of nos. I don’t like to say no. Each no feels like I am personally letting someone else down. Yet, not even ONCE has anyone in my life given me flack. “You know Ashley, the flight isn’t that long…” or “This is super important to me, and I’m really disappointed.” Nothing.  For that, each and every single person in my life deserves a big fat

THANK YOU. 

Seriously. Thank you. I am so unbelievably thankful for every single person’s support, and love, and friendship, and understanding. I know I joke about being #hashtagblessed, but I actually am incredibly blessed to have all of you amazing, wonderful, supportive and beautiful people in my life.

SO. Summer in Nantucket. Sounds like a dream, right? I’d be lying if I said it was all rainbows, butterflies, and cobblestones right from the get go (Well, the cobblestones have been and will always be true). I struggled a bit when I first got here. I mean, leaving 90 degree and sunny Charleston, SC and coming to 50-60 degree (if you’re lucky) and mostly grey Nantucket left me feeling a little lackluster. Then add in totally new setting/vibe/type of PT… I was floundering. Thankfully, I feel like I’ve finally got my feet underneath me a bit. I’ve got some great coworkers-turned-friends here, and the weather is FINALLY forecasted to be 70+ from here on out (yes, I am excited about 70. I realize the irony of me talking about warm weather all winter and now I’m excited about 70 degrees).

I’m beginning to see the magic in this little rock. Sure, I miss the absolute BANANAS out of Target, and my car could use a good highway drive, but who can complain when you’re two miles from the beach? Literally… hopped on my bike and rode to the beach yesterday.  Or, how can I be mad when I’m playing softball while seeing waves crash? Or, walking in ‘Sconset on the bluffwalk, seeing gorgeous homes and watching seals play in the water? Real life, y’all. Real. Life.

I just finished a wonderful weekend with sweet Katilee – my friend I made in Dallas. How awesome is it that I made friends with some amazing people who are willing to get on a place and come visit me in new destinations, just a few short months after meeting them?! This travel PT thing is pretty great.

I’m looking forward to more adventures this summer. My new goal is to spend as much time outside as possible while I’m here, so I’m sitting in a dilapidated lawn chair outside of my house, watching the sun go down and typing this blog. I have a slew of guests lined up for the rest of the summer (Welcome to #hotelAshley). Can’t wait to share more adventures (‘scuse me, #ACKventures) with you all. Til next time…..

 

Life on a rock

Yo! What’s up? Friday night blog time. Drinkin’ wine. Feelin’ fine. I’m outta rhymezzzzz (see what I did there?!).

What a whirlwind two weeks.I have survived my two “orientation weeks” and made it out on the other side. It is AMAZING what a difference there is between inpatient and outpatient. I mean, on every level. From diagnoses and treatment, to documentation and billing and insurance…. I have had multiple nights where I finished work with my eyes crossed eye and the feeling of a tornado in my brain.

Thankfully, and I said it before, everyone has been super accommodating and helpful and willing to teach me. I’ve practiced a lot of techniques and had crazy flashbacks to PT school labs… and lab practicals.

In other news, being back in New England, but not being in New England is strange feeling. First of all, it’s freezing. Like… 47 degrees freezing. What the hell?! I left Charleston and 90 degree weather for THAT!? Garbage. I can’t wait for the nice weather.

I thought I had so much more to say, but realizing how tired I am, and how I’m still kind of processing my new outpatient PT life… and life on a rock. I’ll write more… when I have more to say.

 

Til then, peace out.

All I’ve heard from people is the beginning of that joke about that man and Nantucket…

If any of y’all can finish that for me, go right ahead! Haha!

 

Helllllooo after a bit of a hiatus. Like I said in my last post (if anyone out there is watching), it was gonna be a minute between posts. Between visitors and driving and seeing family and moving to my next spot and starting my job… well, I’m exhausted.

I’ll try to keep it short but I know how long winded I can be.

I spent an awesome weekend with my beautiful Texas friend, Alex. I may have mentioned here in recapping Dallas before, but she is an OT that I worked with down in Dallas. We got to be quite close, and hung out all the time. You know those moments when you find a kindred spirit, and you just “click?” That was Alex and I. We even just hung out on “the bean” and my sparse apartment, laughing and watching TV. She came in on Thursday night, and we spent Friday totally just lounging, hit a yoga class, explored some downtown and hit the brewery. I also had to say goodbye to Kim that day as she was headed on a great vacation. (Sidenote: I am SO grateful to Kim for opening up her home and life to me in Charleston!) We ended the night with a great dinner. Saturday was a GLORIOUS beach day… ahhh, and some nighttime rooftop bar hopping. Sunday was Easter, and she was my Easter date! We shared a great brunch, and then wandered the city until it was time for her to catch a plane back to Texas. I feel INCREDIBLY grateful that I made such wonderful connections in a short period of time in Texas, and for friends who come from far away to visit and make your life brighter. 🙂

AlexAshley
Grateful for great friends ❤

Monday kicked off the last “work week” of my time in Charleston. It also meant the arrival of Rachel for her Spring Break. She stayed in a hotel downtown as 1) we expected I’d have patients and that would be more central and B) I was packing and organizing my life to move back up North. Let me just say… Rach and I did EVERYTHING. I squeezed every last second out of Charleston. We walked the bridge, hit the brewery again (Holy City I miss you!), went to Shem Creek and walked the park, took a ride on the Palmetto Breeze, experienced downtown shopping and bar hopping and amazing dinners. We finished the week off with a visit to the Angel Oak on Friday before Rachel’s flight and my road trip to the Northeast. It was a very fun, very full 5 days and the perfect ending to Charleston.

RachelAsh

How can I summarize Charleston ? Honestly… it wasn’t what I expected, but it was wonderful. The job ended up being … well, a vacation really. I had so much time to explore and I really, really loved being in a warm climate with tons to do, friendly people and a beautiful coastal view. Now, if I could convince everyone I know to move down there, we’d be golden. 😉

Friday 4/24, I hopped in the car around 3:30pm and hit the open road. Driving the open road, by yourself, always proves to be an interesting experience. I definitely should have planned my gas stops better (hello North Carolina backwoods in the middle of nowhere). I made it to slightly north of Richmond, VA and spent the night in the hotel. The following day, I drove in the rain all darn day to Morristown, NJ to finally see Jamie for her birthday. (Sidenote: VA only has 2 radio genres: Christian music and hip hop. That’s all.)  My good friend Amanda and her hubby Kiel also came down from New York to celebrate Jamie’s birthday. It’s been a few years since we were all together, so it was wonderful to see them!

The following day I finally made it back to Rhode Island. My sister, nieces, brother-in-law and dog-nephew Oliver came over for a cookout in the sunshine. I left my phone inside, and just enjoyed the afternoon/evening hanging out and relaxing on the patio, with the fire going. That was sadly Ollie-Bear’s last outing- he has now crossed the rainbow bridge and is waiting over there happy and healthy again.

OllieBear

The week was spent at home, unpacking and repacking. Organizing and sorting and preparing. I spent as much time with family as possible and geared up for Nantucket. Honestly…. I’ve been excited but also equally as anxious for Nantucket to start. First of all…. it’s a mix of outpatient and inpatient therapy. Anyone who knows me, knows how much I have never wanted to do outpatient. It’s a different world! A different way of thinking. But… when this opportunity came up, I realized it would be the perfect way to dip my toes in, get the experience, gain some skill and maybe see if I could challenge myself and grow.

Saturday came and it was the big moving day. Mom and I packed up the car(s) (thanks to my amazing Mom for taking my bike on for me!), drove the 1.5 hours to the ferry and took the 90 minute ferry ride. Suddenly… here I was. In the quintessential New England community of Nantucket. Downtown is EXACTLY what you would picture… cobblestones and all. The funniest part to me initially is how all of the houses look the same- it’s actually a town ordinance!

Nantucket

Thus far, I have done some exploring… but there is still so much more to see and do! Thankfully, my friend Dawn is one of those crazy year-round residents here (hehe) and she has been wonderful in giving advice and tours. My biggest challenge, this assignment, is going to be the job. It is a very humbling experience to go from feeling confident in your abilities as a therapist (though still learning!) to feeling like a novice. I actually feel a bit like a student. Learning and feeling like a fish out of water. Thankfully, so far all of the other therapists have been more than accommodating and willing to share their knowledge…. but I have a feeling it’s going to be a wild ride! I continue to remember my neuro supervisor in Boston telling me to ” fake it til you make it” during a moment I was feeling less than confident in my abilities. Those words has stuck with me and saved me multiple times, and I honestly think changed my entire practice as a therapist (thank you, KP!). I know my knowledge base is strong, it’s just a matter of getting my feet under me and expanding my skill set and confidence.

Overall, after a 5+ week “paid vacation,” 8 hour workdays are killing me, plus the mental strain. I am exhausted and ready for bed! I know this isn’t my best writing or blog post, but it is an accurate portrayal of where I am at. I’m looking forward to sharing all of my trials and tribulations, as well as my adventures with you all! I’ll leave you with a perfect quote that I’m feeling these days….

 

” A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.” – John A. Shedd