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MALDIVES | Monday, 4 April 2016 | Views [136]

Well, I've been in the Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru for about three weeks and it's been an interesting ride thus far. I was blown away at the start. Coming from the traveling road of sleeping in hostels, eating the cheapest things I could find and spending more money than I hoped to was put in stark contrast when I was greeted by a Four Seasons representative at the airport, ushered into their airport lounge, given free food and internet and having my bags be all sorted onto the seaplane for the afternoon. It was crazy being catered too so much. It was overwhelming. I did enjoy the free food obviously and internet as my US sim won't work since the Maldives is outside of my global coverage. After a nap in the seaplane airport, it was time to board.
About 12 of us, including the crew climbed aboard with all of our bags and then after a quick briefing, we were off. The water is just as blue as you see in the pictures. You can see the lighter, turquoise water near the islands transitioning to the dark blue of the deep as the reef drops off. I was overwhelmed by how pretty everything was. I was grinning from ear to ear. We were picked up by boat and brought to the pier. I was greeted my members of HR and when my bags came, they brought me to my room where I could get settled in and someone from the dive team would grab me for dinner.
I was floored by the room as well. No more bunk beds. Flat screen tv (that does in fact work, I had to turn it on and see for myself), own wardrobes, air con, bathroom, and to top it off, there was a welcome pack on my bed. It had a water bottle, chocolate, juice and a welcome card signed by some of the staff. I did one of those full body jump/dance/seizure moves I was so excited. I wasn't sure when I would be grabbed for dinner, so I got to work putting away my things. I didn't have too much with me, so it didn't take long. I was exhausted from sleeping in airports for the last two nights (one in Manila, the other in Columbo) and I was so excited to have a comfy bed, and super comfy pillows. That's right, they gave me 2 pillows! I was all about that.
At dinner I was once again overwhelmed by the choice and abundance. A far cry from getting the most I could for a few pesos in the Philippines. I met some of the dive team, including one of the other interns. There would be four of us and two more girls would be joining us and staying in the same room as me. After dinner, I fell, exhausted into bed, ready for HR paperwork the next day.
The next day I signed all my HR paperwork and became a bit concerned with some of the standards and regulations. I jettisoned my bracelets since it said you could only have one and I was counting my anklet as my one. There is no way I'm willingly taking that off. It's on until it falls off and I'm back with my CDC friends. I'm not doing away with my Christmas present. The dress code would take some getting used to, and honestly, I'm still getting used to it. As a female, you have to have your shoulders covered and shorts can't be above your knees. You can, however, wear a tank top in the gym. I'm actually becoming very self conscious every time I step outside in non work or gym clothes. There's only about two more months left though, so I'll be fine. It's a bit hard to live by those rules when you work in the dive shop though, and you're constantly in a bikini. I put my wet suit on as soon as I can, but if you have to wait before heading out, it's quite warm.
In the afternoon, we were given an orientation to the dive shop and went on an orientation dive at the house reef. It was my first shore dive. It went quite well. They went through the whole orientation drill with us so we could do the same thing in the upcoming days.
The next day the other interns came. When they got off the boat, we greeted them then all got tossed into the marina. I tried to avoid it, but I was picked up, tossed over someone's shoulder and we both went it. It was a lot of fun. I was happy to be thrown in that water, if it were the Cairns marina, that would be another story. I didn't even care about the laundry I'd have to do. Later we did orientation dives with the whole intern group. I was on the boat in the afternoon for a dive and even did a night dive. It was interesting to see how everyone works. The team is really cool, and I get along with everyone. It's not the same as in Cairns, but it's nice. I stayed up way too late talking with the other girls. It was nice to get to know a little bit about everyone. I was getting a bit scared though, everyone else seemed to have so much more experience than me. I haven't even been diving a year and some of them had been working in places many times longer than I had been diving. Honestly, I started to feel a bit worried that I might not be up to scratch. I could tell I was the underdog, and it meant that I needed to push myself a lot.
I got caught up on my shows as well and it was good to be taken out of the diving world and island life for a bit. Even if the wifi here is quite slow. I keep thinking how awed I'm going to be when I go home and have web pages loaded within a second. A luxury.
The next day I got put on Nitrox to get that certification. The theory and dives were quite easy. I finally sat down and made a calendar so I could get a workout plan going as well. I'm back on my couch to 5k program and doing other 30 day challenges and what not. I'm all set to get fit before heading home to work. I even started paring down my eating as well. I let myself go crazy the first week, eating anything and everything until I was content. Now I'm much better, using the small plate and only have dessert once a day.
The next couple days were mostly fine when it came to diving, but I was struggling in other areas. I still haven't dealt with my dog's death back in December, and my subconscious decided that now would be a good time to try and deal with. That, and PMS to the extreme made me very homesick and desperately wanting to go home. My dreams were upsetting me when I would wake up. They were all with my dog in some respect and I would wake just feeling so sad and guilty. I'm sure I cried myself to sleep silently one night. I'm doing okay keeping all of that in check right now, but I still have the occasional day when I wake up with extreme homesickness. I am very much ready to go home, and I can't wait to be back home, but I am here for a purpose. I'm here to study for my instructors exams and then get a little bit of experience teaching and get experience in 5 star resort operations. It's good for me.
I finally had a day off which was nice. I managed to apply for graduate school and some graduate assistantships (in college counseling, yes, another, not really related thing to what I'm doing right now). I went out on turtle safari with the recreation department. It was a bit weird to be treated as a guest with people that you work with... however it was nice to be in tank tops and bikinis and not need to worry about anything. My workouts have been going great, I can already feel and see myself toning up again and I'm already down 2 kilos in just over a week.
They've had us doing pretty much everything in the shop. We guide, do orientation dives, assist on courses and DSDs, and of course, study and do our tests. We went to the nearby island for dinner one evening with most of the dive team and that was quite nice. We also had a goodbye BBQ for our apprentice who is leaving. Lobster, octopus, chicken, beef, fish, it was all delicious. We even had ginger beer, Bundaburg brand! So I had a little bit of Oz with me. I got to try out anti gravity yoga on my second day off and I quite liked it. Some of the moves were a bit scary to try. You're basically using a cloth hammock to do yoga, and a few times you lift your feet off and you swing, which was daunting at first, but then really fun.
I ended up diving with a really cool kid over a few days and we saw some cool stuff. We saw a dolphin on Easter, some guitar sharks, eagle ray, octopus, and of course heaps of different fish. I quite enjoyed those dives. I like the part off getting to know people. That's why I really liked working on our liveaboard, you got to really know people, if only for a short period.
As for right now, our IDC (instructor development course) starts in just over a week, then we take our instructor exams. I'm a bit nervous, but I've been practicing a lot with my skills and theory, so I think it will be okay. Chris told me the good news today that he passed his IE exams and is now officially an instructor. I'm very happy and proud of him. He's off to Thailand to work in a bit, and I'm sure he'll have loads of fun there. As for me, I'm going to keep working on my skills and study hard so that I can pass my IE and feel confident as an instructor. After, I'll try and get a little bit of experience teaching and see if I can freelance back home for a bit. Wish me luck ya'll, I'll let you know how it goes. Miss you all and can't wait to see you in two months!

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