Tomorrow I leave. Another adventure has come to an end. This time, while I do feel some sadness, I mostly feel excited to move on. Of course I’m going to miss this beautiful island, all the beautiful people I met and the rollercoaster of interactions, work and joy each day brought. I spent three months in Rhodes, Greece. Now that I’ve come to the end of it, it certainly flew by. It didn’t always feel that way though, as there were days that felt like an eternity, especially in the first month. Now I can retrospectively look back and say I’m grateful and happy with this experience, but it wasn’t easy; I actually struggled quite a lot in the beginning.
To be completely honest when I took this job as an entertainer and dancer I had no idea what to expect. I was in such a static place in my life that I was so desperate for a job, I jumped at the opportunity that would get me out of my parents’ house and propel me in any way towards a future. When I arrived and saw that it wasn’t at all like whatever fantasy I had built in my head, I instantly panicked. Thoughts started flooding my brain like “what have I done?” or “what am I doing here?” or “I’m wasting my time.” It was overwhelming because not only was it unlike anything I could have imagined, but it was very different from how I am used to working or have worked in the past. This job requires a lot of flexibility, do-it-all attitude and go-with-the-flow personality; all adjectives that don’t usually go hand in hand with my work ethic. When I started it was a constant battle of me getting frustrated with the way things went, trying to do my best with what I had to do, and then failing. I constantly felt defeated and like I wasn’t cut out for any of it. To top it all off, the reason I came in the first place, to dance, was not as much part of the job as I had hoped (due to other circumstances) as there was only one show a week instead of two or three. It felt like once again, my life wasn't going in the direction I wanted to go professionally speaking.
Through it all I kept pushing forward, after all I am not a quitter, and was determined to finish what I had started. Slowly things began turning around and I started feeling more comfortable not only with the job but with the people around me (both coworkers and guests). I do have to say a lot of people I encountered played a huge part in that. Many guests I had the pleasure of meeting never shied away from telling me I was doing a great job and to keep strong because the success I was hoping for was coming my way. I'm so thankful for the people that were so kind as to encourage me like that because they are the reason I wanted to keep going and the reason I came to realize I could. I started finding things I loved doing to overshadow the things I didn’t enjoy as much and discovered many things about myself that aided my personal and professional growth. I started out quiet, hiding behind the other animators in fear of having to step out of my comfort zone, and ended feeling confident in my own abilities and happy to recognize that my strengths, though different than my coworkers’, made and make me successful nonetheless.
In the past few months I learned to speak out and be kinder towards myself. There were instances when things would happen and I’d react differently than I’d have liked. Instinctively, I would immediately tear myself down and beat myself up for it, which was neither constructive nor kind. I had to dig deep to see that what I needed to do was reflect so I could do better next time while reminding myself that this was a new environment for me with new circumstances I hadn’t encountered before. Like I said before, I also got to meet some remarkable people and kids that I absolutely adore, I got to teach Zumba for the first time which I loved, and I got to spend some time with myself without feeling like I was strange for it. What I mean by that is that for the first time ever I was okay with occasionally going out by myself, doing some sightseeing on my own or going to a restaurant without any company. It was actually quite peaceful and a nice break from the constant high energy required to entertain guests and ensure everything went smoothly. Not that I disliked that, but as someone who is quite reserved and introverted, it was definitely draining at times so I found that taking some time for myself on my days off was very much needed to recharge and center myself. I also felt so lucky and excited to be in a beautiful country like Greece that I was absolutely set on taking advantage of the opportunity to see beautiful sights. So I would venture out to visit historical places like Rodos, Lindos, Ialyssos and Symi or go to gorgeous beaches and soak up some sun.
I have to say that with all the ups and downs, I am very happy I made the hard choice of going on this adventure all on my own, and am pretty proud of myself for it. I took a risk, stuck with it and gained some great experience and stories out of it. These three months taught me a lot not just about myself and this type of work, but how to approach future opportunities and what to consider when accepting other jobs. I know my value, I know what I want to do and I shouldn’t settle for anything that isn’t quite what I’m looking for. As many lovely people told me, I should follow my heart and do what I love because there's no time like right now. Well, that’s exactly what I’ll strive to do.