Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Returning to Sprinkles and Mayo

My Floridian sojourn concluded with a tearless departure. Although remorse of leaving my newly acquired home and friendship filled me, the brightness of the future blinded me to fully experience the pain of leaving. Home! The destined tears did eventually make an appearance; however, seeing my family arrive at the airport was the incident that acted as a catalyst for such great emotion. You don't know what you've got till it's gone. My excited outlook of my return lasted for a few weeks and during these weeks the beauty of the mountains literally amazed me. Being a Utahan since birth, I have always been accustomed to the loving nature in which the mountains hug Utah Valley. The absence of such familiar, gorgeous landscape (even though it was "replaced" with palm trees and sunshine--my favorite things) made the return to such a boon to be thankful for.
Transitioning from housekeeping to scooping and spreading mayo was similar to taking a fish out of water than returning it to its natural habitat. Easy. Natural. Wonderful. The lack of Disney magic and luster of pixie dust slipped away unnoticed through my embracing of familiar sites and friendships. There ain't no place like home! OR there ain't no place like Jimmy John's and Cold Stone for that matter.
The BEST part about being in Provo is people watching. Ever since being introduced to this practice at an early age by my sage, humorous grandmother, it has played a significant role in my daily activities. People watching proves to be entertaining everywhere you go. You can bet I found some odd ones to worry over in Orlando! However, Provo is the best place because there are precious, BYU couples everywhere! (My definition of precious couple excludes ANY PDA more than holding hands--yuckie). Loving Provo couples is a recent change and I think it is due to becoming baby hungry at Walt Disney World. Strange I know, and possibly hard for those of you that know me best to comprehend but, I, Jacqueline Peck, am baby hungry. It is near impossible to work at a place so centered around families and leave without being inflicted. Go on and try it, I dare you..

*Life of a Scholar* (more accurately named, Life of a girl trying to put on the facade of a scholar..but the first one was catchier)

Strive for perfection: having a perfect spring semester. With the goal of perfect grades consistently hanging over my head, I am having a hard time not buckling under the stress. Rather than to dwell on the arduous pathway to my degree, I will tell of the quirky way I travel the path. My study habit are...well...original. First, I listen to my man Bob Marley whenever possible. His message of love and relaxing help battle my nerves. Emancipate yourself from mental slavery! Secondly, if I am not listening to Bob I will undoubtedly put in "The Little Mermaid." Even though I have copiously viewed this film, I never ceased to enjoy its musical spectacular and attractiveness of Eric--those eyebrows..yum! Plus, for some inexplicable reason, my studying abilities drastically improve. Thirdly, I must be comfortable and in sweats. Which means I do not study in the library if I can in ANY way avoid so. And finally, my system must contain a certain exhilarating liquid motivation, more commonly referred to as Diet Coke. The prejudice of this invaluable substance sometimes makes obtaining it a herculean effort. But don't you readers fret! I creatively manage to smuggle this illegal(ish) substance onto campus when needed. I also ignore the judgmental glares of my fellow students. We all have our sins! Judge ye not!

Welp! I must now leave and attempt to reduce the weight of this fat burden squashing my soul! In other words, do homework..gah. Love you all! Thanks for reading!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Deep Thinking During Vacuuming

Since a large part of my day is spent vacuuming, which is obviously a one person job, I have found myself the owner of tons of alone time. At first, my thoughts were centered around the current events and drama of my life. I'll have you know that I tried to have those thoughts keep me entertained but after the third room of "I can't believe she said that" or "why is that boy so confusing?", it got exceedingly tiresome and my mind started to realized the monotony of the work I am required to perform. I desperately needed something to distract me!
That thought acted as a catalyst to the creation of what I nicknamed "Deep Thoughts While Vacuuming Hour." This title is a bit deceiving because it is not one hour but in actuality covers about four hours. Anyways. This is where I study out the deeper aspects of life. I have made, what I consider significant progress, in figuring out personalities of my friends. I also plot the course of my life and determine the best pathway to get me to where I want to end up. Religious doctrine I have never explored is examined. After time spent perfecting this inventive thought exercise I have created a very entertaining way to spend my day. It works! Time flies! Just know that at any moment during my work day, I may be attempting to examine the inner functions of your mind. oh I am such a Psych major..
*Crazy Canadians*
One such day at work, my thinking hour was intruded upon by a larger Canadian woman. While I was going all Marry Poppins on her room, she returned to her hotel room to grab her camera. Innocent enough, right? Only should take a few, quick seconds. Well, when she entered she began to chat. I welcome any conversation do to the lack of human interaction involved in my job. Also, I was determined to provided a "Disney Level of Service." As we talked about trivial things such as where we are from and what not. She then began to unzip her hoody, revealing that she was wearing just a sports bra. um okay...I am feeling a tad bit uncomfortable. Then the next ten minutes of my life was spent listening to a detailed narration of all the pictures on her camera as she searched for a specific picture of a bird she had been following. I now know a lot about how her family celebrates Christmas. and everyplace they had been at while being at Walt Disney World. Yay me. Anyways, I started panicking as I remembered all the rooms I still have to clean. Then her toothless, honestly kind of creepy husband joins us and starts muttering words I can't for the life of me understand. Let's just say, I cleaned as fast as humanly possible, skipped a lot of stuff, and just got the heck out of there! ....awkward...

*Spending the day with my boy Bob Marley*
Not to brag but um..I am living the life. I get to spend my days off at the beach running on the sand and laying out with a soundtrack of relaxing Reggae. I have made significant progress on my handstands and sand volleyball. I almost have a tan I can return to Utah and be proud of. Something about the Sunshine state with its Palm trees, magical sunsets, and nightly fireworks has stolen my heart. Okay I am done bragging about my life. Sorry. It just had to happen.

*God's Hand*
A large majority of my "deep thoughts" have been centered around how the Lord really has a plan for each of His children. He guides us through different experiences and trials that are uniquely designed for each of us. I don't know why but I know that I was supposed to move to Orlando for these few months. Nothing shakes you like being removed from everything you have been surrounded with for your entire life. I have been forced to determine more clearly and more certainly who I am and what I stand for. The conclusion I have come to is that there are a lot of things I don't know, and will never know, but the one thing I do know for sure is that there is a God and He and His son appeared to Joseph Smith all those years ago. If that is true, then so is the rest. I have known that my whole life but never as surely as I do now. It would take a very long time for me to enumerate the ways I have seen God's hand in action since being here. Just know, there is a God and He loves us all.
----sorry for my churchy moment but. This blog would be significantly lacking in honesty if I skipped over the most important thing that has happened to me in Orlando.

Thank you. Thank you all who are my friends! Thanks for the phone calls, random texts, and Facebook messages that let me know I am loved and not forgotten about. Seriously I have been so blessed with all the amazing friendships in my life. Also, just know that if I tell you I love you. I mean it.

That's all for now folks! I'll try to remember to write on a more frequent schedule. Lots of love!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

You may now refer to me as Wakina

I have always wanted be sent to fat camp. It's not that I believe that I am morbidly obese..I just wonder how I would hold up under such a vigorous exercise routine. Well, I am proud to tell you that I now know. In housekeeping, they like to gradually work you up to the daunting task of 18 rooms a day. You start at 8 and they load on 2 days everyday. It is like your wrists are duck-taped to a treadmill and your manager is pushing the up the speed and incline without concern if you are ready to adapt to such arduous demands! Each day I was overwhelmed with a feeling of inadequacy but somehow found it within myself to finish on time. This allowed me to glory in a great feeling of accomplishment and a not so great feeling of sweat. How am I doing now that I am assigned 18 rooms a day you ask? I knock those rooms out like it is no one business! Interesting fact: you burn 280 calories an hour vigirously cleaning. Imma gonna be one hot momma!

*Word Travels Fast in this Tourist Town!*
(or maybe it is due to immense language barriers?)
One day while innocently cleaning a room, Miquel, an older co-worker of mine from MeHEco, walked in and quickly inquired, "are you ready to strip?" My first thought was "how does he know about my skills?" JOKE. I was caught off guard, naturally. Then I realized he really meant, "are you ready to strip the beds so I can take the sheets?".....maybe I should just learn Spanish... but I have a feeling work wouldn't be nearly so scandalous nor entertaining!

*My Best Friend and the Other Jackie"
Everyone should be delighted to hear that I have overcome my shyness and feelings of exclusion and finally made friends at work. I am no longer the new girl that sits alone at lunch! Part of the recent surge in my popularness (bahaha) at Pop Century is the addition of new College Program kids. Finally! Youth!
Anyways, my favorite co-worker is Wakine from Mexico. He told me we have the same name and that I needed to start responding to Wakina. So I do. Wakine is the cheeriest man I have ever met, including good ole Saint Nick. He tells me wonderfully humorous stories and teaches me Spanish. What more could you ask for?
Despite the abundance in pleasant co-works, you do run across the occasional sour patch. This one is particular stood out because we share the same name. Besides she goes by Jackie and down here I am known as Jacqueline. She was just the epitome of a bad attitude and her whirlwind of negativity almost sucked me in! I approached our meeting with great enthusiasm, rejocing in the familiarity of a common language (even if every other one of her words was not appropriate for small children, or anyone for that matter). She quickly picked up on the strong stress signals I was giving off and offered her advice on cleaning rooms: cheat, but don't get caught. At first glance, her suggestions of cleverly cutting corners to increase speed seemed rather enticing. At second glance, I realized the strong moral oppostition I had to such behavior! As my mother taught me at a young age, I am a Peck, we do a good job, and finish what we start. I am proud to say I grasped onto my honor tightly and did not give in to the tempting arms of laziness! You would want to stay in a room serviced by this jackie.

*Work hard, play harder*
I do not know what I have centered my blog so much around work..all the REAL good stuff happens in my free time. However, the REAL good stuff doesn't get shared with the guys just get the great stuff. I live in paradise. My days off are spent perfectly. I begin with laying out. I refuse to go back to Utah as white as I left it! Then I run and then I PLAY!! No complaints. I live at DisneyWorld. Every child's dream! And let's face it, I am just a big kid. I love all the friend I have made here and love our excellent adventures. I mean, I went on a motorcycle ride with a guy I hardly knew! Stuff that good just doesn't happen in Provo. Okay it does...but everything seems more rebellious in Orlando! I am learning the art of handstands and am becoming more knowledgable about the english language...aka I made vocab cards. I am so thankful for all the time allotted to me to work on my new years goals. 10k here I come!

Thanks to this blog I have something to think about during the menial tasks of my day. In between writting posts in my brain I daydream. Hard. But those too shall remain secret only to be revealed to my closest circle of friends.

That's all for now folks! Lots of Love!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Slave Labor and Tender Mercies

Remember all that excitement you read about last week? Well all those delusions sprinkled with pixie dust blew away with a quick burst of wind when ! Let me tell you the TRUTH about being a housekeeper. Due to housekeeping's physically and mentally challenging nature, I literally wake up multiple times at night because of nightmares. Housekeeper after housekeeper kept informing me of their shock because I didn't not cry during training. Apparently, that is considered normal, even for the matured women. With pride I inform my readers that I, Jacqueline Ryan Peck, did not shed one tear; however, if I am being honest (which I try to always be), I was debating whether I should jump of my little ledge of wavering sanity and dive into the pit of despair and surrender to defeat. While cleaning the rooms, I plotted my escape route instead of whistling a happy tune like I was taught. I searched for any signs of an underground railroad that would lead me back to the comfort and warmth of home. Perhaps it would even come with a brave guide! As pessimistic as this beginning may seem, I come bearing a message of glad tidings and joy!

*My fellow Cast Members (Cast Members=Disney's cute way of saying employees)*

Roselie, my Haitian trainer, can make beds so fast, I freak! She is a tough gal with a quirky sense of humor, made more quirky by her thick accent. Needless to say, we clicked. Well...we clicked as much as the extreme language barrier and age difference would allow. Basically I follow her around all day like a little duckling. As we walk around, she points to people and says "dey's trouble, right Jack-lean?" I say "oh dey's trouble alright!". Or she redirects my cleaning tactics, sometimes telling me to not work so hard. And that summarizes most of our conversations.

Pam. Pam is the woman who runs the cast learning center. She looks like Barbra Streisand and sounds like the Nanny. But I love her. I go to the cast learning center for the last half hour of my shift and read and she always has a motivational speech or funny story about a dumb person. Oh how it feels like home to mock! Anyways, she is my favorite/only person I really talk to all day long.
which brings me to..

All my other Cast members. They are older woman from either Haiti or the Dominican Republic..which means, they are usually speaking in Creole or Spanish. By usually I mean about 97% of the time. Good thing I bought into the whole "Spanish will help you a ton in life" thing and took it all through out high school..oh wait, I didn't. Not only do I stick out, I can't compute any of the conversations around me. BORING. I am minority. Positive side: my reading time has exponentially increased since I cross the border every day for work.

*While I was Feeling Bad for Myself*
Slowly I started to let the whole "poor-me-Eeyore" routine of thoughts play in their natural downward spiral. But as soon as I would start to feel down, someone or something came to pick me right back up. Often in was inspirational talks given to myself about how I can do hard things and I focus on all the positives. These proved very effective. Other times, when I need extra help, it came in form of a person. Particularly a old man and a little girl. Roger (the old man) approached me in the cafeteria and sat with me all through lunch. (I definitely suffer through New girl syndrome and sit by myself). In mid-conversation, he told me I was beautiful and that he could tell how intelligent I was by looking in my eyes. He then said many words of encouragement that hit spot on the worries and doubts I was having only minutes before. This random act of kindness was then followed by a few minutes of reassurance that he was not hitting on me. Thank you cute old man for beaming sunshine into my day when most needed!
However, my favorite blessing was a little seven-year-old. Amanda timidly asked me for a linen bag and while I was searching for the object, she sweetly said "you're pretty." Instantly, I loved that little girl! I told her she was a pretty little princess and she returned to her room. Later, she came back and asked for my help naming her new stuffed rabbit. We decided on the name Cupcake and she left for the parks. While cleaning her room, I noticed the small rabbit and decided to leave a note welcoming Princess Amanda back "from" Cupcake. Her dad later tracked me down and gave me a warm thank you and a tip! That was the moment I fell in love with my job.

By the end of my training, my trainer told me that in all of her 11 years, no one had caught on and been as fast as I did. I passed. It is quite the reward to work your butt off by giving your best effort and then be recognized. I determined to take this resort by storm!

*Lessons I Learned This Week*
1. Stay and school and get a good job. I know this seems elementary but..many of the women here have no other ways to support their families. They are single mothers and just struggling to survive. I am not ignorant of the tragedies that are abundant in this world, but it is different when bitter stories surround you everyday. Their strength and hard work inspires me.

2. My duties might lack the luster of other positions in the company but hey, Cinderella started off exactly where I am. I decided long ago to love my job and that has become a reality. I sing and dance while cleaning the rooms now. My showcase includes works that vary from Hilliary Duff to Tom Petty to Bow Wow and everything in between. Such talent should not be locked away in a hotel room but at least the towel creatures I create can appreciate my musical spectacular! Can't wait for the day a guest walks in..

3. Sunday is a special day. Nothing makes you appreciate church like not being able to go. My testimony of keeping the Sabbath day holy has grown so much since being in Orlando. I can't worm myself out of work, but what I can do is have Sunday in my heart throughout the day. I bring materials to read during work and listen to church music. The extra effort I put in to make it feel like a Sunday brought an extra Spirit to my day: "Vibrant testimony comes of anxious seeking"-President Gordon B. Hinckley.

4. Take any illusions you may have about Florida being a warm getaway and shatter them with a sledgehammer. On many occasions I have found myself freezing. I even saw my breath the other day and that just fueled my anger towards those who deceived me about the weather here! bah.

5. and finally, my new life motto: just say yes! besides to drugs. This new perspective has been life changing and has led me to many spontaneous adventures. Including, but not limited to, jumping into pools with my clothes on, bible study groups, lots of new friends, and dancing through Morocco. Living life to the fullest!

That's all for now folks! Thanks for reading!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Friday, January 14, 2011

My Grand Adventure: The Begining

*Quick explanation of my title*: A great injustice was thrust upon me at birth when my parents ruled that giving me a middle name was unnecessary. Feeling a lack of something in my life, I searched for many years to fill the void by trying on various middle names. I have a brief fling with the name "Jacqueline Zia" and then later flirted with the name "Jacqueline Lynn". This was obviously more of a comical relationship that I continue to have one-nighters with when I feel the need to fool those around me. But the most enduring relationship has been with the name, "Jacqueline Ryan." This name, to me at least, connotates elegance and has a classic air about it just like Jacqueline Kennedy and Doris Day. So. This is the name that I have chosen for my blog.

*The Wonderful World of Walt Disney*

With a big gust of courage pushing behind me, I packed my bags and boarded my flight to Orlando, Florida. Mysterious forces pulled me towards Orlando, tearing me away from my beloved friends and family. Concerns, worries, and fears swirled around my brain. However real these insecurities felt, I knew that the yearning inside for self-discovery needed this adventure to the south tropics. Disney had practically begged me to come join their team (they had heard all sorts of rumors of my hard work ethic and positive attitude in the work place)! And I have always stuggled saying no..

Sitting down on the plane, images of the people I was leaving behind taunted me. No longer could I run into Cold Stone and grap a spoonful of Sweet Cream while exploring life's deepest corners with my sister. No longer could I visit my dad on Sunday nights just to feel the pleasentness of being home. Despite my sadness of leaving behind my home, I couldn't help but feel an overwhelming sense of pride in my adultness. I was now a master of the complicated forces of terminals, tickets, and baggage drop-offs...a skill only the most intelligent can begin to comprehend. I boarded that plane..LIKE A BOSS!

I learned a very interesting thing flying on Southwest: nothing bonds two people like sitting on an airplane together. Maybe it is the awkwardness of sitting by someone for such a large amount of time? Maybe it is fear of flying? Whatever the reason, I made many friends on the plane. My first friend was Monet. I just instantly wanted to be her friend because she was so excited about everything (not in an annoying fake way but more of an Ariel on land for the first time way). What we later name our "bite-sized friendship" soon ended as she got off in Denver. But I will always remember Monet and her love of life. The second friendship I formed was with a law professor at a small Catholic school in Orlando. We also became instant friends and talked the entire three and a half hour flight. The subjects ranged from religion to sex offenders to parenting and then to divorce. I was inspired by this also brief friendship because she was such a capable, educated woman who still was an amazing mother. Cheers to brief meetings that change lives!

After arrival in not-so-sunny Orlando, I had the arduous task of lifting 120 lbs. of luggage, WITH NO WHEELS, all over the airport, on and off shuttles, in circles around apartment complexes, and up three stories of stairs. I can assure you that I felt the pain for the next few days. Despite my struggles carrying the weight of my bags, I packed exceedingly light and am suffering through seperation anxiety for numerous articles of clothing.

The rest of my week can be sumarized in answering and asking the same three questions repetitively: what is your name? where are you from? and finally, where in the parks are you working? I have never really been considered normal...due to my love of making strange faces and my quirky humor and partially due to the fact I collet dictators. But I have never, no never, been so odd in my whole life. When people find out you are from Utah, they proceed to tell you about how they know someone from Utah and they never party. Then they elaborate on how strange that person is. While they express their shock at Utah culture, I squirm uncomfortably as the thought "I haven't touched a drop" plays over and over in my head. If people do ask if you are Mormon, they ask questions they did not teach me how to answer in all my "every memeber a missionary" classes. Such as, "is being a Mormon a big deal?" it to me? (yes I really did say that..) or "what do Mormons believe about aliens?" (yes, I was really asked that).

Diversity. The people that work at WDW come from ALL over the United States, even the states you have forgotten about, like Wisconsin (pronounced wis-CAN-sin). Not only does WDW have equal representation from America, there are people from all over the world. The perfect spot for a girl who loves foriegn men!

The single greatest part about being here in Orlando is, well after the fact that it is a snow free environment (!), the magic. After listening to hours of Disney propaganda, I finally bought into it. I create the magic! But what magic can you create while stuck in the glamourless position of housekeeper? Listen here and I will tell you. While sitting through "Housekeeper Core Training" the gloryless job of maid was transformed before my eyes with a snap of Mary Poppins fingers, as she explained that once you find the fun in a job, it becomes a game. The lessons about how to make beds and clean the bathroom seemed to be sprinkled with pixie dust and I was so excited to begin! Bring it on baby! "I make da beds! I make da magic!" seemed to be playing over and over again in my head. I would now like to take the time to list the perks of being a housekeeper:
1-You burn like a million calories
2-You get to keep unopened food left in the rooms
3-Super sexy, hot, scandalous uniform
4-You get tips...oh baby..
5-You get nights off.
Yep. You could say that I am pretty darn excited.
That's all for now folks!