written by ERIK
It was 4:30AM on a Saturday at Boston Logan Airport when I said farewell to my family and embarked on a 6-month opportunity to enhance my knowledge of physical therapy some 6,000 miles away from home. I had no idea what I was going to see, learn, understand, or experience throughout the next half year. Nothing could have prepared me for what I was to discover about not only myself, but about the people of Hawai’i.
Upon my first few weeks on Oahu, I quickly started to develop an appreciation for the aina (land) and what this geographical location meant to the many people I encountered as well as their ancestors before them. Waking up each day to be surrounded by the vast Pacific Ocean and steep, treacherous Pali mountains was a daily reminder that one, life is good and life is beautiful, and two, we are simply beings (animal and nature alike) travelling through fragments in time that happen to coexist in this exact moment together right here and right now.
The people I was blessed to work alongside with at Fukuji & Lum Physical Therapy welcomed us as apart of their ohana (family) the very first day we met them. As a person that was fearful of the unknown and travelling the furthest away from home for the first time; it was a comforting moment where I knew I was going to settle in quite easily.
The following 6 months would unfold a captivating experience each day where I was able to: learn a considerable amount of physical therapy from the experts at the clinic, hike some of the most scenic locations on Earth, snorkel with sea turtles and exotic fish, or eat food that I am still unable to pronounce to this day.
An aspect about Fukuji & Lum that makes wanting to experience a co-op opportunity there opposed to another clinic or location is the wide spectrum of patients they treat. Fukuji & Lum have several locations that each bring something unique to the company whether it is aquatic therapy, worker’s compensation, or specialized, personal fitness programs to help maintain an excellent quality of life. I was able to witness and take part in the different services provided at Fukuji & Lum, which I believe allowed me to see more about what physical therapy has to offer people opposed to my personal observation of being a physical therapy patient. Participating in various services of physical therapy strengthened my knowledge and ability to treat more types of people.
I absolutely loved my time on Oahu. I still vividly remember times of walking along the shores of Lanikai Beach, hiking Kuli’ou’ou ridge, or eating a fat bowl of poke from Fresh Catch. Everyday felt like a new adventure and living on the beautiful island of Oahu allowed me to grow as a person and cherish the gift of life. A hui hou.