By Deb Matsuura

Introducing Co-op Jada!

We welcome Jada to the F&L O'hana. She works over at Kokokahi, at our Kaneohe clinic and Aquatic Therapy pool. Here's a little bit about Jada and her journey to becoming a PT student at NEU.

I attended Saranac Lake High School and currently attend Northeastern University. 

When I was a kid, I wanted to go to the Olympics for track & field. I had my heart set on being an olympian for a long time, so when I realized that it seemed like a long shot, I decided that if I couldn’t run in the olympics, I wanted to surround myself with people who did. I found out that physical therapy is such an incredible way to stay involved in athletics and be able to be a part of the athlete’s journey to success. 

 

I decided early on that I wanted to do a co-op outside of Boston because I love to travel and experience new places, and this was an opportunity to not only go somewhere beautiful, but to experience a completely new culture, climate, setting, and way of life. Doing a co-op in a place like Hawaii is really more than just a co-op. In addition to getting all of the amazing professional experience, we also get to explore a totally different part of the world in such a unique way. We only have a few opportunities to immerse ourselves in a totally new place so I wanted to take advantage of this opportunity and make it count. 

My experience in Hawaii so far has been incredible. The patients at Fukuji & Lum have been amazing and are always ready to welcome us with food, plenty of suggestions and local tips & tricks to navigate the island. The staff has also been incredible, making us feel so welcome and like we really are a part of the family. One of the greatest things I’ve noticed about Hawaii so far is that the people here are so accepting of everyone. Regardless of your identity or what you look like, the locals treat everyone with respect and love and that is so inspiring. I can definitely understand why people don’t leave this place, it feels like home in the blink of an eye. 

The strangest thing I’ve eaten since arriving has probably been poke, just because I had never had it before and don’t even eat sushi at home! 

My to-do list is insanely long, but some of the big things are skydiving, ziplining, learning how to surf, and hopefully finding a way to hike stairway to heaven. 

One day, I hope to be a therapist working with world class athletes. Sports medicine is what lead me to physical therapy in the first place, so I can’t wait to see where that can take me. Whether I’m on the side of the track doing PT for olympic track athletes or on the ice being a team PT for a professional hockey team, I want to be right in the action. I hope to be the kind of therapist that these athletes trust to keep them strong and help them get back on their feet to continue doing what they love!

There are so many people that have influenced me and helped me become the person I am today. My biggest influences overall would have to be my family. My parents, grandparents and whole extended family have always been so supportive of me and have encouraged me to follow my interests. One of my biggest influences also has to be Allyson Felix, the Olympic track and field athlete. She is such an inspiration to me because of her work ethic, attitude and resilience. Following her journey has shown me how important it is to not let disappointments and failures keep you down!

Jada

By Deb Matsuura

Here’s Maddi!

What school did you attend in high school and what's your current college?

I grew up in central Massachusetts and attended Tantasqua Regional High School, which combines my town, Sturbridge, and four other small neighboring towns. For college I attend Northeastern University as part of the 6 year DPT program. 

What drew you to physical therapy?

When I was in high school I went to PT for an injury from running track. I had a great relationship with my physical therapist and loved how figuring out the best exercises for me was sort of like a puzzle, or putting the pieces all together. When I went off to college I started as a Biochemistry major, because I thought I wanted to go to medical school or do research. After first semester and getting to be exposed to what each of those routes would be like, I felt out of place. My mind just kept circling back to how interesting I’d always found physical therapy (I even did a project on it in high school!) and how it just felt like such a better fit. 

Why did you want to do your co-op in Hawaii?

I really wanted to get out of Massachusetts for a while, and I wanted to go somewhere completely different. All of the previous co-ops I talked to spoke about how much they felt this experience helped them to grow both in their career aspirations and also as an individual. I felt like I was at a time in my life where I really needed that change and to immerse myself in a new culture and setting. Doing my co-op at F&L seemed like the perfect opportunity for what I was craving. 

What has been your experience like so far?

I can’t even begin to describe how positive it’s been! It’s been one month since I arrived and since then, I’ve been blown away by everything I’ve seen and everyone I’ve met. Everyone who has worked with me so far can confirm that I’m loving all the hiking the island has to offer and am eager to get out and explore so much more. I’ve been trying to learn to surf and while the wipe outs aren’t fun, I’m still enjoying it. One of my favorite experiences I’ve had so far was waking up to go see the sunrise from Lanikai pillboxes on my day off. Overall I’m really enjoying the lifestyle Hawaii has to offer and it’s causing me to adapt and adjust to the differences between here and New England (like the speed limit?!? Everyone drives so slow)  

What's the strangest thing that you've eaten since arriving?

I haven’t eaten anything “strange” yet, so I think you guys need to work harder… I’ve tried poke which was awesome, kalua pork, taro chips, purple yam ice cream, and some various Hawaiian candies. I guess the strangest thing I’ve eaten then would have to be haupia because I ate it before I had any idea what it was. 

What is on your to do list while here?

To get through the giant lists everyone has given me of recommendations. A couple of my big “to-do’s” include getting to the Mokes, Chinaman’s hat, Crouching Lion, Olomana, and (the legal way to) Stairway to Heaven. Overall, I want to get in as much hiking as possible! I also want to explore the North Shore more and go to Waimea Bay. I’d love to get over to Kauai and see the Na Pali coast. Juliet and I also signed up to do the Xterra half marathon at Kualoa Ranch in November, so whether I like it or not that’s on my to do list too. 

What kind of therapist do you hope to be?

A good one. But actually… I want to be the kind of PT that develops a good relationship with their patients. I want my patient to be able to trust me enough to develop a program that works for them, and I want to be the type of PT that they feel is invested in their progress. I think being a physical therapist requires a lot of problem solving, and then also requires you to be able to explain the solution. I want to be a therapist who is able to work with different patients so that they feel their plan is personalized and targets them as a person and not just a diagnosis. As far as specifics go, I haven’t quite figured out yet what type of population or setting I want to work with/in. 

Who is your greatest influence in your life?

Is it a cop out to say my family? My parents have each influenced me immensely in their own separate ways. My mom inspires me to have a thirst for adventure and to be unapologetically myself and has really been there as a strong female role model throughout my life. She reminds me to always pursue new experiences and has taught me that change and forced independence are great teachers. My dad has shaped how I think about and view the world so much. He forces me to challenge myself and to look at problems with a different perspective to find a better solution. He is one of the smartest people I know and has always described to me the importance of pursuing your passion. My sister teaches me how to love people with your whole heart and is one of the strongest people I know, she influences me with her perseverance and passion for what she cares about. 

By Deb Matsuura

F&L Fall Semester Co-ops Are Here!

F&L is very proud and excited to have four new Northeastern Co-ops this fall. They all wrote their own blogs and will be featured individually in our Happy at Work Blog throughout the month.

Let's meet Juliet! She will be working with our Work Comp/No Fault patients at WORC and learning all about Aquatic Therapy at our Kaneohe pool.

 

What school did you attend in high school and what's your current college?

I went to Kennedy Catholic High School in Westchester, New York, and I just finished my second year as an undergraduate in Northeastern’s 6-year DPT program.

What drew you to physical therapy?

As a lifelong dancer, I have always been fascinated by how the parts of the body work together to produce movement – whether it is as simple as reaching to the top cabinet to put a glass away or as complex as completing 16 consecutive pirouettes en pointe without losing balance. When I was an Achilles tendonitis patient in high school, I was intrigued by the multiple PT clinics I visited and therapists I worked with. Despite having positive experiences, I wished I had encountered a therapist with a dance background, and with that thought, I saw my future self as a potential solution to my situation. Since high school, I have spent time exploring by taking classes in anything that sparked my interest, from stem cells to food justice, and journalism to biopsychology, yet human anatomy remained front and center. I even had the opportunity to work in a biology research lab as a freshman in college, and while I loved the end goal of the lab’s work, pipetting and test tubes seemed far removed from the people I wanted to help. This quickly helped me to understand my desire to take my passion for biology, the body, and problem solving, and apply it in a way that would directly help people to return to an improved physical state. Every day, I return home from working in the clinic and the pool with a growing certainty that physical therapy is a profession that will not only give me a purpose, but more importantly, grant me the opportunity to help others return to their purposes.

Why did you want to do your co-op in Hawaii?

I love to explore, and one of my passions is traveling the world to experience how people of different cultures live their daily lives. I had been to Hawaii with my family on vacation and I fell in love with the scenery but missed out on the culture; it’s tough to get a full cultural experience as a tourist. When I heard about a co-op opportunity that would allow me to be less of a tourist and more of a resident in a place that could not be more beautiful, it rose to the top of my list. Talking with the previous co-ops about their experiences at Fukuji & Lum only fueled my desire to live and work here even more. Hearing their stories about how welcoming the entire work community was and how much they learned about treating patients holistically resonated with my values and goals as a future therapist.

What has your experience been like so far?

My experience has been absolutely incredible. I come home from work every day in awe of how everyone really does seem to be “happy at work,” and I think of how lucky I am to be here. The entire F&L community has been so kind, welcoming, inclusive, and eager to help us learn, and patients have been so happy to work with us even though we are still beginners.  Time seems to fly in the clinic because there is always something to do – a patient to help, a new exercise or skill to master, a note to write, a conversation to have. One of the therapists convinced me to start coming for 6am workouts before the work day, and although I have never been a fan of early morning workouts, something about going in early and starting my day sweating with them has been such a positive experience. Outside the clinic, weekends are packed full of adventures: hikes, beaches, snorkeling, arts festivals, and more. I did not know the other co-ops very well before coming here and it has been fun getting to know them and to explore with them these past few weeks. I am so excited for the rest of this experience and will try to soak in as much as I can before returning to the Boston cold!

What's the strangest thing that you've eaten since arriving?

Lychee! It was extra special because it was from a coworker’s tree back home in Kauai. And although I would not consider it strange, poke is my favorite meal I have eaten (more times than I would like to admit) since arriving.

What is on your to do list while here?

My to-do list already seemed never-ending before I arrived, but after all the recommendations from patients and coworkers, I think I could live here for 6 years instead of 6 months and still not get to everything! The list includes too many hikes to name them all, skydiving, windsurfing & surfing, watch a surfing competition at the North Shore, lots of snorkeling, go to a luau, visit the Mermaid Caves, take a hula class, swim with sharks (maybe?), run the half marathon at Kualoa Ranch, try poke from every spot recommended by patients, go camping for a weekend, kayak to the Mokes, walk/swim out to Chinaman’s Hat… it really just never ends!

On a more personal level, I am really looking forward to using this time away from school and home to discover a greater purpose and to further develop goals for myself as a therapist. I am also hoping to impact the lives of patients and to give back to the community here, even if only in a small way. I’ll follow up on that in the final reflection!

What kind of therapist do you hope to be?

While I am still unsure of which route I would like to take within the PT field, I hope to be the therapist that my patients need at the moment in their lives that we happen to meet. While that is a lofty aspiration, I will work my hardest to make it a reality because every patient deserves a therapist who sees him/her not as an injury or condition, but instead as a person. I want to continue learning long after I graduate to keep up with the latest research that could potentially help my patients. I hope to be creative and to think critically like the therapists at WORC when they come up with exercises that mimic activities in patient’s work environments to help heal and strengthen them before they return to their jobs. I hope to be confident enough in my knowledge base to be able to adapt my style to fit various personalities and lifestyles that patients may lead – be more stern with some if necessary, humorous with others, a shoulder to lean on for someone who may need it at the time – and most of all, I hope to be empathetic and to help my patients understand that they are more than whatever injury or condition might be weighing them down.

Who is your greatest influence in your life?

My parents have always been the greatest influence in my life, although I am so fortunate to have met many other wonderful influences along the way, too. My mom’s compassionate, empathetic nature has allowed her to constantly support and encourage me and to instill in me the importance of giving back to the community. My dad has never stopped inspiring me to be intellectually curious – he reminded me every day before middle and high school that my end goal was to learn as much as I could from every situation, every textbook, every conversation. Whether it was playing the “hard question game” with me on rides to dance and gymnastics as a kid, taking long walks with me on the beach or in a foot of snow to talk things out, or sitting front and center at every dance recital, my parents have never stopped giving their all for me or being my number one fans. Mahalo, Mom and Dad!!

By Mark Yanai

Reflections and Gratitude

Aloha!

It is 35 degrees in Boston today. One of the milder days lately. Just wanted to put that out there :)!

I’m sitting in my room, looking at pictures and reading my journal. I remember the moment that I fell in love with the thought of this experience. It was a first-year meeting with my co-op advisor. I was interested in looking for a co-op in California, but was told that my closest option was a clinic in Hawaii… The dream of hiking, surfing, and being immersed in Hawaiian culture for six months was permanently etched into my mind.  

And just when I thought I couldn’t get any more excited, I saw Fukuji and Lum’s website, read the higher purpose, mission statement, values, and Mark’s blog… My heart had made its decision.

I remember the night that I landed in Hawaii. The mirror selfie with my first lei, first shaka, and a smile that couldn’t be wiped off my face. A whole lot of life has been lived since that moment. I’m not quite sure how to put all of it into words, so I’m just going to write for a few minutes and list a bunch of things that I loved and were meaningful to me as they come to mind… [/two_third_last]

I loved walking around barefoot everywhere, even getting the occasional ‘local feet’ compliment that boosted my ego and made me feel like I belonged. I loved having the time and space to journal everyday, which had been a goal of mine for years. I loved sitting by the water in Colleen’s backyard in the mornings, watching the sunrise and focusing on my breath. Sitting in the same place some nights and playing guitar under the stars… I loved kayaking to work –somedays a peaceful experience and other days a slightly more exciting/scary but equally awesome and meaningful one. I’ll be lucky if I can ever top that commute…

 

I loved the energy I felt when I walked into work every day. The high-fives, the laughs, the smiles. A whole lot of smiles. The spirit days that pushed me out of my comfort zone and occasionally ended with braids in my hair. I loved that we always seemed to be celebrating something or someone, and that potlucks were such a regular event. Curry Friday’s at work… The mochiko chicken was pretty incredible, but wasn’t nearly as awesome as the smiles, laughs, and ‘food comas’ that came with it.

I loved playing ukulele by the pool during breaks. I loved connecting with patients, learning Hawaiian and Pidgin words from them, hearing their stories, and playing a role in their recovery, no matter how small. I loved that I was able to play basketball every week with a beautiful view and even better company.

 

I loved surfing (a.k.a. lots of paddling around, getting tossed by waves, and occasionally catching one), hiking, learning ukulele, traveling to outer islands, getting to know a lot of really incredible people, and building professional and personal relationships that are far from over… Most of all, I loved that I was able to share this experience with four other awesome students, who added so much value to my life over the last six months.

 

I love highlights, but one of my favorite parts of this experience was that it was so real. I still experienced stress, overwhelm, indecision, frustration, sadness, self-consciousness… I even had one week when I managed to lose my brand-new GoPro, almost sink on my commute to work, and donate my iPhone to the ocean in the process (although I did find this unintentional technology cleanse pretty enjoyable ☺). These were often the days and moments that I learned the most about myself, so I’m grateful for them too.

My time in Hawaii was deeply meaningful to me and has impacted me in many ways that I probably haven’t even realized yet. What I do know is that it helps me remember to slow down, to appreciate where I am and who I’m with in this moment, and to always strive to ‘live aloha’ through compassion, serving others, and spreading positive energy. I felt more comfortable ‘being me’ over these last six months than I have felt in a very long time, which is funny because I stuck out so much. Red hair, inability to tan, and all. I’m not sure exactly what allowed me to do that, but I think it has a lot to do with the aloha and Fukuji and Lum’s culture…

It was a blessing to work for a company with such a strong, positive, and transformative culture and vision. I am so grateful that my path led me here, and grateful for everyone at Fukuji and Lum who showed us co-ops so much love and aloha and welcomed us as a part of the Ohana. I love how you all approach life and physical therapy…

Mahalo for being a part of my journey. A Hui Ho, Hawaii!

Matt

By Deb Matsuura

Special Thanks to Fukuji & Lum

Entering the New Year, I look back at my 2017 accomplishments. As many others strive for when creating their list of resolutions, I had hoped for positive change and personal growth. With the bittersweet end to my time in Hawaii, I reflect on how it has helped me to reach my goals. Surrounded by clear blue waters, soaring mountain ranges, and a unique Ohana; I had the opportunity to take a step away from the hustle of Boston and learn more about myself and the therapist I want to be one day.

After receiving word of my position in Hawaii, I was both excited and nervous for this new adventure. Weeks leading up to my arrival I had many friends and family, some more jealous than others, sending me good wishes on this next chapter in my life.

[two_third] Previous co-ops spoke so highly of their coworkers and experiences, so I knew I would be greeted with open arms. This made leaving home and coming to an unfamiliar place a little less daunting.

Within hours of landing, I was receiving welcome hugs from people I had never met – I already felt a part of the Ohana. With any new job, the first few months are a transition period. Learning to embody the values of a company and collaborate closely with colleagues you know little about, can be difficult. Although it was overwhelming at times and my supervisors received many of my dumbfounded looks, I felt every coworker I encountered was willing and able to help me make this transition seamless.

I am grateful to have worked with so many accomplished and intelligent therapists. I learned that each therapist has something different to bring to the table, whether it be a skill or a thought process. I watched as they worked as a team of many backgrounds to provide the best care possible for our patients. Looking back at my experiences with each therapist, I have confirmed that I want to be a physical therapist. I learned something from each and every one of them that I will someday have the opportunity to apply in my practice.

I also had the chance to work closely with many determined, caring patients, who constantly embodied the aloha spirit. From my patients I learned the power of perseverance. Watching them maintain determination over the course of a few weeks, a few months, or even the entirety of my time at F&L to reach their goals, was an enlightening experience. I truly realized the importance of teamwork in this field, where healthcare providers should work closely with their patients. This unique team is what makes our jobs worth it each and every day.

grace   Screen Shot 2018-01-13 at 9.58.48 AM

Having the opportunity to work in almost all of the clinics, it opened my eyes to how closely the company works in order to carry out F&L’s mission and values in every location. Rather than each being their own separate entity, the clinics worked together to be one, united team. During my 6 months, I also had the unique chance to experience the company go through big changes. One of which, was seeing lots of hard work go into creating a new logo that embodies all that the company is. With such a distinctive model and outlook on physical therapy, F&L stands out and makes me hopeful for further growth in the PT world.

[one_half] Aside from building many close relationships and a strong sense of work identity, I also had the opportunity to explore Oahu, and remind myself to take some time to enjoy the little moments in life. For an island that is only 40 miles long and 30 miles wide, I never thought there would be so much to do. As a co-op group we were able to explore the wonders of Hawaii together, truly making the most of our weekends. From sliding down steep, muddy mountains on my okole (yay Hawaiian words) to maneuvering the paddle out to the mokes, we made endless memories together that I will hold onto for the rest of my life.

A special thank you to Liz, Stevie, Matt and Kyle, my Hawaii family, for making the better half of my 2017, even better. I learned from you guys and our many adventures to take a step back and take in the moment. A little rest and relaxation never hurts.

Screen Shot 2018-01-13 at 9.54.44 AM  Screen Shot 2018-01-13 at 9.54.26 AM

From my amazing patients to the special company of Fukuji&Lum, I thank you all for this incredible experience. I will miss each and every one of you very much, and I hope to see you someday soon.

Mahalo Nui Loa,

Grace Taylor

By Deb Matsuura

We Welcome Liz to the Fukuji and Lum Ohana!

Fukuji & Lum welcomes our fourth Co-op this semester, Liz, to our Ohana. She will be working with our aquatic therapists in the pool and at our outpatient physical therapy clinic in Kaneohe.

Liz is our guest blogger this week and shares a little introduction about why she got into physical therapy and her experience so far in Hawaii.

What school did you attend in high school and what’s your current college? I went to Falmouth High School in Falmouth, Maine and I am now in the DPT program at Northeastern University in Boston.

What drew you to physical therapy? I grew up playing sports year-round so I was constantly focused on the way my body moved. I went to physical therapy for my own sports-related injuries in early high school and it opened my eyes to how amazing the human body is. I decided to do a job shadow with a couple of physical therapists in my area and that’s when I knew I wanted to be an expert on the way the body moved and pursue a career in physical therapy.

Why did you want to do your co-op in Hawaii? The ocean and mountains of Hawaii are what initially grabbed my attention when I began my coop search. After I heard previous coop’s descriptions of the Fukuji and Lum culture, and saw the mission and values highlighted on the F&L website I knew I wanted to be a part of the fun, happy, and compassionate family I had heard about.

What has your experience been like so far? I’ve had an amazing experience so far. Rather than dreading going to work in the morning and counting the hours until the end of each work day, as I have found myself doing with previous jobs that I’ve had, I look forward to going to work and I find that the days fly by. I have learned a lot from my co-workers and patients, and I have become more excited for my future as a physical therapist.

What’s the strangest thing that you’ve eaten since arriving? Spam.

What is on your to-do list while here? I want to take advantage of the mountains and the ocean by hiking and swimming regularly and hopefully learning how to surf. I also hope to create lasting relationships with people that I meet, and learn as much as I can about PT from my co-workers and my experience.

Redsox Katherine&I

What kind of therapist do you hope to be? I hope to be a therapist who can help my patients understand how amazing their bodies are and show them how to manipulate the way they move so that they are confident in taking control of their own recoveries.

Who is your greatest influence in your life? As the youngest of five kids in my family, I have always had a lot of people to look up to. My parents, sisters, and brothers have showed me how to think critically, how to study, how to be considerate of others, how to appreciate all the amazing people in my life, and much much more. I continue to learn from each of them every day.

I have also met some pretty great people in my past two years at Northeastern. I constantly find myself describing my classmates and friends as some of the smartest, kindest and most hardworking people I know. I have met so many people worthy of raving about, and being around them has made me want to push myself harder in all aspects of my life.

NUGreecePT  Family

By Deb Matsuura

New Semester, New Co-ops!

Fukuji & Lum’s receives a handful of Northeastern University physical therapy students every semester. For spring semester 2017, we just said mahalo and good-bye to five awesome, enthusiastic and hard-working students who we know will make a great impact in the physical therapy world. We wish them the best!!

This July we welcomed five new students who will be with us till December. We look forward to teaching and nurturing them as well as sharing our island spirit and company culture, which they will be able to take back with them to Boston.

You’ve just met Matt in our previous blog, now here’s Kyle and Grace with a few words about themselves and why chose to study physical therapy.

IMG_5813           IMG_5815

 Kyle’s Blog

What school did you attend in high school and what’s your current college?
I attended Andover High School in Massachusetts. I now go to Northeastern University in Boston.

What drew you to physical therapy? 
There have been a few things that have drawn me into the field of physical therapy. In high school I was a rower and our coach focused hundreds of hours on moving correctly and power application. This was the start of my fascination with the body, how it moves, and the quest to perfect movement in sport. From there, I would research different body parts and how to exercise them. Fast forward a few years to 2015 when I injured my shoulder, I researched what I thought was wrong and how to rehab it. The process of troubleshooting the injury and trying to rehab it was really exciting for me. As exciting as it was, it didn’t work so well, so after a few weeks I went to a real PT. When going myself, I enjoyed the atmosphere and the role of a PT in a patient’s recovery. It was a relaxed environment where everyone would chat and joke and I could see myself working in something similar.

Why did you want to do your co-op in Hawaii?
I used to work with a youth development program called Andover Youth Services and it was a huge influence in my life. One of the most significant values we lived and encouraged in the young people was to get out of your comfort zone. When looking for co-ops I wanted to stay consistent with my values so I wanted to go somewhere that would challenge me and give me a new experience. I’ve found that forcing myself uncomfortable situations is when I learn the most.

What has been your experience like so far?
After 3 weeks on this beautiful island I’m confident coming here was the right decision. Working in Honolulu, I’m exposed to a demographic I wouldn’t otherwise be if I was working in Boston. The clientele is typically on the older side and many are of Asian descent. Occasionally I’m tasked with working with someone who speaks no English. This has been hard for me so far, but it is challenging me to improve my visual cues and other nonverbal communication.

IMG_7860 IMG_7835

What’s the strangest thing that you’ve eaten since arriving?Being here for about a month I haven’t had a ton of time to really venture into strange cuisine. I’ve tried some local foods like poke and I’m a big fan of the Hawaiian marinade at Fresh Catch. Also our host family makes ahi and ono jerky which is a little unusual. Other than that I think I’ve eaten pretty similarly to back in Boston.

What is on your to do list while here?
I’m a little limited with having shoulder surgery a few months ago but I’d like to hike, surf, explore the islands, jump off some cliffs, and eat some more exotic food.

What kind of therapist do you hope to be?
Of course I want to be the best therapist there can be. I want to be a therapist who deeply understands each treatment and why it works. I want to be up to date with new technologies and methods of treatment to give my patients the most efficacious therapy they can get. I want to learn how to garner my patient’s imagination of who they can become and use it to motivate them to work towards their goals.

IMG_8653

Who is your greatest influence in your life?
I’d be lying to say anyone influenced me more than my parents. Simply living with them for the greater part of 20 years I’ve learned an incredible amount. From my dad I’ve learned how to be industrious and how to learn. From my mom I learned how to listen and be empathetic. These traits among others have been super beneficial in my journey through life.

Grace’s Blog

What school did you attend in high school and what’s your current college?
I attended Trinity College School in Toronto, Canada. I am now a student at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts.

What drew you to physical therapy? Ever since I was young I knew I was interested in a helping profession. I was interested in a variety of positions such as dentistry, chiropractic care, and Occupational Therapy. I had the opportunity to shadow a few physical therapists and fell in love with the profession. Each and every day I find myself loving it more and more.

Screen Shot 2017-07-27 at 12.35.29 PM         Screen Shot 2017-07-27 at 12.33.12 PM

Why did you want to do your co-op in Hawaii?
There are many reasons why I was interested in doing my co-op in Hawaii. I have always enjoyed traveling and learning more about the world around me, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity. During this last semester, we have also had many discussions on cultural differences and the impacts it can have on physical therapy and other forms of care. This co-op seemed unique in its ability to introduce me to this learning curve. Lastly, Fukuji & Lum has a focus on family culture. I am very close with my family back home, so I was naturally drawn to F&Ls values and overall mission and purpose.

What has been your experience like so far?
Traveling to a new place can sometimes be daunting and with it comes a lot of unknowns. From the get-go I felt nothing but kindness and support through the transition. It’s like a home away from home. I get along so well with the other co-op students and my new coworkers, and I am so excited to see what adventures this journey takes us all on.

What’s the strangest thing that you’ve eaten since arriving?
We haven’t really explored eating strange things yet. We have tried poke a few times now, and I have yet to be disappointed! Giovanni’s shrimp trunk was also delicious, highly recommend! I’m hoping to try lots of new foods, especially spam musubi, acai bowls, and poi. I’m also looking forward to finding the best shaved ice around!

What is on your to do list while here?
I mainly want to explore the island. I want to go on lots of different hikes and learn about the history of the island and Hawaii as a whole. I am also excited to get to know more about Hawaiian culture by exploring things like a Luau, hula dancing and listening to Hawaiian music. I have been working on Hawaiian Pidgin and I am trying to learn a new word every day. I’m hoping I’ll be able to take some of it back and confuse my friends back home!

What kind of therapist do you hope to be?
Physical therapy can be a very rewarding job, because we have the opportunity to help patients reach their personal goals. I think the relationship between therapist and patient is what you choose to make it, and I hope to be a motivational and supporting factor in my patients’ lives. If I am able to positively impact a number of my patients during my time as a therapist I will feel rewarded.

Who is your greatest influence in your life?
My greatest influence in my life is my older brother Riley. He is my built in best friend and I look up to him in many ways. He pushed me to embrace this opportunity and for that I’m grateful. I can’t wait to continue to grow up and find our way in life together.

Screen Shot 2017-07-27 at 12.35.18 PM  Screen Shot 2017-07-27 at 12.35.01 PM

By Deb Matsuura

Meeting Matt

Every six months, F&L gets a new crew of Co-Op students from Northeastern University. I get to interview each of the applicants three months ahead of time and typically do it through video conferencing. The application process is usually over a two-week period as we interview and consider at least ten to fifteen applicants.

I was fortunate to interview Matt as the first applicant. We immediately connected as we had several common interests and I knew before the end of the interview that he would be offered a position. One of the most important things we look for when choosing a Co-op, is someone who shares common values with our organization and whose personal purpose matches our Mission statement. I definitely saw these values in Matt and look forward to watching him grow and challenge himself in everything he does while here with us.

Get to know him as he guest blogs for us!

What high school did you attend and what’s your current college?
I went to Tabor Academy in Marion, MA for high school, and I am now at Northeastern University studying physical therapy.

Tabor pic TheTaborAcademySeal

What drew you to physical therapy?
I pretty much stumbled upon it… As a high school basketball player, I had to go to PT for a few different injuries, but I never thought of pursuing it as a career. I ended up applying to nine schools for exercise science before I found Northeastern University and fell in love. The closest thing they had to exercise science was physical therapy, so I figured I would apply for that. It wasn’t until after I had applied that I started to reflect more on my experiences with physical therapy and realized the potential for an incredibly fun, impactful, and rewarding career. Since then, I’ve found more and more things that I love about it.

Why did you want to do your co-op in Hawaii?
A little over a year ago, I was sitting in my advisor’s office and asked if there were any coop sites in California. My personality was beginning to shift a bit from high school. I was becoming more laid back, and the west coast lifestyle was something I wanted to experience. My advisor replied, “Unfortunately, we don’t have any in California, but we do have one in Hawaii”. I immediately knew where my heart was. I love experiencing and living in new cultures very different from my own, and Hawaii has one of the most beautiful, diverse cultures in the world. I knew that I would be able to experience the laid-back vibe that I was looking for in the west coast, and be able to immerse myself in the food, music, dancing, surfing, hiking, and beautiful people of this island at the same time. It was a pretty simple decision for me… matt2

What has been your experience like so far?
I am in love 🙂 I’ve only been here for just over two weeks and have experienced very little, but it’s easy to see how special this place is. Kayaking to work was just a catchphrase a few weeks ago, but is a beautiful reality now. Playing pickup basketball with co-workers on Monday nights and walking outside in between games to one of the more beautiful views I’ve ever experienced is surreal. Probably the most special part so far has been the people I’ve met: patients, staff at Fukuji and Lum, locals… The Aloha spirit has been more welcoming than I ever could have imagined.

What’s the strangest thing that you’ve eaten since arriving?
I would have to say poi. I had it with some Spicy Ahi poke and loved it. I know that is a pretty disappointing ‘strangest food’, but I’ll keep working on it 🙂

What is on your to do list while here?
Soooo much. I want to surf a lot, do as many hikes on Oahu as possible, learn Ukulele and Guitar, learn Hula, get a tan (this one is more wishful thinking), kayak into work most days, absorb lots of knowledge at work, not cut my hair, eat an excessive amount of poke and other delicious Hawaiian foods, learn some Hawaiian and Pidgin, and hopefully have a positive impact on many of the people I come into contact with. I’m excited!

What kind of therapist do you hope to be?
I want to become a master of eliminating pain and helping people live the lives that they dream of. Of course, I want to be able to make people feel better (which is why I also want to become massage certified), but I also want to educate and empower them to take charge of their own recovery and wellness. I want to be the type of therapist that takes a genuine interest in patient’s lives and goals and does their best to empathize and really understand what the their patients are going through, both physically and emotionally. And finally, I would love to incorporate my love of traveling and experiencing new cultures in there too, however possible.

Who is your greatest influence in your life?

I’ve had so many, but my greatest influence is hands down my family. I am blessed to have two parents from very different backgrounds and an incredible older sister that have loved and supported me through everything –even this ‘growing my hair out’ stage (although it is really tough for my dad!)… But on a serious note, they have taught me so much about accepting myself and the power of unconditional love, and anything I am able to accomplish in my life will stem off of the foundation that they’ve built for me.

IMG_0215  matt3

By Deb Matsuura

How was Hawaii?

Guest Blogger Leila K., former NU Co-op PT student writes about her time spent with our Ohana.

People are curious when you have been far away for a long time. “How was Hawaii?” they would ask me over and over again. I had a hard time answering them. How could I describe such an incredible experience without making them listen to me go on for hours? Amazing doesn’t even begin to cover it. My experience was positive in so many dimensions and I learned so much from it, if I was forced to distill my time in Hawaii at Fukuji and Lum into a considerately short series of phrases, I would say that I found a home there, a place that I hold in my heart, and that I dream of returning.

leila1

One thing I tell people when they ask me about my experience is that I never once woke up dreading to go to work. Even though I had to wake up super early every morning (which is not easy for me I am not an early morning person at all), I looked forward to go to work. Everyone at Fukuji and Lum was so positive and fun to work with. There was never a dull moment! I learned something from every person I worked with.

Working at the clinic, pool, and pool front office allowed me to experience so many different aspects of the physical therapy profession. It was amazing to watch people make improvements in the pool and then to watch them continue to improve on land. It was very rewarding. Working at the front desk showed me how complicated patient care can be. I learned a lot about the importance of interdisciplinary communication from working at the front desk. 

When I wrote my first blog post, I wrote down all the things I wanted to do before I left the island. I am glad to say that I did get to hike Stairway to Heaven and the Pill Boxes at sunrise and I ate an enormous amount of acai and pitaya bowls that I miss so dearly. I even got to learn how to hula dance! Unfortunately I never got to swim with dolphins but I did get to see both dolphins and whales from shore so I can settle with that!

[one_half] If I hadn’t co-oped in Hawaii, I may not have the three new sibling-friends that I have now. Ashley, Justin and Colby became my family and I don’t know what I would do without each of them in my life. From sliding down muddy mountains in the dark with Ashley, watching Colby almost die in the ocean multiple times, and watching Justin cook 10 pounds of chicken at a time, I have so many special memories with each of them.

When I completed my co-op I knew that I had learned so much from working at Fukuji and Lum. I had no idea how much I had absorbed until I was sitting in my spring and summer lecture halls and actually making connections from what I saw on co-op in my classes. It was really amazing to realize exactly how much I learned. I feel so much more confident in my skills in school because of what I learned at Fukuji and Lum. 

One of the best parts about my co-op experience was the Fukuji and Lum family. You all accepted us right away and I felt so welcome. You all made being so far from home much easier and I cannot thank you all enough for that. I think about Hawaii every day and I can’t wait until I can go back again.

Love and Aloha,
Leila

leila3  IMG_2662
leila4

By Mark Yanai

Justin S: A Hui Hou

coop 2016

In this week’s blog, Justin reflects on his new experiences at F&L while living and learning about the Hawaiian culture.

Reflections of a Co-Op

by Justin S.

To say I enjoyed my 6 months in Hawaii would be an understatement. I worked with amazing patients and coworkers, learned more than I could have ever expected, and thoroughly enjoyed living in the most beautiful place I have ever seen.
Justin S hike

I felt like a valuable part of a team while working at Fukuji & Lum. Even though it was my first time working in a physical therapy setting, I was trusted and given many responsibilities. It was an incredibly welcoming place to work. While searching for a co-op, the biggest thing I took from the Fukuji & Lum website was being part of their ohana. Family day, potlucks, and the Christmas party were great ways to get to know everybody. I think Art and I combined for about 10 plates of crab legs. Rachel happily invited the co-ops to her house for Thanksgiving and Christmas. It was such a kind gesture and we had a very fun time! This is just one example, but everybody that I worked with went out of their way to make sure my experience was fun and educational.

Justin S pool

The patients I worked with were fantastic. They taught me a lot about life in Hawaii, looked to me for help with exercises, and were great to talk story with. I will always remember these relationships that helped make my experience so great. I was so fortunate to be presented with t-shirts, poke bowls, and homemade foods from these great people.
Justin S Tri

There were many firsts for me in Hawaii. I completed my first triathlon in September. It was a lot of fun and I couldn’t have done it without the swimming help from my coworkers at the pool. I had my first poke bowl my first day on Oahu, and it became a staple in my diet ever since. When working in Kailua, I would always pop over to Foodland for lunch to grab a spicy ahi bowl. I still crave them every day. I surfed for the first time in Waikiki about a week into my stay. Thereafter, I practiced when I could and steadily improved over the 6 months. I’m no Kelly Slater, but I have a lot of fun trying.
Justin S surfing

Everyone always asked if the four co-ops knew each other before arriving in Hawaii. We met up for dinner once, but honestly had no clue who the other three were. Within a week, we bought a car together and were hanging out at the beach and watching Hawaii Five-O every day. Every weekend was filled with fun trips to town, Hawaii Kai, or the North Shore. It made all of us happy to hear that we were the closest group of co-ops that has come through. Ashley, Colby, Leila and I will always have oodles of awesome memories together that we will never forget. Even with our busy schedules, we are still able to see each other occasionally, most recently with a trip to Pokeworks, Boston’s attempt at replicating the divine Hawaiian dish. It wasn’t as good as the ones made in Hawaii, and it was really cold outside, but we still had fun.
Justin S boston

I will always be grateful for this experience, which has undoubtedly been the best 6 months of my life. Mahalo nui loa to everyone who made this experience so awesome.

 

A hui hou,

Justin