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

Aloha Emily!

Emily, our second Co-op this semester, travels back and forth over the mountain from the Kailua to the Honolulu Clinic every week. She shares a little about herself and her experience so far being on the island.

I am a 3rd year physical therapy major at Northeastern University in Boston. I grew up just outside Philadelphia where I attended Methacton High School.

My greatest influence in life has always been my mom. She is such a kind-hearted person who always puts the needs of others before herself. She is a pediatric physical therapist and her endless passion and love for the job is what first inspired me to pursue physical therapy. My family also runs a therapeutic horseback riding program, which I have volunteered for ever since I was a kid. This experience teaching kid’s exercises and seeing the impact that physical therapy can have on a person’s life reaffirmed my desire to enter this profession. I hope that my exposure to using various therapeutic methods with different types of patients while on co-op will give me a better idea of what type of physical therapy I want to specialize in. I also love teaching, so someday I would like to become an instructor for courses and train other therapists skills that they can use to help their patients.

I knew that I wanted to do my co-op at Fukuji and Lum after having coffee with some of the previous co-ops. They emphasized how the clinic values forming relationships with patients, using a holistic approach to patient care, and creating a positive atmosphere to make physical therapy fun. This resonated with the type of therapist that I aspire to be and was something that I felt I would not find in any of the clinics in Boston. In addition to everything that Fukuji and Lum had to offer, the previous co-ops also talked a lot about the aloha spirit and relaxed nature of people living in Hawaii. I want to grow as a person while on co-op and I hope that living in this atmosphere for 6 months will help me learn to slow down, live in the moment, and take time to appreciate the people and events going on around me.

My experience here thus far has been incredible. Everyone at the clinic has been so welcoming and helpful as I get settled in. The way that people all treat each other like family here has made it very easy to feel at home. The views everywhere are unlike anything I’ve ever seen before and I love how every weekend there is always something new and exciting to do. It has also been amazing to try some of the local foods the island has to offer. The strangest thing I’ve eaten so far was poi. It’s color and texture made it so different from anything I’ve eaten before, but I ended up really liking it! While I’m here, I can’t wait to go on as many hikes and explore as many beaches as possible. I would also love to go skydiving, ziplining, camping, kayak to the Mokes, snorkel, do yoga on the beach, and learn to surf.

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 Deb Matsuura

Mahalo from Taylor

My time in Hawaii has come to an end, unfortunately. A lot of things have changed since my last reflection, I became more efficient with time in clinic, cultivated PT skills, created a new Ohana in Hawaii and my hair grew an inch or two. My time at F&L was very enjoyable from talking story with patients or learning new PT techniques. The staff at F&L created a comfortable and positive environment, to allow students to grow not only in their skills but in their thinking as well.
F&L offered everything; both physical therapy knowledge or tips for after graduating and best spots to check out. I was able to explore the beautiful islands of Hawaii, especially while hiking. All the locals knew where to cruise through and here are some of the beautiful views and Ono grindz Hawaii has to offer. Mahalo nui loa to the Fukuji & Lum PT Ohana for all the great experiences and teaching moments during my six months!
Mahalo,
Taylor
By Deb Matsuura

David & Erik, NEU Co-ops (cont.)

Our Co-ops have been here for a few months now, learning about physical therapy and exploring the islands. We have two more students to introduce to everyone, David and Erik, who are both post-bac Doctor of Physical Therapy students at Northeastern University.

 David

What drew you to physical therapy?
I had neuroblastoma as an infant, which was a tumor on the base of my spinal cord. This damaged some nerves that caused deficits in my right leg. So I was a patient of physical therapy as a young child, and the physical therapist that I worked with was an incredible, compassionate, and empowering woman. She was the reason I was able to participate in little league and other activities with my peers growing up, and she is the reason I entered this field and who I want to model myself after as a physical therapist and just as a good-hearted human being in general.

Why did you want to do your co-op in Hawaii?
After speaking to some of my peers that did their co-op with Fukuji & Lum in the past, I knew this was the place I wanted to be. The culture of the clinic seemed like an incredible experience, as compassionate care is one of the main goals of Fukuji & Lum, and one of the reasons I wanted to do physical therapy in the first place. The aloha spirit really drew me in, as all of the patients and employees are extremely kind and amazing to work with. I also wanted to come to Hawaii because I am a big nature lover. I love hiking and being outdoors, and this is one of the best places in the world for that. Certainly can’t top escaping the Boston winter and coming to a tropical paradise.

What has been your experience like so far?
My experience so far has been everything I could have imagined. I’ve been able to work with a diverse patient population in a variety of settings and apply a lot of the knowledge I’ve obtained in the program so far. Any down time I’ve had has been spent hiking, going to beaches, and exploring everywhere on this beautiful island.

What’s the strangest thing that you’ve eaten since arriving?
I’m a big time foodie and a pretty adventurous eater, so it’s very rare that I consider any food weird. But everything I’ve tasted here so far has been absolutely delicious. I’ve eaten poke at least every other day since being here, I can’t get enough! The only thing I was told is a bit of an acquired taste was poi, but I enjoyed that as well!

What is on your to do list while here?
While I’m in Hawaii I’d love to just go on as many hikes as possible and see as much of this beautiful island as I can. I’d also love to be able to visit a few other islands while I’m here, I already have trips to Kauai and the Big Island planned! I’m scheduled to run a half marathon in April, which will be my first one so I’m very excited.

What kind of therapist do you hope to be?
I hope to be a compassionate, spiritual, empowering, and kind-hearted therapist, just like the first PT who influenced me, and like everyone here at Fukuji and Lum. I want to help my patients improve their functioning, and help them build confidence to be better than they ever thought they could be.

      

Who is your greatest influence in your life?
I have many great people that have influenced me throughout my life, but my greatest influence has to be my grandmother. She moved in with my family to help my parents when I was sick as an infant, and she never left, so she was always around when I was growing up and helped me become the person I am today. She is an incredibly strong woman, as she was a single mother and worked a few jobs at any given time to help support my mom and my uncle. She’s now 76 and still works full time and does a lot of house and yard work; she never stops moving!
Answering the same above questions as David, Erik shares his thoughts about Hawaii and being a PT student.

 Erik

I am from New Hampshire and have a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science from Keene State College, and currently pursuing a Doctorate in Physical Therapy at Northeastern University in Boston, MA. I have always wanted a career in helping people since I was young and experienced my brother battle cancer for years. I myself have been to physical therapy twice for different sports-related injuries and found that it would be a highly rewarding career. I believe my balance with helping others and exercise science is a perfect blend in the physical therapy world.

There are a couple big reasons as to why I wanted to do my co-op in Hawai’i. First, I have never been to the island(s) and wanted to experience something new and different that Boston would not be able to offer. Second, Fukuji & Lum Physical Therapy gave me the feeling that I would be able to work closely with other patients and receive an invaluable co-op experience.

Thus far, my experience in Hawai’i has been amazing. While I’ve only been here for three full weeks, between hiking, snorkeling, and eating the local food I feel as I have begun to settle here and become more accustom to the island life. I would not say that I have eaten anything strange since arriving; however, the random snacks that have been offered to me at work are definitely unique to say the least.

My “to-do” list while I am here is to do a lot of hiking and swimming. Thus far, I am on the right track with hiking every weekend but I want to continue seeing new viewpoints and snorkeling in different reefs. Another thing on my bucket list while I am here is to visit at least two other islands.

     

I hope to be the type of therapist to always advocate for my patients, create a friendly work environment with those around me, and constantly learn new ways to treat impairments. I have several great influences in my life: multiple professors, musicians, and actors, as well as my father.

 

By Deb Matsuura

New Co-ops for 2018 (Cont.)

F&L has been fortunate enough to bring on six C0-ops this semester. You’ve met Ryan and Scott, so now let’s meet 2 more: Brynn & Emily!

BRYNN
What high school did you attend and what’s your current college?
I went to Lincoln High School in Portland, Oregon and I currently attend Northeastern University.

What drew you to physical therapy?
I was born with Erb’s Palsy in my left arm and grew up going to physical therapy so it seemed like a normal part of life to me. When I was in high school I realized that I could help people just as much as my PTs had helped me and decided that that was what I wanted to do in life.

Why did you want to do your co-op in Hawaii?
I wanted to coop here in Hawaii because I was very interested in aqua-therapy and the hands on experience that the clinics offer. I also greatly enjoy traveling and immersing myself into new cultures so it seemed like the perfect fit for me.

What has been your experience like so far? 
So far I have loved every second of it and I already feel like I have learned so much both from my coworkers and from the patients.

What’s the strangest thing that you’ve eaten since arriving?
Since arriving the strangest thing that I have eaten is dried shrimp. I am not a huge fan of cooked seafood so that was an interesting experience.

What is on your to do list while here?
While I’m here I want to explore as much of the island as I can and go hiking every weekend. I want to experience as much as I possibly can and feel at home here.

      
What kind of therapist do you hope to be? 
I am not yet sure what type of therapist I want to be because there is so much that I haven’t seen and so many different patient populations that I have yet to work with. That being said, I don’t see myself working in an in-patient setting.

 

Who is your greatest influence in your life?
If I had to choose one person who has had the greatest influence in my life it would be my high school rowing coach. He is very driven and dedicated and throughout my 5 years with him taught me so many life lessons that I did not realize until I left the club.

EMILY

Aloha!
What high school did you attend and what’s your current college? 
I grew up in a small suburb outside of Boston and attended Dover-Sherborn High School. I am currently a fourth year physical therapy student at Northeastern University.

What drew you to physical therapy and why did you want to do your co-op in Hawaii?
In 9th grade I loved my biology and anatomy class (MUCH more than math class) and realized that I was fascinated by how the human body worked. I decided to complete a PT internship in a small outpatient clinic in MA and my experience confirmed that I wanted to major in PT. I worked alongside a Northeastern Co-op student who raved about her PT program and I decided Northeastern was my dream school.

I studied abroad in Greece for my first semester of college and I had an absolutely amazing experience. When I returned to Boston I knew that I wanted to embrace more opportunities at Northeastern to travel and experience new challenges. When I heard about the Hawaii Co-op I knew it was something that I wanted to pursue. Previous Co-op students would post amazing photos, share stories about their experiences, and they carried a new positive energy. Who knew that my path at Northeastern would include two study abroad programs (Greece and London) and a 6 month Co-op on the amazing island of Oahu!

What has been your experience like so far? 
The transition to Hawaii was pretty smooth and although the jet lag and adjustment to the “vog” took a slight toll on me, I became immersed in a new lifestyle right away. I got right to work training at the Kailua clinic/pool the first week on the island and before I knew it the first weekend had arrived and promised adventure. So far my friends and I have hiked Kuliouoou Ridge and Koko Head and enjoyed Waimea Bay, Sandy’s Beach, Kailua Beach, and Lanikai Beach. The second trip to the North Shore wasn’t quite as pleasant as my friends and I (along with our phones) got taken out by a wave even though we were standing 50 feet away. On the bright side now I have waterproof phone with a great camera to capture the many memories and beautiful views to come.

What’s the strangest thing that you’ve eaten since arriving? 
The strangest thing I’ve eaten since arriving is Lilikoi.I found the fruit to be pretty sour and a patient recommended that I try it again with honey and sugar which sounds pretty yummy.

What is on your to do list while here?
My ultimate Hawaii to-do list includes the usual- tan at beaches all over the island, snorkel, kayak, paddle board, and hike as many mountains at possible. I also really want to horseback ride and drive ATVs at the Kualoa Ranch, sky dive, and take surfing lessons. I also plan to try as many acai bowls on the island as possible.

What kind of therapist do you hope to be? 
My last Co-op was half inpatient/ outpatient and to my surprise I really enjoyed both types of PT. I stayed on as an inpatient aide at the hospital for weekend shifts which is why I seeked out more outpatient experience for my Co-op. I felt like a lot of the information that we learned in the past three semesters of school could be applied and built upon in an outpatient clinic. I am unsure what setting I will be in when I’m older but luckily I have time to figure it out! As a Northeastern student I am truly lucky that I have the opportunity to be exposed to a variety of physical therapy placements at hospitals, schools, and rehabilitation centers.

Who is your greatest influence in your life?
My mom has a very big influence in my life and I strive to be like her. People love to be around my mom as she is a genuine, kind person and she always puts others before her. She supports me no matter what and never fails to remind me how proud of me she is.My mom loves the ocean as she grew up in a beach town so she cannot WAIT to see the shores of Hawaii :). My friends at Northeastern also have a great impact on my life. We motivate each other to work hard in school and find a balance so that we can get through PT school but also be young and have fun. My friends always have my back and are always there for a good laugh.

By Deb Matsuura

2018 Co-ops Are Here!

Our 2018 Co-ops from Northeastern University have been with us for the past 3 months now. We have 6 PT students, the most we ever had in one semester. They are learning and working at our various clinics in Kailua, Kaneohe and Honolulu. Each student wrote a quick blog to introduce themselves, tell us a little about why they chose to study Physical Therapy and share their experiences so far since arriving in Hawaii.

Ryan & Scott

 Ryan is working at our Honolulu clinic and Kokokahi pool.

What drew you to physical therapy? A whim! After receiving my acceptance into NEU, I began looking more into their programs offered to see which interested me most. I stumbled upon the Doctorate of Physical Therapy program and thought it seemed interesting and something I could see myself doing. After my first co-op my third year, I was hooked!

Why did you want to do your co-op in Hawaii? Growing up on the west coast, I became pretty accustomed to living in warm weather year-round. After spending the past three and a half years in Boston (and in the frigid northeast winters), I felt it was time to give my mind and body the break it needed. I really enjoy traveling and trying new things so coming to Hawaii seemed like the perfect opportunity to do just that. 

[one_half]What has been your experience like so far? Excellent! Everyone at all of the clinics has been incredibly kind and inviting. I’ve been loving the warm weather and going out-and-about every weekend. These first few weeks have me extremely excited for the months to come! 

What’s the strangest thing that you’ve eaten since arriving? Poi! interesting texture and flavor, but not bad! I loved the way it slid down my throat! nice and gooey!

What is on your to do list while here? While here I really want to go skydiving! I also plan on running a half marathon in April and getting in better shape. I also want to be able to touch my toes by the end of June. 

What kind of therapist do you hope to be? As of now, I am unsure exactly what kind of physical therapist I want to be. I hope to one day work in an outpatient setting with a diverse patient population. I am hoping that my time here at F&L will help me narrow down my search and help me decide what I like and do not like. 

   

Who is your greatest influence in your life? The greatest influence I have in my life has been my incredibly caring mother. Growing up, there was not a thing she wouldn’t do to help me better myself and succeed. Her nurturing personality and abounding love motivates me everyday to be the best person I can be. 

 

 Scott works mainly at our Honolulu Clinic.

What I love about PT is the ability to teach individuals about how to safely and efficiently navigate themselves through their environments. With some MD appointments you just go in and out of the appointment. With PT you get to build a relationship with individuals as you guide them through their exercises and provide them with modalities.

I applied to do a Co-op in Hawaii because I’ve always wanted to experience living somewhere far far far away from home. Plus, the beauty that is everywhere on this island and all the stories and adventures I heard about Hawaii made me convinced I had to do my co-op here!

My experience in Hawaii so far has been UNREAL!!! It’s good to be better acquainted with the island now. I love being able to spend my free time on the beach or hiking. All my friends back home are freezing right now and I couldn’t be happier in the warmth! I hurt my leg the day of the big 55 foot waves on the North shore which is a good story I guess.

Have I eaten anything weird since I’ve arrived in the islands? Ryan cooked a medley of peppers and rice and sausage for him and me one night… it was a lot to stomach…. no but really I had never had poke until coming here, and ever since my first taste of kimchee tako I’ve fallen in love!

To do list: Learn how to surf! Hike every mountain I can and do some sunrise hikes! Learn more about Hawaiian culture! Go to the beach and chiiiiiiiilllllll!

   
I want to be a therapist that can analyze impairments and dysfunctions methodically and critically. More so than that, I also want to be the type of therapist that is able to listen and empathize with my patients fully, provide answers to their questions, and help guide them on their journey of rehab.

My greatest influence would have to be my dad. People tell me a lot that I act just like him. He taught me the importance of being easy going and positive while also recognizing when it’s time to be serious and focus. He also taught me a great deal about confidence and determination. Because of him, when I set my eyes on a goal, it’s pretty impossible to tear me away from it until I achieve it. I wouldn’t be the student, future therapist, or person I am today if it were not for him.
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

Kyle’s Co-op Memories

After spending 6 months at Fukuji & Lum, I’ve learned a lot and am thankful for everyone who went out of their way to help and teach me. For example, when I started, I was 2 months out of a shoulder surgery and Shaw, Taryn, Mark, and Art all took time to help me through and make sure I was on track.

Every day after work, Lynn would drive me to the bus stop so I could make the early bus home and not have to wait another hour. If I was a little overwhelmed on a busy shift Mike or Jenny would help me out with a patient or two. Everyone helped each other out, and it made me want to do the same. This is the Fukuji & Lum culture that took me a few months to really get a grasp of, but looking back I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

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[two_third_last]In what other company could you be wrapped up in toilet paper and made to look like a bride for a game at a wedding shower? Where else could a student attend a continuing education course? Or how about play pickup basketball with other employees every Tuesday night?

Is it crazy to go all the way to a clinic on the Windward side, from the Honolulu clinic, just to take part in the katsu curry lunch on Fridays? What about dressing up every single day of October for PT month?

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While there may be a company where you can say yes to a few of these, at F&L I did all of those things and much more. I had the experience of doing much more than going and applying what I’ve learned in class on real patients. I had the experience of being a part of something greater than myself. It wasn’t just about treating patients, it was about loving & growing together as a family, and we sure did.

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On top of all the work-related memories, the other Co-ops and I ventured far and wide intra-island and inter-island. We explored mountains, valleys, and beaches. In between we explored sandwich shops, waterfalls, shave-ice stands, and our favorite poke places. The best part of these adventures was never the location or the food, but rather getting to know each other better.

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Words can’t fully express my 6-months in Hawaii, but they don’t need to. The employees of F&L, including the other students, Matt, Stevie, Liz, and Grace, share our memories and I find peace in knowing they will live on for the rest of our lives.

A hui hou Hawaii.