By Hillary Lau

Meet Our Northeastern University Co-op, Ahaan!

Let's meet Ahaan, our third Coop student, who is studying physical therapy at Northeastern and working with us for the next six months. You can find him assisting our therapists at our Kailua and Honolulu clinics.

 

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

I attended Inventure Academy, an international school in Bangalore, India. Currently, I’m a Physical Therapy student at Northeastern University in Boston.

 

What drew you to physical therapy?

I loved sports and biology (anatomy) and wanted to do something along those lines keeping both interests in mind. I wanted to do ‘sports medicine’ and so physical therapy fit my requirements perfectly.

 

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

I had been to Hawaii (Kauai) for a holiday the summer of 2018 and loved the week I had spent over there. Furthermore, I heard only wonderful things from classmates who had done the same coop a year and a half ago. I love to travel and so taking all those factors into consideration, including spending another winter in Boston, it was a very favorable decision to make to come to Hawaii.

 

What has been your experience like so far?

Two months in, I’ve met a bunch of amazing, talented, friendly, loving and caring people who love what they do and want nothing but the best for people. They have been a major influence in my experience thus far and the way I look at things. Besides the people, Oahu is a wonderful place with a lot of wonderful things to offer, right from hikes to beaches, from restaurants to hangout spots. I love my time here so far and look forward to spending the next 4 months here.

 

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

Spam! I have tried it a couple of times and unfortunately haven’t developed a pallet for it. Just asking people around what spam is sort of gives you an idea as to how it’d taste. So far, Spam 2-0 Ahaan.

 

What is on your to do list while here?

Surfing, hiking, golfing and scuba diving and trying out local Hawaiian restaurants/cuisine. I’d really like to explore as much of Oahu as possible and make sure I’ve covered every place suggested to me by people.

What kind of therapist do you hope to be?

I hope to be a therapist that listens to their patients, treats the person and not just the injury and one that is able to influence people in making lifestyle changes rather than just a short term difference. At this point in PT school, I’m passionate about getting into sports PT and working with athletes but am not opposed to another setting, should I seem to love working in that setting.

 

Who is your greatest influence in your life?

Its difficult for me to pick a person simply because I learn from everyone around me and learn from traits and habits that I think would make me a better person and someone who is happy with myself. I’d say my parents have the biggest influence, with the addition of coaches and high school friends in shaping me into the person I am today. I learnt a lot from playing both team and individual sports and am very grateful for its impact on my life.

By Hillary Lau

Meet Our Northeastern University Co-Op, Kendall!

F&L welcomes our second Coop this semester, Kendall, to Hawaii and to our 'Ohana. Kendall works at our Kaneohe clinics and pool. She shared a little about herself and her thoughts on why she wants to become a physical therapist.

 

What school did you attend in high school and what's your current college?
I attended East Lyme High School in Connecticut and am currently enrolled in the DPT program at Northeastern University.

 

What drew you to physical therapy?
My family led a very active lifestyle growing up. Being always on the move, involved in sports, and active outdoors, I became very interested in the human body. I found myself constantly asking questions about how our bodies worked, especially captivated by the way that we move. Acquiring injuries while growing up, I realized how much we take movement for granted. It is frustrating and debilitating when your body fails you, and as I began to explore career options, physical therapy stood out to me as a way to help people who are struggling with that loss of independence. I enrolled in the 6 year DPT program at NEU somewhat on a whim, but once beginning my classes, meeting inspirational professors, and finding classmates who I share so many values and ideals with, I quickly fell in love with the field and never looked back.
Why did you want to do your co-op in Hawaii?
Growing up in Connecticut and going to school in Boston, I have spent all of my life so far in New England. Although I love the beautiful east coast, I found myself itching to see new places and immerse myself in new cultures. When I heard about the opportunity to work at Fukuji and Lum, I knew immediately that it was what I was looking for. Being able to travel to a new place and experience a new culture all while learning and practicing PT could not be more ideal.
 
What has been your experience like so far?
Being here has surpassed all expectations. Life is busy, as our free time is often spent hiking, surfing, or exploring - we are never bored or looking for things to do. But somehow, amidst all the activity, life is also slow. The laid back "aloha lifestyle" allows plenty of time for self reflection, relaxation, exploring new hobbies, or just sitting and taking in the view. The people here have been nothing but welcoming and are all eager to help us have the best experience we can in our 6 months on the island and I cannot wait to see what else is in store for us.
What's the strangest thing that you've eaten since arriving?
Manapua!
 
What is on your to do list while here?
Just about everything. I may have already filled a whole notebook (or two) with recommendations of things to do and places to see from patients and coworkers. Every time we check something off I find myself adding at least two more to the never ending list. I only hope 6 months is enough time to make a dent. But in addition to the bucket-list items, one of the biggest things I want to accomplish while I am here is to come out of this experience with a greater sense of self and purpose. What better place to find out more about yourself than on an island in the pacific?
What kind of therapist do you hope to be?
That is exactly what I am here to figure out. I came into PT school with an open mind and have been overwhelmed by the variety of different paths you can take in the PT field. My first co-op was in an inpatient setting and I surprised myself with how much I enjoyed it. I still wanted to do my second co-op outpatient so that I could get a feel for both settings. For now, I am focusing on learning from as many different therapists as I can begin to build my own style with pieces from each therapist I have shadowed. However, I can already tell you for sure that I will be carrying the "aloha spirit" with me in my practice for the rest of my life. I have been so inspired by the amount of compassion and attention given to each patient here at F&L. The aloha spirit is true and genuine and I hope to be able to take with me wherever I may end up.
 
Who is your greatest influence in your life?
I have been finding people to inspire me everywhere I go. Initially my parents and family members were my greatest source of inspiration. Beginning school, I found many professors and classmates who have left a great impact on my life and who I am. And now, working in the field, my coworkers and mentors have been proving to be just as influential in who I am becoming and where I want to go in life. 
 
Can't say enough good things about this experience so far. Mahalo, F&L for accepting me in to your ohana (and also for an excuse to miss a New England winter)
By Hillary Lau

Meet Our Northeastern University Co-Op, Samantha!

It's a new year and a new semester in Hawaii for Northeastern students who come every six months to work with our therapists and learn about the physical therapy profession. This semester we are fortunate to have seven Coop students (6 physical therapy majors,1 Health Science major) on staff.

Let's meet Samantha, our Coop student at the Kailua clinic.

What school did you attend in high school and what's your current college?
I attended Fourways High School, a public school in South Africa and then moved to Boston for college. I currently study Physical Therapy at Northeastern University.

What drew you to physical therapy?
Being an active child involved in lots of sports sometimes resulted in injuries which ultimately led me to Physical Therapy. I had a great relationship with my PT and always looked forward to my appointments. I learnt more about the profession through being a patient and was motivated by my therapist to keep up with my rehab. I love to keep active and busy and have always had an interest in human anatomy and movement so Physical Therapy seemed to be the perfect fit! Through my observations in the field and classes to date, I continue to believe that PT will be a very fulfilling profession to enter.


Why did you want to do your co-op in Hawaii?
That magic of Aloha made its way to Boston and the thought of being able to come to Hawaii captured me from the moment I heard of this incredible opportunity. The stories told by previous co-ops about crystal clear waters, movie-like jungle hikes and welcoming, friendly co-workers were hard to forget. Through information sessions about Fukuji + Lum, I found out about their unique model on patient care and how their patients and co-workers became their Ohana. I was intrigued.  Skipping the Boston winter was an added benefit!

What has been your experience like so far?
Every experience I have had since coming to the island has been one for the books! My roommates and I never miss an opportunity to attempt a new hike, find a hidden beach or explore any and every town we come across. There has not been a dull moment since we arrived two months ago.

What's the strangest thing that you've eaten since arriving?
The strangest thing I have eaten here is SPAM! I am glad I tried it for the full Hawaiian experience, but I think I will be leaving that to the locals from now on.

What is on your to do list while here?
I would love to leave the island being able to catch more than 1-wave a day on a surfboard! I need to put in more hours than I have currently been doing to achieve this goal though. I am also looking forward to swimming with sharks soon.

What kind of therapist do you hope to be?
In the near future, I hope to be the kind of the therapist that is interested in my patients as more than just an injury. I hope to use the model that I have learnt at Fukuji & Lum to try to understand my patient as a whole – from understanding what they are going through personally to looking at all their body systems and movement patterns regardless of what they feel is the only issue.

Who is your greatest influence in your life?
My parents are my biggest role models and have the most influence on my life. They are supportive of all my decisions and inspire me to put effort and passion into all I do. They have molded me into the person I am today and I am inspired daily to make them proud.

By Hillary Lau

Talia’s Co-op Reflection

Since returning from Hawaii, I have reunited with many friends and family that I have not seen for 6 months, and I have discovered that most of these interactions begin in the same way. First, they tell me that I look really tan and I assure them that it won’t last long and I’ll be back to my East Coast paleness in no time. Then they ask, “How was Hawaii?”, which always stresses me out because there is no possible way I could answer that question truthfully without talking for 5 hours straight or maybe more. In 6 months I saw more, did more, and learned more than I could have ever imagined. I feel that I got the chance to explore pretty much the whole island, and every new adventure seemed to offer a teaching moment.

There was the time we made the decision on a whim to walk out to Chinaman’s Hat, simply because we were driving by on the way to North Shore and the tide happened to look low. It was something we had been talking about doing for a while but didn’t know much about the best way to get there. People had previously told us that we needed kayaks or at least some kind of flotation device, waterproof bags, etc. but we were completely unprepared so I waded/swam out and climbed to the top of the summit in nothing but a swimsuit and my hiking boots (which were soaked for the rest of the day being the only pair of shoes I had brought). I also left my phone behind completely, which is very rare for me. This ended up being one of my favorite excursions because it was so spontaneous. I was used to planning ahead of time and being able to bring everything we might need for whatever weekend activities we decided to do, but from that moment on I was less worried about that and more willing to go with the flow. I learned to explore my surroundings with an open mind even when I didn’t exactly know where I was going, because it would often result in a new discovery. Hawaii pushed me to venture into the unknown, a task I will continue to take on as I come across unfamiliar classes, people, and clinical settings moving forward with my education.

Diamond Head became my favorite place to surf, and here I learned to revel in the power of the ocean as I spent the majority of my time there getting pummeled by waves. Yet at the same time, I was also able to appreciate the serenity found in nature; one of my favorite routines was to go for a swim at Ala Moana then fall asleep on the sand to the sound of the beach. Our 6 hour hike up Mt. Ka’ala was another beautiful example of finding enjoyment in the outdoors. I originally approached the challenge with the singular goal to successfully summit the tallest peak in Oahu, but I was surprised to find that even though the views waiting for us at the top were pretty cool, I actually enjoyed the entire process of trudging up steep hills and scrambling up muddy rock walls even more. The phrase “it’s about the journey, not the destination” may seem overused, but I truly did internalize it that day. I have since used the experience to remind me not to get so caught up in checking things off my list that I forget to appreciate the process. This is especially important as I return to my busy life at school and my first Gross Anatomy class; I have found I am more conscious now of the way I study and learn, taking the time to revel in the beauty of the human body and how it works rather than simply memorizing what I need to pass the test.

Since my first rock jump at Waimea Bay, I have jumped off of many more ledges and cliffs of varying heights, I have swung on frayed ropes into icy waterfall ponds, I swam with sharks, and I went skydiving for the first time. I won’t lie, I got scared every time I was at the brink of the jump, looking down at the dive I was about to take, regardless of how often I’d done it before. But I never backed down because I learned to accept my fear as an ever present challenge constantly pushing me to test the limits of my courage. Now I apply this skill every time I force myself to go outside into the frigid cold of Boston.

I also biked over the H3 when I did my first Olympic triathlon here in Hawaii, and I will never forget the amazing feeling of flying down the mountain I had just used all my energy to ascend as the beauty of Kaneohe Bay unfolded in front of me. I know I could not have done it without the help of those around me who encouraged me, lent me a bike, helped me transport all of my gear, gave me training tips, and overall provided me with the support I needed to believe in myself and my abilities. The warm and welcoming people I have met in Hawaii have shown me that I should not be hesitant to ask for help, as it can open doors to new and rewarding opportunities. And after everything I have seen and experienced for the past 6 months, it has become clear to me that humans were made to help each other out.

Of course, I did work a bit in between our island excursions. Though my time at the clinic rarely felt like “work” because I loved being around my coworkers and patients so much. I was incredibly fortunate to be surrounded by so many great teachers who were always willing to help me learn and grow as a therapist. From my time at WORC and the pool, I have learned so many unique methods of rehabilitation and exercise that have shown me how physical therapy can integrate creativity, health science, and empathy into a plan of care that encompasses the patient as a whole. This co-op has reaffirmed my choice in career path, and I am excited to return to my studies with the real life context and passion for my job that I gained here.

When I look back on my time in Hawaii, I will definitely miss the warm weather, fantastic sunsets and sunrises, eating poi with a spoon and Foodland poke bowls. But what will stay with me the most is the sense of acceptance and belonging I was given by everyone at Fukuji and Lum. My fondest memories are of the times I got to spend with these people, from holiday potlucks, to crazy outfits, to early morning WODs. I have come to consider them my ‘Ohana and I will never forget the lessons they have taught me in the power of gratitude and compassion. Leaving Hawaii was hard – I lost count of the number of times I cried during that last week – but I will always keep the places, people, and experiences there close to me, as a special piece of Aloha in my heart.  

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.   [one_third]
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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.

  IMG_6354       kyle1  

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kyle2 [/one_third]

[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? [/two_third_last]

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[one_half] 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. [/one_half]

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kyle3 [/one_half_last] 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.

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.[/two_third]
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[/one_third_last] 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.

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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.  [/one_half]

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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

Tiffany – “My Hawaiian Adventure”

I am so thankful for my time at Fukuji and Lum. This incredible experience is something I can never forget. As the weather in Boston begins to cool, I cannot help but reminisce about my time in Hawaii. The people in Hawaii, especially at Fukuji and Lum, are so friendly and loving. It is during these 6 months that I began to understand and even adopt the aloha spirit.

Our flight began in Boston, where I was wearing a hat and scarf. I was excited, but also nervous to begin a new co-op experience 5,000 miles away from home. Before Hawaii, I had never been so far from my family for more than a month, and now I was leaving for six months! From the moment I stepped into the clinic, I know I had absolutely no reason to be nervous.

[one_half] My first day at the Honolulu clinic I was greeted by Lynn at the front desk and I remember thinking how welcoming she was. I also met Art, Shaw, Mike, Mana and Michelle that day and they were all great and willing to teach me about the clinic. Everyone at Fukuji and Lum are great teachers with an inspirational passion for learning about physical therapy.[/one_half][one_half_last]IMG_9087 [/one_half_last]

Through the six months I was there, I got to meet more amazing people such as Taryn, Julie, Jenni, Blayse, Brittany and Chloe. There was so much for me to learn as I had never worked at an outpatient clinic before. The staff was excited to learn about new techniques and exercises that optimally helped our patients. It was so amazing to see the bond all the staff had with each patient. I began to understand the important role ohana has at Fukuji and Lum.

 As a co-op student I was able to develop my skills and knowledge relating to physical therapy. Working with different therapists and patients helped me grow as a student and future professional. I remember in one of our staff meetings at the beginning of this co-op, I was asked what I am most looking forward to during my experience. I said that I was excited to see my course work integrated into real practice; and that was exactly what I saw. This also works in reverse, because I can take what I learned from Fukuji and Lum and combine it with my future courses.

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On top of being able to work alongside these inspiring, hard-working people, I was able to explore the beautiful islands as well. I lived with two of the other co-ops, Jamie and Rose, and we were lucky enough to live just five minutes from the beach. Once we settled in, we began making a check list of hikes and beaches we needed to visit during our six month stay. With the other co-ops Tim and Dan, we got to visit beaches along the North shore, have some of the best fish tacos ever and hike breath-taking trails like the Kuli’ou’ou ridge.

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We were also lucky enough to visit some of the other islands! Getting to see the lava against a starry sky on the big island was magnificent. Completing the 11-mile Na Pali coast hike on Kauai is one of my greatest accomplishments. Each of the islands were so unique, and I am so happy I was able to experience a few of them!

This experience was enriching in so many ways. I gained a greater understanding of the physical therapy field and what kind of therapist I want to become. Through working at Fukuji and Lum I saw of the impact we can have on patients both through excellent and compassionate care. Thank you again to everyone at Fukuji and Lum and I know that I will always have ohana in Hawaii!

Mahalo and Aloha!

Tiffany

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