Finding Balance: Work, Play, Service

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Following my action-packed weekend, it was back to the grind and figuring out that work/life balance we all strive for.  Monday came with a full day of work and the start of our positive impact (PI) planning.  Members of Kairos came together to learn about how Remote Year helps the communities in which we live, and the organizations we would partner with over the next four months.  With work complete and PI leadership roles identified, Ahi and I were off to the best (aka only?) taco joint in Split – To Je Tako – for dinner.  While waiting for a table, we were treated to stunning night views and glimpses of fireworks.

Tuesday brought about our first track event with a visit to the Brodosplit Shipyard, the largest in Croatia.  The history of this industry within Croatia is fascinating, with Split being the main port of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia for it’s ship building and maintenance capabilities.  Split ship making has been a pioneer in the industry, and is very highly regarded throughout the world.  They design and build all sorts of vessels – a jack of all ship trades.  As much as I would love to give you a full run-down, I’m not the history buff this lesson deserves.  Brodosplit is sure to give you a better historical account than I ever could!  Explore their site – there’s all sorts of cool information.

I’m going to nerd out and tell you all about how cool it is to tour an industrial park in Europe.  First, we stopped in the museum area to see models of ships designed and built by the company.  This is generally where my American tour would begin and end.  However, the architect of our group smartly asked if we could see any of the blueprint designs, giving us the opportunity to visit with and speak to members of the design department.  So cool!

Then came the real tour – and we got to see EVERYTHING.  We donned our hard hats and set off to learn about the ship making process.  We started in the rail yard area, where steel slabs are brought in to be cleaned, cut, bent and painted for each ship.  As we walked through, we watched men control the cutting machines and wondered how others were able to bend steel so accurately without the use of a computer!  We visited the wood workshop where things like doors and railings are made, and then boarded a newly built ship that was in the stages of interior work prior to launch.  We wandered through the new vessel as workers put in duct work, railings, swimming pools…imagine a cruise ship behind the walls, under the floors and without ceiling tiles.  It was the muscular structure of the ship on full display!  I would never get to see that at home.  My only wish was that we were still in town for Brodosplit’s next boat launch – unfortunately it was one week after our departure.

If you ever find yourself in Split, I highly recommend a visit to see this fascinating place.  I have no idea if we had a specialized tour, but I would do it again in a heartbeat.

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After a mind boggling morning at the shipyard, it was back to WiP for our first knowledge share on becoming a Slack ninja.  If you haven’t heard of Slack, check it out!  It covers instant messaging, file sharing, and so much more.  It has definitely upped my emoji game 💯.  After a quick dip in the sea, it was time for a late night of work – flexible hours a perk of being remote.

The most important part of remote work is actually doing the work! While I made time for another lovely lunch at Dvor and soaked in the sun at Mistral Beach Bar to keep my energy flowing, my transition day was quickly approaching as I worked to close out projects and transition my knowledge.

Friday night found us preparing for our first PI fundraiser!  But before the drinking could begin, we needed food.  In search of pizza, Erica and I found ourselves lost in the wilds of Znjan, hiking through fields and climbing fences in our flip flops, as our staircases and paths led to nowhere.  But the unexpected can make for the best adventures and we eventually stumbled across a cute little pizza place that was happy to take our order.  We sipped on rosé until dinner was ready and set off to find a new path home in time for the big event.

While I had still been dreaming about the shipyard, the other half of our Kai-rew visited a Croatian craft brewery, Barba, and loved the beer so much, a keg was brought in for the evening’s festivities.  Even though my partner was a newb, Tarun and I were confident we could take on the competition in our beer pong tournament as The Beerbenders.

We put up a good fight, but in the end had a few missed throws.  However, our team spirit & class made us winners in our own hearts.  We cheered on the remaining competitors, and joined in other games.  One highlight of my evening was learning the moves to Cups by Anna Kendrick – that song in Pitch Perfect that we all know and love!  In the end, we all had a great time and raised $400 that was split across three great causes – Yugen Build, an animal shelter and a disability home in Split.

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While some moved the party on to Old Town, it was time for me to relax in preparation for the weekend’s adventures.  I met with my friend John to analyze the past two weeks, how we were managing, and the delicate balancing act that is the remote experience.  It was a time to reflect and regroup before the action and adventure kicked off the next morning!

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