It has always been a dream of mine to sail the seven seas on a luxury cruise ship to international ports, not knowing what day it is, and just enjoying the breeze on deck.
Imagine beginning your day in the tropical paradise of Hawaii, or watching the sun set in the beautiful skyline in Reykjavik, Iceland.
Rufina Nahar is living that dream when she landed a job as an assistant pastry chef on board the six-star luxury cruise.
While this is not her first time on a cruise ship (she was a passenger on the Star Cruise in 2010), it is definitely an experience she will never forget.
“A typical day as an assistant pastry chef on board is quite demanding. I work seven days a week with an average of 13 hours a day and my crew caters to about 650-750 passengers daily. Working on the line and having to prepare desserts does come with the pressure of time and quality control,” she says.
“However, these pressures are outshined by the opportunity of being able to work under internationally known chefs be it the executive, sous or pastry chefs.”
Despite the crowd on board, Rufina admits that she gets lonely at times, being homesick and missing her friends by being away for months each time. With nothing much to do during downtime, the crew members enjoy their own little parties.
“We have parties where we have fun and relax over tacos, nachos and pizzas,” she says.
Nevertheless, working on board the luxury cruise ship has its perks. Rufina gets to use the private crew gym, sauna and spa, pool, games centre, lounge and bar. And not to mention the number of countries she has visited.
“To date, I have visited and explored the east side of the United States, Amsterdam, Cuba, Germany, Russia, Spain, England, and the Bahamas,” she says, just to name a few.
Overall, life at sea has taught Rufina to appreciate the little things in life such as taking some time to enjoy the gorgeous view of the ocean.
“Life out in the sea is exactly like the ocean. It can be interesting, unpredictable, not projectable and incalculable. Sometimes, it is calm and quiet. Sometimes, I feel like I am swimming against big waves and facing heavy storms.”
“But I am reminded of what my mum used to tell me: “In all things… give thanks to God and appreciate the little things in our lives and what we have in front of us no matter what environment or situation we are in’,” she says.
Indeed, not just as we sail the seven seas but life’s journey is like that. There are ups and downs, but at the end of the day, we should take a breather and just be thankful for what we have instead of longing for what we don’t have.
As Theodore Roosevelt once said: “Comparison is the thief of joy.”