Thursday, December 30, 2010

ship of dreams turned Classica nightmare, part 1

I'm not exactly sure why I have always yearned to visit Italy.  I used to justify it by the fact that the apostle Paul desperately desired to return to Rome.  Whether it's an accurate comparison or not (and it's not), my life dream has been to travel to Italy and Greece and, more specifically, to Rome.
at Piazza de Ferrari in Genoa, Italy

I have attended many dance auditions.  I was one person away from working at Ocean Dome in Japan.  I have auditioned several times for Disney (of course).  I have auditioned for cruise lines and shows, etc.  Is it a fun experience?  No.  It is nerve-wracking, nauseating, horrific.

The morning of May 6, 1999, you would have found me at yet another cruise line audition at Debbie Reynolds studios in L.A.  After learning several routines and having a handful of people stare at, critique, and correct me, the casting director asked everyone except me to leave the room.

"How soon can you leave?"

"How soon do you need me?"

"We needed you last week.  Rehearsals are already in progress for a cruise in Europe.  You are quick to pick up choreography, you make the corrections when told, and we would like you to join the cast."

"I'd have to make sure my roommate is taken care of and my job is ok with me leaving so soon.  Can I call you back later?"

"Yes, call me tonight."  She handed me a folder of paperwork and her business card.


As I left the room, a friend excitedly stopped me and asked me what had happened.

I got in my car, I pulled out the folder they had given me and looked over the ship's itinerary: Italy, Croatia, Greece.  I sat in shock for a moment, then I drove to a Denny's around the corner so I could find the nearest pay phone.  I called Denise, my spiritual mentor, and my mom.

I was excited about the opportunity and nervous about my job and my roommate being taken care of.

First Stop, Disneyland.  I drove to Disney and hightailed it to the parade office.  I spoke with the choreographer to see if he would be ok with me taking this opportunity and he encouraged me to do it.  As a Disneyland Parade dancer, it is very easy to get trapped in the parade dancer role and never break free.  And very difficult to promote yourself to a higher paying entertainment job within the company.  I don't know why this is.  But only a handful of people are able to get away from parades and become a union dancer for the various stage shows in the Park.  The pay rate is significantly higher and dancers are well taken care of.  I believe David (the choreographer mentioned) knew this and encouraged me to take my dancing career to another level.  All I had to do was give two weeks notice and then fill my part in the parade for those two weeks.  Within minutes, I had the parts filled.

Next stop, home ...and a chat with my new roommate.  She told me it was no problem for me to leave.

Suddenly, within only a few hours, I was free of my commitments and able to go halfway around the world.  It seemed God was opening the doors for me to go, so I made the call to the casting director and 3 days later, on Mother's Day, I hugged my mom and family goodbye from the San Diego Airport and caught my flight to Florida where I would meet the rest of the cast and begin what I believed would be the adventure of my life.

It was an adventure, but not a good one.

Have you ever pursued something that you really thought was God's will but turned out to be one of the most horrible and traumatic experiences of your life?

The exciting and blessed time I anticipated resulted in rejection, persecution of my beliefs, criticism, a feeling that God forgot about me, an ungodly boyfriend, moral compromise, false accusation, and ultimately my firing and disembarkation from the ship.

How is that?  Italy and Greece were dreams of mine.  I was the only one accepted at this audition.  It seemed God had taken care of my job and living situation.  Things seemed to be falling into place.  Doors seemed to be opening.
But a nightmare ensued.

I'm not sure whether this adventure was in His will or not.  I don't know how many of the unfortunate events were a result of me being out of His will or me just not responding to the situations that arose as I should have.
"And no wonder!  For satan himself masquerades as an angel of light." ~2 Corinthians 11:14
"Desire without knowledge is not good, and whoever makes haste with his feet misses the way." ~Proverbs 19:2 

More soon....


  1. I remember your trip how disapointed you were when you came back. Look how awwesome your life has turned out for His good. If you think on it sometime he lets us have the things we think we want just to show us how much we didn't really need them. Miss you.

  2. I am anxiously awaiting the next part. I never knew any of this after you left disney. I knew you were graded on a cruise shop but that's where the story ended for me. I too left disney to work at a soap opera inproduction, achieving my dream realize how miserable, upset, and depressed it me made me, not to mention the kind of person I would have been had I stayed. I can't wait to hear the next part of your journey.

  3. Thanks girls.
    Yes, Jen, it was horrific! I am sorry you experienced a similar disappointment.

    Maybe that IS the lesson in this. Things aren't always what they seem and the grass is not greener. Never thought of it from that point-of-view before.

    Here's to healing from ALL of life's disappointments! Bless you, sweet Jen! And my dear Kori!

  4. Love you Kori! I am truly blessed to have you as a friend. Thank you for sharing. I don't know what I would have done without you on the Volendam. -Erika