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Newly Engaged, Cruising Across The USA Together

Bringing Along Family/Friends/Partners, Dating on the Road, Taking (Lots of) Time Off

Ryan and Hana claim that they just woke up after a long night shift…but both sound so cheerful it’s difficult to believe them. It’s easy to imagine that when these two “get up with the chickens,” as they say in Hana’s native Czech Republic, they don’t roll out of bed but rather pop up enthusiastically. Lighthearted mornings are even easier to picture considering this perfectly matched couple has a lot to wake up happy about these days. A few weeks ago Ryan knelt on a beach in Florida and asked Hana for her hand in marriage.

After a long drive from Memphis to Florida (and a quick stop to pick up fireworks along the way) Ryan planned on lighting up the night sky as he proposed. It turns out that fireworks, legal in Alabama, are banned in the Sunshine State and a nervous Hana didn’t want to set them off. Ryan didn’t want to pop the question when Hana was worried so he held off.  As Ryan explains “we never get mad at each other but I was upset it didn’t go the way I wanted it to” Hana chuckles affectionately and confesses that “he was pouting.”  In a fortuitous twist of fate the next night was their anniversary, and on that magical evening Ryan’s moonlit entreaty was further illuminated with the sparkle of fireworks as Hana gladly accepted his proposal.

The minor mishap added color to an overall fabulous experience and is symbolic of the way things have gone for the couple since the day they met. Their current sojourn in Memphis has been a pleasant detour on the road to their goal of working in Colorado. Their intrepid Aya Healthcare recruiter, Cheryl, found them their dream jobs in Denver but…the next opening was five months away. The easy going duo signed anyway and decided to take Cheryl’s advice and head to Tennessee in the interim. They have more than made the most of living in this unexpected locale, having now traveled 12,000+ miles over the last few months to “every major city, every nook and cranny in the South.” They “have seen it all.”

Before embarking on their incredible odyssey across Dixie Ryan and Hana met in Dallas, where as NICU nurses working in the same unit they were forced to share a desk 12 hours a day 5 days a week.  This situation, potentially fraught with tension, turned out to be ideal thanks to the fact that, as Hana explains it, they are “basically the same person.” They quickly discovered a shared love of music and bonded over their passionate patient advocacy. Neither of them fears stating their opinion or raising an objection when doing so is in the best interest of the patient in their care. As Ryan puts it “we are mama and papa bear” for our babies.

Ryan’s Ursine (in a good way!) qualities don’t end there. At 6’4 with “the hands of a basketball player” when caring for tiny patients, some no larger than “the size of a hot dog bun,” he has to be careful to maneuver his large digits with delicacy. But this is no big deal as he firmly believes in suffering any inconvenience and going to any length for the good of the patient. You “skip lunch and don’t pee if your patient needs you.” He laughs “you get the bladder the size of a cow and can survive eating just a few grains.”

Those of us on the non-patient facing side of healthcare are lucky in that we usually aren’t forced to go hungry to get the job done. Nevertheless the difficulties and rewards of nursing can be reflected in the life of an Aya recruiter. Ryan knows that “Cheryl’s job is hard. Hana and I have to be at the same hospital on the same schedule so we can travel together on our days off.” Despite the challenges inherent in finding positions for nurses with duplicate schedules “Cheryl has always pulled it off.” Thanks to her efforts, after their time in Colorado you may find Ryan and Hana throwing on a vinyl record and dancing in their living room (“a little AL Green goes a long way”) in San Francisco, Boston, Chicago, Seattle, Baltimore or any number of cities. They are ready for anything and consider it a “nice thing if you end up in a city that wasn’t your pick… you end up discovering and learning. That is the point of traveling. Adventure.”