Tuesday, September 1, 2009

MV Explorer

I am surrounded by ocean as far as I can see in any direction. About a thousand miles from shore in either direction. It was a surreal experience leaving the Halifax harbor. As we left port, everyone on the ship crowded the railings to cheer on the crew as they threw the heavy lines into the water. Bagpipes were playing as the MV Explorer left the dock. At the mouth of the harbor family members gathered with signs and Canadian flags. We could barely make them out, but saw camera flashes coming from that beach. My roommate Molly and I oohed and ahhed at the beautiful scene of the harbor activity.

A group of us pulled chairs to the railing, watched North America shrink behind us, and chatted eagerly about the adventures to come.

It is a ship not a boat. It is a voyage not a cruise. Captain Jeremey takes his job seriously, so does the rest of the crew. I am definitely not complaining about the towel service and the fact that my bed is made pristinely every morning, but when it comes to our favorite activity of cards, specifically spoons, and the crew will not relinquish silverware to us, then it’s a little overbearing.

There are so many interesting people on this ship. Each meal, each lecture, each card table, I meet new people. Everyone is so different yet so intrinsically connected by this amazing fact that we are sailing around the world together. Courtney (SLU/ Miami) and I have often talked about what an unforgettable and life-changing experience freshman year of college was. However, we always conclude our conversations with, “ I would never want to go through it again though.” Yet, here I find myself not knowing anyone and going through the same introductions over and over again, “My name is Kate. I’m from Wisco. I go to Miami.. in ohio.”

Some people came with their boyfriend/ girlfriend. Some people came with other students from their school (there are 60 from san diego and 43 from Colorado-boulder). Em would be happy to know that I felt particularily at home among a group of Santa Clara students, mostly just because I thought it was really cool that they all had walkie talkies to communicate. I am totally getting a walkie talkie.

We rock and then we roll. Then we roooolllllll. And we all stumble. And I fall out of the shower. And they give out free sea sickness medecine. I don’t feel sick, I just feel intoxicated as I try to walk a straight path or fall asleep in bed. A particular challenge is working out on the fitness equipment. But, it is nice to be rocked to sleep.

Our room is bigger than expected. I have decorated the walls with pictures and a large map so we can track where we are. One of the three channels we receive on our in room television shows the location (longitutde and latitude) of the boat as well as the speed we are going. We usually average about 15 knots. The MV Explorer is currently the fastest boat of its size with the ability to outrun hurricanes and the like. However, SAS slows the boat so that we have enough time to take class and such. I think that they should just go full speed so we can hit up more countries, eh?

My classes are really interesting and will be challenging. I have three classes on A days: Diaspora: History of Immigration and it’s affect on the world, Anthropology of Food and Culture, and International Marketing. On B days I have two classes: Global Studies and Intercultural communications.

Overall: It’s been amazing. At each moment there is something going on. There are so many fun and great people. This has already been an unforgettable experience. I can’t wait to travel the world with these amazing students, teachers, and crew!