Semester at Sea: The Beginning
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It may be dually noted that there are many traditions on Semester at Sea, some worth maintaining while the SAS Staff uses all precautions and punishments to avoid them. Most famously is the tradition of the “picture frames”. Behind each piece of art work in your room is signatures, notes, tips and random funny facts from previous voyagers. The paintings are difficult to get down, and to tell you the truth, I haven’t been able to get mine down yet either. We even had a few men try, however they are pretty stuck on, but one day it’s definitely coming down! A fellow voyager I had dinner with the other night said that his frame led him to a treasure map throughout his floor. He went knocking on random rooms asking to take down their frames to get another clue. What was the treasure, you may ask? It was the recipe for the ideal sandwich: Toast, Philadelphia, Peanut Butter and Cinnamon. I know what you’re thinking… unfortunately, we couldn’t find any cinnamon on board.
Other tips include “rules of romance”, such as who to date and when. The general rule on board is: don’t sleep around because the ship is small, and people will find out. Stick out two weeks and then find yourself someone. Sadly, the ship is 66% female, so it’s slim pickings for anyone who is looking.
On another note: I know you are all wondering about what it’s like your first few days on the ship. Besides the long initial safety and orientation meetings, it’s surprisingly easy-going. The ship is confusing, and still is. For some reason the staircases and hall ways don’t all connect and sometimes you have to do down two decks in order to go back up one.
Getting used to the food schedule is interesting. I still cannot figure out why breakfast ends at 8 30 am. We are college students who need sleep. I guess they never got that memo. However there is the snack bar that gives you a warm breakfast after 10 am and snacks all day, but those are all at an additional cost. (It’s still really cheap! $2 for a Burger).
Do not, and I repeat this firmly: DO NOT underestimate the rocking of the boat. If you are one who get’s motion sickness, the first day will get you lightheaded and tired. You will feel a bit of nausea, while some may be turning green others could be enjoying the rocking and be completely fine. Truth is, 5 days in and I still haven’t taken off my pressure point wrist bands. Some people tell me it’s all psychological, but even if it is, it really is working. I tried to go 20 minutes without them today and felt the nausea creep up on me again.
It’s hard to walk on the ship. Everyone is constantly bumping into one another, into walls and doors. I have walked into enough doors to last me a life time. I’m still waiting for my sea legs to grow. The other night, the ship was rocking so bad everything on my desk flew onto my bed, smacking me in the face! My roommate was literally rocked out of her bed. Our television came crashing down, not once but twice and is suffering some permanent damage of sketching out. Generally speaking: You wake up some day’s to a room that looks as if it were struck by a hurricane. Well, for us at least, the ship rerouted around the hurricane that smashed into the coast of California a few days ago.
Discussing classes: Some classes have upwards 200 people, others like my Environmental Politics class has only 7 people. It’s almost surreal the life I am currently living. Wake up in the morning, go to class where I sit in couches, go up to the top deck and read while catching some sun rays, eat some lunch, attend afternoon classes in smaller class rooms that are sectioned off from the dinning hall while I have no shoes on, and other are still in bathing suits. It’s all very relaxed, and the professors are equally as chilled.
Tomorrow we reach our first port: Hilo, Hawaii! I do not really know what is in store for me, it will be my first time on the islands of Hawaii, and we have been learning about them all week in Global Studies. I am signed up for a tour of Pearl Harbour and a snorkelling adventure in Honolulu, but other than that it looks like im spending the next few days as a beach bum!
I will update you as soon as I can! Which reminds me: I have the upmost respect for travel bloggers who are consistent in updating their blog and readers on a daily basis. I have to get into the swing of a routine, but with the limited access to internet, I have to apologize these emails will be coming sporadically.
My free email on the ship is: firstname.lastname@example.org
Send me an email with your address and we can talkJ (Unfortunately I forgot to write down everyone’s emails)