Sunday, January 31, 2010

Really...thank you!

  I have to do homework right now but I really wanted to give another round of thanks to everyone who is reading and responding and actively taking a long distance role in my life.  I can't believe how many people are reading my blog daily or even just randomly (shout out to MJ who I found out is a follower and I love it!--I can't see my blog page so I am not discriminating against anyone else this is just what I'm hearing).  But seriously, I have been quite the homesicky little wuss lately and the emails, comments, or even just the fact that I may have been added to your favorites list is the best thing I could hear.  THANK YOU THANK YOU ALL!! I truly love you!

  Also, definitely have to give a daily shout out to the one and only Bobby G, aka Dad. It's his birthday today and I wish I could be there to dance to the Beatles with him.  HAPPY BIRTHDAY POPS! I LOVE YOU!

  Will write later but believe it or not I do have to go to school on this ship as well. Pssh.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Aloha (Goodbye this time)

  Six word memoir of my trip to Hawaii:
   Paradise is found only when looking.

  Honolulu was a culture shock from Hilo.  First off I LOVED Hilo.  I expected it to look like Honolulu (filled with hotels, souvenir shops, and blond haired tan men named Rabbit trying to sell us snorkeling trips), but Hilo was a world where locals were still indigenous and the Earth still mattered.  Honolulu gave a big fat middle finger to that culture and gave Americans what they wanted-a place where they can be served U.S. style with a hint of Hawaii.

  Now don't get me wrong I still had a fantastic time.  But I needed a half an hour grace period to adjust to the fact that here I needed to be a tourist.  Waikiki Beach swallowed me whole and when I was in the middle of it I finally let myself loose and enjoyed the sunny weather.  With some friends we relaxed on the beach, took a catamaran ride and went swimming far out in the Pacific Ocean.  Also went to Margaritaville which is the cheesiest cheese fest every created no matter how much you like Jimmy Buffet. Yesterday I even headed over to Pearl Harbor just me and my friend Bailey and took a break from the groups of SAS'ers to connect a little to our past.  All of these places were a huge contrast from Akaka Falls and Volcanoes National Park on the big island but they had their place in current Hawaiian life on Oahu.  Once I appreciated the islands for the differences, the last two days were a deep breath of air before we take on the rest of the world.  Those days will probably be the last I will rest for the next three months.

  This next stretch of ocean time is 11 days. Sweet baby Jesus.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Thank You!!!

Just a quick side note.  I have been getting so many emails from everyone and I LOVE IT! KEEP THEM COMING!  I understand it takes me a few days to respond but I read them almost immediately and they make me feel so much closer to home.  I'm homesick when I think about it.  But I'm just trying to keep having fun and stay in touch enough to still feel connected.  So thank you all for emailing me!  I will continue to email you too!

In Honolulu-will write soon with deets.

Love love love love love.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


  "Happy January 25th".  That is what I first heard this morning from the Hawaiian DJ on the radio.  And a happy January 25th it was.

  Aside from the perfect weather, I was greeted with the most uplifting attitudes from the Hilo locals.  Now, when I began this voyage I had reminded myself to be careful, always observe my surroundings, and don't trust anyone.  I've been told that you never know when someone could trick you, hurt you, or steal from you.  But it appears I need to instill a little more faith in the Hawaiians.
  The man at the gift shop gave us precise directions, and just in case, his phone number if we got lost.  The woman at the counter of Cafe 100 where we ordered our Loco Specials (I ate Spam and it's delicious!-especially with rice, eggs, and gravy--so I give in Dan) gave us free bumper stickers.  The sketchy looking man at the bus station picked flowers off a hidden tree and handed them out to the girls to put in their hair.  And everywhere people waved.

  The energy on this island is flowing.

  A few days ago I attended a lecture on the history of Hawaii taught by Scott.  The best thing I took away from it was the Hawaiian term "mana".  Mana is a term used to describe a spiritual energy.  It can be found mostly in the gods, but also in the earth, in people, in anything that is capable.  It is what makes the hands on the clocks of our watches move.
  I fell in love with the idea of mana and decided that when I ventured into port I would try to find it.  At least my own version of it.  Today was the beginning.

  The botanical gardens were astounding.  There was a peaceful energy everywhere.  Flowers and trees from all over the world were grown here in a paradise together.  I couldn't stop touching everything.  I wanted to feel it.  When I left, I was calm.

  Later today I went to a luau hosted by the students of University of Hawaii at Hilo.  There performances were so wonderful to watch.  The time and energy they spent in rehearsing these rituals definitely showed through and we all were able to witness what happens when people care to maintain tradition.  But, my favorite performance was from Dono, a young boy I met at the luau who just turned six years old today.  Dono walked right up to me and started dancing.  He felt the music, he smiled, and he danced his little heart out.  A pure spirit can always brighten your day.  I think Dono has some mana.

  Today was the first day of a voyage of discovery.  More mana to come.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

This is the feeling we've been waiting for

  I didn't do my homework tonight.  It was worth it.

  I've lost track of how long I've been on this ship.  It feels like weeks and minutes.  But tonight it didn't matter.  We are home.

  There was a coffee house open mic in the piano lounge where hundreds of students came to watch peers, previous strangers, perform their talents.  Let me just say-this ship is talented! But not AT ALL intimidating!  If anything the night inspired me to perform at the next open mic.  The support for performers was unbelievable.  The performers and the audience were connected.  Even when Emerson, from Japan, sang Celine Dion (terribly) we all cheered because before he began he said "I don't know if I'm a good singer but singing makes me happy".  So we loved him.  And when a sixteen year old girl (the daughter of one of my professors) performed slam poetry I got chills when she spoke "I am not afraid of hell, I like the heat".  There was energy flowing tonight.  So we clapped, we loved, and we became a shipboard community.

  Earlier this evening we had a preport lecture with Scott Fisher.  Scott is a guest lecturer who was born and raised in Hawaii and now manages acres of preserve land there.  For a week he has been engaging us with Hawaiian lectures and I am fascinated daily by the Hawaiian history that I previously knew nothing about.  Tonight he told us about Ohana, which is the Hawaiian word for family.  In Hawaii ohana is crucially important.  He also quoted a phrase that his father told him, "Turn your hands to the sky, you have nothing. Turn your hands into the dirt, you have life".  Tonight we put our hands into our dirt and found our ohana here.

  We dock in Hilo on Monday.  I look forward to more dirt.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

How to Succeed on a Ship Without Really Trying

 Step 1: Meclizine.
  I was referred to today as a Meclizine dispenser and you know what-that's ok!  Anything to prevent nausea.  We have avoided two storms already and went 300 miles off course because of it.  So we're full speed ahead and rockin away.  Word on the street is the Pacific Ocean's the roughest.

 Step 2: Balance
  Rocking is rough...and hilarious.  Walking down the hallway is clumsy yet choreographed as we all walk in a straight line and all fall to the left and fall to the right-still walking and still keeping the same distance from the person next to you.  It is one of the most bizarre body feelings (up there with when I lost my center of balance when doing a trust fall with Mallory and she didn't catch me).  I will be walking, struggling to walk upwards because of the tilt of the ship and then all of a sudden the ship tilts back the other way and I am effortlessly running down the hallway.  Bare feet is best (although we're not technically allowed to walk around  bare footed on the ship-but it keeps you grounded).  I am learning to walk rhythmically enough that my life does not collapse into the walls-although it still happens.  Even now I am on the deck and as a wave hit all of the tables, chairs, and everyone in them slid to the left and then a little bit back.  Just hold on to your stuff.

 Step 3: Edwin's secret tricks.
  I just discovered the glory of Edwin, my cabin steward (I know-I'm spoiled).
  The last two nights have been tough getting to sleep.  Now that I am pretty used to the rocking it has become soothing and definitely rocks me to sleep.  So just as my mind is drifting off the racket begins.  The pattern is this: slide, click, slide, slam! slide, click, slide slam! SLIDE, CLICK, SLIDE, SLAM! It will drive you nuts!!! My dresser drawers have been falling in and out since the ship is rocking so much.  Books, tissue boxes, water bottles, ad alarm clocks no longer live on the nightstand but now on the floor.  My roommate and I have accepted that fact.  We just figured we would have to learn to block out the banging.  Until....Edwin!
  Today I came into my cabin after Edwin had finished cleaning and the slamming had stopped.  He had rolled up little pieces of what I think is cardboard or some piece of paper and stopped up the drawers so that they are stuck.
  I will sleep well tonight.  But getting dressed tomorrow will be a challenge.

 Step 4: Sunscreen
  You would think I would have known this fact since I'm on a ship and all but the weather hasn't been quite warm enough for tanning.  But when I stepped outside yesterday the sun was euphoric.  I couldn't leave and you couldn't make me.  C'mon-it's January.  And with the endless ocean around you-why leave the deck?  So I didn't.
  Two hours later I have reclaimed my title as Queen of the Crustaceans. I am a LOBSTER!  Melissa and Murray would be so proud.  I am officially bright red with a nice little white heart where my locket lays.  I like the white heart a lot actually-simply because I am now burned to remember my family.  So I am now sitting in the shade (still on the deck-you CAN NOT beat this view!)  Perhaps in a few days I'll be tan. Suckers.

Things happen.  But this is the life.

*Note* In actuality, I know nothing about shipboard life.
Talk to me in four months.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Is it not 7:30?

Here's the thing. I'm not a morning person.

This morning I had plans to meet in the dining hall at 7:30 with some friends before our 8am classes.  I got there at 7:40 on my watch and wondered why there was no one in the hallways, nonetheless the dining hall, and there was no food set out.  There were two men mopping the deck outside so I it not 7:30? He barely understood me but showed me his cell phone that said 5:45.

It appears our first time change has got me.  I went an hour back instead of an hour ahead. Oops.

Back to bed then.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Get Dem Sea Legs GRRRRRRL

  There is a famous story that my family likes to tell.  My family and I went to Bar Harbor, Maine a few years ago where we decided to go whale watching (and never saw any whales). We all wore the sea sickness bracelets and tried to keep everyone stable, mostly my brother Rob, who we knew suffered from serious motion sickness from boats, to roller coasters, to playground equipment.  So obviously my brother gets sea sick anyway.   Rob and my Dad went down into the inside of this boat where there was a small cafe and hopefully a bathroom.  Unfortunately, Rob never made it to the bathroom.  Instead, he cleared out the cafe.

  I've teased Rob about this moment and all other vomalicious moments he's had and now the sea sickness gods have come after me.

  Taking off from Ensenada Mexico was amazing.  We cheered, ate our first meal on board, and watched the most enormous Mexican flag in the port disappear.  At first, wobbling was even fun as we tried to walk the hallways in a straight line (now on day 3 we are getting better).  But, as soon as I had to sit down in the rocky, overheated, union with six hundred kids I was a goner.  That night and yesterday were unbearable.  I was stuck in my indoor cabin, in the dark, feeling as if my insides were going to fall out of my ears.  Thanks to Jenny (my LLC-Living, Learning Coordinator) and the doctors on board I was taken care of.  I finally got a nice big needle in my butt and within thirty minutes was calmed down.  So today is a new day. I am out on deck surrounded entirely by the ocean, no land in sight.  It is that I am feeling better.  My sea legs are growing!

  All I really have to say is, Rob, sorry I ever made fun of you.  Miss you and all of my continental lovers.