Shiplife

Trip Start Aug 26, 2010
1
3
17
Trip End Dec 18, 2010


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Where I stayed
The Explorer Room #3155

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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

   First order of business: This is my new email address eljohnson@semesteratsea.net  If you would like to contact me (and I hope you do!), please use this address as I will not have access to voicemail, texting, facebook, or my other email addresses while on my voyage.  But this email address, I have unlimited access to.  So go ahead!  Message me!  Tell me about yourselves, what's new, the weather, anything!  It’s always a treat to hear from home J

    We have been on the ship for 5 days now.  My room is bigger than I thought it would be.  Not to say that it’s spacious and roomy, I just thought we’d be packed in like sardines. The bathroom is small, but taking showers on a rocking ship is quite relaxing, not to mention being rocked to sleep at night.  We have a service that comes in and tidy’s up our room every day.  I don’t really need this service as it makes me sort of uncomfortable to have someone touching all my stuff, though other students seem to love it.  I’d say that I’ll just get used to it, but I don’t know if that’s a good idea either! Haha! While I have suffered seasickness for the first few days of the voyage, the seas have calmed down along with my stomach.  I’m pretty sure we will pass the threat of Hurricane Danielle. 

    Everyone is very nice and I'm making new friends every day.  My roommate, Andrea, is very sweet.  She is 22 and just graduated from college.  Very short and cute.  We seem to have a similar sense of humor, which is great.  I also have a posse, of sorts.  There are 8 of us and we have a lot of meals together and play various games at night.  There is Sneha.  She is from Singapore and has family in India so she might show us around once we get there.  She is very quick, witty, and bubbly.  We will be doing the Nomad Camel Trek in Morocco together.  There is Alyssa, who is the mother of the group.  She is quite prepared for almost any situation.  She’s been to Spain and will be showing us around to all the cool hangouts.  And then there’s Candice, who is very down to earth.  I relate to her most out of the girls.  There’s Bryan, who is very quirky and strange and smart.  Always wears a cabby hat and is a ginger and proud.  He’s in my writing class, as well.  One of the most talented writers I've met actually. There is Megan who is very nice, innocent and sweet.  Lander who is from Alaska and has a long ponytail.  He plays the bass and is also in my Writing class.  He’ll be shaving his head with me.  And there is Daniel (Danger Dan), he’s a hippie musician who also has a ponytail, down to his butt.  He’s very chill and regales us daily with the most fascinating dreams that he has from his "award winning naps".  We will be shaving our heads hiking the Great Wall of China together. These are the people that I will celebrate my birthday with in Spain.  And out of all of them, I am the person that talks the least!

On a side note, as I was typing this in the computer lab, I just met another person, Aaron, a standup comic.  We are in my comedy class together and just had a 20 minute discussion about what is funny and why.  These situations happen all the time with new people.  It’s very exciting.  Instant friends, all the time!


    All my classes look like they’re going to be very interesting.  Of course, there is Global Studies.  I am very excited about this, obviously, because it caters to the whole reason I’m going on this trip.  I want to know more about the world.  Today we talked about poverty and inequality in the world.  Very depressing, but it also is sparking a new passion in me.  I want to know more and learn how to help.   Then there is my Comedic Styles and Performance class.  I think this will mostly be a fun review of what I already know.  A few new plays I get to read as well as learn how to do a standup comedy routine.  I’m sweating already, just thinking about it.  My Rhetoric of Film also seems like it will be interesting.  I’m not a film expert like a lot of the students, but I really like the vibe of the class.  And our homework mostly consists of watching movies and reflecting on them.  My Writing Around the World class is also beneficial.  A great venue for self-reflection.  In that class (the only class I need to graduate), we will actually be publishing our work to a community blog, which you all are more than welcome to read at: https://writtenatsea.wordpress.com/  We all need to write 4 essays on the blog so I’ll let you all know the dates that I will publish.  I’d also like to mention how much I enjoy the Lifelong Learners (Senior Citizens) in the classes with all of us.  They really bring a great new depth and perspective.  They are all truly fascinating people. 


    This whole experience still feels very dreamlike and surreal (probably mostly due to the waves) but I am trying get a good feel for it.  It’s also surreal to see Archbishop Desmond Tutu walking around in his pajamas around the ship.  I’ve seen him almost fall twice, but he recovers with a smile and a little jig.  It’s pretty much the cutest most wonderful thing I’ve ever seen.  (Still haven’t had the courage to speak to him.) I can’t wait to reach Spain on the 4th, where I will get to stand on solid ground and eat (hopefully) some of the best meals of my life.  I’ll also have to try sangria for the first time as a birthday treat to myself J


PLEASE write me if you can.  Either email:

eljohnson@semesteratsea.net

Or snail mail:
http://www.semesteratsea.org/current-voyage/overview/staying-in-touch.php

    For now, if you are interested, here is my first blog entry for my writing class.  Here was the question that she asked the class:

When you first found out about Semester at Sea, what place was the one that most convinced you to sign up? Why?  What do you hope to see, taste, and experience?

Why I CHOOSE To Do This: Semester at Sea
by Erica Johnson


     When I first found out about Semester at Sea, there was not just one place on the itinerary that convinced me to sign up.  Honestly, what appealed to me the most about the trip was the fact that there wasn’t any one place to go.  I didn’t have to choose.  I could have a little bit of everything.  I want to ABSORB as much of the world as possible.
     Yes, I’m dying to taste the food: the tapas, the curries, the street markets, the seemingly strange and unusual... I want to TASTE the cultures I visit, taking my palate on an incredible edible journey through the world.  To get a sampler platter of the earth...
     I want to CONNECT with the cultures I visit.  I want to find someone, something that is completely different from who I am and what I know; to see the similarities in the vastly different.  To reach out and sympathize, empathize with the endless forms of the human condition that reside on this earth. 
     I can’t wait to take my mind on this worldwide roller coaster.  I want more questions to ask.  I want tools to answer the questions that I already have.  I want to STRETCH my mentality and my heart to its fullest capacity.  I want to be overwhelmed and confused and uncomfortable, to have my breath taken away a hundred times over.
     I want to HUMBLE myself.  I want to let the chaos and confusion of this journey to lift my ego out from under me, (no matter how hard I grip to it) and let it dissipate into the air, far above the earth, leaving me no choice but to see what remains: something bigger than me... the collective whole of this beautifully elegant and complex world.
     And at the end of it all, when I carry the fruits and carnage of my pilgrimage home with me, I want to EXPERIENCE the lingering AWE that can only be resolved by action, initiation, determination, and the need to go back for more.  I want to be inspired to create change -- to act, to speak, to write something great...and to inspire others to do the same.
     In these experiences, I hope to find the person who I was meant to be.  I sometimes think I see glimpses of her in the mirror.  She is waiting for me to come forward into the unknown, and grow into my true skin.  Her reassuring eyes will be my beacons through my cloudy, chaotic voyage.  I feel her there within me.  I just have to SEARCH across the seas, through the world, and through my inner core to find her. 
     This is why I signed up for this.  This is why I am here.  Not just one place on the itinerary intrigued me, but all places: mental, emotional, spiritual, and yes, geographical.  I simply want to cover as much charted territory of the world as possible, in a profound hope to DISCOVER the uncharted territory within myself. 
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Comments

Dad on

Wow, very nice Erica. A good foundation on which to lay all the experiences to come.

joe.muckerjr on

I send you this wish...have a great birthday!!

Emily on

Erica, reading your postings has made me very excited for you. It sounds like you are having a fabulous and enriching time. I wish you the best of luck and also, Happy Birthday!!!

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