You learn to adapt to things, adjust to living on water rather than solid ground, and learn the ways of the ship. And after awhile, things that were once annoying or strange become comfortable, familiar and endearing.
I realized I didn’t want this blog to just be a compilation of all my experiences in port. Although ports are a huge part of SAS, so is life on the MV Explorer, our floating home and school. It makes the traveling so much more relaxing because we have something familiar to come home to without having to really travel all the way home after each port. We get a couple days to refresh and relax (and take midterms and go to class) and make plans for the next port before jumping off the boat once again. So I’m going to go through some of the things that I knew nothing of one short month ago that now are part of my life on Semester at Sea.
Examples of things we’ve gotten used to (and some that have even become endearing) in only 3 weeks:
-bumping into people in narrow hallways because the ship is rocking
-hearing things fall off the table in the middle of the night -having to convert time into AM and PM because you get used to the nautical time of a 24 hour clock
-knowing when you can and cannot take a nap based on when your cabin steward comes to clean your room (unless you have Dante who likes to mess with you and show up at a different time every day)
-forgetting what it’s like to spend real money and wishing you could still charge everything to your shipboard account even in port
-hearing “The Voice” come over the intercom at noon and seventeen thirty (5:30p) for the Bridge Annoucements
-Special Question of the Day and Rumor Control being the reason you even TRY to listen to the Bridge Announcments
-learning terms like port and starboard, and actually using them
-calling the MV Explorer a “boat” but if any non-SASer calls it that, you immediately correct them saying it is a SHIP (and it’s not a cruise, it’s a voyage)
-spending $2 for a can of Coke (actually that will never be okay)
-finding clever ways of getting information without using internet minutes (like really specific Google searches that don’t require you to click the link)
-watching everyone get excited about a “pub night” on the pool deck and then watch them get really depressed when they finish their third beer and can’t have any more
-going to the pool deck at any point during the afternoon and being lucky to find an open lounge chair to sunbathe
-not seeing anyone study for days until the day of a Global Studies exam, when suddenly everyone cares about that class for about six hours
-hearing a phone go off in class and instead of getting mad, the professors check their phone (as do the rest of the students) to see if they have reception too finally
-being let out of class early on long travel stretches because we’ll be able to see land for a certain amount of time on one side of the ship
-being close friends with people but not knowing their last name, phone number or even being their facebook friend because all you really need to know is their cabin number and maybe their blackberry PIN.
-going through security to come home back onto the ship
-having conversations about what salad dressings are offered that day. And having even more excited conversations when there is something besides salad in the buffet (like on taco day!)
-flash drive sharing parties (for post-port photo swapping)
-learning how to shave in the shower (safely) while the boat is rocking
-figuring out whether it’s day or night (inside cabins only)
-realizing how much music actually refers to boats and ships, etc (thanks to the music playing when we arrive at Global Studies every morning or at pre-port lectures)
-being slightly sad when you don’t have any emails at the end of the day but then realizing it’s because you read them all that morning and everyone back home has been sleeping since you woke up because of the time change
-accidentally saying hello or goodbye in different languages on the ship because we have to learn a new one every few days for each port
-feeling unsafe traveling unless you have your greensheet (like our lifelines in port with phone numbers, etc), local currency, your SAS ID and your passport (usually)
I’m sure I could go on like this a lot longer (especially if I ask around for people’s input) but it’s time for our Croatia Pre-Port lecture (which I am watching in my new cabin (that I’m living in temporarily due to a leaking water pipe) on the shipboard TV so I don’t have to go upstairs to the Union).
Time for more Greensheets, a lesson in the Croatian language, warnings about crime/weather/local politics/etc and lame jokes.
Turns out (as we were just informed by our Academic Dean on the shipboard TV lecture) we will be in Croatia in about 2 ½ hours (it’s 2100 now and we’ll be there at 2330)!!! Welcome to the Balkans!
Love from Croatia!