Greetings from the Atlantic Ocean! My first six days at sea (and in school, let me remind you!) have been more full, frenzied, and surreal than I think I could possibly articulate on the amount of sleep I’ve been getting. I’ve experienced different variations of exhaustion throughout my young adult life, but sea faring has given “jet lag” an entirely new meaning. I advanced four hours from California to Halifax before I even handed over my passport. Each night the ship purser reminds us to set our clocks ahead one hour so by the time we arrive in Spain on Saturday morning we will have “eased” into our new time zone. The time-warp is only compounded by the effects of attempting to learn 700 new names and faces, taking new classes as we pass through 10-12 foot hurricane waves, and planning trips in foreign lands with friends I’ve barely just yet met. Sensory overload, much?
I don’t want to drag on too much about life on the boat and how strange it is to just be a speck in a huge ocean -- it certainly is strange -- because life is good, and I’m so grateful for every exhausted, frantic moment of it all. I will tell you that the food and workout regime has been a bit of an adjustment. There are about a dozen cardio machines that people have to sign up for at 1800 the night before, you can only reserve a 30 minute time slot with no double booking. They go like hotcakes! The food is standard cafeteria-style fare. I’ve pretty much decided that when I have to eat on the boat, I’m a vegetarian. Think back to your college caf and you pretty much get why. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are some variation of refined carbohydrates, potatoes, a meat dish, and steamed veggies. Bring on the veg! For those of you who know me, I’m really not a picky eater at all… I’m just incredibly spoiled in California with great food, everywhere, all the time. Thank goodness for Amazing Greens Superfood Bars!! On the upside, ho-hum food makes the anticipation for our arrival even more exciting!
When we make port in Cadiz, a new friend and I will take a train to Madrid and stay in a cute little hotel near the Parque de Retiro. I hope to find myself sitting outside on the terrace of some humble cobblestone street near La Plaza Mayor with some café negro, my camera, and the sun beating down on my shoulders. I met a very nice girl in my Environmental Politics class who actually goes to college in Madrid, so she’s given me tons of great tips for wandering and experiencing the best of Spanish culture. I’m so excited!
I’ve seen Archbishop Desmond Tutu around a few times with his wife Leah. He spoke to us on the second day of orientation of his love for young people and the energy we bring a man of his age and his experience. I am truly a lucky girl to have had many people in my life who have loved and encouraged me as I’ve tried to figure out what I want to do or who I want to be… but when “You can change the world and don’t ever let anyone tell you differently” is whispered by this man, it just doesn’t get any more inspiring. I hope we cross paths at some point, I think we will. I’m hopeful.I’m realizing now, this entry is sounding a little more journal-like than I was hoping to impart, but it might be good for everyone to know a little about the springboard from which I’m about to jump out into the world from. T-minus 24 hours! I love and miss you all!