I figured since my bill is (finally) paid, I have my textbooks and plane tickets in hand, AND there are only thirty (eek!) days left until I board the MV Explorer, I should probably start posting to my blog. Good idea? I think so. So, the plan is that I will update my blog frequently while I’m gone on Semester at Sea in order to let everyone know all the adventures I’ve had, let my parents know I’m alive, and give middle school students homework. I know, I’m a horrible person; but seriously, students will be reading my blog and discussing places I’ve been, things I’ve seen, the history of major monuments, etc. in class. So, shout out to the Louisburg Middle School Geography class: I’ll try not to make it too boring! To all my other “followers”: I hope you’ll stick with me throughout the trip. I can’t wait to bring back pictures and stories (you know me and my stories) of all of the exciting things I’ve seen and experienced! I’ll miss all of you!
I’m going to back track a bit and let everyone know all about what I’m actually doing this fall. I will be sailing as one of the Seamans-Kruse scholars on the MV Explorer through a program called Semester at Sea. There will be about six hundred other students onboard, and we will circumnavigate the globe in a little under four months, stopping in twelve countries. And if that weren’t awesome enough, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and his wife Leah will be sailing with us the entire time too! Have I mentioned I’m excited? Well, I am.
Here’s the itinerary:
August 27th: Halifax, Canada
September 4th-8th: Cadiz, Spain
September 10th-14th: Casablanca, Morocco
September 22nd-25th: Takoradi, Ghana
October 3rd-8th: Cape Town, South Africa
October 14th-15th: Port Louis, Mauritius
October 22nd-27th: Chennai, India
October 31st-November 1st: Singapore
November 3rd-8th: Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
November 11th-16th: Hong Kong/Shanghai, China
November 19th-23rd: Kobe/Yokohama, Japan
December 3rd-6th: Honolulu/Hilo, Hawaii, USA
December 13th: San Diego, CA, USA
I’m so excited!
While I’m on the ship, life will be just like I’m at Dartmouth . . . only not, because I’ll be on a cruise ship, relaxing on the 7th deck in my new swimming suit, rather than in the frigid Baker Stacks. . . so, the only thing similar is that I’ll have to go to class. But, don’t feel too bad for me, the classrooms have huge floor-to-ceiling windows where you can see dolphins! I will also have to work two hours per day (only while we’re at sea though), since I did get a work-study position onboard to alleviate some of the (ridiculous) tuition costs. I will be the “communications assistant.” It sounds kind of neat; I’ll get to write/edit press releases, the daily blog, and be the helper to visiting media and special guests (like, HRH the Prince of Morocco). While we’re in port, we don’t go to class (yes, it will be like spring break every other week). We will be basically free to do whatever we want as long as we stay in the country where we ported. I will have to do some required trips for my classes, but I won’t choose those until I am on the ship.
Since I got accepted in December, I have been preparing for Semester at Sea. I had to get ten (ouch!) vaccinations, including the Yellow Fever shot, which is so incredibly painful. My arm was black and blue for at least two weeks. I also had to get Malaria pills, oral Typhoid treatment, and anti-seasickness patches.
I applied for visas to Ghana, India, and China way back in March. I should get my passport back this week! Just trying to get my visa for India was a huge ordeal. Apparently when I sent the India application in, I signed it in red ink (I know, bad idea). The next day (I had to pay $30 to overnight the forms and my passport), some lady calls me and tells me to redo it and overnight the forms to her again. So, I did. Three months go by, and I assume that since I redid my application, everything should be going smoothly at the embassies in D.C. However, two weeks ago, I got an angry voicemail telling me that I signed the form in red ink (like I didn’t know that. . .). They lost the form that I paid thirty dollars a second time to send to them! I was freaking out. Thankfully, they gave me their corporate account number, so they paid the $30 the third time that I sent it to them. Hopefully, India will let me in still. Even if they don’t, I still learned a lesson: don’t sign forms in red ink.
Last week was an exciting week for Semester at Sea students—we had to book all overnight trips for the entire semester and all day trips for the first three ports. I’m doing three big overnight trips. The first will be in Morocco. It involves camels, the Sahara, and nomads. You’ll have to wait until September 14th for the rest of the details. I also chose to go to the Taj Mahal and Varanasi in India and The Great Wall in China. I figured that if I’m going around the world, I should probably see those two, even if the tours are rather, well, touristy. Besides those trips though, I hope that I make a bunch of new friends and that we’ll do the rest indie style. . . for cheap.
I’ll post again as soon as I have more exciting news. It’ll probably be about how I have to fit four months worth of toiletries, clothes (for all climates!), textbooks and school supplies into one 30 inch rolling duffel bag. It should be interesting. Thank goodness that my mom is an expert packer.