Eight days from right now I’ll be attempting to sleep in the Hi-Hostel Halifax, which is directly across from the harbor where the MV Explorer will be docked; eight days from right now I’ll be eight hours away from boarding the MV Explorer; and eight days from right now, I’ll be excited. But right now? I’m just scared. After all, it is a pretty big deal to sail around the entire world. I realize that I’m going to see, touch, taste, and experience more than I ever have before and that’s scary and kind of exhausting to think about. But that is, after all, what I wanted. I want my comfort bubble to be popped and to experience everything that the world has to offer. Hopefully you won’t recognize me when I come back . . . I just want my heart to be broken for the world, to find a direction for my life, and to make so many friends in so many countries. It’s just a little unnerving when I start to think about everything that could possibly go wrong. For example, have you thought of pirates? What if they hi-jack our ship? What if the ship capsizes? What if I don’t ever get over my seasickness? What if I run out of money? So many worries…good thing I have a pretty powerful God watching over the whole situation for me. ☺
However, in spite of my roller coaster of emotions, exciting things have been happening at my house. . .
I got my passport back with my visas in it! The red ink fiasco ended just fine! I’m going to post pictures of them. I got one for Ghana, one for China, and one for India. They are so pretty and wonderful. My China visa was even featured in the local newspaper—The Louisburg Journal. I feel like they should have featured the India visa since I went through a lot more to obtain it. You can read the article here.
Semester at Sea announced which trips we were assigned to. A few weeks ago I had to choose all overnight trips and all day-trips for the first three ports. If too many people sign up for a certain trip, then there is a lottery to decide who gets to go. I fortunately, managed to get into all of my trips but one. So, here it goes:
CAD04 Cadiz City Orientation
CAS02 Marrakech & Nomad Camp with Camel Trek
TAK03 Sekondi and Takoradi: Twin City Orientation
TAK14 Castles and Slave Dungeons on the coast of Ghana
CAS18 Service Visit: SOS Children's Village
CAP21 Township Homestay
CAP42 Inverdoorn Game Reserve
CHE24 Taj Mahal & Varanasi
HKG13 Beijing & The Great Wall (4 Days/3 Nights)
I bought all of my toiletries! New toiletries are one of my most favorite things. I will have to ration them carefully though or else I’ll run out before China. I have bought as much non-aerosol bug spray with as much deet as possible as I could possibly buy (well, that’s not true, but I do have six little bottles), a travel alarm clock, a bunch of batteries, and snacks. Apparently, the ship food is disgusting after the first week because they can’t necessarily get a lot of nice, fresh food in every port. So, we eat fifty kinds of potatoes during the trip. I like potatoes though. ☺
I also have another God story. I have been freaking out over this supposed $401 I need to pay in order to get on the ship. I woke up this morning to an email saying that they were giving me a $500 credit to my account, so I still have a $99 credit that I can use to purchase Semester at Sea trips, things in the campus store, do laundry, buy snacks, etc. Whenever I start to worry about something, God just makes it all fit into place. I’m always reminded of Romans 8:28, “All things work together for the good of those who love Him.”
I have had a busy, busy weekend. Saturday from eleven to two, my amazing family and friends all came together to help me with a huge fundraiser at Louisburg Sonic. Thanks to all of them, I raised about $600 for the service portion of my trip. I am eternally grateful to all them—my family, Ashley, Anna, Kylie, Charity, Ashton, Emily, Katee Jo, Bailey, Christine, Pat, David, Kyler, andJay. Between my dad doing balloons and Sophia face painting, we made $140. The rest of my friends (a lot of them are Sophia’s friends—so, thank you, Sister. ☺) acted as volunteer carhops. And the actual carhops that day—Ashley, Anna, and Kylie—donated all of their tips from the entire day, not just from eleven to two—a gesture that made me tear up. Bill and Gina Shaw, from Specialty Sportswear, designed T-shirts for us. They were perfect! Thanks Bill and Gina!
I love these girls! :-)
On Sunday, I spoke briefly at both church services about my upcoming trip. One of the sweetest deacons at our church pressed a one hundred dollar bill and a thin cross into my hand and told me that the money was only to go towards doing something fun and just for me on the trip. That night we had a church-wide backyard barbeque, where I spoke for about twenty-five minutes about my trip, and then a love offering was taken. They even had a cake for me. I love my church family!
Then, today, my family celebrated my birthday since I will be in St. Louis this Saturday. I got the cutest luggage tags, a coin purse, a new wallet, annnnd an envelope filled with about $30 for each of the countries I am going to. ☺ Sophia made me the best present though. She took all of the old magnets off of our fridge, covered them in cardstock, and then decorated them. The walls of my room on the ship are metal and tape is prohibited, so we have to hang pictures up with magnets. She wrote me little notes, drew pictures of our family, and wrote out inspirational quotes. I love them so much. Timothy even drew on one for me—it’s a crying flower that says “Il’e miss you!” It made me cry.
Remember when I started practice packing? Yeah, well tonight we started packing. For real. I’m pretty sure that my bags are already overweight, so I’m finding ways to cut down. For example, taking bars of soap rather than big things of body wash. Lame, I know, but you do what you have to in order to make it around the world.
That’s all for now, folks. I will be updating again soon!
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”