Sorry that I’m a little behind on blogging, but it seems like I blinked and instead still being on the beach in Hawaii I was in Kansas. And it was cold. But the holidays have treated me well; I’m catching up on sleep, losing a little bit of Semester at Sea’s potatoes, pasta and bread that seemed to have affixed themselves to my thighs, and getting all my ducks in a row for my next term at Dartmouth.
But back to Hawaii, San Diego, and the past two weeks:
Hawaii was great. The ship docked in both Honolulu and Hilo. Both were what I expected from Hawaii. Honolulu had long white beaches, swarms of tourists, and fancy stores and restaurants and resorts. Hilo was secluded. The people were laidback, and the movie theatre only charged one dollar per ticket. It was awesome.
Hawaii was so warm, and it seemed even better knowing how cold I was going to be in the coming weeks. Mackenzie, Carren, and I lay on the beach for the first two days in Honolulu. We had booked a room at the beachfront Mariott; it was so wonderful to sleep in a big comfy bed (even if Mackenzie bear hugs her bedmates all night long). The food was AMAZING. It was such an incredible feeling to be back in the United States (even if I was still thousands of miles from my family) speaking English, ordering my food in English, and knowing what I was going to get. No more surprises. The first taxi driver that we had must have thought Mackenzie, Carren, and I were crazy since we were getting emotional just over the fact that he was speaking to us in English.
In Hilo we made it to a black sand beach, saw HUGE sea turtles and saw a dollar movie. We didn’t do much besides hang out and do a little studying for finals.
The six days from Hawaii to San Diego were some of the longest of my life. My finals weren’t that bad, but it was hard knowing that Semester at Sea was about to end and saying goodbyes to people. My friends and I had a couple of balloon parties because my mom had sent me a care package to Hawaii filled with balloons and a couple of pumps. It helped to pass the time.
My dad surprised me by meeting me in San Diego! I felt so loved when I saw a bright orange “Welcome Home Emma” sign on the dock. My dad and I spent the day with Mackenzie’s family eating a delicious lunch and then touring SDSU, Mackenzie’s future college. It was fun, but I was exhausted by the time that we made it to the airport. Of course, I had to overstuff my duffel bag to the point that it ripped apart, so we had a quick run to target to get another duffel bag. I was a sight to behold, carrying oversized duffels, wearing a dollar Vietnam rice paddy hat with my camera around my neck and carrying stuff (excuse me, “treasures”) from around the world. A security guard took one look at me and started laughing. “Disney world, right?” My dad replied, “Try around the world.” To which she respond, doubled over with laughter, “Did you hear that Herald?? They think they’ve been around the world.” . . . Welcome back to America, Emma.
Life’s been good though since I’ve been home. I spent the first few days running around Missouri and Kansas giving presentations on my trip before coming home to collapse for the next week and a half. Christmas was difficult. I found myself getting frustrated with holiday shoppers; couldn’t they just send that money to Egyam Orphanage?? And then I found myself getting frustrated with myself for slipping back into old habits and mindsets. Going around the world was amazing—fantastic, educational, and it exceeded all of my expectations. But having seen and experienced what I have comes with certain responsibilities to do something about the injustices that I’ve witnessed, to tell others, and to never let myself stop caring about the humanity around the world.
I leave for Dartmouth on the 31st. I’m giving myself a few days leeway considering that it is wintertime and I don’t want to be stuck in Newark, New Jersey while my classes are starting. I’m going to keep this blog up and running for my future adventures around the world (next stop: London with my mom), and I’ve started another one for my daily life stories (which you know I have plenty of). You can find it at www.emmalovesherlife.blogspot.com. Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed it.