First Update from the Middle of the Atlantic Ocean!

Hi All,

Sorry for the delay in this post I only just got around to figuring out how to email my posts to the blog without logging on to wordpress. 120 minutes of free internet can be used up faster than one imagines.

So my apologies for this lengthy update.

It is currently 9:34pm, Monday August 29, 2011, it is our 3rd full day at sea, and we are just about to sail into our second time zone so soon it will be 1 hour ahead again. We have sailed clear of land and shallow waters and are officially in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, and we can tell because the ship is rockin and rollin quite a bit, thankfully it is reported that the waves will be calm on our ocean crossing but despite that the ship will still continue to rock and roll.

In the past few days I have been finding my way through the ship, by now I think I got the hang of it. I also have been trying to find balance as the ship rocks right to left, or should I say from starboard side to port side. I also learned that running on the treadmill on a rocking ship is no easy task, I really had to find my core balance and after 2-3 minutes of good balance I would find myself nearly tipping over so I would have to grab on to the machine to keep myself on the machine!

I have been making new friends from all over the US as well as some friends from places like Australia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, and Hong Kong. It is quite hard though to remember people’s names as there are 451 students and for some reason it is quite hard to find people after you meet them even though the ship is not that big. My roommate is nice and we get along which is good as I have heard that there is already roommate drama and conflicts arising in other cabins.

For those of you who are avid blog readers, the famous Journeywoman is one of the lifelong learners on the program with us. I have not had the chance of talking to her in person but I have seen her around.

The shipboard community is quite nice. Our captain is a funny British lad and is very nice and professional. Our academic dean is also a funny British lad and our executive dean is a cheerful lady. The professors that I have are all very nice and excited about the trip too which will make the Faculty Directed Programs (trips guided by the professors at each destination) more enjoyable and interesting!

A word that has constantly come up in lectures and meetings is “UBUNTU” it is an African word and is really a philosophy. Archbishop Demund Tutu, whom I will have the privilege of meeting in Cape Town, said this in one of his speeches to semester at sea a few years back. It is basically the philosophy of “you are you.” And it is also about how we become who we are by interacting with those around us, and finding that human connection. This is a word that they all want us to keep in our minds. Along with the words: Flexibility (what is known as the F Word on the ship), respect, understanding and responsibility.

Today in my Global Studies class we learned about maps. We discussed how all maps “are social constructs.” And that maps tell lies, well 100% lies but they are simply partial truth tellers as we cant get all the information we want or need from a map. The scales, color representation, and symbols on maps can be drastically different from country to country or from map maker to map maker. And we learned that there is no ideal map projection out there, but map projections do send out strong messages.

I have witnessed two amazing sunsets so far on the trip, two because there were only two evenings on the open waters where we had good weather so far. But to see the sun go all the way down in the farthest horizon of the water was simply breathtaking. What makes it more magical I think is that we are sailing eastward so from the back deck or “stern” I can see the sunset as we sail farther and farther away from the horizon. I plan to wake up early sometime to see the sunrise from the less crowded and more serene front observation deck.

Instead of RAs we have LLC, Living Learning Coordinators, I believe is what it stands for. And we are sorted into “Seas” by our cabin areas, Im a part of the “Yellow Sea.” So I will represent the yellow sea during the Sea Olympics which will be carried out sometime later.

I will end this update with the ending of a quote from T.S Elliot that I got from the Global Studies class and that I hope will be true for me when I return to Taiwan in December. The beginning part is about how we leave home and travel the world and then:

“…arrive at the start, and know the place for the first time.” –T.S Elliot

Until next time!

-Garythegastronomictraveler.

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