Happy Moon Festival (Mid-Autumn Festival)!!!!

Zhong Chiu Jie Kwai Leh!

Excuse my ping-ying.

Today is Moon Festival, and because many of us are far away from home, the Asian community decided to gather for a dinner!

We have people from China, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. We also have people who have in-laws who are Chinese or just simply love the Chinese culture!

Sadly there was no moon cake :(, which I am craving like crazy at this moment!!!! And also sadly we were not BBQing under the big round moon trying to spot the rabbit or the moon lady.

But it was fun and felt some what homey. It was definitely a good thing!

A lifelong learner named MC, from Hong Kong, gave everyone heart shaped baloons and said to shine a light on it and that would be our Lanterns for the night! How authentic!

It so happened to also be a lifelong learner named Bud’s birthday yesterday, but he didnt get cake till today. So we celebrated his birthday with a yummy cake from the kitchen! I met Bud on my trip to Fes, he needed an adapter for his Sleep Apnea Machine, and I was the only one on the trip who brought an adapter with me. So I lended it to him, his wife martha then said to me the next morning, “Thank you Gary, you allowed me to sleep last night! You have no idea how loudly he snores if he doesnt use the machine!” They are a wonderful and cute couple, and if I heard correctly he turned 77 yesterday!!!!!

Im also a part of an “extended family” on board this ship. Last night I had dinner with them. Our “mom” is named Sheila from New Jersey, she is a very bubbly and cute and fun lady. Our “dad” is Ray, from Hong Kong, he is humble and quiet, and very nice, and just lets Sheila talk away! We have 7 kids in the family. The point of this is so that we have a family feel while away from our real families. It is so that we can gather once in a while and just talk and feel homey together!

An Alumni named Adam Braun, founder of the non-profit organization called Pencils of Promise, has joined us for this league of the journey. He gave an inspirational presentation on his journey from student, to semester at sea, to finding love for backpacking, to the founding of Pencils of Promise, to giving us tips for backpacking. Pencils of Promise is an organization that builds schools in Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Laos. The inspiration came from when on semester at sea, he asked a child in every country what they wanted the most. He expected to hear playstation, or ipod. Instead he heard things like magic. In India a child told him he wanted a pencil, Adam so happened to have a pencil and gave it to the boy who lit up immediately! He then said that while working in the finance industry the name Pencils of Promis came to mind and then his journey began from there. You can make donations or learn more about the story at www.pencilsofpromise.org

Anyways, we are now slowling down as we prepare to dock at our next port tomorrow morning: Tema, GHANA!!!!
I cannot wait to experience the lively culture of Ghana!
I will be doing the following:

Day 1-2: Winneba Overnight, and FDP for my Business of Food Class. We will have a cultural exchange with representatives and students from Winneba on the ship, then head to Winneba and explore the city. We will visit the market, fish market, meet the Market Queen, and learn more about Ghanian culture.

Day 3-4: Torogorme Village Immersion overnight. I will be spending 2 days and 1 night at a local village. Where I will get an African name, learn some Ghanian dance and music, hear some tribal folk tales around a fire, and really experience the vibrancy of the culture!

I will just need to make sure I put on that insect repellent, dont want to contract Malaria or anything worse!

Once again Happy Moon Festival everyone!

Garythegastronomictraveler.

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