This has been a long time coming…my FIRST blog on this entire trip! I apologize for taking so long to get everyone updated. It’s 1:30 a.m. right now and I’m lying on my bottom bunk talking to my two roommates – Ryan from Colorado who goes to school at University of San Diego and Robyn from Chicago who goes to Butler University. We are part of the “Caribbean Sea,” which is how they separate the halls and decks into each Living Learning Coordinator’s (LLC) section. Omar is our hilarious LLC, who helped lead us to victory today at the Sea Olympics!
Team Blue, the Caribbean Sea, tied for first with Team Green, the Bering Sea, after a day of grueling events that included a pull-up competition, crab soccer, volleyball, tug of war and synchronized swimming (just to name a few). I participated in crab soccer (yes, you crab walk and play soccer – absolutely ridiculous, I got some nice blisters on my hand…) and volleyball (Winners! Beat the Bering Sea by one point!).
Anyway, like I said, we were tied at the end of the competitions, so at the “closing ceremonies” our two seas had a dance off in front of everyone else. We pulled out the overall victory with the brilliant inclusion of two small children who are traveling on the ship with their parents, who busted moves like the worm, the Bernie and the Dougie! So, you are reading the blog of a newly-crowned 2011 Semester at Sea Summer Voyage Sea Olympic Champion!
Here’s a little bit of info to get you all caught up:
There are 676 students (staff, crew, faculty and lifelong learners included, over 1,000 passengers are on the ship) representing 290 universities here. There are six of us from Washington State University, and the majority of people are from somewhere in California. University of Colorado, University of Virginia and a couple other big schools like Ohio State University and University of Texas are also well-represented.
The Bahamas were incredible…I got in with a bunch of people I met on my flight from SFO to Ft. Lauderdale. We took two flights to get to Nassau, and then a shuttle to the Sheraton, which was situated conveniently right on the beach. I spent most of those two days on the beach or in the pool, just trying to meet new people and take it all in. We all went to Senor Frog’s the first night and tore it up for a little bit, which was especially cool because we could see the ship at the port down the block! My roommates in the Sheraton were Tim and Craig, both from Southern California. They are really cool guys who ended up rooming nearby in my hallway – I hang out with Tim the most out of anyone on the ship, and Craig and I always find some time to catch up too.
As the “Communications Assistant” for my work study position, I got to board the ship a day early. Tim, Craig and I could not believe it when we finally stepped onto the ship for the first time and got such a warm welcome from the staff and crew on board. We took a while to just explore the ship, then kind of settled in and went to work making friends. I can legitimately say that I have made over 100 new friends on this ship, and many more acquaintances.
I spent the second day helping with general boarding, by greeting and directing new students which was the best job possible since I got to meet every single student that came up those stairs for the first time. I’ve since kind of settled in and have a couple nice little groups of close friends that I spend a lot of time with, but I have been trying to continue meeting people every day because I know this is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I want to be able to keep in touch and visit all these people some day! My main crew includes Tim, Mary and Cedar from Colorado (students at Colorado St.), Kate and Madison from Northern California (University of San Francisco and Sacramento St., respectively) and a few more kids down the hall from Minnesota! I became good friends with Javier too, who just left our ship yesterday. He was sailing as the inter port student, which means he lives in Barcelona but he tagged along on our voyage to Spain to help answer questions, give lectures, etc.
My work study job is interesting and not as painstakingly difficult as I’d expected. I’ve still been able to send some blogs home to All-Outdoors and help them out, and I have plenty of time to do homework, volunteer in the ship’s writing center and join a few groups around the ship. If you want to see any podcasts, blogs, photo slideshows or videos that I may have helped write, edit or produce, check out the website at http://www.semesteratsea.org.
Anyway, we just left Spain last night and it was pretty sad; I want to go back already. We all had a ridiculous time in Barcelona. I got to experience Las Ramblas, the markets, the nightlife, La Sagrada Familia and Parc Guell, the beaches, the cheap wine, the paella and sangria and even a Flameco show! All in 3 and a half short days. I really did not want to leave (although I’m sure that’s how I will feel about every port). There is so much I could write about and elaborate on, but it just won’t do Barcelona justice.
I think most of these stories will be better told through word-of-mouth stories, or just when I get home because I don’t have the time, energy or internet bandwidth to write out the ten pages it would take to explain how amazing this trip is and how epic Barcelona was and how excited we all are for Italy! I can tell you that the classes are awesome (except the generic, required Global Studies class – super lame), the people are even better, and the ports are the best. I am legitimately thinking about trying to find a way to get a job with this program so I can continue seeing the world through their trip.
PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE e-mail me! My email here is firstname.lastname@example.org and it’s completely free for me so just get at it! I check it a few times a day and it’s way easier to communicate with (just ask Mom, Dad, Lexie, Bryan or Jill – they figured that out!). I’d love to hear from anyone and I will gladly tell some stories as a reward! Well, I have to hike Mt. Vesuvius in Naples tomorrow morning, plus go to Pompeii with my English class, PLUS go to L’antica Pizzeria de Michel for dinner with my friends. I have a rough life. So let me sleep. Miss and love you all…Ciao!
P.S. – I heard that the Warriors drafted Klay Thompson…………………………………………….GO COUGS!!!!!!! Season tickets – anyone down???