November 30, 2007


Finally, Internet on the ship.

Well I’m coming home. We’re crossing the Atlantic right now, which feels really cool to say. The trip ended with five days in Dubrovnik and five days in Cadiz.

Dubrovnik was beautiful, really clean, and quiet. During the summer months it’s shoulder to shoulder with tourists, but it felt like we had the place to ourselves. Found an excellent wine bar, and then this amazing fishermen’s café that one of the professors found. It was perfect – tiny, maybe 10 tables in the whole place. The owner served us homemade limoncello to start and came around with a bowl of freshly diced garlic to add to our oil and bread. At the table next to us was an animated group of self-proclaimed “theater people” who – in the most polite gesture ever made by Europeans towards Americans – waited to smoke inside the restaurant until we had finished our dinner and were leaving.

It was in Dubrovnik that I kind of gave up on the idea of playing it safe and venturing out mostly on my own – if they fire me for having dinner with passengers, the worst they’d do is send me home in Cadiz and save me this hellish 10 day sail. So I went out with the student life team and finally talked about all things American and about everyone’s future after the voyage ends. It surprised me how up in the air everyone else’s life is, too - even the older, totally settled in the group. It made me feel better about my inner east coast versus west coast turmoil, etc.

After Dubrovnik I started the overnight shift. I give so much credit to everyone in the world who works these hours. Trying to adjust your body clock (even without running around Spain instead of ever sleeping) takes such a toll on everything in your life. I can’t imagine being home and trying to keep up friendships when you should be sleeping while everyone else is awake. I was talking to the dean’s wife, who is a nurse, and she says it’s the hardest shift you’ll ever take, it removes you from your life outside work and really puts a strain on relationships. At the same time, she said – and I feel this – that the bonds that people form when they work together on the graveyard shift is totally different, stronger maybe, than the bonds people form at work during regular hours. It’s like there’s this whole world that nobody else knows about on the ship except the 15 of us who are up at 4am. Besides getting the chance to meet – and actually TALK with, since there are never any passengers to interrupt us – some of the crew that I’ve never even seen before, I also get freshly baked chocolate croissants and danishes from the pastry chef. FRESH out of the oven. I’m getting so fat I love it.

Spain was great – Zack came to Cadiz, which was an amazing, much needed little bit of home. Also, showing him around the ship made me own up to how foreign and strange, and oftentimes lonely, this experience has been. I am so lucky to have traveled as much as I have this semester. But it has been so hard to be alone for 100 days. I can’t wait to see you all when I get home, and to tell stories and share photos and catch up.

The fourth day I went to Seville with Sasha and met up with Jess – had some paella and did some relatively harmless shopping. Seville was gorgeous – the cathedral was breathtaking. Ok. The Vatican was remarkable for its sheer size, the gorgeous artwork inside and most of all the central power it represents. Hagia Sophia felt very, very old and important.

But the cathedral was jaw-dropping, every different corner and room and detail was elegant and intricate. Granted, after a few glasses of sangria the most ordinary things tend to be very impressive. But I was literally beside myself walking through the place. We walked up to the tower, which offered a 360-degree view of the city. I love cities that were built way before cars – houses are nestled together and rooftops pile on top of one another. I think in life I want a really modest house, with lots of character and a great terrace. I wonder what city I’ll have to settle down in to find it.

Anyway, the view was gorgeous – kind of the last hoorah of great views and interesting cities and terrible attempts to speak foreign languages.

Now I’m 6 days away from Miami – 6 overnight shifts filled with auditing and Six Feet Under and reruns of The Office. It’s so insane to think that in 7 days I’ll be back in the states, 9 days back in NY and onto my next crazy venture beneath the skies.

<3 MR

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You write from your heart and I laugh and cry and feel it with you.
Thank you for all you have given to all of us,reading this ,for all these months.

Loving how you love this adventure of yours, knowing how it will stay with you forever, deep within. You have met people who have given you so much inspiration as well. Keep those relationships alive-they will need you too.

From my heart to yours and for all of us Missy,Melissa, thank you!

Now we all get to hug and kiss you!!!!!
Love you always and forever,

6 more nights...,8 more until you are in NY,the city in which you should settle, right guys? (smile- no pressure of course)