Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Last night was Convocation; a formal goodbye to everyone and a congratulations to the graduating seniors. I was chosen out of ten students to give a speech in front of the entire shipboard community. I will post my speech for you all to read. The minute I received an email from the administration saying that students may submit a speech to read at convocation, I jumped on the opportunity. I don't even like public speaking, but I had this urge to get up there in front of everyone and let them in on my thoughts and feelings. Thank you to Gretchen, and my mom, and Mrs. Sikanowicz for the quick tips and suggestions...they gave me that "bang" I needed. I hope you enjoy reading it just as much as I did when giving my speech...
Good evening, my fellow shipmates, professors, faculty, and staff:
Today is not only December 13th, 2008, but it is the eve of our final port of call.
Tomorrow we will hesitantly close one door, and open another. On August 29th, our lives as we knew them ended as we boarded the ship for the very first time, and now life as we’ve known it over the past few months will be ending as we walk off the gangway for the very last time. To some, this may be one of the saddest nights that they can remember, and to others, this may be the happiest of nights because they know they will see their family, friends, and loved ones tomorrow for the first time in three months. There will undoubtedly be tears, as their have already been, when we say goodbye to people who we’ve grown close to and to friends who may very well be in our lives forever. We will shed happy tears as we remember all the indescribable things that we have done, places that we have visited, and world wonders that we have seen with our own two eyes. We will also shed tears of sadness as we realize that we will never again be able to repeat the mental, emotional, and physical journey we have just completed.
It is important for us to remember that although the door to this time in our lives is closing, it will never be bolted shut. We are allowed to revisit the memories that we have, the emotions that we have felt, and the questions we have asked ourselves over the course of this semester. We are allowed to bring all that we have learned with us on to the next stages of our lives, wherever this may be.
Although each and every one of us had a unique experience on Semester at Sea, we all have a lot in common. We’ve all circumnavigated the globe, survived a countless number of time changes, experienced life at sea, gained a greater appreciation for the world and all its inhabitants, realized that we have privileges and advantages that many people only dream of, and that we need to stop taking the littlest things in life for granted because we are not guaranteed another day here on Earth.
Whether you came on Semester at Sea to live life to the fullest, to escape a broken heart back home, to travel the world, or to simply prove to yourself that you can survive being away from home for three and a half months, you will now be going home a different person than you were that very first day back in August. You may not be able to describe what Semester at Sea was like to all the people who ask you “How was it?” and don’t feel like you are the only one. Every single one of us will be going through the same thing. Pictures, videos, and blogs will never be able to explain what it was like to see a starving woman laying in the train station in
Although you know you are a different person than you were when you left, you may not be able to understand how. It may not become apparent to you in the first few days home, or the next few weeks, or even in the coming months, but I can guarantee that other people will notice. You will see things in a unique way, hear things that you were never aware of before, and think in a manner that may surprise you at first. Most of our friends and family will never be able to understand or appreciate the things that we do now, so we have to remember each other. Stay in touch with the friends you’ve made, call them when you need to talk about Semester at Sea because everyone else can’t take listening to your stories any more, or go visit them. A six-hour car-ride is nothing anymore…
Always remember the humility you felt while visiting the townships in
Friday, December 12, 2008
Pura Vida!! You’re probably wondering what this means and its literal translation is Pure Life and it’s meaning in English would be This is Living. It’s a ubiquitous term in
Well, my last port came and went and I am sad. I loved
We tendered the first day outside of Puntarenas (the name of the actual port is slipping my mind right now) because the port area of Puntarenas was full that day. Around 8pm that first night, the ship sailed a whole five nautical miles to Puntarenas. I was one of 30 people who went on an independent trip put together by Raphael and it was a great time. The first day, right after we tendered to shore, the thirty of us were picked up by Matt, Kristin, and Scott- the first two are the owners of Pecuare River Tours and Scott is an "intern". They're from the States, but have owned Pecuare River Tours for the last two years. If you’re planning on rafting in
We drove for about 45 minutes to a national park where we were going zip lining through the canopy. I’ve only zip lined once in my life before and it was a little rinky-dink zip line compared to these big boys. I was a little nervous when I climbed up the first tower and was hooked onto the zip line for the first time, but after soaring through the air for a good 35 or 40 seconds, I wasn’t nervous anymore. It’s all about trusting the harness and the rest of your equipment. I took video of a few of the runs I did so you guys can get a good feel of what it’s like to “fly” :-). There were probably about 8-10 lines total (I was too excited to remember to count) and there was one section with tandem lines so two people could “race” to the other side. It really came down to who the heavier person was because they tend to go faster.
After the regular zip lines, we all marched to the very top of the first tower that we started from (probably 75 feet?) and were strapped into full body harnesses. We were about to ride the “Superman” zip line! A 4500 foot long zip line that stretched over the canopy AND a river about three hundred feet below. We had to lay belly down on a padded table where three people and worked to secure you to the line. Picture a cow hooked into a harness, suspended from a helicopter…that’s basically what we looked like haha. Maybe not the cow part, but I’m sure that all helped you picture what we looked like! It took almost a full minute to get from one side of the gorge to the other and it literally felt like I was flying. There was one point where I saw my shadow hundreds of feet down and I was like “holy crap, that’s my shadow!”…It was exhilarating.
After the canopy tour, we all loaded back into the buses and headed toward
The next morning, we woke up at 7:30, had breakfast at eight, and were on the road right around nine. We drove another hour or so to the put-in site in the
Our raft was the only one with all girls (we had Kristin as our guide…she’s basically who I want to be when I “grow up”) and we were also the only raft who didn’t have anyone fall out of the raft or have the raft flip. Not because we didn’t hit the same rapids as everyone else, but because we all actually listened to what our guide was saying. Kedren and me sat up front and set the pace for the rest of the group. I am getting excited just thinking about those four hours on the river! I can’t wait to get back there…
After rafting, we grabbed lunch at a restaurant that sat overlooking the same river we rafted down. I could definitely get used to Central American food…rice, beans, and lots of fresh fruit. Mmm mmm. Delicious. After lunch, we hopped back in the van and headed back toward Puntarenas. Three-quarters of the group were spending the night in Jaco, so Kristin was nice enough to have one bus go to Jaco and the other go back to Puntarenas. She didn’t have to do that, but that’s just how nice these people really were. I was part of the group that came back to Puntarenas…
The last day in
It was bittersweet pulling up to the port. It was the last time I would be walking up the gangway on this voyage…I also knew that I only had a handful of days left before I would be home. I was way more excited than I was sad…I am ready to be home…
Well, this was my last “official” blog post correlating to a port I was in. I’ll be posting more in the next couple of days about random things…thoughts, feelings, emotions…that kind of stuff. Stay tuned…