Saturday, January 31, 2009




Espana es muy buen! I have never walked so much, traveled so much or seen so much in my entire life in such a short period of time. We managed to see Barcelona, Madrid and Cadiz in 4 days! So here’s my VERY long story:

Day 1 de Espana
We had a 2:55 flight out of Jerez de la Frontera, a small city 45 minutes by taxi from the ship. We were originally nervous about the timing because while we were supposed to dock at 8 am, they can never promise how long it will be until we deboard. We really wanted to take public transportation because of how expensive the taxis are and the Euro is. However, we weren’t exactly sure how far the train station would be from where we docked. We heard everything from a two minute walk to a 30 minute walk. The day before we left we had even gone to the IT guy to help us print a schedule of the train times, which was every half hour. We ended up being called last (they do it by seas-which are basically halls), but still deboarded at 9. It turned out that the train station was about a 20 minute walk. Which wasn’t bad at all, although we had all of our stuff (we each managed to pack only a regular jansport plus a camera whereas most people had these huge backpacking bags). The ticket to Jerez was only 3.85€ plus another Euro for a connecting bus. The train took 45 minutes and the bus only 30 minutes (with a half hour break in between to wait for the bus). After the train we had to stop at a bus station while we waited for our transfer. Brittany stared at the orange trees while I put the telephoto lens on my Nikon and snapped away at unsuspecting Spaniards. The bus was comfortable and we were basically the only ones on it. When we finally arrived at the airport it was around 12:45 which gave us plenty of time before our 2:55 flight.

Jerez has a very small airport, bigger than the Gainesville one, but still very tiny. Half of our flight was SASers so we had plenty of people to talk to for our two hour wait. We also headed into the Duty-Free store to buy Irena(my friend who we stayed with) a bottle of Vino (the wine here is cheaper then the water). The plane ride was only about an hour and a half. We sat next to these two boys who ended up staying with their friends in the same apartment complex as Irena-it is such a small world! We chatted the flight away before landing in Barcelona. That airport was huge! Brittany bought a cute Tous bracelet while I looked aimlessly at the shops. Again, we decided against a taxi in order to save some money and took the train then the metro for a true adventure. We bought what is called a T10 pass which means that you get 10 rides for 7.70€ (we ended up getting 2 for the whole trip), much better than a 40€ taxi into the city. We sat across from this man who had really frizzy curly hair and holes in his shirt. While I was convinced he was homeless, Brittany decided to talk to him. It turns out he was totally not homeless, instead he was returning from backpacking through Mexico and Arizona and actually lived in New York for some time. Crazy! He convinced us that we were not going to get mugged. (The night before we got to Spain SAS gave us this whole spheal which basically could be summed up to: You will get robbed, you may get molested, be careful; thankfully none of that happened) From the train he helped us get to the metro where we took two transfers to get to Irena’s. Tired, yet excited we finally managed to find Irena’s apartment while the sun started to set. We were all so excited to see each other and quickly dropped our bags and began catching up. Her apartment is nice and she along with 4 other roommates shares a main area, 2 bathrooms, a kitchen and a small balcony. The walls are paper thin so you can hear absolutely everything in the building, including our friends from the airplane upstairs. After a little bit we decided to explore her neighborhood, which is also very nice. We headed to a grocery store to pick up snacks and upon Irena’s recommendation we bought a bottle of 3€ wine. While I am not a drinker at all, I have to admit that it was delicious, mom you would have loved it! I have no idea what it was called and I’m sure it had like no alcohol in it, but still very yummy. We headed back to Irena’s for a little to put down our groceries and relax. We met he roommate, Mikal, and some of her neighbors, Jason, Willie and Eric. Irena told us that the Spanish food in Barcelona was not very good so we ended up at this really cool thai restaurant. I had pad thai which was delicious, we’ll see how it compares to Thailand. After that we headed back to Irena’s to chat more and get ready to go out. The bars and clubs don’t open till 1 am and people don’t really go out until 2-3. Somehow I managed to stay up before we headed out Otto Zues (Irena, us and her neighbors), which is the number 3 club according to ‘What to do in Barcelona.” There was no cover charge which was nice and the club itself was gorgeous. It felt a little like a Bat-Mitzvah since all of the music was in English and from 8th grade. LOL. There were a ton of SASers there which was fun, but it didn’t feel very “Spain”. We left after only a little over an hour which was fine by me since I was exhausted. Despite the fact that we had flown and traveled all day we did not go to sleep right away, rather stayed up and laughed some more. Brittany and I slept on two couches in the main room and while I slept like a baby until 10 am (6 hours of sleep), Brittany had trouble and ended up not really sleeping because our friends from the plane were quite loud.

Day 2 de Espana
We quickly showered and got ready for our first real day in Spain! Irena, Willie, Brittany and I headed out for breakfast, then touring. We had an authentic Spanish breakfast, café con leche y tostadas (Ari-if you’re reading this and my spelling is off-don’t judge me ☺) for 1.90€. It’s their verision of a breakfast special. It was SO good, the coffee here is amazing. From the café we walked a little while to the Sagrada Familia. It was absolutely amazing. It is actually still not finished, even after all these years. It is so huge, detailed and pretty much just fabulous. Near the Sagrada Familia was this gorgeous hospital, also designed by Gaudi. We took a million pictures before heading to one of our only taxi rides. Since there were four of us it wasn’t very expensive. We headed to the Parc Guell. This was my favorite site of the whole trip. It is otherwise known as the Gaudi Park and had all of these intricate mosaics and beautifully designed architecture. It is truly indescribable. It also houses the world’s longest bench (fun fact, lol). From the top of the hill you can see almost all of Barcelona, which seated from the bench is quite amazing. The architecture is very cave like is some places which gives it a very natural feel. The park also had very cool street vendors. I managed to bargain down a pretty Picasso scarf to 5€. Brittany had this cool three layer hand painted (by the man as you watch) glass picture of the Sagrada Familia made for only 3€. I took some amazing pictures of the man’s intricate work as he painted. On our way out we actually bumped into Courtney Levine from home which goes to show it is such a small world! We snapped some commemorative pictures and were on our way. From there we headed to the metro where we said a temporary good-bye to Irena who had to take a different train to her classes. Willie thus became our temporary tour guide and he was amazing! He knew so much about everything and most importantly, how to get there.

Spanish metros are clean, but are pretty intense. It is where most of the pick pocketing occurs. Before we docked in Spain Brittany and I bought locks for our backpacks and camera cases. Luckily none of our stuff got stolen as were viligent, but some other SASers have been telling us some yucky stories. Luckily we were with Willie (and at other times Irena) who led us to each transfer because Barcelona stations are all huge and have multiple transfers in each.

We got off at that Gaudi building with the REALLY cool balconies (dad-I think you have a shirt with it on it). I cannot remember the name for the life of me, but I promise to look it up later, which is funny because it is the one icon that I always think of when I think of Barcelona. Just another few steps brought us to another gorgeous Gaudi creation, another apartment building with a mosaic feel and a crazy roof. It was another favorite stop of mine as it looked like a house out of a fairy tale. In between the apartments was this tiny hole in the wall shop that we decided to stop in. It had really cool hand made jewelry and I bought my only real (substantial-not a postcard) souviner, a Gaudi inspired ring. It has a bunch of circles with colorful swirls inside. At 30% off (due to Rebajas-sort of like their after-thanksgiving sale, only it’s a month! And my wonderful bargaining skills (it was only supposed to be 20% off) it came to only 30€. Since its handmade and real silver I decided to go for it.

Exhausted, we trailed on, knowing that we only really had this day to sight see. Willie was also great because he loved my camera and thus was happy to take a ton of pictures with the two of us (Brittany and Me) in them. He also egged us on when we complained of the walking and was happy to looked aimlessly as we shopped(more window shopped for me). As we got more tired we became a comedy show of sorts.

From that street we took the metro to Muntanya de Montjuic, which is a mountain that overlooks the city. It was a cloudy day but we could still see well as we took at 6€ cable car up its side. The views were breath taking. We could see far and wide and enjoyed every second of it. At the top of the mountain there is a fort, which even has an old style mot that is now a garden. We took pictures with the cannons and looked around the museum. I am taking Military Force so seeing the Castell de Mont Juic and Museu Military were musts. Since we are constantly trying to conserve as much money as is possible we decided to walk down the mountain instead of shelling out another 6€. On our way down we saw this adorable little boy(maybe 4 years old) pushing this enormous stroller down the street. It looked like he was alone so we started chatting in Spanish (my rudimentary Spanish is coming back) and while I shot a few pictures of him his parents returned and we kept walking, pretending it had never happened. Let’s just say the walk, albeit gorgeous, added quite a level of exhaustion to the day.

 From the Muntanya de Montjuic we walked all the way to the Museu Olimpic I de l’Esport, which is the Olymic Stadium from the ’92 games. Inside we saw(and of course took pictures) of the field and then sat down for a snack. I had café con leche, mi favorita! From there we headed to Museu Nacional D’art de Catalunya Palau Nacional. It is this absolutely fanatastic and huge old building (looks like a cathedral) where we saw the Jardins (gardens) and took more pictures. From there we walked (tired!) down the Av de la Reina Maria Cristina and to the metro. The metro took us to Las Rambles a massive paved mostly pedestrian street in the heart of Barcelona. This is another likely spot for pick pocketing so we kept our hands on our zippers and I kept my camera in its bag, while we used Brittany’s compact point and shot to document this adventure. The street was lined with shops (it also sort of reminded me of Ben Guirien in Israel) and vendors. There were also fantastical individuals in costumes who were looking for tourist to pay them for a picture. The oddest thing were these vendors who sold small animals from roosters to mice to bunnies and turtles. Brittany kept eyeing them, but alas no pets for us on the ship. We headed in and out of shops and eventually Brittany fell in love with and purchased a pretty leather jacket. Willie then took us to La Boquiera, a food market in the heart of Las Ramblas. He cautioned us against buying anything since it had been out so long (the sun was setting), but the smells and sights brought my attention to the fruit juice, which at 1€ seemed like a good deal. However, I took his advice and stayed clear of it. From there we headed back up (and I mean uphill) Las Ramblas toward El Corte de Ingles to meet Irena. We could barely move as we headed up to the top of the nine story department store (which reminded me of Harrods in London). The plan was to eat at the top but when Irena got there we all figured out that we didn’t like the menu so we left. I was totally exhausted at this point, but was constantly reminding myself that I was traveling the world with every step I took. We ended up going to this restaurant named “Istanbul” which had gyros. Even though I never like that kind of meat I managed to scarf mine down. It was SO yummy! From there we headed back to Irena’s for a siesta. I didn’t manage to fall asleep but I did recharge for a little bit.

I skyped with my parents and caught up on my bank account and email as well as updating my facebook. VERY exciting since we are internet deprived. I was very into the idea of going out earlier than 2 because we had a 9:30 flight to Madrid the next day. 2 hours later we were out to Chipitos. This very fun shot bar. Again, I am so not a drinker, but these were sugarery shots with fun names and activities that went along with them. I only did 2, one of which was called a Boy Scout where you roast a marshmallow literally on the bar after they light it on fire. Then you stick the marshmallow in the shot and drink it. Very cool. We met up with another friend there from UF, Katie Packer, which was also really fun. From there we headed out to Pippermint a fun, low key bar near Chipitos. The low was getting beer spilled on my new boots from home, but it all buffed out so it wasn’t that big of a deal. We got home at 3 and talked to 4 when I decided I need to nap. Brittany headed up with Irena and the neighbors to their apartment and I tried to take a quick nap before our flight, but to no avail. I ended up heading upstairs at like 5. We talked and laughed at how exhausted we were. At 6 we went back downstairs and packed. Her friend, Jason, also had to get to the airport so we went with him around 6:30. By the time we got off all our transfers to the airport we basically couldn’t walk with exhaustion. Somehow we managed to make it to our gate. Interestingly, Spaniards line up for their gate WAY early and will stand there, in a very very long line until they start letting people on. Very weird, there are assigned seats. Again, somehow we managed to make it to our plane.

Day 3-Madrid
We fell asleep before the plane took off and were very surprised when we landed, an hour later then we thought were supposed to. We asked the guy next to us what happened and he said we had been delayed an hour on the tarmac. Who knew?

Thankfully the two hour nap managed to wake us up because we had only 6 hours for Madrid. Again, we took public transport (the Madrid system is much easier with less transfers per station). We each got one day tourist tickets for 5.50€. We had all our stuff with us, which was our only downfall. We took it to Museo Del Prado where we met my friend, Adrianna Lopez. We had perfect timing and managed to walk up at exactly the same time. We checked our backpacks with the coat check but she wouldn’t take my camera case so I had to carry it through the museum. Brittany took pity on me and carried it for part of the time. The museum was amazing (although not as good as the Hermitage in Russia). We saw Las Meninas, The Garden of Earthly Delights, The Third of May, Saturno, and many other gems from Bosch, Goya and more. We had lunch at the museum where I ate my second authentic meal Tortilla de Patatas, so yummy! After a few hours at the museum we headed over to Parque de Madrid. Another long, but beautiful walk down the gorgeous old streets of Madrid. I will never forget that architecture.

The park was gorgeous, we sat on a bench by a lake and just talked. It was so gorgeous as we watched the street vendors and even the saw canoes and rowers on the lake. It was perfect. The weather was totally stunning. From there we headed to a tapas bar for croquettas. It was completely authentic as we were the only Americans there. While I loved Barcelona and all the Gaudi, Madrid seemed much more Spanish and authentic. We spent a lot of time just recharging at the tapas place before heading to the metro to say good bye to Adrianna and Madrid. We had only a afternoon there due to the schedule change with SAS, however despite the short amount of time we spent there and the exhaustion it was SO worth it. We took the metro to what we thought was the airport, but it turns out that T1-T3 was at that stop and T4 (where Iberia is) was a different stop. Our one day passes would not work because it thought we were trying to cheat the system so we had to explain to the women what had happened. Eventually, she understood us and we managed to get to T4. The airport was funky and very contemporary. It had an open space with clear floors and ramps. I have NEVER seen anything like it. The top ceiling was this wavy vaulted design with yellow trimming. It is impossible to explain. By this time we were back to exhaustion mode and were nodding in and out. We ended up chatting with this Egyptian man who was there for a tourism fair. It kept us entertained until they finally assigned us a gate (apparently in Madrid they only assign gates an hour before the flight). As Spainards lined up way too early, Brittany and I caught up on our adventures by looking through our pictures on my camera and reminiscing at what an AMAZING time we had. I am so thankful for this trip and to think that this is only the first of many. Brittany slept right through while I silently freaked out about the turbulence.

We arrived at Jerez too late to take public transportation, so we took our first real taxi home. 30€ later, we were back at the ship missing our adventure but yearning for our beds. It was almost 12 so we decided to set our alarms for 12 in the afternoon the next day, which gave us 5 hours in Cadiz and a chance to catch up after not sleeping for so long.

Day 4-Cadiz
With low expectations for Cadiz, we woke up and got ready to walk around. With no goal in mind we headed out. Little did we know what a treat we were in for. The city is old but has such a young spirit. Besides the fact that we were constantly bumping into SASers, the city felt very Spanish, despite the fact that the area right next to the port resembles Miami (due mostly to water and palm trees). We spent the afternoon wandering at a very slow pace, something we had not done much of on our travels. Finally we sat down for tapas and enjoyed some paella in this amazing plaza next to a huge cathedral. I was seriously paradise. The sun was out (we had heard from others that it had been cloudy and raining for the past few days. We chatted with other SASers at the table next to us and just enjoyed being in Spain. We tried to stop at a supermarket to get snacks for the ship, but it was siesta time so it was closed. We headed back through the winding stone paved roads to the ship.

Spain was amazing. From seeing my home friends to seeing Gaudi. I am so impressed with the country and with my body for putting up with me (lol). I want to conclude this incredibly long post with answers to my questions:
Will we make it to our flight on time? Yes, with much time to spare!
How much of a language issue will there be, although I do have a rudimentary knowledge of Spanish (go Miami!)? Not really, Madrid was the only real language issue, especially the coat check women, but we made it.
Will we make it to Irenas without trouble? Yes, very easy!
How AMAZING will seeing Gaudi’s works be? It will blow your mind!
How easy will it be to stay on budget? Not too bad. I spent a little more money then I thought I would just due to Euro and how far we went, but nothing bad at all.
How awesome will the sight seeing and picture taking be? AMAZING.

Amazing. Amazing. Amazing.
Happy Sailing,

PS. Tonight I have spent the night catching up with friends on their travels and writing this. It is supposed to get rocky, so I took motion sickness pills. They even told us to move anything that could get damaged if it fell off our counters. Tomorrow is Morocco Day, so I’m excited!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009



Hasta manana en Espana! Me Gusta!!

Last night was the stormiest and rockiest it has been all voyage. The motion woke me up a few times, but I was able to go back to sleep pretty well. I woke up exhausted for Global Studies, but a little diet coke and the steadfast reminder that I was almost in spain woke me up in time for a refresher course about El Greco and Velasquez. In Digital Arts we worked on our first project which is a digital compulation of some photos altered and made to look very funky. I am getting a great sense of photoshop, even if the end project looks a little twisted. After that I headed to the computer lab and then off for a short nap before Brittany returned and woke me up. We walked around and hung out before dinner and before we knew it, it was the pre-port orientation.

Tomorrow we finally arrive in Spain. Tonight we had paella and Spanish food to prepare for our embarkation. We have been having pre-port orientations all night and tonight we had our ‘logistical’ orientation. We should be able to disembark by 9. At that time Brittany and I are running to the train station to leave for Jerez. Our flight is at 2:55 to Barcelona so we should have plenty of time. In Barcelona we will be staying with my friend Irena. I can’t wait to see her and experience Spain! On Friday we leave BarTHElona for Madrid, but only for a day. We are meeting my other friend Adrianna for some quick sight-seeing and hopefully seeing Museo Del Prado. 

As we sail into our first port I am both excited and nervous. Will we make it to our flight on time? How much of a language issue will there be, although I do have a rudimentary knowledge of Spanish (go Miami!)? Will we make it to Irenas without trouble? How AMAZING will seeing Gaudi’s works be? How easy will it be to stay on budget? How awesome will the sight seeing and picture taking be?

Don't let that make you think I'm not totally psyched for what will come. I’m having a great time, we’re (me, Brittany, Lauren, Perri and Becca) all painting our nails in my room getting excited for the adventure ahead.

Until Next Time,
Happy Sailing!

Monday, January 26, 2009

A2, B3

A2, B3
They told us on the first day that pretty soon we would not know what day or month it is, only whether it is an A day or a B day. As I sit here typing this, I am realizing that I do not know what day it is, but I still managed to the right class at the right time.

Its getting colder as we are moving closer and closer to Spain. The wind is also picking up a little bit and it is getting rockier. I haven’t really been sea sick since the first night, but when they told us it was supposed to get windy, I heeded their warning and took Dramamine so today’s movement isn’t getting to me. As I look out my window I can really see the waves, even out into the distance. Earlier the water was much greyer but now it seems to be a rich blue with almost a grey layer over it (hard to explain). The last couple of days we were going around 15 knots, but have recently sped up. It makes a major difference in how much the boat sways (faster=better).

The first day we bought this big map to put on our wall (it was only $5) to chart our progress. Day by day we mark our latitude and longitude, it is very cool to see our progress across the Atlantic!

Yesterday was an A day, so I had Global Studies and Digital Art. Both were great. Afterwards, we worked a little more on our Morocco trip. It looks like we picked a Riad (old converted house-like a B&B in the states). There are 5-6 of us for sure going plus others who are also looking into it (multiple groups!). I am kind of proud of myself for picking the hotel (plus thanks to my dad for looking up its legitimacy  since we don’t have full internet). Which reminds me: EMAIL ME  I can only check it while at sea though. I would love to hear from you!

Last night Brittany and I planned to make it an early night as we are officially 5 hours ahead of Miami time, which means that we have had five 23 hour days. While it takes a toll on our bodies and minds, I’m pretty sure mine has just given up with trying to keep on a schedule. But, alas that never ended up happening because there are just so many distractions on this boat. We ended up heading up to Pub Night and didn’t go to sleep until 1ish, because we had some very funny visitors who knocked on our door as we were heading to sleep (hi Lindsey!). Each room comes with a hung picture which every semester its inhabitants write notes and tips to the new voyagers. From who were the best wait staff to secret parts of the ship and even our room, our painting held quite a bit of knowledge! However, going to sleep late at all is hard because we are constantly losing hours and to get up for breakfast before our 9:20 Global Studies class can prove daunting.

Today I had my first quiz in Foreign Policy, it was VERY specific, but I read so I think I did fine. I can’t believe we are going to be in Spain in 2 days!! Time just flies! I am very excited, yet also nervous about the adventure ahead. I can’t wait.

Happy Sailing!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Days 5-6

Days 5-6
Weather/Ocean Update: Gorgeous! The ocean is still calm, a little more gray(hi Hill!) then yesterday. We have slowed down to 14 knots which is also making the sea look calmer. The sky is full of these gorgeous long low clouds. Beautiful :)

Yesterday was a really great day, between getting used to the movement almost completely (its both getting smoother and I’m getting more used to it) and my Digital Art class. They have these really cool non-credit classes called Seminars where they have a professor or staff member talk about a subject. The night before last I convinced my friend Laura to come with me to a Digital Camera Seminar. We learned SO much, dad-you would have loved it! Between that seminar and my Digital Arts class I feel like I am getting so much better at photography. I have been practicing with all the settings.

So, back to yesterday. Last night after turning in our forms for our next ports (for our SAS trips), Brittany convinced us (Perry and I), to go to swing dancing. It was actually really fun. We did a basic ‘sentence’. They had a line of girls and boys and after every song we switched.

After that, we decided we had so much reading to do that we should probably call it an early night. However, the internet tends to be MUCH stronger outside the room then inside so we sat in the hallway. For those of you who don’t know, we only get 120 minutes of non-sas approved websites (those for research) the whole voyage. If we exceed that, it is 40 cents minute, not horrible but not so great. My whole life adults have told me that cell phones and the internet (particularly facebook as of late) are the demise of society because they take us out of the present. I never believed them, until this voyage. The absence of escape makes people really come out of their shells and conversations are our best form of entertainment on the ship. Soon after we went to the hallway we found ourselves immersed in conversation with others who had similar plans. We laughed as we decided that the lack of internet makes us all come out of our rooms, rather then look each other up on facebook all the time. Obviously, we ended up quite distracted but still got a lot of work done.

Today I had Global Studies, Military Force and Intro to Art. I am loving the military force class, the guy teaches at UCLA and is amazing. We talked about the Spanish-American War (since we’re going to Spain) and it all seemed to come alive. We actually will have our first quiz the day after tomorrow since there are so few school days. I am mastering working out on the elliptical while reading. LOL. I am also thoroughly enjoying my Intro to Art Class. The professor seems to really value art in the everyday world and is really focused on the beauty of the sea and what not.

Ok, enough for now!

Happy Sailing,

Friday, January 23, 2009

At Sea.

This post was written over the course of 3 days. If it sounds choppy, I'm sorry, but I'm trying to keep it unedited and pretty stream of consciousness-esque!

Days 3-5 At Sea.

Wow, it seems like ages since I last posted. Days seem like weeks on this ship, in a good way! Since there is no TV or really much internet, all we have is each other. The long winded conversations over dinner are amazing times for us students as the topics just seem to flow, from what we are planning for Morocco (Marrakesh!) to our friends and family at home.

Yesterday I had my first Digital Arts class. It seems like it will be a really interesting. So far we have to make a self-portrait portfolio. I have added pictures of my family, sushi, my cards and even some funky designs. I have never taken a formal art class, despite my years of scrapbooking, rubberstamping, pottery etc… So I am both nervous and excited for what will come next!

After that I returned to my room for a 30 minute nap. Cat naps are a must on the ship as we are constantly loosing hours. I woke up when Brittany got back from her class and we headed down to the Field Office. The Field Office is a wonderful place because they are the people who help you plan independent trips. They are informed and can tell you how feasible or safe your plans are. We are planning a morocco trip and we were looking for some help and they certainly came through!

Then we headed to the lower dining room to have some dinner. The food on the ship is sort of touch and go. Some things are super yummy (they’ve had some great veggie medleys as well as some rice mixes), while others are just stale (the bread for PB&J).

Next, we headed upstairs to the wellness center to sign up for the gym. They put a new list out every night at 7pm and everyone is limited to a half hour shift. I signed up for the elliptical.

That night was also the activities fair, I signed up for an extended family (where one of the Lifelong Learners ‘adopts’ you) as well as some miscellaneous clubs.

We spent the night (or what you could call a night since 23 hour days mandate early bedtimes) playing catchphrase and laughing. The bonds on this ship are definitely tight.

The next day was my first B day. The ship runs on A and B days so we quickly loose sight of Mondays or Fridays, it’s kind of bizarre but also part of the charm.

On B days I have Global Studies, Intro to Art and Military Force. The Intro to Art guy is really fun, very Mr. Beverley in his tangential stories. The textbook seems interesting and I already have 40 pages due the next day we meet. Military Force seems pretty intense, but the teacher is great so I think I’ll like it.

Ok, I’ll write more later. This ship is seriously SO busy. As I write this I am staring at the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. One of my professors was telling us how the water really changes as we progress and it is SO true. The water right now is a rich blue and calm (for the first time the whole trip-actually). I am off to Shabbat Dinner (yep, they do those  ).

Ok, well before I managed to post this I went to the Shabbat Dinner. Kudos to SAS for making us Challah! There were at least 60 people in the room-pretty amazing. We lit Shabbat Lights and sang songs, it was pretty impressive! To think, we're half way across the Atlantic and celebrating shabbat!

Happy Sailing!

Some Questions

I'm going to write a more formal entry soon, but my dad forwarded me these questions, so I thought I would fill it out for all of you too!

How was your first Global Studies class?
Global Studies is very interesting. It is basically taught by this older man who looks Native American. It is inter-disciplinary and seems like it might even be kind of hard. The first lecture was very science based, but today's included pirates (study of the Caribbean).

What was the Shipboard Activities Fair about? The fair had all types of clubs you could sign up for. It was in the Union which is quite bumpy so it was an adventure. I signed up for Extended Family (where you get adopted by a Life Long Learner), to welcome foreign diplomats and interport students and also possibly some sort of Jewish faith group.

How's the weather?  It was cold here today with the high around 60 and going down to 40 tonight!!     (can you see this AOL emoticon?) The weather is also interesting. It tends to rain at night. Yesterday was kind of misty and yucky. But, today is gorgeous.  My friend Laura( and I are going to head upstairs after this email to read our Foreign Diplomacy books in the sun!

Ok, that's all for now. I promise to post more soon!

Happy Sailing!
Elyssa T

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Day Two

Day Two(Tuesday, Jan 20, 2009)
Today has been quite a tiring one as we spent the greater half of it in mass lectures which basically could be summarized with two words “Be Smart”. Don’t Cheat. Don’t Over Drink. Don’t Do Stupid Things. Easy, right? Every time I got restless I just reminded myself that I was going around the world and then I seemed to be able to get past the repetition.

Yet today was also a monumental day as the United States of America inaugurated our 44th President, Barack Hussein Obama. We were warned ahead of time to stay off of our computers and the internet so that the ship could harness as much bandwich as possible to be able to capture the satellite. Britney and I (and a few new friends!) ran to the front of the union to make sure we were front row for the broadcast. It was such a memorable experience to sit in a room, while crossing the Atlantic Ocean, and view such an extraordinary event. It was quite emotional.

The rest of the day was spent in the aforementioned meetings learning the Do’s and Don’ts of the ship.

Tonight we are having one more meeting and then a celebration in the Union in honor of Obama.

I am having an amazing time so far. Everyone is really really nice and friendly!

Also, to answer a question:

The ship(not boat, boats can be on ships but ships can’t be on boats) rocks. I was a little unsteady before, but now I seem to be getting my sea legs.

Also starting tonight we lose an hour. During the whole trip we will have 23 23 hour days and two of the same day. Try keeping that straight!!

Happy Sailing,

Monday, January 19, 2009

Day One!

Everything is wonderful!SO I guess today is Entry Number One. I am on this voyage with my friend Brittany. We flew in yesterday to Nassau and stayed in Atlantis. It was truly amazing. All the slides were so fun and well maintained. I have never seen anything like it. We went exploring, but decided it was probably best to have an early night because we knew we would have such a draining next day. The next day, we left the hotel around 9 and took a taxi with 2 other girls and one of their mom's. It turned out to be perfect because the line was so long that they headed to the back of it and we stayed with the bags. This way we didn't have to lug everything around. The mom was SO nice she brought us bottled water etc... Once we made it to the boat we went up to eat lunch. It was yummy (tacos). We headed out to the deck and ate with two other girls, Gaeyln and Lindsey. We explored the ship more and then headed out to Nassau because their were a lot of shops right outside. Don't worry, I didn't buy anything except two 6-packs of Diet Coke for the fridge. It was pretty exhausting walking around. We headed back to the ship around 2 and have been unpacking since. We are basically unpacked WITH ROOM!!!
This email thing is very easy. It's done through Microsoft Outlook. But, I cant send or receive pictures.
I am having a ball so far, everyone is so friendly.
Tonight we have muster stations and meetings. Tomorrow more meetings and one class. All my books arrived safety :)

Happy Sailing!

Friday, January 16, 2009

2 Sleeps!

Its funny, I've been blogging for almost a year now via Confessions of a Teenage Scrapper. I've shared highs and lows on that blog from taking the LSAT to vacations to my projects and cards. Though I feel that I have shared a good part of my life, this blog somehow seems innately more mine. I want this blog to be truly reflective, while still maintaining its public nature. So hop on, subscribe(click on follow this blog on the right hand corner OR subscribe through google reader), and get ready to partake in this adventure with me.

Just 2 more sleeps until Nassau and 3 more til my Semester at Sea!

Sailing Away,
Elyssa T.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Less then a week!

In less then a week I will be boarding the MV Explorer to circumnavigate the globe! I hope to blog here quite often in order to keep a running diary as well as chronicle my reflections and adventures.
Want to see pictures of the boat? Click here!