anchors away

We are currently somewhere in the Atlantic ocean on our way to Spain! The past few days have been both exciting, nauseating and eventful so I’ll do my best to give you the highlights. On Sunday Mom, Ali and I flew out to Nassau and spent the night eating conch fritters and watching Canadian television. Our mini vacation didn’t last long as the next morning it was time to say goodbye and get on the ship! This involved long lines and quite a bit of processing, but everything went pretty smoothly. Once we were set to leave everyone came up on deck to watch wave goodbye and I can honestly say that seeing the ship actually pull away from the port was surreal.

I spent a lot of time during my last days at home thinking about the difference between leaving and going. Leaving speaks to what is behind you; all of the places things and people that you love. Leaving is never fun. But going alludes to all that is in front of you. Leaving my friends and family and school behind, for lack of a better word, sucked. But as the ship pulled away from the harbor I knew then that not only was I actually going, but that there was so much that lay ahead of me. Semester at Sea has been something I’ve been planning and talking about for over a year and only in that moment did it become real.

Once we were settled on the boat a few things happened. First, I got seasick. Having been on cruise ships before I didn’t think that I would feel the waves as much as I do but I’m sure I’ll figure out my “sea legs” soon. In the meantime I’m trying not to fall too hard and keep the queasiness to a minimum. Yesterday we had orientation during which we were fed lots of information about life on a floating campus. It was pretty much as fun as it sounds. However, the day certainly had its high points including watching the inauguration and some celebratory cake and champagne for the event. It was neat to think that we, even in the middle of the ocean, were able to watch this all happen in real time and celebrate with millions across the globe.

Today classes started and I think I’m going to really enjoy them. Everyone on the ship has to take a class called Global Studies which stresses the theme of the voyage (human migrations) and teaches about the countries we will visit before we get there. In addition to that I had a class in International Short Stories. I have two more new ones tomorrow so we’ll see how those go. In the meantime it’s pretty great to pass the time between classes out in the deck with a good book. Everyone is trying to get in as much sun as possible before we get into the chilly part of the Atlantic. We have another seven days until we reach Spain so I’m sure there will be more nautically awesome news to come. In the meantime feel free to leave comments or send me an email, I love getting them



Different fields, different grasshoppers; different seas, different fish

So it's just under two weeks until I leave for Semester at Sea and I'm starting to feel excited/nervous/trepidatious/ - pretty much all the feelings that people get before embarking on something big and new. However, I'm sure that once I get on the boat the excitement will weigh out the rest. I'm really looking forward to the experience and to sharing it with all of you via blog! We have limited internet access on the boat so I'm going to try and keep this as up to date as possible and include pictures etc when I can. However, they do provide us with an email address so you can email me anytime at lnalbini@semesteratsea.net.

Below is a list of all the places we stop and a map of all the ports we visit.
Nassau, Bahamas, Cadiz, Spain, Casablanca, Morocco, Walvis Bay, Namibia, Cape Town, South Africa, Port Louis, Mauritius, Chennai, India, Bangkok, Thailand, Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam
Hong Kong / Shanghai, China, Kobe / Yokohama, Japan, Honolulu, Hawaii, Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala, Fort Lauderdale, Florida

The semester at sea people do a good job of providing a lot of info on their website so if you want to learn more about the ports or follow the ship you can look at http://www.semesteratsea.org/spring-2009.php and if you want to see when we're in each country, where to send mail and what the time difference is for each port you can look at https://www.ise.virginia.edu/asp/mydocuments/S09/S09_CalCom.pdf

I know that I will change a lot from this trip and I'm really looking forward to seeing, tasting and experiencing new things, all the while carrying those I love with me. I can't wait to share my travels and the next time you hear from me chances are I will be en route to Spain!

- lia