Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Summertime, Summertime Sadness

I am just getting so clever with the song lyrics as my blog post names.
I just showered and am getting ready for bed. It is almost midnight and
my last day on board the MV Explorer is over. Our room is empty besides
out carry ons and there is nothing left to do.

Today we had some programs. At 1 there was a presentation by the on
board psychologist on re-entry and what to expect coming home. At 8 we
had our last pre-port. We had one before every country. They tell us
about the culture, what to see, what to do, and some safety stuff.
Tonight's was the same. It was actually really funny. Dean David did his
cultural pre-port as usual, but on America. He told us all about this
new culture and country we were about to see like he would with the
others. It was all a joke this time obviously. We got our info about
debarkation tomorrow and our deans said their last words.

After JoEllen, Becca, Adam, and I went to late night snack which was
packed. We played Heads Up again and made fools of our selves in public
(again). Then the three of us girls went back to our cabin and had a
late night dance party. We caught a lot on video. Apparently we were
heard a few cabins down as well. Oops. So as I said it is almost
midnight and I am exhausted.

Tomorrow is a long day. We are up at 7 to be at breakfast a half hour
later. We all have to go through face to face immigration with officers
who come on board and then we can get our passports back. Our cabins
have to be empty by 9. Once everyone has gotten their passport and all
the bags are off so are we. Then it's the shuttle ride to the airport
and waiting all day until our 8:30pm flight.

I'm So Fancy, you Already Know...

Yesterday we went through the Kiel Canal in Germany. It took us about 8
hours and I was expecting it to be like the Panama Canal. It wasn't at
all. We only went through 2 locks, one at the beginning and one at the
end. The rest of the time we moved at a pretty good speed and it just
looked like we were going through a wide river through the countryside.
We went through to save some time and to avoid the rougher seas. Once we
got out of the canal around 3 or 4, we started to hit really rough seas.

Last night was the Alumni Ball and we all got to dress up fancy. Our one
dean said it was really nice to see everyone all dressed up because
every other time she sees us we are going to class in sweatpants and
flip flops. JoEllen, Becca, and I got ready in our room and of course
there was a dress fiasco. It all got taken care of though. Our on ship
photographer took pictures in the Union and then they had mustaches and
glasses and things for us to take pictures with on the other deck.

We had dinner at 8:30 and it was really good. Everyone got a glass of
champagne as we walked in. We were supposed to sit at Becca's table, but
when we signed up they told us it was full. So we were at a different
table with our friend from food class, Dana.

First we had a choice of an appetizer and I had the spring roll. Then we
all had cream of broccoli soup and salad. Then we had a main course and
I got the beef. And then we got ice cream. It was all so good and I was
so full.

During dinner is when we started to feel the rocking a lot. Once we left
dinner and started walking it was horrible. We were basically being
thrown from one side of the hall to the other. JoEllen and I tried to
use the handrails, but we still ended up on the other side of the wall.
After dinner we saw an end of voyage video that our videographer had
done. They had a dance after, but mostly everyone cleared out, including
me. I was not feeling well. JoEllen and I took some Dramamine and could
not sleep. I had such a horrible sleep. We were moving so much in our
beds and it was really uncomfortable. It wasn't the normal rocking, it
was you look at the other side of the room and it is higher than the
side you are on rocking.

Our luggage is all gone to be loaded off tomorrow. Today we have some
end of the trip activities and it feels like the sea has calmed down.
Today is my last day on-board and I don't know how I feel about it.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Luggage Tags

So I don't know if this message sent, because it said there was an error.

I just finished my third final in a row, so I am done!

Our luggage tags for luggage collection tomorrow are on our doors. Time
to pack!

We are currently going through the Kiel Canal in Germany.

Tonight is our Alumni Ball.

And can we take a second to acknowledge that tomorrow is our last day

Monday, August 18, 2014

Weebles Wobble but They Won't Fall Down

Today ends our first day back at sea after a week. We are in the North
Sea again, but on the other side of what we previously sailed earlier in
the trip. It is extremely rocky and rough. It was hard to sleep last
night after we left at 11pm. We were again being moved up and down in
our beds. Today was a study today because finals are tomorrow. It was a
little difficult to study today when being rocked so much. It sort of
made me a little nauseous at some points from reading and being rocked
at the same time. We are also having some bad weather, with really dark
skies and some periods of pouring rain.

We are all walking down the hallways crooked and I did a good amount of
stumbling around the room this morning when I first woke up. Luckily I
have not fallen and I have not seen anyone else take a tumble.

Tomorrow we will be in German waters and going through the Kiel Canal.
It will take most of the day basically and it should help to give us
some calmer waters, which is why we are going through it I think. I
cannot wait for finals to be over. After finals we have our Alumni Ball
and I have to start packing at some point. It is now after 10 so there
is really only 2 days left and then an entire day of traveling home on
the 21st!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

"Sail Away from the Safe Harbor"

The title of this blog is a quote that I heard a few years ago. I cannot
remember who it is by, but will look it up when I am home (I want to say
it was Twain). At the time I heard it, I thought oh that's nice and
forgot it. It wasn't until this trip that it popped into my head and
actually meant something for me. Little miss anxiety and panic left home
for almost 3 months and explored the world. I left my comfort zone and
safety and had an adventure. I am actually pretty proud of myself for
doing this. A lot of students say they want to study abroad, but only 1%
of college students actually do it.

From the moment I left for the airport, I have been waiting for the
"this is really happening" feeling. I sort of compared it to the show
Say Yes to the Dress, when the bride finds her dress and has that
feeling and cries. Well throughout the trip I never got that surreal "I
am really doing this" moment. Yesterday I finished exploring 11
countries and 14 cities throughout Europe and Scandinavia. That is when
it hit me. I got the feeling at the very end of my last port. Although I
am still on the boat for 5 days, it hit me after Poland. Instead of what
I thought I would feel at the beginning, I got an overwhelming "look
what I just did" moment.

This was a huge step for me and an experience I will never forget. I
learned a lot more about myself and that I can do a lot more than I
think. With everything that I did this summer, I am still excited to be
home on Thursday. See you soon Jersey!

Last Reflections

Here are my last country reflections! Unfortunately there were no
croissants found in these last ports.

Helsinki, Finland:
Finland reminded me a lot of Sweden. It was clean and felt safe. It was
again extremely hot for us. I had a really good time in this port. It
was a fun city to walk around. We visited markets that were fun to go to
and more fun to talk to the locals. Most of the people were really
friendly and the country just had a really welcoming feeling. Finland
seemed like an extremely livable city. It was lively and easy to get
around. It was another one of my favorite ports, but I did like Sweden
better. I would definitely go back here.

Gdansk, Poland:
This is the city in which we were docked in. I did not explore Gdansk at
all, but I still got to see it. The port is not that pretty, but I heard
that the old town area was really nice.

Krakow, Poland:
Krakow is where I spent my 4 days in Poland. It was a long drive from
Gdansk to Krakow. The city was not that nice, but the old town and
market square were beautiful and really fun to walk around. All of the
food that I had here was really good. I had tours of concentration camps
here, so the days were depressing. Other than that, I really enjoyed the
rest of Krakow.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Licking Walls

So last night Becca, JoEllen and I stuffed our faces at a restaurant. I tried the sausage kielbasa and was not that crazy over it. We had like 8 plates on our table and it was so good. And for dessert I had the biggest vanilla milkshake ever! Yay for Lactaid. 

Today we started off with the Salt Mines. We went down over 400 steps to get about 200 feet under the earth. It was filled with all different chambers. By the end we were about 450 feet under ground. While we were under we learned about miners and tasted the salt. We tasted the salt by licking the walls. Yea it's sanitary, look it up. All thanks to science. After we had lunch and then a tour of Schindler's factory. It was a really cool tour and we learned all about the war and the holocaust. We saw names of all of the people saved by the factory and Oscar's original office. 

Right now we are back in the town center. We did our touristy souvenir shopping and now we are finishing dinner. I had my first pierogis ever. They were so gooood. I'm really full but we want ice cream. Tomorrow we have the long bus ride back to port in Gdansk.