One of the things I have found particularly unique about working for Semester at Sea over the past few years, in addition to the whole living on a ship thing, are the friendships I have forged with colleagues that I only see on frequent occasion. We meet-up at the beginning and end of each semester, sometimes travel together for a few weeks on the Enrichment Voyages or reunions, but at the end of the day, none of us know each other in “real life.” We’ve never seen each others’ homes, cars, animals, family, land friends, and our wardrobes are limited to the clothes we pack in our suitcases, which suspiciously, always tend to be the same ones. I could easily let on that I am extremely religious, own my own home in Orange County, drive a hummer and keep a cage full of hamsters in my living room. Hell, I could probably even pretend that I have a husband and kids. Nobody has anyway of knowing, which is kinda freaky and fun at the same time.
As we approach groundhog day, literally passing over the international date line as I type (we’re deciding to ditch 3 Feb instead), I am reminded of the peculiar history Britta and I share. We both were on Tybee Island at the same time 6 years ago; we more often than not show up wearing the exact same clothes, mine from LA, hers from Charlottesville or Germany; and we often relive the same night(s) over and over again either in Nassau, San Diego or Miami. In each episode, something gets in the way of our perfect night straight out of a sitcom. In Nassau, nothing is ever open. In San Diego, my 33 years of living in California always seem to fail me navigation-wise. In Florida, we can never make it back to the ship in time no matter how hard we try, and in Ensenada two weeks ago, in an effort to find a quiet place, I somehow chose a “more local restaurant” that was soon invaded by the largest and loudest mariachi band this side of Herb Alpert. Coincidentally, they also had crappy guacamole. Adios mio!