INT/EXT MV EXPLORER --Africa Day.
0600. I wake up 5 minutes before my alarm goes off. With all of the time changes, there's a bit of discretion between my alarm, my two watches, the bridge and the map channel. I reach behind my bed, pull up the curtain by the chain and am surprised to see it still dark out.
0630. No bootcamp today, so time to hit the elliptical and do some abs and weights on Deck 7 Aft. I watch the sunrise over the Indian Ocean as I do a round of jumping jacks and push-ups. I laugh out loud when "Steppin' Out" by Joe Jackson comes on my ipod shuffle. Dave Miraglia and I had a huge debacle over that song last year and I am suddenly reminded of my friends at home.
0730. Grind my Duncan Donuts decaf beans, head to the garden lounge with french press, Hawaiian coffee mug, curry sauce, peanut butter, soy milk, and kashi. I'm always prepared though breakfast tends to be my most reliable meal of the day. Over a plate of fruit, pineapple yogurt, cheese, a small slice of veggie omelet and biscuit with strawberry jam, I joke with Nate about his intestinal suicide and compliment Danielle on her department store Ethnic-wear.
0900. Unexpected muster drill, shower ends early after hearing the announcement. I throw on my lifejacket, head to Deck 5 Starboard and watch jumping dolphins in the distance.
1000. After setting up sessions around the ship, I jump into the AIDS Quilt meeting where I close my eyes, hold hands with the strangers sitting next to me and in 20 minutes make a quick collage based on a story about a Nigerian girl who was excited to get a desk after sitting on the floor at school.
1100. Running around again. I sit in on part of Tobie Weist's lecture about her time in a South African village during her Peace Corps stint. I've had it on the mind again and am picturing myself in her photos.
1200. Just when I think I'm going to lunch, a theatrical rehearsal I didn't know about comes to find me. We do some blocking, then they run after me. I come back to deal with the non-existent theatrical lighting. I'm feeling annoyed that neither my new crew member nor my notoriously unreliable workstudy has shown their face.
1245. Lunch with the crew. Almond pastries are my nemesis.
1300. Back to the chaos in the booth. A powerpoint conspiracy around the ship -- nothing is working. I help Edeltraud solve her youtube problem and am reminded of how much I love Germans and how much I hate Ghanaian E-Waste.
1330. Hiding in Classroom #9. I finally get to see Audrey Springer in action. Giving a lecture on "American Cool," we go from the slave trade, to Save the Last Dance, to improvisational jazz, to Jack Kerouac. I'm entranced. It feels good to be academic again. Now I'm thinking about a PhD in sociology.
1400. More chaos in the booth is interrupted when Jenny Finn makes a visit. Her class started late because my student wasn't there on-time, but we quickly transition into an impromptu, intimate conversation in front of the video switcher while she is holding her laptop and I have a pair of pliers in my hand. The message of Jesus is lost in modern Christianity. Even in relationships you need to bring it back to yourself. The most important thing in life is to find a community that works for you and a spiritual path. Will is in near tears discussing his high school girlfriend.
1530. Still no Zakiyah. Working on putting out multiple fires including movies for the night and crew talent show scheduling. Anatoli finally pops his head in for the day. I ask him 6 times to lock down the classrooms. 30 minutes later I do it myself.
1630. Trying to solve an itunes crash.
1700. Summonsed to Union for swing dance rehearsal I didn't know about.
1800. Called to Union again for church service that wasn't on my radar. They are incredibly kind and it takes me back to my conversation with Jenny Finn. Are these people focused on the man of Jesus versus the example he tried to set?
1815. Feeling really overwhelmed as multiple crew members approach me in the hall about the talent show. I still haven't seen a schedule of the event and have no idea how to answer anything.
1830. Twenty minute dinner with Chris on Deck 6 aft. The rain and clouds have cleared and the sun is shining, making the deck a popular dining locale. I eat a rice dish with raisins, vegetable soup and a barley salad.
1845. We watch an incredible sunset from Deck 5 Starboard. I look at the ocean. I need this breath. This reminder.
1900. Theatrical rehearsal with the South African interport lecturer. There's sound cues, blocking all over the stage. With the church service beforehand, there was no time to set up. Now the ship is really rocking and I don't want to get on a ladder to refocus the lighting. I'm having to really wing it -- showtime is in less than an hour and I frankly have no idea what I'm looking at.
1930. Aids Quilt ceremony in Tymitz Square.
2000. Theatre involving "District 6." I'm thankful my best 3 boys are at my side. We wing it, seeing it for the first time having had no tech rehearsal. One of the mics keeps crapping out. Grrrr.
2130. Union strike. Too tired for the "Bitch Slap" screening I had tentatively planned for my cabin. Instead I start to watch "Finding Nemo" by myself while re-synching my ipod to my laptop.
2200. I join the impromptu ipod dance party on Deck 7 aft.
2215. We finally hit play and I am running around the ship with 30 students, dancing, laughing. Cables connect me and 5 other students to a mini-jack octopus found only in Japan. Red Hot Chili Peppers. Jackson 5. We dance all around the ship, invading the dining hall, the FSL, forming conga lines up and down the stairs as confused onlookers look around in near dismay. I turn on the disco lights in the union and am reminded of what it felt like to be a student on Semester at Sea. To feel active. Creative. Slightly mischievous. I miss that me.
2300. We all stand against the rail on Deck 7 aft as we listen in unicen to the last song, "It's a Beautiful Day." Earbuds come out and the sound of the world sneaks back in. Introductions are made ex-post facto and my heart smiles at the camaraderie.
2330. Back in the 5033. Everything is on the floor and I don't care. A beautiful day it was.