“To feel at home, stay at home. A foreign country is not designed to make you comfortable. It’s designed to make its own people comfortable.”
– Clifton Fadiman
The last five days have been a wonderful rush of activity, preparation, and catching-up on sleep. I am so excited to share what has occurred the last few days, but please bear with me as I try to cram the best of five days into a (hopefully) small post.
Mom, Micah, Jonas and I met my roommate Rebekah and Abram (who drove all the way from Thatcher!) at the airport before I flew out to Ft. Lauderdale. I met the most wonderful couple, Will and Kim, on the flight who were kind enough to talk and make the flight pass by quickly. We flew over snow-capped mountains and the Everglades (which is now on my bucket list to visit one day!). I then flew from Ft. Lauderdale to Nassau, Bahamas where I met up with a fellow SAS-er, Shannon and her wonderful parents. However, the drive from the airport to the hotel is well worth mentioning. I exited the airport to have taxi drivers yelling for the next client and then held on tightly as my taxi driver FLEW to the hotel. It took me a second to realize that he was not passing fifty cars all at once, but was in reality driving on the left-side of the road lol! I had completely forgot this minor fact about the Bahamas 🙂
The following day I read on the quiet white sand beach and then met up with my dear friend, Kara Kitchens. I found a calm taxi driver to go to the airport and then we road home together, taking pictures galore and giggling hysterically for one obvious reason: the trip was finally starting! We met up with Kara’s hotel roommate, Marie, who kindly showed us downtown Nassau. We had fish and sweet fruit as well as visited the dock to look at our beautiful MV Explorer! That evening we met a fisherman in his little fishing rowboat making chonch salad. He took the huge chonch shells, removed the meat, rinsed off the meat and some veggies in the ocean water, and then chopped it up for us. It was delicious and definitely unique! With our ship nearby and the beautiful salty Bahamaian air, it was the perfect experience!
The next day we met up to wait in the huge line to embark the Explorer. As we embarked for the first time (pictures to come!), we just ran around like kids looking at our new home and exploring! The ship is small (haha, not for me but compared to other cruise ships I guess), but very fast and impeccably kept. The eating areas are beautiful with views that would cost $$ in the States, the rooms snazzy with full curtains, and the grand pianos tuned! 😉 Our room has a huge window which has been one of the best parts of the voyage so far for Kara and I!
I feel like I have to skip so much to get this post to a manageable size, but suffice it to say that we have had a blast! I have four classes: 2 on “A Days” and 2 on “B Days” that will proceed whenever we’re out at sea. We eat well three times a day and live like queens in our nice room. I’ve never done the cruise thing, so this experience is very exciting and new! After leaving the Bahamas twice, we have now sailed by Dominican Republic and Haiti and a few hours ago, Puerto Rico. Man, it is just so exciting to be here and have this experience. I’ll take an excerpt out of my journal letter to my family from today:
“Kara and I are quickly realizing that we will never look at a map of the world the same ever again. We will never watch the news the same again. Already, we’re starting to realize that this will change our lives forever and that is why we have a hard time slowing down the excitement to sleep at night! :D”
Already my perspective is changing, especially after reading our assigned pre-ship reading “Small Place” by Jamaica Kinkaid. I just have to let my way of thinking change and not try to restrict this change. Being in an environment outside of BYU is different for sure, but I’m so grateful to have Kara here alongside me. We set up rules for Sundays onboard so that we could feel the spirit and today was simply wonderful! Looking across this huge ocean that we’re on helps me think about God’s creations. My goodness, we worship a truly amazing Heavenly Father who gave us this incredible planet!
In closing, my journal is filling fast and we haven’t even arrived at our first official port yet! Tomorrow morning at 0800 hours, we will arrive in Dominica. I can’t wait to associate with the people and experience the first of many life-changing experiences!
Signing out at 23:54
at Lat 16 degrees 21.48 N
Long 062 degrees 42.56 W.
P.S. Pictures will come as we arrive in port and have more bandwith or as my family receives pictures.