Today I had to wake up early for Global Studies. I woke up before that when Brooke was getting ready and decided to go to breakfast for once. They had grits today, so I was excited about that. I went back to sleep after breakfast before class but didn’t really start falling asleep until like 15 minutes before class, which was annoying. Class was more interesting than normal. The interport lecturer from India talked about the GDP of India, population, and growth rates of the economy. After GS, I had my midterm for Ethics. It was a lot harder than I expected because it was really tricky. Almost every question was like six statements that asked which ones are true. The answers were a random assortment of the statements including none of the above and all of the above. I thought the answers would be way more obvious for an ethics class. I thought this class was an easy A class. It also included an essay question even though he explicitly told us there wouldn’t be an essay. We’ll see how I do.
After class, sometime told me it was really nice out, so I went to go check it out for myself. It was beautiful! It was really sunny and not nearly as windy as it has been lately. I laid out and listened to music for a long time. After a while, I got really hot, so I went into the pool. It was funny because Alexis and Lulu were playing games that you typically play when you are a little kid. They were diving for coins on the bottom of the pool, swimming through people’s legs, and having breath-holding contests. It was fun though, and the water felt really nice! I talked to Cole for a little while and suggested that for the talent show he sing something from Jersey Boys. I’ve been hearing him practice in the piano bar with some other boys and that is definitely their type of music. I don’t think he’s that into it though. After swimming, I laid out for a little longer until it got cloudy. I decided to sit by the pool and write my diversity blogs. We have to write blogs for the diversity scholarship. I’ll include them at the end of this if you want to read them.
After that, I got ready for family dinner. We had a pizza night courtesy of Peter, our dad, in honor of Vicki’s birthday tomorrow. It was so fun! We definitely have the best family on the ship. He even bought Vicki a cake too. The whole family came including our new adoptee, Sunny. We all just talked about our experiences in Mauritius and gossiped a little about people on the ship. Jordan showed us her skydiving video, which was pretty hilarious. We talked about movies and tv shows for a while too because Chelsea has over 200 movies on her harddrive. I’ll definitely be hitting her up for them sometime soon. We gave Vicki her gifts, and she was super excited about them. Jordan and I got her a spa pedicure with paraffin wax, Peter got her ping pong balls and a scarf, Paul, Connor, and Chelsea got her a 55 minute massage with an extra 20 minutes free, and Sunny got her a Ghanaian mask. It was so cute how happy she was! Vicki and Peter had gotten us gifts too from Mauritius. They gave the boys bracelets made out of real elephant hair and the girls beautiful necklaces with a Flip Flop on it (similar to what Aunt Suzi got us, Mandy). That was so nice! We were going to play games at dinner, but we ended up just talking the whole time until preport.
Cultural preport was super boring today for some reason that I just spent the whole time playing games on my Ipod touch. It actually died as I was playing, so I had to leave the preport a little early to charge it in time for Ipod dance party. We waited around a little at the 7th deck for people to show up for the ipod dance party before deciding to just start with ourselves. There were not nearly as many people this time than last time. There were probably 10 of us total, but we had fun dancing around on the deck. The mix had things like 90’s pop music and thriller in it in addition to dupstep. We danced throughout the ship, and I would always start cracking up when people looked at us weirdly. We decided to end a little early, and when we were talking about the music, we realized that our group was listening to two different mixes. It was confusing because both the mixes were called 10-8-11. It’s kind of funny though that we didn’t even realize it because we couldn’t hear each other’s music. After the Ipod dance party, I headed over to the union to catch the end of the Bollywood dance party. It sucks that they were at the same time so I couldn’t go to the whole thing. There was like no one left there, but I just joined in with the people left and started dancing. I’m not really sure how to dance to Indian music, but I did my best. After a little bit, they started playing regular music, and we all just danced around. Nate and Liz showed up and started doing some ridiculous interpretive dance with lifts and everything. It was really, really funny to watch. They even played Waka Waka, which was like our theme song for Africa. We all danced along and changed where they said “This time for Africa” to “This time for India.” They played Don’t Stop Believing and we all sang along obnoxiously loudly. At 11pm, they stopped playing music, and we were all sad.
A bunch of us moved to the piano lounge to play games. We played this game called Mau, which was so much fun! It’s probably the most fun I’ve ever had playing a game on the ship. The game is basically like Uno where you make up new rules each round and don’t tell anyone. Everyone has to figure them out or continue to be penalized. Brian made a rule where if you smiled or laughed, you had to jump up in your seat and say “I’m a star.” We were literally jumping up every 30 seconds because it was just so ridiculous and funny. Every time Lousie and I looked at each other, we would start cracking up. Other rules included putting your chin on the table (so all 7ish of us had our faces right next to each other on this little table), high fiving everyone if you have a watch on, and shouting “All hail the king” whenever a king came up. We played with Prem, who is an interport lecturer. He is a student in Chennai and came aboard the ship in Mauritius. He is just supposed to be a resource for us. It was cute though that he wanted to play with us. We played for a long time until around 2am when we decided we should go to bed. Today was probably the best day I’ve ever had on the ship besides Sea Olympics. It was just so much fun and made me really happy. I love dancing and playing games. I remember when I used to just like dancing “In the dark, at Homecoming”, but now I love dancing all the time everywhere!
Random Thoughts (this is just for you Mandy)
Laundry: Laundry is super annoying to do on the boat. There are no washers and dryer available for us to use. We have to give our stuff to our cabin stewards in a little bag for them to do. Each baby bag costs $6, and we only get a laundry day once every few weeks. We only get one bag at a time, but I have been super impressed with how much stuff I can fit in there. It’s so weird rolling my dirty clothes before putting them in a laundry bag, but I can fit so much more stuff that way. It’s annoying though that they dry everything. I normally hang up almost all my stuff at home. I discovered though that you can ask your steward not to dry some of your items, and you will just get these back wet. I put up a clothing line in my room, so I hang them up on there. If you want to do laundry in between laundry days, then you can do it in your baby sink. It takes so long soaking in detergent for my clothes to actually smell good doing them by hand. Plus, when I get them out, they are super wet and take forever to dry. One time I tried washing my cardigan by hand, and it actually started molding because it was taking so long to dry.
No desks: Our classrooms don’t have desks in them. They just have chairs to sit in and maybe like 3 baby tables throughout the whole classroom. It’s normally not that big an issue because I’ll just take notes in my notebook on my lap, but on test days it is super annoying. For my one class, I managed to secure myself a table to write an essay. The table is lower than the chairs, so I was like hunched over the whole class writing, and that was not comfortable at all. For my other class, three people were sharing a table that size. It was hard because we all had two papers, one test packet and one bubble sheet. There was like no room to do anything, and when it was time to write an essay, our papers were all on top of each other.
Here are the Diversity Blogs I promised:
Morocco- In Morocco, I spent half a day in Casablanca, two days in Marrakesh, one day in Rabat, and one day in Volubilis. I definitely experienced culture shock. Interacting with the locals was one of the most rewarding experiences. I did not expect to gain as much as I did from the four days I was there. One story that stood out to me was about marriage proposals. A Berber woman told us that in her culture marriage proposals are either accepted or rejected through the use of mint tea. Once a man asks for a woman’s hand, she communicates her decision by giving the man mint tea. If the tea is really sweet, then the woman accepts the proposal, and the two will be wed. If the tea only has a little sugar in it, then the woman needs time to think about the offer. If the tea is extremely bitter and has not been sweetened, then the woman rejects the offer. Mint tea is an extremely important part of the culture in general as well. After every meal and all throughout the day, Moroccans drink mint tea. It’s way to socialize and enjoy each other’s company. It appears to be just as common as water throughout Morocco.
Aggression was something else I noticed was prevalent throughout the Moroccan culture. Driving in Morocco is absolutely insane. I am not sure if there is just no such thing as a right of way or if people just choose not to follow it. Basically people would just honk and inch up into incoming traffic until they could go. I was not used to idea that motorcycles could just drive down side streets for walking. They would honk and expect pedestrians to move out of the way for them. Also, the taxi drivers were really aggressive. They would frequently hassle my group and then ask for ridiculous amount of money to take us somewhere. People on the streets would force you to participate in their activity whether it be wearing a hat or holding a snake or putting henna on you without your asking. Then they would expect money from you. I think Americans tend to be more passive, so the Moroccans could get away with these behaviors without consequences.
When we rode camels in Marrakesh, the person leading the camels for us was a little boy named Abdul. Abdul was the sweetest, most adorable little kid. He was probably around ten years old. He was quite smart too! He knew English as well as the local language and was eager to talk to us and learn about us. He was thrilled when we tipped him in US dollars. We were there on a Sunday, so we just assumed leading camels was Abdul’s weekend job. Later we learned that Abdul is actually an orphan and does not go to school. All he has is his camel job where I am sure he does not make enough to save up or anything. I am not sure if the government has any type of aid for children like Abdul, but if Morocco is going to become more modernized, then something needs to be done to help educate children.
Ghana- In Ghana, one of the most rewarding activities I participated in was visiting a local school. It was actually the only school in the village. We were told we were going to teach the children for a little while and then play games with them. We were not very prepared for what was going to happen. Basically we all split up into different classrooms with children of different age groups. Tivoli and I were in a classroom with children who were around eight years old. The children did not speak much English, and we obviously did not speak the local language. At first, I found the language barrier to intimidating. There was no teacher in the classroom with us, and all I could see in my surroundings were beady eyes staring back at me looking for some direction. After a few minutes of deciding what to do, we taught the children an old camp song called “The Princess Pat”. The song was a repeat song with lots of hand movements, so the children could follow along easily. I could tell the children really enjoyed singing the song and learning something new. A few other SAS students came into our classroom, and we sang some more songs with the children. A little while later, our tour guide asked if Jimmy and I would move into a different classroom with younger children. Here the kids were around two to three years old and spoke no English at all. Luckily the teacher was with us to give us some direction. I expected to just start singing and dancing with the children like I had previously done in the other classroom. To my surprise, the young children actually started singing and dancing for us. I was impressed that such young children were able to memorize a song and dance moves. Once they were finished singing, Jimmy and I taught the children the hokey pokey, and they loved it. We spent the next few hours singing with the children, playing games in the field, and spending one on one time with a few of the them.
The children I spent time with were very smart. Even though some of them did not know English, I could tell that they were intelligent. They were well-behaved, quick to catch onto songs and dances, and most importantly, excited to learn. One of the main issues I noticed was the lack of teachers available. I learned that there were teachers in each classroom for the younger children, but that the teachers would have to float between classrooms for the older children. A quality education is an important part of increasing standards of living in these developing societies.
South Africa- I spent most of my time in South Africa doing the touristy things like going to the incredible Table Mountain or seeing Camps Bay and the Cape of Good Hope, but like before, some of my most rewarding experiences came from interacting with the locals. It was interesting to see the apartheid issue first hand. I definitely noticed difference viewpoints on the progress of South Africa, and these views changed depending on the color of the skin of the person I was talking to. The first two days I went to a music festival. Almost everyone at the music festival was a local; we were the only foreigners. Also, almost everyone at the music festival was white. When I was talking to these people about visiting a township at some point during my six days, they looked at me like I was crazy. They told me that it was unnecessary for me to do that, and that that area is the scary part of town with the most crime. They told me it wasn’t even worth a visit and that I should just hang out with them and spend my time in the good part of town. I went against their advice and decided to check out a township for myself. I went to a restaurant called Mizoli’s Meat in a historically black township. Here I experienced some of the nicest people I have ever met. My group all split up and sat at different tables with locals. The people treated me like one of their own insisting they split their meal with me. We talked all about their lives and my trip. One of the people told me he wished I could have met him on Friday when I got to Cape Town because he would have shown me around and taken me to a braii (BBQ) with him. I felt like when I was at the township, no one saw color. They just treated everyone with friendliness and respect.
Mauritius- With only one day in Mauritius, I decided to spend my time relaxing on the beach and snorkeling. It was absolutely stunning and definitely a day in paradise. I wish I could have gotten to see more of the island and meet more of the people. From what I hear of Mauritius, it is an exceptional place to live. There is very low crime rate, less inequality than in other parts of Africa, and a higher standard of living. The only people I really got to interact with were foreigners on holiday from Europe. For a little while, I went with two girls to meet people on a neighboring catamaran. The first few people I spoke with were from Germany and did not know very much English. We only talked for a few minutes because the language barrier was an issue. After that, I chatted with this girl from England. She was so sweet, and we discussed all aspects of our lives for a long time. She was surprised that we had even heard of Mauritius because it is a very typical vacation spot for Europeans, but almost no one comes there from America. We talked all about my trip, and she said that travelling is a great way to gain new perspectives about people. I have definitely experienced this thus far, and I hope that my views on globalization will continue to develop as travel to each new country.