Japlans

The wind whipped all around us, as the ominous clouds swiftly moved
in; a storm was upon us! The first one of the voyage! Not only was
this a moment we had all long been anticipating, but on top of this,
it was TACO NIGHT!! Now, I have no qualms about ship food, it’s truly
amazing! But, pasta and potatoes every single night for two weeks does
get old, so taco night was a much appreciated dietary change. And we
weren’t going to celebrate such an event inside!  As we all sat down
to enjoy our dramatic and delightful dinner, we noticed Miz (one of
the most joyful crew members, who recently saved us all from the
vicious smoking toaster) gathering and stacking chairs to bring in
from the rain. Immediately, all three tables of students leapt to our
feet in assistance. Despite the cold and the rain, we were overjoyed
in this activity! This may be an eager assumption but it seems our
generation may be one that will redefine success as service, for even
such a simple act bonds the individuals, and brings about an elated
state of joy that was immeasurable.

The ship buzz continues to grow as everyone discusses their Japlans (a
term coined by yours truly and spread by the incredible speed of
“word-of-mouth”, seriously the speed at which word travels around here
is record breaking!), and nervous excitement grows as we near February
(a month with a total of nine class days, the rest being days in port)
and our first foreign countries. The other day I stepped back and
listened to the most common questions, “What are your Japlans?” or
“What are you doing in China?”, questions that are truly unique to
this journey, such a thing is not to be taken for granted.

As for everyday life on the ship, classes are fun and the entire
community is bonding. With rap free-stylin’ one night (I actually
contributed a few bars!), group songs with guitars and everyone’s
newly-acquired-Hawaiian ukuleles another night, and most recently
Karaoke, in celebration of the Chinese Lunar New Year that will occur
while we are in port in Japan. Even with all the fun, I am eagerly
awaiting adventures in Japan and dry ground.

PS- Weekly update seems to be reasonable, as the next month will move
with insane speed! My Japlans include two nights in Tokyo, (visiting a
few friends, new and old), an overnight bus to Kyoto, a night there,
and a night in Kobe. Most of the time is up in the air!

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