Warning: This post will probably be extremely boring to everyone except my parents, extended family, a possibly a few very close friends (assuming most people don't care what I eat for breakfast or what I do at night). However, because several members of the aforementioned groups have been asking these questions, I might as well answer them for everyone.
What's it like living on the ship?
Honestly, it's not that much different from living at home. Sometimes I forget I'm even on a ship...or across the world for that matter. Think co-ed college dorm with an age span of infants to eighty-year-olds. Ok, I guess that means it is a little different from home.
Do you get seasick?
No, but we aren't sailing right now. The boat does sway slightly as it's docked though. When I'm sitting at my desk in my classroom, I can feel it move forward and back. At night in my bed, I feel it from side to side. At least now I have an excuse for my clumsiness!
Are you able to get off the ship?
Yes, every Saturday my friends and I have spent a few hours off-ship exploring the city. We've seen a beach, a public pool, and a swamp. I still want to see the market, and we're planning to go camping sometime soon. We can also go to the local churches on Sunday, but I haven't done that yet because I've attended services on the ship instead.
What do you do when you're not teaching?
There is always something to do with so many people around. I've gotten into a fairly steady routine recently. I'm taking French lessons, doing a small group Bible study, and playing with children in the hospital ward a few nights a week. We also have community meetings and other scheduled worship services with the entire crew. Friday is typically movie night with friends, and we usually find something fun to do off-ship on Saturdays.
How's the food?
Really good actually! My favorite food night is Tuesday because it's Africa night...I've discovered that I love fried plantains! We also have fresh pineapple and mangos several times a week and a salad bar with every meal. The only staple item that I don't like is the milk. It's so pasteurized that it's completely fine sitting at room temperature...enough said. Obviously cereal is out. I thought I was going to be eating peanut butter toast every morning for the next year, until I discovered that I could mix bananas and brown sugar in oatmeal for a better-than-Quaker hot breakfast. I'm now a happy camper in the mornings as well.
How hard is it to keep in touch with people from home?
Easier than you might think. We have wireless access in several locations on the ship, so I can use email and instant messaging software to communicate with family and friends online. Also, our satellite system is located in Florida, so phone calls are free for anyone in the US (and free for me to receive them as well). The only major complication is the time zone difference. I'm available when most people are at work, and by the time they are home, I'm already asleep. Thankfully, most of my closest friends are either stay-at-home moms or are able to chat occasionally from work, so it works out fairly well. And if nothing else, there's always email!
Will you be able to come home for Christmas?
Yes! I'll be home for 2 1/2 weeks...December 23-January 9th. Such a blessing!
Well, that's ship life in a nutshell. Hope I didn't bore you too much!