First Week at Sea

Seven days on board the ship, and en route from Hong Kong to Shanghai. I feel like an overloaded sponge. They have been feeding us information in a steady stream, and I haven’t had time to assimilate any of it – I hope it comes out correctly whenever anyone squeezes me. Tomorrow is the first day of classes. Up to now has been orientation – simultaneous but different for the students and the staff. They have given us no time for reading, curriculum preparation, etc., so I have to use every fragment I get. It is exhausting.

The students I have met so far appear bright, interested and interesting, and focused. A number of the non-American students expressed their relief that they have not found the ship infested with overly-rich American students who would try to turn this into a party-boat. Instead, they have been pleasantly surprised to find people much like themselves. There are a lot of nationalities represented (Over 30, some say 50.) Part of the number confusion stems from a large number of Third-Culture-Kids (or Global Nomads) among both the staff and the students – these are people who have some level of uncertainty as to the definition of Home – ranging from Army/missionary/Foreign Service brats who trailed their families
around the globe to people who moved from X to Y as older children or teenagers, and really don’t know which country to claim, to professional nomads who have spent their adult lives wandering and no longer feel tight ties to a single spot. (I plead guilty.)

The single table in our cabin was a little cramped for two computers with both of us working, so they have now assigned us a second small cabin just to use as an office. Nice of them. All in all, we are getting fabulous service. If we get used to this, we will be impossible to live with when we get home.

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