Posted by Emily Block | 0 comments

Time on the Ship

I'm really learning that you have to be easy going on a trip like this.  Today has been a parade of complication after complication.  First, I found out today that the field program (kind of like a lab) section for each of my classes is different from when I signed up and payed for the non-refundable field programs.  So currently I have all these awesome field programs that I don't get me any course credit.  The options I've been hearing are not passing the class, dropping the class, or working something out with the dean.  I'm going to choose option three, but haven't had a chance because so many other students are in the same situation.  I'm not sure why the requirements changed and why there aren't accommodations being made for the situation, but maybe that is to come.  I also just found out that I will not in fact be able to get currency for the other countries on the ship in $25 increments.  SAS only offers exchanges for a few of the countries and it is in increments of $50 with a $15 additional fee.  (I'm not sure how much it would be back home, so maybe that is an ok fee amount.)   I just have to keep in perspective that I am still having an amazing time and it will still be an amazing trip even if I have to drop a class or miss out on some of the planned field programs.  Ain't nobody gonna take my safari or trip to Tibet away and those are what I am looking forward to most.  :0)  

In my quest to figure all of this out, I found a really nice homework spot on the ship right outside my room.  It's the smoking area so hardly anyone comes by and it's nice to have a bit of time to myself for an hour or two a day.  I have to tell you it really beats studying in a dorm room!  haha  It's also completely impossible to stay stressed with the gentle sway of the ship, salty wind, and beautiful scenery out here!

I am completely looking forward to my first port tomorrow!  We will be stopping in Dominica (pronounced dom-an-eek-ah) for two days.  The program does a lot to help prepare us and educate us about the ports.  For example, I learned that Dominica is not in fact a Spanish speaking island off the coast of Brazil like I had initially thought.  (I feel rather silly now.)  Dominica is an island in the Caribbean that is unique in many ways to the other nearby islands.  One aspect is that it has very rugged geography which prevented some of the stronger influence of colonialism.  (Couldn't grow the crops that were popular at the time.)  The politics have been relatively stable, especially in the last decade with less corruption than some of it's neighbors.  The economy is not doing so great as their previous main export, bananas, is not doing well after having to compete with the larger corporations of banana farmers.  The government does have several strategies to address this and the future will tell us how these strategies work out.  In our pre boarding cultural talk, as well as global studies, the uncomfortable subject of tourist resentment that was brought up in the book A Small Place which I plan to discuss in a future post.  The subject is uncomfortable because in some ways I feel like we deserve the resentment, and in some ways, I feel like the resentment is unfair.  I'm realizing that so much of this trip is finding out where I fit in to the world.  Am I a tourist, traveler or student?  What is my role when I visit these countries and what should my role be?  These and many more I will continue to ponder as I excitedly wait the first destination.


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