Monday, August 30, 2010

A Bit of a Tribute

Two years ago today I embarked on my journey around the world with Semester at Sea. I have many reasons to thank Semester at Sea…it showed me Africa for the first time, it taught me to not be confident in foreign countries, it introduced me a group of amazing peers and mentors, it convinced me that I wanted to and should come to Rwanda this year. Fabulous…let’s stop with the sentimental bullshit and talk about other reasons that I loved Semester at Sea:

1. It loves me and gave me/Bray Bray a free Alumni Voyage because I recruited so many Dartmouth kids to go on the 2009 Fall Voyage. (And a few more to go in 2010!)

2. It boosted the “overall GPA” that’s on my resume.

3. It taught me how to sneak alcohol past a bag search and a pat down…which came in handy at the Country Music Throwdown Tour this year.

4. It broke my cockiness that “Eli Mitchell can handle anything” by showing me that I cannot handle rough waters. (Okay, so I don’t necessarily like that…but other people probably do.)

5. It allowed me to meet so many people around the world that I’ve stayed in touch with and now want me to visit them in Namibia!? (Again…could be good or bad?)

6. It gave me the opportunity to date a guy with my name.

7. It taught me a billion new card games. Okay…maybe only three or four…but all of those have come in handy when learning “Rwandan cards” which ranks the cards as follows: Ace, 7, King, Jack, Queen, 6, 5, 4, 3…no 10s, 9s, 8s, or 2s at all. If Ace of trump is played over 7 of trump, it’s automatic game over. Losing team flips and gets top card to decide trump. It’s scored by points, not by hands: the point values of the top 5 cards are 11, 10, 4, 3, 2 in that order…the other cards don’t have points. If you know how to play Eucher, Spades, Hearts, or that other game we played on SAS…you should now know how to play Rwandan cards based on these rules.

8. It made me feel smart for a term.

9. It made me feel incredibly ugly for a term. But I was also okay with this because I learned how hard it is to be a California girl and pretty all the time.

10. It taught me how to say “hello”, “no thank you”, and “cheers!” in 9 different languages. (I did not retain any of this knowledge though.)

11. It allowed for many adventures and heart pounding sneakiness. Oh hey SAS…ever wonder what happened to that 2010 sign? Lombard…how about some more Never Have I Evers? Or Neptune Day…great memories of being very drunk, surrounded by very sober people, and almost convinced to shave my head.

12. It introduced me to Weeds, one of my favoritest shows.

13. It forced me to start my blog :)

14. It taught me how to barter, bargain, and flirt in any language or culture.

15. It filled my passport with cool visas and stamps…requiring me to get more passport pages on another adventure to Americaland in Kigali! (Except for the $82 this is very cool.)

16. It made me come to terms with Obama, because at least he’s a good conversation starter.

17. It showed me the wonders and the powers of Wikipedia/wikitravel/wiki___ as an academic tool.

18. It taught me how to apply the IS-LM curve/3-pane model to any real world situation. Ah gotta love a deep appreciation of basic economic theory. (I felt that I should put something academic in here.)

19. It gave me the opportunity to buy my leather money belt, which has come in handy throughout so many other travels. I feel so much more confident when I look completely vulnerable and underdressed, knowing that I have a copy of my passport, important Amex numbers, and $100 in my belt. So sneaky.

20. It showed me Africa. Back to being sentimental I guess. But SAS, let’s be real…at times, you were a joke of an academic term. At other times, you actually really did teach me important lessons…about myself, about other cultures, about the way the world works, about the biologics of kwashiorkor. And you know I love you…it’s why I write back every time you reach out to me and why I never stop talking about you to others that want to go (Margaret Eldred…you’d best have the time of your life this spring!). But really SAS…I really love you. Because I’m now in Rwanda, which is awesome…and I’m 88 percent sure that I can confidently say that I would never have ended up here had it not have been for you. So…springbok shots on me? I’ll meet you at Mitchell’s in Cape Town.

1 comment:

Jen said...

you definitely would have better off spring term had you not learned this:

3. It taught me how to sneak alcohol past a bag search and a pat down…which came in handy at the Country Music Throwdown Tour this year.