Something really cute happened whilst we were in Poland.
I will always remember Easter in Poland. We had a ship wide easter egg hunt that morning. Lots of chocolates for everyone, thanks to Joe’s mother. It made us feel a little bit closer to home. Later that day, I had gangway. Now, Gangway in Poland was really wild: we had crowds of people coming up to look at the ship since it was a holiday weekend and people were off. There were many other ships to look at, our home was at the end of the pier. Some people even tried to come aboard. It was intense at times. Usually, Gangway can get pretty boring, but not this time, my buddy and I had people constantly coming up to us asking questions. The best part: the Stanmore speaker was out blaring music from the breezeways. I quickly took over and played my own music for all to hear. The sun was shinning and the weather was warm on a beautiful afternoon. I was barefoot.
Some of our students were tossing a football or kicking a soccer ball around on the grass in front of the ship. In High School, I played flag-football for two years, and I haven’t touched a football since. So I picked it up, and some of the girls and I were throwing the football for a few hours. It was great, and they were great too. It was especially great letting out some of that pent up energy from the last few months. We’d been having many long sails until the one to Poland. I don’t think I have done that much exercise since the girl’s basketball game in Senegal. Barefoot in the grass, laughing out of breath because, well, we have no cardio anymore. The music being just right. The smell of the galley wafting up onto the pier. The crowds of happy families. I will always remember that moment.
The next day, as I recall, was the day we went to the Stutthoff concentration camp. This was a port-program that seemed a long time coming. Because this experience was different for all of us, I will refrain from making general comments. The bus ride over was quiet, most of us were sleeping. I know I was reading the Book Club book, one about concentration camps in Poland, Night, Cody’s pick I believe. We kept quiet throughout the introductory videos and the tours, making our way around the camp, to slowly end up back in the bus. No one seemed to be in a rush to be anywhere, for once. The air was heavy. Charged with dialogues we mean to have but rarely do. There really isn’t much more to say, I believe. Once again, however, Class Afloat gave us a first hand experience that equips us for better conversations on the topics of the world. It was a very emotional and educational day. I am glad to have gone through it with this group of people.
In contrast however, I noticed something silly. Our history with bus rides goes back to at least Funchal. The term “Class-A-Coach” was coined in Morocco. I remember how every time someone had to pee, whatever little convenience store was near had a line up going all the way outside, much to the dismay of our tour guides. The same thing happened in Suriname. What can you expect: we love to snack, and it is not all that often that they are so readily available to us. Anyways, as we got on the bus in Poland, our guide happily announced that there would be a rest stop where we can get our snacks. It made me laugh: I suppose our educators learned by now and decided to finally schedule a time in our itinerary solely so we could stock up for the ride back to Gdynia.