Where are we again? We’ve hit the halfway mark of our program – the end of our time at shore in Woods Hole, and the beginning of our time at sea. Our last couple of weeks on shore have flown by in a storm of homework, friendship, and nostalgia. The immersive reality of shore life, in the span of just a few hours, has become the past. The transition happened suddenly, as they generally do. One moment, we’re watching seals along the beach or Erin’s chopping off hunks of my hair. The next moment, we’re sitting in an airplane, leaving it all behind.
But there were so many adventures! It’s wild to think that they all happened, condensed into just fourteen days.
Since Erin and I are no longer twinning, we did not get to turn 21 together. No mind though, as another girl on the program actually shared a birthday with me.
For years, I’ve been slightly terrified at the idea of my 21st birthday. Ever since I realized that St. Patrick’s day was much more than just rainbows and leprechauns, I became apprehensive of what would be expected of me when I turned 21 on a national day of weeknight drinking.
However, I was pleasantly surprised by the festivities thrown by my new shipmates. The day started by wearing goofy hats, sunglasses, and golden mustaches in class. Then it was a nice evening of frisbee before I was ambushed, carried upsidedown to a cake baked by my roommate, and given a nice facefull of frosting. All in all, it was one of the better birthday celebrations that I’ve been thrown.
From then on, things just snowballed as the final weeks raced to an end. Erin and I froze one of my housemate’s underwear into a giant block of ice. The boys exacted their revenge by adorning the rooftops with all of our clothing. For days afterwards, we were still plucking the occasional stray sock from the bushes below.
The next weekend, we took a road trip to Plymouth, and stayed in my roommate’s beach house. There, we mistook some large rocks for whales, exclaiming excitedly as we embarrassed ourselves in front of a more whale-educated public. We watched seals, and then went to see the fabled (and rather anticlimactic) Plymouth Rock.
After that, our last week was upon us, merciless in its abruptness, distractions, and time mismanagement. From there, we witnessed the dying throes of our time in Woods Hole. A final, snowy, soggy soccer game. Using the vacuum to fluff each others’ hair rather than to clean the kitchen. Getting crushed in Bananagrams. Graffitiing Tristan’s ID card. And just like that, it’s all suddenly over.
As a drug addict goes through withdrawals, I find myself already missing the people who were complete strangers just over a month ago. After spending six weeks crossfaded on a cocktail of social awkwardness, homework, and team-building, we’ve all come out a little loopy, nostalgic, and with the occasional twitch.
But now, as our plane approaches Auckland, there’s no time to mope or talk to alpacas about my feelings. It’s time for a week-long frolick through New Zealand with my family. I can count on seeing all my shipmates in a few days, bright-eyed and ready to embark on another six weeks of maritime and emotional adventures. All I can say for now is thank goodness we’re only halfway.