Some of my most treasured moments with my ship fam-ILY are a few ‘dates’ (… with mates 😛 #MateDates) I went on. I didn’t realise that they were kind of like dates until one of them discovered that I’d never been on a date and said, ‘This is what a date feels like.’ (If that’s true … dating’s pretty fun haha!!! =D (mate-dating (just as friends :P) specifically 😛 (Not that I want to pretend I’m good at it, sometimes I can be socially awkward and uninteresting, but anyway) Although future hubby, whoever you are, if you ever read this, I’m sure we’ll find dating each other more than nice 😉 <3)).
We could have chosen to use this time any other way … but we didn’t. We are choosing of our own free will (free will – what allows love to be real love) to invest this time in each other. This time is for you, and your time is for me. It’s just the two of us ‘against the world’ in this time and place; there will never be another like it. Let’s experience and learn things, together.
‘If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.’
(Although it doesn’t necessarily just have to be two of us – love the meaningful moments with groups :)).
One of the things I loved about the ship was the adventures – come at us, world! =D 😛 Adventure doesn’t have to be huge; it’s in the little things too; it’s more the attitude. Although adventures off in other lands are wonderful, they are also not restricted to other places – they lie around us, in our own backyard. Let us enjoy this life, as it was made to be! What is out there? Let us use this time to discover! Uncertainty is another word for possibilities! Or even if we know already, let us learn to simply enjoy. Ohhh to enjoy the simple pleasures of the world with people God has given us 🙂 Furthermore, experiencing things together often has a way of binding people. Carpe diem!
The following are a few memories pulled randomly because uni starts tomorrow and I am in get-this-blog-over-with mode haha xD (this was two years ago … gah my memories are sooo fuzzyy) …
Jeremiah and I decided to go on an adventure into a little nook of Tamatave that we had discovered on a previous bike ride but hadn’t had time to explore because I had to get back on board to do AV duty. Jeremiah had the awesome idea of going again, but this time we’d bring coffee, food, and have it with a random family to say hello! =D So off we went, and after passing by these things:
We found a house! Cute and orange/red. Using our broken French (mine was literally primary school level), we managed to ask the people playing a game outside if we’d be able to ask the owners if we could meet them. They said yes, and opened the gate to reveal a quaint little garden. We went inside and had the pleasantest time with these lovely people … on our broken French haha. Jeremiah, ‘I remember not communicating very well but they were happy to have us and we explained that we needed water heated up to put in the French press. We drank it black and I could tell, they really didn’t like it black. Hahah. I loved how they were too polite to say they didn’t like it but you could just tell they didn’t.’
At the end, they told us we could come back anytime!
The beach featured extensively in our Meaningful Moments. Images and videos play in my head of us dancing around a bonfire, dancing in the Indian Ocean after eating Indian Food … sitting around a bonfire with people from (e-mail excerpt), ‘(At least 5) different nations WE ALL COULD SING THE SAME (REALLY OLD) CHRISTIAN CHILDREN SONGS AT HIGH SPEEDS!!!! LMAO!!!! I haven’t sung these songs in maybe like 10 years but allll the lyrics were streaming out of my mouth! People from Kenya, Australia, abu dhabi, south Africa, America …. ALL OF US (MAY HAVE) LISTENED TO THE SAME … BIBLE CASSETTE TAPE XD’ (when we were younger)
I’ve decided a better way to do this is to include an edited excerpt from my goodbye letter to Pedro, one of my regular adventure buddies (more like Adventure SENSEI haha) – I am sharing it because it was written back when I could remember things, rather than now when two years of experiences have erased some 😦
‘Lion’s Head (oh wait, you’re not part of that memory because you got lost! ;)) … ‘pirate window with the red button’ (he had told me that the window on the floor in the ship bridge was connected to a red button; if a pirate came, you press the red button, and the pirate falls through! … He was lying. It helps the ship to park) …
Going off on bikes with the desire to have a Grand Adventure and then getting hit by a TukTuk not 5-10 minutes from the port (that was the best thing to happen to me all weekend yo :P), before you tried to fix it with a toothbrush (didn’t work. I can’t imagine why. :P), and then those six Malagasy men came and helped you fix it (and were doing the wrong thing for a while, but language is a barrier to telling them that LOL we’l roll with it xD) whilst I grinned happily in the background thinking thoughts like, ‘COMMUNITY LOVE STRANGERS HELPING EACH OTHER THIS IS SUCH A BEAUTIFUL MOMENT’ as Jaclyn took many pictures and the sun showered gold upon us – the day then turned silvery for me as we went to the beach we weren’t supposed to – I remember it was a GLORIOUS day, everything felt like it was through a silver Instagram filter, the water was POWERFUL and the day was perfect …
Lying with the others on the sail and missing all the shooting stars except for three one and two slow birds, whilst people sang, meeting The Creatives (Kyle, Joey, Mark, Dorf, etc.) on that magical night as they creatived it up on the sail (that was surreal and phenomenal), being blown away by The Creatives’ minds, hanging out with Dorf at Ferryman’s, witnessing him make magic music and art … seeing seals on the dockside in Capetown … Foulpointe, playing (capture the flag??) in the fort (with some random girls we met – after having been given a tour by the (according to my diary – ‘7th generation king’s son’ – although I wasn’t sure about that) … recreating The Lost Boys with our hammocks in Mohambo as we lay around the fireplace telling stories and looking at the stars until the rainclouds washed them away (fortunately, there were Mercy Shippers staying nearby, so they let us crash their cabin! The boys were gentlemen and said they’d sleep outside, even though we insisted not) … watching Calvin and Clemente be badass at Muay Thai (I remember savouring this moment, far away from anything I knew, and my reality in that moment was these wonderful exciting people, boxing in this darkly lit little room, the sky a deep blue outside) …
That really meaningful (strengths and weaknesses, where do we see ourselves in the future) and interesting Darafify dinner with Mark, Joey, Abby, Annette, Kyle and Belinda on the first Saturday of this year, closed by a chapter of ‘Hallelujah’ on the car ride home, on our way to karaoke ‘be(ing) clearly aware of the stars and infinity oh high. Then life seems almost enchanted after all’ … or small Asian girl will fall into a pothole :P, going to visit Saray when she was sick and feeling like Aladdin as I was sitting on her windowsill, wanting to jump onto the rooftop next door but thinking that I probably shouldn’t with my leg still munted from the porthole :P, with the sky outside wearing a wet shower curtain of purple, with soft-spoken Spanish borne of a brother and sister’s deep love gentling the darkness beside me and thinking how surreal it was that this is my life – that I was on this windowsill in Madagascar, young, free, ready to have Grand Adventures, with two awesome people of a calibre different to any I’d met before who I cared for and who cared for me within the spaces nearby … (Thank You, My Father).
…A canal adventure you organized where I sang to Shanna for three hours by a silver sea (it legit looked like the sea was made of silver), going on a bike ride where this time we did not get hit by a TukTuk but instead went to the End of the Road (ß hey that’s a Boys II Men song!!! =D) accomplished our goals (I can’t exactly remember, but something along the lines of seeing something beautiful, doing something we’ve never done before, going somewhere never gone before? Potentially?) and lay down in the sea as it pounded us, watching the foam, writing Spanish into the sand before the water washed it away, creating our constellations (firefly, zebu and pomme frites …), sitting on a rock seeing actual fireflies … seeing God’s paint palette when he wants to paint something vibrant in the sunrise that morning, SAMBANY MAKING MY HEART SO FULL … listening to Juan’s testimony around the ‘bonfire’ (candle :P) after a 3-hour wait for dinner, you laying on the beach staring up at the stars (they looked like God-vomit. We stared at stunning, stunning God-vomit) while you let me sing ‘It Is Well’ (very meaningful song to me), amongst other songs, to you (that was very meaningful to me. Actually everything I’ve written here is meaningful to me) and feeling like life was surreal, making a rainbow bouquet on the hike back with you and Juan … coming to the Sambany community meeting … my ‘Last Adventure’ with you … as we biked off and found that haunted death trap (To this day I still don’t know what it is. I bet it’s a church in daytime.), biking through that gorgeous, unexpected river (street-long puddle :P), eating flan whilst you did a Spanish toast, scratching ‘KA KITE ANO’ and our initials onto the warehouse walls … and then of course … glorious PTO with you and our fellow explorers J J J (I’m not going to write about that here because I will probably be typing for a week J) … tree cathedral).’
I remember gazing around at the people I was with on the ship, as we all were together, my heart full of wonder. How wonderful these people are – how Wonder Full.
My heart gives thanks to my God.
Good job inventing them, God.
A few memories from PTO:
On my broken primary school French, I had genuinely thought this generous man had said he would bring us on his boat, for free! After feeling out the situation, it felt safe (really wouldn’t want this to not have a happy ending), so got the rest of us to come ‘on this guy’s boat!’ …
This was his ‘boat’ that he pulled us into the sea with, and then onto the street with xD
A few diary excerpts: ‘Struck by beauty – enchantment:
‘Beauty – of my friends. I wasn’t expecting to be struck by this, but I was. Eg. Seeing each of them play with the kids – brought out this innocent loveliness in each. Watching Kayla give … Watching Abby cry because she was struck by the loneliness of an old woman. Seeing them interact with the kids (e.g. abby singing the only (?) Malagasy song she knows to the kid and dancing to them, letting them draw in her book) and the people in so many different situations – so beautiful. Pedro is this fun, hilarious, kind playground, Annette is this cute koala giving cute koala hugs, Joey is so loving to the children.’ ‘Abby – what a beautiful girl – so enchanted with the world and love the kids. In the taxi-brousse today, there was a kid with us … I look at my friends … how beautiful they are … from them, I learn to be enchanted with the world and other people.’
‘Beauty – of the land (I could go on for aaages about this. Basically was Dr. Seuss + Avatar + Aladdin + The Little Prince + heaven. WEIRD but BEAUTIFUL & SURREAL. Think of the weirdest coloured and shaped flower whilst trying to be creative and ridiculous … IT EXISTS IN MADAGASCAR. Different shades of green, and COLOURS! Vibrant, odd, the weirdest mixtures. Look back at notes for some of the strange things we saw. Butterflies of purple and orange/black and yellow and white etc, green and blue dragonfly(?), electric blue baubles, pink periwinkles, yellow highlighter flowers, star flowers of so many varieties (like fallen stars instead of fallen angels), weirdest insects, ETC.’
‘Beauty – of the people. The people are SOOOO soooo SOOoOooOO friendly! And the kids are UNABASHEDLY AFFECTIONATE. Don’t matter who you are, they will give you affection … Look at notes for some examples.’ ‘From them I learn to embrace life and be unabashedly affectionate.’ ‘We got stampeded by little kids – on the way to there, a kid named Tina put her arms around me – does she want a backwards hug? Oops! No! My legs are off the floor! These kids must think I’m like 6 lol – they forcefully carry me on their backs haha XP (They gave me piggy back rides lmao!!!).’
Joey, the boy with hair the colour of the wheat fields, had converted us all to Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s The Little Prince fan club. Baobabs feature in this book. The night before we went to see baobabs, Joey read the book aloud to us as we lay on our beds. My diary on the next morn:
‘10.43 am … we see our 1st baobab!!! Our very 1st! …
Got to the baobabs … first time I hugged a baobab, said the ‘it is sad to lose a friend. Not everyone has had a friend’ quote before hugging it.
Surprised pleasantly – the baobab FLOWER!!!
My word for baobabs – WEIRD. But stunning. The tree is SO oddly shaped!
I remember these trees living amongst all this other flora, and from afar would see the majestic baobabs, but would not notice the cacti underfoot (and all the other cool plants) being all awesome underneath. A land of fire (because it was so hot). Star plants, weird weird I can’t remember what else we saw. Mutant insects that were poisonous.
And then you notice THE FLOWERS. Purple velvet, smooth green, orange sprouts!!! Like WHUUUUTTTT. Amaaaazing. They were explosions of surprise and beauty.
Climbed a baobab!!! Specifically after dad told me not to climb trees. What would they say if they knew. Or if they knew I got hit by a tuktuks. Or fell into a pothole. Good thing they’re on the other side of the planet. So proud of myself for challenging myself …
So many different kinds of baobabs – ones in love (I was third wheel :P), upside down women ones, smiling face baobab, council of baobabs, etc.
I remember being very very hot and thirsty and on the way home my last thoughts were, ‘COCA COCA COCA OOO PRETTY FLOWER COCA COCA COCA OH WOW THAT’S AMAZING!’
‘Beach at night – bonfire. So nice. Pedro managed to get a deal where some locals cook us BBQ fish and rice.
He draws a circle around the fire …. But neglects to tell us that inside the circle is where there is poo and maggots LOL *MASSIVE FACEPALM*’
PTO photos thanks to Abby or Annette 🙂
Important note: please know that I am only pulling out the good memories. Yes, I and many others, genuinely had a wonderful time, but that doesn’t lessen any of the brokenness one can still feel amongst wonderful people in a wonderful place. There are still broken relationships, loneliness (especially when you’re surrounded by people, I think it can make it lonelier), imperfections – the ship community is not perfect, and I don’t want to give a falsely glossy impression.