I’ve never been very good at endings. Ever since I was a kid, I hated whenever a movie or a TV show or a book series was over. I remember always wondering “How could there not be more?” or “Where’s the sequel?” In my prepubescent brain, it didn’t make sense how this thing I thoroughly enjoyed could just be done. There had to be more. It seems my post-pubescent brain hasn’t gotten much farther.
A sunrise off of Maui feature Sebastian and Mary either discussing the meaning of life or what’s for breakfast.
Interestingly enough, I also hate redoing things. I see very little point in frequently rewatching or rereading something I’ve already experience. No matter how much I enjoy the subsequent viewings, it is never quite the same as the original. My rationale for this effect made sense to me. Why spend my time doing something I’ve already done when there is another new thing out there I have yet to experience? The drive into the unknown is infinitely more exciting than already discovered territory. Right?
So, I find myself at a crossroad nowadays. Here, on the vessel known as the Robert C. Seamans, exist the in-between state of living in this experience, and edging into the experience becoming another memory. I’m terrified to leave everything I’ve been doing for the past 6 weeks. To leave the people I’ve been with for 12 weeks. The irregular cycle of eat, work, and sleep at literally every possible hour of the day has somehow become routine. The bumps and bruises from flying around the ship like I’m playing bumper cars
24/7 have a certain….comfort. The, honestly less creepy than it sounds I swear, wake ups via someone constantly whispering my name feels like an essential part of my morning/afternoon/evening. The complete strangers of the students and crew have miraculously become more than friends. They’re like another family.
I have so much anticipation for the things to come. To see my family:
parents, sisters, and brother all together. Going back to school to a Spring Term where all my friends will either awakens from the brutal winter or will return from abroad like I am. I can’t wait to continue these relationships that mean more than anything to me. But there’s still the overhanging cloud that looms over my head: saying goodbye to everyone here. Living every second of the waning hours with these people who I’ve come to care so much about. I’m stuck with a main question. How can I value this time to the best of my ability?
Thankfully, my dear readers, there is a solution to this conundrum. I’ve learned that truly appreciating and loving this opportunity has made the thought of my departure bearable. That if I look back and recognize all that I’ve done and been done for me, maybe I can leave with my head high and only a glimmer of a tear in my eye (doubtful).
And the best way I can do that begins and ends with the people that made this journey so fulfilling. To our Class TA, Audrey, thank you for sticking with us since the beginning. I know we can be a crazy group to be around, but I’m so glad you were along with us for that madness. To the mates, Kev-O, Sara, and Tierney, thank you for teaching me so much about the ship and spending those endless hours on deck, in sunshine or squall. Each of you brought a different style of teaching that I wouldn’t have been able to even grasp a concept without you. To the scientist, Hilary, Anna, Corinna, and Amy, thank you all for the wonderful help in lab and with the research projects. You guys all made those late-night deployments and processing worth going to. To the engineers, Henry and Nolan, thank you for keeping this ship together and always making me laugh. You guys taught me so much about the million things this ship has going on to keep it running, while always being available to kick back and have a chat. To the stewards, Cat and Gracie, no amounts of thank you would quantify how grateful I am for the time you poured into all the spectacular meals you guys provided for us. The craziest thing is that I’d argue your company was even better than the food.
And to Captain Allison, thank you for leading us on this adventure, working behind the scenes to make sure everything on the trip went without a hitch.
You are an inspiring leader and I hope I can take a thing or two from you.
I couldn’t forget my classmates either. To the other two watches (Meriel, Hilary, Leen, Emily, Seb, Maija, Jenn, Jennessa, Gabby, Nate, Eban, Katie, and Abby), you all make this trip so special. I’m glad to have to opportunity to get to know every one of you. Each of you guys have been an amazing crew mate and supportive of each other through our highs and lows of the trip. And then there’s the B-Watch Barnacle Baddies consisting of Liv, Murph, Skyler, Anna, Lauren, Mary, and myself. All the above applies to you guys and more. I couldn’t have asked for a better watch team. Watching each of us grow comfortable, with the boat and with each other, has been a blessing. I love everyone in this class, but you guys have a special spot in my heart. I wish nothing but the best on the amazing pursuits I know you all will have.
And finally, to my best friend Charlie. You irritate me, annoy me, drive me insane, rile me up, sing with me, laugh with me, live with me, and have fun with me more than anyone else I know. Now we’ve even sailed together. I’m so lucky to have been able to have done this program with you. You’re a better friend than I could have ever asked for and I don’t know what I would do without you. I love you buddy.
There are some phenomenal things I’ve done on this trip. Sailing a tall ship. Visiting Palmyra Atoll. Seeing an endless amount of the most beautiful of sunrises and sunsets. Viewing some of the tallest sea cliffs in the world in Molokai. Snorkeling with manta rays and sharks. Even today, swimming with the whales off the coast of Waikiki. And yet, none of that would mean nearly as much to me if it weren’t with this crew. They are what have really made the experience for me. And it is to them I will forever be grateful for and in debt to.
So, to the Class and Crew of S302, if I don’t get the chance to see you again, this is Good Morning, Good Afternoon, and Good Night.
Ben Pham, B-Watch, Carleton College