Sailing through Lola

October 31, 2023

Author: Mark Teh, Northeastern University

KODAK Digital Still Camera

Top 3 baby! Top 3!

Ship's Log

October 30, 2023Time: 1335Location: Not AucklandWeather: don't even get me started- Lola's remnants have me sleeping on a vertical mattress at times (GMOH!)

What an undulating emotional venture this trip has been! With 178 hours to go, the time to blissfully reminisce has yet to arrive, so a candid recollection will have to suffice.

In the stubborn pursuit of discomfort, I've more often than not found myself in outlandish predicaments, and my goodness has this semester fit my file. Let's take it from the top┘ first and foremost, I had the surreal opportunity to study at the MBLWHOI library, on desktops upon which the foundations of oceanography were scribbled; not to mention the words of Darwin and Newton that burdened shelves my shoulders brushed. Simply-put, an experience 8-year-old Mark, sat on a sofa utterly enamored by Sir David Attenborough's narrations of the biological world, could've never imagined.

Then, Tuvalu- you have got to be kidding! Nearly half a decade ago, I'd watched a Youtube video by ⌠Yes Theory, covering the daily lives of a population inhabiting the 4th smallest nation in the world. While I took away tidbits of information (such as the fact that a significant portion of the country's GDP is derived from selling rights to their '.tv' domain), when the video came to its conclusion, I resumed my zombie hunt for vicarious adventures; well, vicarious no more. As Jakie Walker put it best, there I stood, ⌠on a remote island, in the South Pacific, above a dying volcano, under the Milky Way, a life truly in 3D √ a metaphor that dominated my high school vernacular, a gentleman's dramatization if you will.

Last but not least, the fulfillment of a childhood dream to research cyanobacteria! Countless hours jamming my crepuscular phalanges at the family keyboard taxonomizing cyanobacteria and marine algae alike had actually culminated in something worth writing home for - not quite the ⌠Nobel Prize in Marine Science. I'd journaled for, but it's something I guess but I digress. Ultimately, while I cannot promise that my incessant whines for shore will end anytime soon, I have to say that my time with SEA has truly been a once-in-a-lifetime endeavor that I will miss dearly.

With what appears to be a life packed full with clichй foreshadowing, one could not fault me for my deterministic slant. From which I'm then incited to question what it means to miss, really? When all is said and done, when shouts of sailors whimper for resurrection, will miss be the best I can muster?The almighty Oxford Dictionary offers the definition "feel regret or sadness at the absence of; near-antonymous to a sorrowful promise of betterment." If handed the prompt "Would you do another semester with SEA?" an uncomfortable pause before a measly shake of the head would likely be my pathetic excuse for an answer. To me, doing so would just detract from its uniqueness and dilute its value. Perhaps, then, I will not miss this semester but treasure it. For its highs (the people) and its lows (SAIL HANDLING?!). For what it was and for what it wasn't.To life unlived!Happy Birthday Mom! Love you lots!! - Grant

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