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Shipboard Interview

Reasons to See the World

Jessica Von Wendel

            Sitting out on the fifth deck talking with a new shipboard friend is "C." Ironically, we were both born in California and now reside in Washington State.  When I ask her about how she heard about the Semester at Sea program she shyly rolls her eyes and says, “MTV’s Road Rules.”  This was six years ago, and she has been planning on participating ever since.  Now that she is here, I wanted to know what about the Semester at Sea experience correlated so well with her life that she spent six years anticipating her voyage. 

            At first she responds that it was an unexplainable urge to travel and see new things despite being a relatively nervous person.  She feels an urgency to travel now before entering the workforce.  "C" is a 3D animation major and is excited to see places that have inspired animators, such as the jungle atmosphere of Cambodia that is reminiscent of Disney’s “The Jungle Book.”  After further discussion, I learn about "C's" mother who died when she was only six, but who had a lasting impact on "C's"  tastes.  We laugh at how both our mom’s shopped at Pier 1 Imports and Cost Plus World Market.  Her mom had African masks on the walls and a very eclectic taste.  Growing up in this type of environment definitely had an impact on both of our curiosities about the world. 

"C" is the first in her family to travel abroad.  Although she was raised by a protective grandma, her grandma did instill a sense of independence in her and was excited about her plans to travel.  By fourth grade she was learning how to write checks.  She says, “I always think it is funny when people don’t know how to pay their own bills.”  "C" is paying for the entire voyage herself.  Her grandma recently past away and "C" has been living on her own for the past few years despite being only 19 years old.  She has little family left, but she is not alone.  She lives with her boyfriend of four years and states him as another reason for her coming to Semester at Sea.  She says that when you’ve been living with someone there comes a point when the little things, “like leaving change from your pockets in little piles all over the apartment that the cats like to knock around, creating as mess” that just start to get to you.  You know these little things shouldn’t bother you, but you just can’t help it!”  So this is just a way for her to revaluate what is really important to her and put things into perspective.  When we return to Florida, her boyfriend will be waiting for her to celebrate their anniversary, and she can’t wait. 

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