There is a lot to be thankful for. I’m thankful that my family is healthy and that Stuart and I are in the same place during this craziness. I am thankful that we have food to eat and a roof over our heads. I am thankful that we’re able to pay our bills and are not suffering with food insecurity, bankruptcy, or foreclosures. I am thankful for technology allowing me to contact home, write this blog, and have all of the Harry Potter books on one nice small Kindle instead of lugging seven fairly heavy books all around the world.
A lot like what people at home are feeling there’s a lot of monotony to being onboard right now – add to that the perpetual uncertainty of not knowing when you can go home but if you can even go home and at times it can wear on you. We are fairly isolated from the worldwide situation and maybe by the time we leave things will be getting back to a new-normal. In one way it could work out pretty nice – we’re onboard during this whole mess and then when things start to open up we are home for Stuart’s vacation. Who knows.
And, overall, life onboard is pretty okay. It’s nothing special. The sunsets can be quite pretty. Seeing wildlife on occasion is nice. Where we are is inconsequential aside from what time zone we’re in and what the weather might be. For the deck and engine officers they can’t go home until there replacements get here and who knows when that will be. It is not some grand adventure. It’s a lesson in patience. We’re not exploring these places – the ship sails there, I get excited about having internet on my phone, and that’s about it.
Normally when we’re onboard we are going places and getting to do different things. I understand that having to quarantine at home or self-isolate at home has a whole bunch of reasons it isn’t very fun. Here are some reasons that being onboard during this crazy pandemic shut down is not actually all fun and games:
- Being able to talk with friends and family easier. I can’t just pick up my cell phone and easily call my grandma on the other side of the world. The least expensive option is to log onto the ships internet, hope it’s strong enough to be able to make a Wi-Fi call and then call her that way. The next option is to use a phone card, hoping that she’s around the answer the phone, as if she misses the call she can’t call me back.
- Animals. In Vermont having our cats with us or playing with my mom’s dog. In Scotland even just seeing dogs walking down the street. I miss snuggly little animals.
- Slow and expensive internet. Want to do that Zoom thing that everyone is talking about where you can video chat with lots of people at once? Want to be able to video chat with your family? Want to watch that funny YouTube video? Want to watch some NetFlix? Want to take an online course in all your free time? Technically you can do all these things – but, when you’re paying per megabyte for your internet all of that starts to add up really fast.
- No choice on food. This morning at breakfast there was Raisin Bran. I was ecstatic. Something different! It’s not all bad – but, let’s just say it’s not like the passenger food. Gonna also say – no access to a kitchen means that when the powers that be onboard said I wasn’t getting a birthday cake, it meant I wasn’t getting a birthday cake. Maybe I should get over it, but it still really bothers me.
- There are no grass and no trees. No option to stand on ground that isn’t moving. There are no flowers coming to life to celebrate springtime. No flowers to be planted and no garden to grow. There is no mountain to hike and no birds chirping. Luckily for us we have a few plants in our room so we have something real and natural around us.
- You’re stuck with the clothes that you brought onboard. I don’t normally worry too much about what I pack. I figure that if I really forgot something and want it I can get it in port at some point. Did you forget those comfy sweatpants? Socks are getting a bit thin? Well, my dear, you are out of luck. Make due with what you’ve got because there’s no way to get anything else!
- I’ve got all of this free-time – (Stuart doesn’t, he’s on call 24/7) and I wish I could be renovating something. I could have installed a new window in our master bedroom in Vermont painted the outside of the house and put in a new front door! Think of it all. On the plus side I guess I’ve had more time for reading than usual.
- No idea what the plan is. Stuart can’t leave the ship until his replacement gets here, and even when he gets here and we can leave we don’t know what that looks like. You hear about crew members on other ships trying to get home to the US and being denied. You hear about (and read, and reread) the CDC’s No Sail Order that lasts until July 24th. The one positive thing I’ve read is that apparently US citizens can go from the UK to the US . This means that maybe even though the US would likely not let me in coming from the ship, if I can get to Scotland at some point I might be able to go back to the US? Maybe?
Things are pretty good and I am always grateful that I get to be in the same place as Stuart during this. Somedays you just think of what that might be like if you were at home and how it would be different.