Monday, November 28, 2011

Shaking heads for Yes in Sri Lankd! 「はい」には首を振るスリランカ!

Bits and pieces from my Diary:

I slept really well tonight despite the rocking ship, it felt really nice to wake up 8:20 ish. I went to breakfast with Ina. We had a relaxing time until 10:15 Voyage Orientation, where they told us that we would be able to get off in Colombo for a bit! SUCH excitement and appreciation.


We got off around 2 and took off on a 3 hour adventure. The port was 25 minutes walk away from the gate, and we were greeted by every person we passed by. People had beautiful smiles and honked from the trucks/cars to say hi. Once out, we got into a shop to exchange money- but they must have been a regular shop, not an exchange place because the mom just collected all the dollars and we had to wait a while to get the money. 


We then walked around Pettah area- tuc tucs were all over, cars and trucks and people pulling carts with tons of boxes, and everything was in a chaos as there was no sidewalk. People and cars, tuctucs were all mumbled jumbled and it was an atmosphere like no other. People looked at us since we stood out, but many were just interested in a positive way, smiling and asking us where we were from. In the streets we noticed way more men than women. Some people were in wheelchairs which they pedaled by hands. 


Bekah, Patri and I tried some juice in a store, Nattari juice made from a herb which was very sweet tasting a bit like honey, and Faluda, which was a pinkish drink with icecream floating on top, also super sweet. Bekah also got a samosa.
We also decided to ride on a tuc tuc to the beach. Honestly I was scared at first but the drivers would make jokes about us being too heavy etc, and it was a great way to communicate with the locals. The tuctuc experience was one of a kind too! Bumpy, loud but breezy, it was a fun experience.


The beach was beautiful- even though we see the sea every day, we got excited by how nice it looked. There were many families and couples and children, and they were all very happy to talk to us. I particularly enjoyed talking to a little girl name Ashana- who though little, spoke to me in very good English.


At the beach we had two interesting incidents. 1. Where Bekah almost lost her sandal by the waves, and 2. A man who agreed to take a photo of the 3 of us shook his head, initially making us think that he did not want to take a photo. He kept shaking his head also while photographing us, so Patri thought the photos weren’t good, but right before we said bye to him we realized the Indian/sri lankan way of saying yes by shaking their heads. We had a good laugh about it.


Thank you Sri Lanka。

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Sports Day! 運動会!

Sports Day!
Red, White, Blue and Yellow- 4 teams divided according to birth month, the very Japanese style Sports Day was held.


From the diary:

After breakfast was Sports Day right away. I got a hachimaki, and saw the white flag and horse. People put so much effort, and it made my heart warm to see young and old people all cooperating and working for the same cause: success and winning. 


Mario Gomez, the Mizuan from Sri Lanka came over and did an English session with us. I learned about the 30 year civil war that ended in 2009, as well as about Sri Lankan music and diverse culture. The mixed culture reminded me of the conflict in Quebec. Again I realized how much about the world I don't know about…



Another good day.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

1st Day of Everything! 全部の一日目!

This day was the first day of everything- English classes and Montessori!

Since start of classes was delayed, many students missed class not knowing there was a class.
This meant I had to change things around, and that we didn't have the initially planned 'First Class', but it was still nice to meet the students and start a relationship that will continue for the next 3.5 months.


I also had my first Montessori Kids' GET class. I was nervous but I taught "Big" and "Small" using the cubes from the Pink Tower, and to my surprise, the three children under two were interested most of the time. As I was worried from before how the children will react to my presence in the class, it was relieving to see that they showed interested in the lesson I presented.


Right after Montessori, Fruit Party! I was lucky to be able to help out at the event and tried many many different delicious fruits, MMMMMM!


In the evening there was also the GET welcome party- a party to welcome out students and to get to know one another better!

夜は GETのウェルカムパーティ。生徒たちを歓迎して、みんな知り合おうという企画!

Teachers wore silly hats....


Bonded with our classes....


enjoyed people's company....


danced our butts off....


late into the night... :)


 Long, busy day but with many achievements!


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Team M in Singapore!! シンガポールのチームM!!

July 29th, 2011, we docked in Singapore!

From the diary: 



Since we only had 3 hours we rushed to see Little India. We took the MRT and once we got out of the station the neighbourhood was completely Indian and Hindu. I loved the colorful buildings and the music here and there, and also the beautiful clothing the Indian/Hindu women wore. 
We visited a beautiful Hindu temple. We took our shoes off, and inside there was chanting. A few men with bare upper bodies were chanting and making a fire, and the people visiting got white paint on their forehead, and also received pretty flowers. Inside the temple you could see so many engraved gods and goddesses, all vividly colored and also with a lot of flowers. I really loved the aesthetics of it, and really like the mentality of coloring gods with such vibrant colors. I wish I knew more about Hindu gods/goddesses, symbols, rituals etc etc.


Patri, Bekah and I decided to find a place to eat before rushing back to the Harbour Front meeting point. We got in to a Nepalese/Indian restaurant, and had some really yummy food- Momo (Nepalese dumplings), Butter chicken curry and tandoori chicken with naan. We also had this Indian icecream mixed with Cardamom, Pistachio and almonds- the ice cream was cut into bits and was very very delicious!


We rushed back with the metro and met the GET team and the student groups- I got paired with Misako from Osaka, Masue from Osaka and Miyoko from Tokyo. With my name we came up with Mteam as that was what we had in common. They had already previously decided on where they wanted to visit, and this made the day start smooth.
We headed over to Chinatown and walked around.


Other details about our day:
a.     We went to Chinatown
b.     We saw the merlions (both the original and the bigger fountainone with Marina Bay Sands in the background
c.     We went to Marina Bay Sands- well, not just went, but went ALL THE WAY UP! It was quiiite awesome looking, the view was gorgeous, and we had some very refreshing drinks.

a.  チャイナタウン 
b. マーライオン
c. マリーナサンズベイ:上まで

Singapore really was clean, and very much like a big city. I could see myself live here, but at the same time, I also felt reminded of how I don't like city-life and probably don't want to live in too big of a city. Singapore also gave me an impression as an even more growing city- there were so many construction projects going around around now is very fascinating.


Monday, November 21, 2011

Jisa, Anti-Pirate Drill and Agent Orange 時差、海賊対策と枯れ葉剤

Diary Entry from July 28, 2011:

Today was another difficult morning- especially due to the evil jisa. Evil jisa refers to when we change the time forward by one hour. In our voyage we had a few evil jisa, but most were where we put the clock one hour backwards, which meant we gained an hour. 


An announcement calling “Bravo! Tango!” was the key word to announce presence of pirates and the protocol was to go to our cabins and lock our doors. All windows/doors were covered, and it was kind of scary to imagine something like that happening.


Today was the day we also decorated our classrooms at GET street. Since all classrooms are rooms that were cabins, they were all small, but it meant a lot for me to have a first classroom ever after graduating university. I decorated the room simply with just a calendar and a map. My hope is to have students' work up there as it is more their classroom than mine. It felt special to be preparing this environment- and my stomach had butterflies from excitement to meet my students and to embark on this awesome journey with them. 


We also had a talk and Q&A session with Mr.Tien and Ms.Ahn from DAVA NGO organization from Da Nang, Vietnam. They got onboard from Da Nang to spread awareness about Agent Orange and their work. I felt embarrassed not to have known about this issue before, and Ahn’s story of losing her father and herself being a secondary victim also made my  heart hurt. Mr.Tien seemed so passionate and explained thoroughly to us all, and I found that a very attractive characteristic. When Someone asked the question, ‘if you could talk to world leaders of today, what would you like to say?” Mr.Tien said without a doubt that he would rather choose to talk and spread awareness among ‘normal’ people and the people that surrounds him. To him, making these heart to heart connections and having people learn about the issue is far more important than making a request to a world leader. He was truly inspiring, and I asked for contact details for when I want to go volunteer. I hope I can do that someday… soon. Mr.Tien was a lovely man and it’d be nice to meet him again, and also help DAVA in any form I can.

ベトナムから乗船してきた、NGO DAVAのティエンさんとアンさんとの話とQ&Aもあった。彼らは枯れ葉剤について、そして団体が何をしているかを知らせに乗船した。今まで枯れ葉剤の存在や影響を知らなかった事が恥ずかしかったし、父親をなくし自身も枯れ葉剤によって苦しんでいるアンさんの話を聞くと、心がいたんだ。

After dinner was BUN’s last Kalima live. The sounds of his Kalimba sounded beautiful, and he also did a collaboration with Luna and Fuyuta- all very relaxing and beautiful! I got to talk more with Mr.Tien, and I really appreciated this opportunity of learning about war issues from these kind of personal connections- unique to Peace Boat. 



Saturday, November 19, 2011

Hello Vietnam!! ベトナムこんにちは!

From my diary:

After being on a boat for a week, the day of going on land finally came- Da Nang, Vietnammmm! I woke up reluctantly by an alarm clock at 5:50, and went up for breakfast and found surprisingly many people- and a surprising view: mountains and city scape! I got so excited despite the sleepiness.


We took a taxi and visited the beautiful town Hoi An (also a World Cultural Heritage Site).  The buildings were traditional and colorful, and the atmosphere was very calm and serene. The young green leaves and the birds chirping from the nests made me feel at peace and comfortable, and we ended up spending quite a long time just in the area around the Japanese Bridge. 


Among many things Jay tried sugar cane juice which tasted like tangerine juice, and coconut water. I did my first bargaining- and got a pair of earrings for $2 (originally $4), and a pair of comfy pants for $6. From the interactions I got a strong sense of the warmth of Vietnamese people.


We also went Han Market in Da Nang. On the way was a beautiful white wide beach and we made a stop to take some pictures.

The market smelled very strongly of fish/dried fish, to the point that in the beginning I thought I couldn't take it. Also since we went around midday, many of the shop keepers were sleeping, simply through putting a mat under. I also realized that often eat in the shop and also frequently- I saw so many people eating pho. 

While resting at a cafe, I did get the chance to call back home, and I found out about the Oslo terror incident. I was shocked- there we were traveling the world, but I had no clue what was going on in the world. 

Once back on the boat, I went up to write my Vietnam postcards, but found on the top deck people waving to the Vietnamese students on the port. I was quite touching to see these students interact so much, smile so much, joke around so much and maintaining communications with the people on the boat, and especially when they unfolded a banner saying “We will always standby you”. Despite Vietnam is a country that has gone through so many struggles being invaded by several countries, the Vietnamese population seem so calm, friendly, open and patient. Perhaps it is because they went through these struggles.


It reminded me of the Olso attack that I heard from Mama previously- that we all really do have a limited time here on earth and we are so lucky for every person we meet and for the time we share together. I also felt how the way bad things happen while we are so disconnected strangely represents how this concept of peace in reality is so far off from the ‘peaceful’ society that is being established inside the boat. I had thought that with the one week, I really found the PB a unique special environment, a peaceful environment where everyone greets one another, works together despite age/ability difference, learn from one another, but this incident just pushed it that perhaps this is idealistic and impossible.


At the same time, the way I feel about the people I have met so far is so concentrated, strong and valuable, that I feel that nothing could give more hope than this and that with these kind of strong connections, everything is possible. I was talking to Devon as we were watching the sunset from the sun deck, but we all feel so connected to one another already after a week and one port, learning, being inspired by talented great people- I cannot even imagine what thoughts we will be thinking or feelings/emotions we will be hearing after 22 countries. This experience is already changing my life, as a person and as a teacher.



1 port down, 1 country down, 8days down!
1寄港地、1カ国、8日間 終了!

Welcome Party and Boat Family ウェルカムパーティー&船内家族

On July 22st, 2011, we had our Welcome Party. Everyone dressed in formal clothing, and we went to the restaurant to enjoy a delicious three course meal. One thing that is very special about Peace Boat is that you meet someone new everyday- the dinner times are a good example of this. You often get seated with people that you don't know, and this is how you get to know them.
It was a nice experience to meet people this way- getting to know people who you would otherwise not have contact with, over food. That night we met a Japanese older couple dressed in beautiful kimono.


 After the dinner was the Party up on the Pool Deck. While the captain was taking photos with hundreds of passengers, I went around offering to take photos for people. Soon there was a speech by the captain and the cruise director, and the dance party started.


Pool Deck- A place where we eat breakfast, lunch, go in the pool, and gather for special events! 

A night to celebrate this special journey of 3.5 months- for better or for worse, we are together- it is quite a unique experience to share a lifestyle while seeing 22 countries, with 800 other people... A family of 800 people. 


Speaking of families, Peace Boat also had an interesting event of creating a family for you for the time onboard. It happens like this: one staff member will just pick out people, announce his/her role in the family, and then once a family is created, you are off together to bond! 


This was my boat parents- I also had 11 other siblings. In my real family I only have one sister, so it felt so cool to had so many brothers and sisters. 

We would have gatherings like this- although people got very busy right away. Even then when we see each other on the boat we would greet one another as family. "Hi dad! mom!"

Well here is my other boat family, one that I feel closer and more home with. 
We are getting to know the boat better- and here we're hanging out in Freespace, an area with red sofas- if the boat was a really big house, this is probably our living room. 


Words from my diary about that night:
"At around 10, Bekah, Jay, Patri and I went up to the top deck to see the stars, and for the first time in my life I saw a Shooting Star! I got so excited I nearly screamed in Patri’s ear. We could see many stars but I hope we see more during the voyage. I felt like a little baby being rocked in a huge bed, with a beautiful planetarium to look at. We really are such small creatures compared to the immense, vast, universe. This whole experience is so unreal still, but I am loving every moment of greeting new people, learning names, learning how to teach better and learning about the people around me. It has only been 4 days, but when I looked next to Patri when we were looking up to the stars, I couldn't believe that I just met briefly met 2 weeks prior- how incredible that we are all so close already."

「10時頃にベッカ、パトリ&ジェイと、トップデッキにいって、星を見に行った。人生で初めて流れ星をみた!! とてもとても嬉しくてパトリの耳の中に叫んじゃった。今夜はたくさん星がみられたけれど、この船旅でもっと見れるといいな。船に揺られながら座って空を見上げて星をみていると、大きなベッドでプラネタリウムを見ながら揺られている赤ちゃんのような気分だった。こんなにも偉大で大きな宇宙に比べて、なんて私たちは小さな生き物なんだろう。この体験はまだ現実味がないけど、すべての瞬間が嬉しく楽しい:新しい人に挨拶すること、名前を覚えること、どうしたらもっといい先生になれるか学ぶこと、周りにいる人たちについて学ぶこと。まだ4日しか経っていないけれど、横に座って同じく星を見上げるパトリを見ると、たった2週間前に彼女と出会ったことが信じられない。もうこんなにも仲良くなっているんだ」