Student reflection - Christmas
By Dina Bade | Jan 1, 2020 |
Silky napkins of bright colours folded into shapes that made little sense. Columns wrapped in rapidly blinking lights. Carefully cut out paper snowflakes overflowing the room. A single crimson-red mistletoe and a petite Christmas tree so homemade it was nearly falling apart, but that was the beauty of it. This was our living room on Christmas Eve; our home.
Our counters were covered in more food than they had ever been before, containing the rainbow colours of all different shades. We had several salmon types, endless sauces, the most unimaginable garlic butter, eight different cakes & deserts. This was only a hint of how much we had, but the very best part was that every single food item was home made from scratch and behind our meal was 48 hours of hard work. It was a whole other level.
Once everything was set and prepared we picked out our nicest clothing and dragged out jewellery from far back in our lockers. The air was a mix of cinnamon scent from the galley, strong men’s deodorant around the banjer and a touch of that salty ocean we always had around. Our boys had cleaned up well, all wearing their sharpest shirts and their hair sleekly pushed back, meanwhile the girls glowed, litterly.
It was our 98th day together as a family. Some missed home very dearly, tears were shed and hugs were needed. For over a month students had been making Christmas post cards full of silver glitter and white cut outs for their families back home. Many people really learned the importance of missing somebody that day. At times being the only ship in the middle of the ocean can seem quite lonely, but at the same time you are never alone on the ship whatsoever. There is actually no existing personal space and you just learn to live with it and in some ways really like it too. Looking out at the horizon that evening, the sky had those pastel pink clouds floating around while the sun slowly set. There was a moment just then were we all smiled in silence. Not having a white Christmas is not so bad when you have a pink one in Africa.
Apart from feeling grateful, insanely full and a tad bit homesick we celebrated with gift exchanges between friend groups, secret Santa within the watches and white elephant with the entire ship. Some gifts were of great use when one lives on a ship; like sunscreen or 3 meter long chargers, while others were simply humoristic; like a shark costume someone received. There was laughter around every corner, the floors were covered in gift paper and Christmas carols were all around in the air. That was our Christmas, our very own Christmas.