Monday, April 29, 2013


Spent the weekend in DC with Ryan having the all-American weekend. We took in all the American classics: the American History museum, monuments, baseball, and over-eating. It was awesome. Then I got to see my dog, and the family had an awesome welcome home dinner for me - including the two cakes I blogged about! 


I keep feeling like I'm going to miss on ship time at any moment!


The three days after Morocco were not enough time to say goodbye but boy people sure did a good job! We had the Alumni ball which was fun and I had an amazing table with my besties, students were signing flags and t-shirts and stuffed animals and journals in lieu of yearbooks (I had them sign my map but it was taken the night before we left by the housekeepers never to be seen again :( ), and we had Convocation.

Alumni ball consisted of a farewell slideshow, fancy dinner, and dance party.


The slideshow and video they showed were pretty spectacular (you know, the talented students and media team and all that) – here is one of them that’s already been uploaded onto youtube:

SAS Spring 2013 End of the Voyage Slideshow

At Convocation we recognized the graduating seniors and faculty and staff and everyone. It was so well put together and beautiful. There was even a blessing sent in by our number 1 Arch! Then they played this video which is the poem I shared with you all before in my Talent show blog – but Stephen reading it with pictures… so incredible. I wasn’t able to upload it but ask me when you see me and I’ll show it off!

Tom shared another great video tribute at our last pre-port for Spain.

So it was a cryfest for a couple days. I cried a bunch today when I said goodbye to my children (pictured above in the Alumni ball photos on the deck with Craig and I), when I said goodbye to my sea, when I said goodbye to the staff, but the worst ever was my goodbyes with Craig, Jason, Kelly, and Dan… ouch. Even though those three are definite “see you laters” – it felt extra painful to know I wouldn’t be seeing them everyday for a long time.

So the voyage is over and I learned a lot. Besides what I learned about countries I had never heard of, I also learned a lot about myself. Early thoughts on lessons (though I’m sure there are MANY MANY more):

  • I’m stronger than I ever thought I was. I have done something I never thought I could do, pick up and quit my job, and travel around the world essentially alone (I was at first).
  • This is a cheat because I already knew it – but I am so lucky to have the family I have.. to support this even when they didn’t understand it, embrace it, and travel with me in every blog and email was so incredible. I am so lucky and I couldn’t thank them enough. (Friends – you apply here too!)
  • I learned so much about humanity and kindness and forgiveness through my time with Arch and through the people I met in a number of the ports.
  • The power of community is unbelievable – we lost a member of our community, got into big trouble, got into little trouble, got through stormy waters (literally), celebrated together.. it was so strong and the experience was all we needed to bond us.
  • It doesn’t matter how much stuff you have, or how big of a space you have – you can make a home with anything if the people are right. The ship honestly felt like home – I’d get back from port and know I was safe and knew I had people that cared about me, and knew I had someone to sit with at dinner.
  • Homesickness is real, and fueled by lack of puppy kisses.
  • It is easy for people to find reasons to be unhappy, even when you are sailing around the world! I learned new skills to rise above it, and question it, and found ways to make myself happy (usually I get my energy and, in some ways, happiness from other people – hence the extrovert)
  • In the beginning of the voyage, I didn’t think I could do it. In those Asian countries I literally believed I would starve to death because I had to eat with chopsticks. People laughed at me everywhere, and stared, one place gave me a spoon, but eventually I prevailed. I wouldn’t say I mastered the chopsticks but I have mastered the art of never giving up about something I am passionate about (in this case food). :)
  • Having a routine is equally hard and important… I have to work on that more now, for me and for Fletch.
  • When I travel in the US, I’m going to travel like I have abroad – ask questions, take risks, talk to people, etc..
  • I can honestly say I have reignited my passion for the work I do in higher education. The ability to see so many of my students completely mature and transform in 4 months was incredible and reinforced how important the college experience is. I know there aren’t a lot of experiences like this one – not many people can study abroad – so we need to give them equally as gratifying and educational opportunities on campus.. somehow. I hope to figure it out. :)

So like I said, I’ve learned tons of stuff from how to (kind of)  use chopsticks, to how I will eat raw salmon if I want cream cheese badly enough, to the philosophies of Ubuntu, to combating technological difficulties, to the incredible inequalities of the world. I wanted to do this blog to share my goodbyes but also because I was really bad at keeping my journal… so now this is kind of my journal.

I fly to the States tomorrow, and will be spending a whirlwind All-American weekend in our nations capital! Perhaps I’ll blog about it through my new lens! :) So if you were reading to spend my international time with me, thank you! I appreciate the interest and I hope you have enjoyed… and if you were reading just to read – perhaps there will be more to come! Maybe I’ll find interesting enough things in my everyday life to blog about (though, let’s be honest – I’d probably just blog about food). ;)

Thursday, April 25, 2013


Well, it's here. Our last port. Bittersweet for sure. I'm still so ready to get home to what I've been referring to as the "f's": family, friends, and Fletcher but still loving every moment of this adventure. So, speaking of adventures, onto Morocco!

Morocco was beautiful! The first day I was on duty and spent the day packing and cleaning and figuring out my life (BORING!). On day two, I went to Marrakesh on an SAS trip with Craig, which was very fun. In Morocco, they speak French and I was thankful for a language that I could recognize, read, and sounded familiar. My conversation attempts didn't extend much past "bonjour" (hello), "pardon" (excuse me), "s'il vous plait" (please), and "merci beaucoup" (thank you very much). I also obnoxiously said "tres bon" (very good) at everything I saw HAHAHA.

Okay, back to Marakesh, all the buildings are the same color – a pinkish clay color. It was very pretty. We went to the Jardin Majorelle which was created when a guy (Jacques Majorelle) who lived in Marrakesh traveled the world and would bring back plants from everywhere he went! It was very pretty. There were a lot of cacti, trees, and some pretty flowers. Yves Saint Laurent has a memorial in there where his ashes were spread. We had a good time in the garden, getting lost from the group and attempting to keep ourselves busy for the long amount of time we were given (I could do it with birds or flowers EASILY but not trees). ;) 


We then walked through the Medina (town). There were donkeys and mules everywhere. Most of the townspeople use them to transport their goods or construction materials. In the Medina, we visited a school that was built in the 16th century. I couldn’t believe how cool (temperature-ly) it was inside there. Somehow, back then, they were able to know what kind of stones to use, and what kind of construction would allow a “natural air conditioning”. It was also so beautiful because it was so ornate! The wood and plaster work was all beautiful and all done by hand. When we were walking through town we saw the carpenters using the same techniques their ancestors used. Just chiseling away piece by piece. The talent was insane! Everything is done by hand the same way their ancestors did it. We ended our tour at a large square that was full of shops and cafes. There were entertainers everywhere – snake charmers, monkeys that would sit on your for photos, and people doing beautiful henna art on hands and arms. It was very crowded but a lot of fun.The snake charmer tried to charge me ridiculous moneys for taking a picture of the snake... I told him that there was no way I was paying to take a picture and that he could watch me delete it! Sorry buddy, I took two! ;) (Don't worry, I'm not totally unmoral - people were paying left and right but $5 for a zoomed in photo from far away! If the snake was on my neck I would've done it but this was crazy!) We shopped a little in the square, but I have to tell you friends, after Vietnam, Myanmar, Ghana... this girl is over bargaining! I am ready to buy things with fixed prices!!! LOL I wanted to shop/bargain so little I didn't even get postcards (or my magnet from Morocco which I've gotten in EVERY other port). I was so over shopping - not that I did a lot of it on the trip. I cannot believe how much money I saved in comparison to home - I have it backwards! When I get back I'm going to save at home and splurge on travel! ;)

Day 3, we went to Fez. Fez was by far one of my favorite places I’ve seen on this voyage. I would put it second. South Africa, Fez, then Vietnam. Favorite places, no questions asked, hands down. There are three parts to Fez (Old, Middle, and New). The New was built in the 20th century, the middle in the 16th, and the old… well the old was built a REALLY long time ago! We spent most of our time in Old Fez. I kept picturing Aladdin when he steals the apple and is running from the police. The roads were windy, you never knew what was around the next corner, people were everywhere, and if you looked above there was also stuff everywhere! It was very cool. I didn't see Aladdin though. There are no cars are allowed in old Fez, so there were horses, donkeys, mules, and motorbikes everywhere. It was so alive with smells and sounds! I have never seen anything like it! (But don't try to go without a guide! You might never find your way out :))

Our first stop was at a silk shop. After almost crawling through the tiny/alleyway/crawlspace of a doorway - we arrived at a family business (in Fez, everything is a family business). We talked to the grandson, who was a college graduate with a degree in business management. His father, and grandfather were both working on the fabrics. They make the most beautiful scarves and blankets out of vegetable silk, cotton, and wool. The colors are dyed naturally with spices. They were making all the blankets on huge spindles right in front of us. I got a blanket for my bed.. it's orange and purple (my kryptonite.. SASers even started saying "but it's your color pallet" GO TIGERS!). Anyway, it's beautiful and I'll take a photo when I get home! 

After the silk place we walked through the market and stopped to look at wedding attire. The dresses were vibrant colors with gorgeous embroidery on the front. The grooms buy shoes and belt to match the brides embroidery from her dress. There were giant “bridal seats” where the bride and/or groom are carried into a wedding. It was all very lavish.


We wandered some more through the medina and stopped at a school that was built in the 6th century! THE SIXTH CENTURY!!! That's insane to me since our "old" stuff is like 17th century old. The school was very detailed and pretty with tile, plaster, and wood work. Much like the other one but way older! (To my housing friends, I wanted to take a picture of those "dorms" to show our students when they complain! Talk about living in a closet.)



My favorite photo of Fez… mostly thanks to the man sleeping in his wheelbarrow!

We then went to the tannery to see how leather is made. They gave us mint leaves at the door in case we were bothered by the smell of the leather. (eww) We were above it (thankfully) and were able to look down on huge colorful vats. Each color was for a different kind of leather - camel, cow, I forget the rest... Want to know a secret that shocked me? They use pigeon poop to make leather!!! UGH! Something about the acid in it – I don’t even know! I was shocked. But they put it in the water to treat it. I wasn't listening after that... I just kept looking at people mouthing "PIGEON POOP?!". The man said a lot of people keep pigeons at home as pets and sell him the poop on Fridays (remember all those bird cage pics I took earlier?)! Can you imagine? The leather was beautiful though so whatever they are doing is working! But sadly too expensive for me to buy... I already told you I'm over haggling but I am REALLY over haggling when you quote me 4x what you offer me as I'm about to walk out the door (guess what, there is no way you would sell it if you were losing a profit right? So now I know you were royally trying to rip me off and I won't buy for you! The end.).


Our last stop was at a ceramics place, where again, EVERYTHING is done by hand. It was beautiful! So many colors. We got to watch each step of how they made the ceramics, and some of the students took a try. They even got into the huge pot of clay that was in the ground where they mash it up with their feet to try it out! Disgusting. We watched them paint, and make tiles, and set those huge tables. It was awesome. I cannot believe the talent that these people have that they can chisel out tiny designs from big tiles with big hammers. Very authentic. 


After we left there, we went to the ruins of the castle and an overlook of the city to take a million photos.

We spent out last day in Casablanca. Not too much to do there besides shop, so we went to the Medina and the mall (yay fixed prices!) - who knew the mall was filled with Gucci and Louis Vuitton (not the fixed prices for my wallet!). We almost went to a movie but couldn't guarantee that they were in English so we took a taxi to the town to see what was going on there. On the way in the taxi, we passed the one and only thing I wanted to see in Casablanca! The Hassan II Mosque was beautiful. I wish I could've explored it up close.


The food in Morocco was good. Most meals had couscous with meat, fruit, bread, and mint tea (which was so good!). On the last day we ate at McDonald’s in the mall – sometimes it helps when you are homesick! I got a McFondu which was pretty much a burger on flatbread with 4 kinds of cheese on it (including fondu cheese!). It was pretty great! So delicious! :)



That’s it for Morocco!!! Last time walking up the gangway! <3


On April 15, in the middle of our staff special dining, our executive dean, Tom, got up and left the table. Moments later, we heard a familiar "bingbong" of the announcements but looking at the clock, knew that something was off as it wasn't the regular routine of noon or evening announcements. Tom let us know very concerned, very simply that two bombs had gone off at the Boston marathon. Those of us with family at the marathons left the dinner, and the rest of us tried to wrap our heads around what Tom had just said. Those words were followed with "Channel 6 is streaming Aljazeera." Just a few weeks earlier, a few members of our community had campaigned to get some (really any) news on the ship with the argument of circumnavigating the world with no idea what's going on in it - hence Aljazeera. Aljazeera was on some times.. After the Boston announcement, it ran constantly for the next week and some without interruption.

Watching what was going on at home, with limited communication to the US, through the lens of an international news caster put a whole new perspective on what I was doing. I can only imagine what it was like for the students, faculty, and staff on board in Fall 2001 - when September 11 hit, and they didn't have news or email. Did they know before the next port? Technology is certainly advancing (even on the open seas) but to hear news like that from so far away was hard even for me, who grew up nowhere near Boston. Very surreal - almost like it was a movie or something far away.

Anyway, after hearing updates on some of our friends (all okay), and checking on my sea, and especially those from Boston - all seemed okay.

I feel for those who were affected in that incredible tragedy and everyone who, even for a second, questioned if their loved ones were okay. I always think of Mr Rogers - "When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.' To this day, especially in times of 'disaster,' I remember my mother's words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world."

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

At Sea and Ghana

So first, before I get to my Ghana post, I want to talk a little bit about the things that happened on the ship before we got there! 

April 2 was our ship wide auction. We did a silent auction where people sold skills (resume writing, paintings, etc…), autographed swag (the children’s book signed by Arch before he left that I bid on for my two favorite girls went for almost 10x my original offer! Amazon it is!), and stays at vacation homes. The money raised was truly impressive. I am sad to say that I got outbid on the oil painting of your pet (Fletcher is too handsome for that anyways!), but Christine and I won the “Choose a Menu” for the dining hall, and are looking forward to our thanksgiving inspired meal to be served on April 22! A taco party for 15 people went for almost $700 and the boxes of Girl Scout cookies would have cleared my savings account! Aparna and her student workers did an unbelievable job and are still working to meet their goal of 100% participation.

April 3 we had a film festival on board – the student talent on this ship always finds new ways to amaze me. They were given three days to create a film using specific props/lines and could win prizes in a variety of categories. If you didn’t see the winning film (which tugs at the heart strings and stars one of my favorite children from the ship) check it out! SO ADORABLE! 
On April 4, our amazing bossman took the Student Life Team to special dining. If you recall, from my birthday, special dining is awesome food, dress up, and fancy pants wait staff making your every wish come true. If you’ll also recall from my birthday, the cream cheese hors d’oveures were my FAVORITE.. this time, instead of on toast they were on celery and had some kind of nut on top. New fave snack. Anyway, dinner was wonderful and company was wonderful. Captain Jeremy and Hotel Director Stefan joined us (and I think the food reflected that – yum!).  

After dinner, Craig and I headed to the Talent Show Auditions. Over 60 people wanted to participate in the talent show (in which we had a whopping 20 slots!) – Luckily only 41 of those acts emailed me in time, so Craig, myself, our faculty friend Becky, and my work study Braden had speed dating tryouts (everyone got two minutes), and watched acts until way past midnight to choose who would get a spot in the talent show! Again, the talent on this ship impresses me sooo much! 

The view from my window the morning we arrived in Ghana.

Shout out to my Ladybugs!!! 

Then we were in Ghana! First day in Ghana I was on duty – I was broke out of the ship (thanks Kindra for holding the phone) to have dinner with Craig, Jason, and Kelly at Captain Hooks in Takoradi. I ordered calamari and a personal pizza. It was expensive but pretty good. Craig’s lobster came out too late for me to try it… I won’t get into all that. Around 8:30pm or so, the bar/restaurant started filling up with students, and we got our check and got out of there before the first shot was ordered. It took us a little while to get a cab. We stood outside the restaurant with two Ghanese teenage (probably) boys trying to sell us little cakes but we were stuffed. They then started playing an old American song, that I wish I could remember right now, and singing along which was pretty magical… unlike our cab ride. We finally got a cab and the boys negotiated a price. We got in and to say the cab was falling apart would be too kind.. it was almost Fred Flintstone where we used the holes under our feet to help propel it… almost! Well the cab driver thought Jason asked him to take us to the “fort” (what fort I don’t know) but luckily Craig and Jason quickly realized we were going the wrong way… After saying “port” and “ship” a dozen times, the cab driver finally turned around… at the corner of murder and scary in an abandoned car graveyard where the car stalled…. Three times… and then we were on our way. While driving back, just past the trash fire on the side of the road, we were stopped by a policeman. We were told in preport that policemen will often stop cab drivers to check their license, registration, and make sure they paid their tax but we were also warned that sometimes these policemen are fake and make you pay them to not rob you…. Which seems like the same thing to me. After he stared at us, and spoke to the cab driver in a language I could not even recognize, he sent us on our way. When we arrived at the port gate, we were surrounded by people who wanted to sell us stuff. Bracelets or trinkets or whatever… they were everywhere. We made it inside and took the long walk back to the ship. It’s mostly an industrial port and we got a good laugh out of the scary noises, and smells we passed. At one point a strong vinegar smell hit us so hard it made my eyes water.. then we passed what looked like an airplane hanger-  the door was open and inside it was a giant black tent. The sign in front of the tent read “fumigation center – do not enter. POISION!” eeeeeeeeeeeeeek! 

My dinner buddies at Captain Hooks in Takoradi

Day two in Ghana, I stayed on the ship and worked on my tan… I know I know but it was like 45654623 degrees out,I didn’t hear great things about Takoradi, my trips to the cape coast didn’t work out, I was left out of the beach trip plans (petty I know), I didn’t want to fight off people in the market, and I heard the horror stories from some of the students and figured I would quit while I was ahead.. I did go to the duty free, and the ship food that day was yummy. We sailed that night from Takoradi to Tema. The first day in Tema we took the shuttle to Accra to go to the market. It was still so hot that it felt like we were on the sun’s surface, but we made it out. The shuttle ride took almost 3 hours. We got downtown and just wanted to eat. The second I got off the shuttle I was surrounded by people selling sunglasses. I kept pointing to the ones on my face but they were relentless. When we were finally on our way, I found various members of the group kept getting stopped by salesmen on the street trying to sell them things. Since I was a woman – they went to the men first (and somehow I ended up with Willard, Kevin, Josh, Craig, and Dan so I was covered) but I kept getting stuck behind them. We found a KFC which worked for half the group and was accosted by another salesman before we said “we’re going to the mall”. The mall was nice.. I had pizza again, and we did some shopping and some food shopping and then head back to the ship to cool off and get dinner. The best cultural experience was attempting to wig shop with Kevin for the drag show in an incredibly conservative country. Needless to say, most of the people didn’t believe he was actually going to dress like a woman to preform, even though we said it was for charity. 

Traffic Jam!

The most impressive thing about Ghana was the amount of stuff these women can carry on their heads while still looking BEAUTIFUL! It’s unreal. Day three, we were supposed to go see the monkeys at the monkey village but luckily we didn’t because most of the people that went there got scratched (the monkeys climb on people) and needed rabies vaccines (just in case). I wouldn’t do well with 1)monkeys crawling on me, 2) the pain/ickiness of a rabies vaccine, or 3) the cost of a rabies vaccine so I was glad we skipped it. Craig went out in Accra again but I couldn’t muster the energy. It was so hot and I didn’t want to fight off the salespeople. I applied for a bunch of jobs, hung out with my colleagues, did calendaring for when I get home, and watched a lot of Glee.

 Traffic was bad EVERYWHERE!

The last day in Ghana was the best day. I led a SAS trip to the Cedi bead factory. 30 of us went to meet Cedi – a man who at the age of 7 got in trouble by his parents for breaking up some glass and melting it in the oven – until they saw the gorgeous bead that came out. The bead factory was awesome – seeing how they hand make everything would’ve been awesome enough but Cedi let us each make our own beads – both using glass shards and pieces of glass that were pounded by mortar and pestle into fine powder and then dyed to be different colors… I am going to make my mom the world’s ugliest necklace with my beads (your welcome, mom!).

"Bead all you can Bead"

 A tour and tutorial from Cedi, himself! 

 Giving the beads a good polish

 End Result! They don't paint them- it's all done meticulously with colored or dyed glass!

 The powdered beads waiting to go into the oven

 My beads

We set sail from Ghana, and started the long trek to Morocco, our last port. It’s unbelievable to think that this is almost over but we’re still doing a lot of amazing things.

 I got photos of cute puppies too while I was in Ghana!  How handsome is that face?!?!?

On April 12, it was picture day! Check out the awesome photos of the Baltic Sea and the Faculty/Staff photo :)

BALTIC SEA!!! (photo credits to Danny Askew)

 Faculty/Staff Team

 Staff photo
At night, we had an AMAZING Talent Show. There were some serious show stoppers. I worked backstage making sure everyone had the mics and props they needed. AV is hard. At one point when I was taking a mic stand off the stage the mic fell off and hit me in the head… in front of everyone, and I bowed. Luckily others had better talents to show off! We had cultural dances, singers, musicians, tap dancers, hip hop dancers… it was unbelievable. I was so proud of everyone, especially the students who went on stage and laid it all out there. So stinking good.

 My view from the talent show (photo courtesy of my fuzzy iphone)

 View from the front (photo credits to the amazingly talented - Danny Askew)

One of my favorite students, Stephen Brown, read an original piece that is copied (with permission) below! 

April 14 was a big day. First, our fearless leaders hosted another faculty, staff, life-long learner reception. I really appreciate how much they value celebrating the work we are doing, and giving us opportunities to get to know each other socially. It’s so important and when times get tough, it’s often the first thing cut. We have great appetizers and beer and wine and it’s so nice to mingle and chat with everyone. 

After that, I was invited to the LDS service. We have a few Mormon folks on board that hold service every Sunday, and since this was the last Sunday, they invited those they loved. The Allreds, Brent (faculty), Kristen (ship mom), and their five kids came onboard semester at sea as a family. Nathan is on my sea and he is an amazing person. I had to go. I am so glad I did. They talked about the family on the ship, and in the world, and shared song, and prayer with us. Nathan talked about his mission coming up in the Baltic States, and they truly just were sweet and welcoming and wanted to share their love and thankfulness for the opportunity outside their normal congregation. It was beautiful. It was even more beautiful because they invited a lot of the students who were dressed to participate in the drag show that evening who came, and in return, they were in attendance at the Drag Show that night. It was all over awesomeness and learning from each other and Kristen gave out mom hugs at the end (which aren’t as good as my mom’s hugs but were an okay substitute in a pinch). The Drag Show was a HUGE success and was filled with education and fun and laughter – the students who put it on were AMAZING and I’m so thankful they let me be a part of it all. 

On the 15th we had ANOTHER special dining for staff. This one was also spectacular. I had steak. YUM! It was interrupted with news from the Boston marathon. I will blog more about this one separately.

Yesterday, I treated myself and got a facial and manicure, which I messed up exactly 5 minutes later trying to get my room key out of my bag. #storyofmylife :) 

Body Voyage
by: Stephen Brown, Spring 2013

Look at this body.
Now, look.
Look past the arms raised,
The hips dipped
The knees bent
Now, look past these things and see the bow’s wake
See the ship breaking eight-meter swells
See this body leave that word and become something
See it become a voyage
Bon voyage….
Look at these feet, these toes and these nails
Remember the miles they have walked
Remember the dirt, the cuts, the blisters
Remember the gravel roads they traveled
Remember the houses, countries they reverently entered
Look at these knees, these joints
Remember the temples, the kneeled deference
Remember the squatting to see children’s faces smile
Remember the bus rides, wedged hard into corners
Look at these hips, this round, sturdy meat
Remember the cramped trou-trou’s, the motorbike adjustments
Remember the twerking of transit hours,
Look at this stomach, encased in metal
Remember the street food, the impulsive cravings for food
Remember the questionable water, the stirrings of acid
Remember Doc Micah saying “no,” but remember saying, “yes.”
Look at this chest, peeling away to give light to a heart
Remember the crew, their faces and stories in early hours
Remember the students, faculty, staff, Lifelong Learners coming together as ubuntu
Remember the recognition of humanity, from each laugh, each smile, each meal shared
Look at these hands, smooth yet rough
Remember the hand held in silent solidarity
Remember the first and last embrace
Remember the touch of a friend’s fingertips, grazing, almost as if to say “I’ll remember you”
Look at this smile, wide from ear to ear, digging deep into cheeks
Remember the seminars, mouth wide, eating each lesson
Remember the hollering, yelling out in case we forgot that this was a moment
Travel up, one last time.
To these. To my eyes.
To these brown ovals in quiet acceptance.
Remember this look.
Remember their expression, aged with sights and sounds
Remember their creases, squinting as if asking silently, quietly, why?
Remember the tears, tracking dirt down this face
Because, it’s looked towards the horizon each morning, each night
Because it has hoped that this won’t end.
Because these eyes, this heart, this body, it cannot bear to think of a time without family
Without ubuntu.
Without you.
For you have made these feet, hands, knees strong
You have stopped the aches in this chest, this smile
For you have given a face, a beat to each pump of my heart.
Listen to these hands that shape these words, their words
Their “I love you”
We do not leave it behind with the last embrace
Not love lost
Not love misplaced or forgotten
We know where it is
Love given
Love received
So look towards these eyes, follow their gaze.
Towards the horizon, we watch, we wait for forever to continue until a voice whispers back
It rides the waves, as quiet, as secret as the crests of the Indian Ocean
It finds its way to our eyes and pulls a current with each word, saying
That if this be the end of things, if this truly be the end, a midnight signal of stating finality,
Then let it reach deep into us
Let it take hold of our souls
Let it shake our foundations
And, when the earthquake settles
When our souls can finally catch a breath
Then, let it feel like infinity.