Saturday, September 5, 2009

Power, Privilege and Pre-port parties

Being a staff member on Semester At Sea gives us (some, all-be-it limited) power. With power comes privilege, and one of those privileges is the faculty staff pre-port party. First some back story, in an effort to encourage students to use the most of their time in port, SAS does not do student beverage service (formerly known as pub nights) on the evening preceding arrival in a port (providing one of the few nights that the LLCs can all gather together. The faculty and staff however have both happy hour and evening beverage service in our lounge every night, even while in port!

A returning faculty member, Agustin, mentioned previously, told us that it is tradition to have a fac/staff pre-port party following the logistical pre-port meeting. He said the evenings usually go on far longer than the bar tender is serving and thus we go to our cabins and bring up our own beverages at that point. The disco lights are on and the music is more lively than usual. Being the young group of the staff the Living Learning Coordinators wanted to make sure our presence was known.

Boy did we let our presence known! Many of us quickly found our way to the lounge after the logistical meeting and were ready to celebrate our successful crossing of the Atlantic Ocean and completion of the first ‘week’ of classes. It started off harmless, a few people at the bar, and pockets of people at tables here and there. As we had high winds last night, the typically open public area on deck 7 outside the fac/staff lounge was closed for safety reasons. At one point, allegedly brought in by a faculty member, four students came in to see the full moon and the beautiful reflection on the water. A hush fell over the crowd as we realized our sanctuary had been infiltrated. Luckily the students were quickly whisked away, our heart rates returned to normal and peace and joy were restored to our little fac/staff village.

The drinks continued and Agustin went to get his iPod to play some great Spanish music to ‘set the mood’ for our days ahead. It didn’t take long for the dancing to begin and sure enough, all but one of the remaining faculty members, besides Agustin of course retreated to their cabins. Grant soon took it upon himself to figure out how to use the fog machine and the fun continued. The last call bell rang; we placed our final orders and continued to dance through the evening as we made our final stretch to Spain. Sure enough, a few choice beverages were brought up from some of our cabins and the celebration stretched into the early morning hours.

We all had moments of appreciation for the opportunity to work for SAS, to have such a fun group or colleagues, and excitement for the first port tomorrow. As I returned to my cabin where my pillow was in a pool of moonlight that was so perfect it could have been a lighting set up on stage, I knew the 6:30am call for sunrise would come earlier that I would like. It was however entirely worth it.

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