Monday, January 12, 2015

The SSEAYP Diaries: Home away from Home

Time spent in Japan was the longest among the rest of the countries we visited, however, it's not enough to have just short of a day to really immerse myself in the culture of Tokyo. Regardless, we had to move on. 

Picking up from where I left off (the local school visit), the chartered bus took us to the Harumi Port, where our home for the next few months was docked. The white and navy colours of the majestic Nippon Maru greeted us as our bus turned into the port. There were constant 'oohs' and 'aahs' as we made our way through the very empty immigration building. 

Leaving our passports with the officials before going through the automatic doors and out onto the gangway, we tried to take all the sights in. 

A photo of our first step into Nippon Maru. Ha ha, I'm such a tease.

I got lost finding my cabin, which was 307. I shared a cabin with two other roomates from a different country. Everyone else does too. In my opinion, a very biased one, I must add, I had two of the best roomates - Jackie from Brunei, and Lynn from Myanmar. 

The first look at the entire cabin. Mandatory mirror shot.

First selfie with my fellow Bimbo - Jackie hehehe. Oh note, she's chinese. But Brunei law, hence the tudung (which she rants about every other day)

The single bed is for Jackie. Lucky bij.

Of course, your solidarity groups are "housed" next door to you in various cabins. Makes for an easier visiting (which we all did alot of)

Ended up running around and exploring the ship in the entirety of the chaos. Masses of people were everywhere; boarding the ship for the first time, hauling their bags up the stairs to look for their cabins, yelling at the top of their voices for their friends, taking pictures everywhere....

(The landing space/life lobby on the third floor)

There was a mini welcoming party at the entrance of the ship for anyone coming in. I thought was hilarious, but all homely at the same time.

Our mass selfies while touring the ship. 

Everyone assumes that I love taking selfies, hence my nickname. But no, in all honesty, the name came before the addiction ha ha.

Oh, that was another selfie taken in the 'Dolphin Hall'.

With my fellow SPYs. 

Headed out to the top deck to see Tokyo's night view, and it was ridiculously cold. Wasn't even considered fully winter yet :/ I felt weak as f.

We had the rest of the night to ourselves to settle in, so it was back to the cabin to meet my cabin mates officially he he.

I brought them some gifts from back home - punjabi suits of course. Overestimated their sizes, so I got them suits slightly too big. (for Jackie it was slightly too big, for Lynn, it was ginormous) 

And I had brought a few essentials too; namely twine to hang our laundry up in the room, a couple of magnets for pictures and stuff (cause the walls are magnetic), and god knows what else I brought.

Thats Jacq hanging up the twine above her bed. 

The room was a mess even before we departed Tokyo LOL.
I think we were laughing so loudly, the National Leaders on patrol had to knock on our door and tell us to can it. Woops.

Called it a night, and we woke up for our first assembly session before the ship would depart for Brunei.

One of the rare moments in the first few weeks where I actually woke up for breakfast. Woops.

Us with Kaho, one of the main administrators. 

This was how we got to know our daily schedules - where to meet, what to wear etc. We even had our own individual contingent boards for our National leaders, Youth or Assistant leaders to put up important announcements regarding meetings. Even our discussion and solidarity groups had boards - everything designed by us. 

Quite proud to say Bela and I came up with our contingent board. Really really liked the look of it after it was completed. 

There's a "Post office" at the counter too; with a legit postman. At every port of call, all of us would rush to get our post in the red postbox, so that our family and friends' back home could get a taste of our life onboard. That's also how I kept in touch with my host families and Kenji.

We left Tokyo port probably around 4-ish if I'm not mistaken. There was a whole crowd waiting to see us off. And like all other port of calls, throwing tika tape/ribbon to our host families is a tradition.

The horn blared and the gongs sounded. We were off, sailing into the sunset and out to sea where we would await land for days.

Who's to say cabin life isn't fun despite being confined in the space of a ship?

I mean, I had a henna party.

And we had an actual celebration for our solidarity group assistant leader, Rey.

He was lucky enough to spend his birthday on board the ship, so we gathered our entire SG and surprised him on the open deck floor.

Yup, they have shops on board. One main souvenir shop, and the other one full of food and certain necessities. A place Jacq and I frequented especially during our bad days. Bad days = chocolate, snacks and stuffing ourselves silly with ridiculous cans of coke.

We tried to make Rey read out all his personalized "love letters", but he didn't. Meh. It was a really good bonding session though. 

Headed out to the deck the morning after to be welcomed by the wide empty sea. Throughout the trip, I saw how the sea changed colour depending on where we were, how the sky seemed cloudless one moment, and then suddenly it would be dotted with fluffy white balls of wool in all different shapes. The sun could be your friend one day, and your enemy the next. 

But then again, what's better than living in the moment?

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