I'm actually everything but miserable.
I woke up on Sunday the 22nd of January with a smell of bacon, eggs and fried potatoes seeping up in my nostrils and filling me with a feeling of utter joy. This feeling wasn't entirely, although partly, fuelled by my hunger for these fried delicacies which we get for breakfast every Sunday – but more by the thought which followed. Bacon, eggs and potatoes mean today was Sunday, which is our lesson-free day!
The day, again, couldn't have began better with a wonderful breakfast – I may or may not have had four portions – and like any Sunday on T/S Gunilla, it continued that way the whole day through. After our breakfast we spent our time until noon by being on watch, which honestly probably is the time of the day here on Gunilla I enjoy the most. This is not said to kiss up to the heads in case they against all odds read this, I really do think the feeling of being up in the rig to re-laquer the mast or out on the bowsprit to fix a tangled sail, and getting overwhelmed by how incredible this life really is, is one of the better feelings I have felt on a daily basis in my life. Because the thing is that while out sailing with this ship, one experiences that feeling of disbelief that you really can do this with your school all the time. Honestly, for some strange reason even the most boring repair work can be really enjoyable – and that is not to talk about the fun things, like setting or taking down sails.
After the watch I, after showering and eating lunch – which makes you feel another one of the great Gunilla sensations, being totally relaxed and clean with a full stomach – began spending the remainder of these seven hours of free time between being done with your lunch and having to prepare for watch by going on a quiz walk (tipspromenad) that our DOS Anne-Li had set up. The questions were overall quite witty, a bit absurd and one hundred percent impossible to answer with certainty. The questions were about, to take a random pick, things like how much money a person had on the bank after depositing 5 SEK in 1978, the largest animal (alternative 1: a whale, alternative X: two whales, alternative 2: a mammal a little bit bigger than Wales (the country)) and where your luggage when travelling ends up (alternative 1: at your destination, alternative X: as far away from destination as possible, alternative 2, the correct one: In Arjeplog – except when travelling to Arjeplog. In that case it goes to Finspång).
At half past two we had a security exercise, also like every Sunday, when we went through what to do in case we would have to abandon the ship. I am not sure whether i should the fact that all the heads spoke of ”when we are going to abandon the ship” as a sign of seriousness, or as a sign to take the first available flight home from Grenada. After the exercise and our three-o'clock fika, a ship meeting followed. The captain spoke about the things the crew wanted to communicate to us, and afterwards us students gathered in our watch teams to talk about what we wanted to bring up. Two people from every team bring these things to yet another meeting, with assorted crew members also present. I think this is really great and important and all that, it's good that we have a formal opportunity to in a structured way bring up any viewpoints we might have, and I would like to be so true to my word as to volunteer to be one of these people. But I guess I'm a hypocrite, because I really wanted to have free time and so, I did not volunteer.
Instead I watched a movie with my cabin mates, and at the snap of a finger the free afternoon was over. But I didn't grieve, it had been good to have some time off from our studies and now it was time for another quite enjoyable watch, which was mostly spent sitting on deck under the great starry sky, talking and, once again, trying to comprehend that you really can do this with your school.
I realize now that my text sounds almost comically so like an advertisement for our school. As an opponent of the marketization of schooling and the competition between schools, this really isn't something I want – but what can you do? I wouldn't want to lie and say I'm miserable out in the middle of the Atlantic, I'm not. I'm actually everything but miserable.