Five minutes until midnight, the 31:th of august 2022, twenty-five teenagers stood in straight rows before each other. They told each other good watch and good free watch respectively. Then they sang: Ja må hon leva, ja må hon leva... (happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you…). That day, the 1:th of august, happened to be Lucia’s birthday!
Lucia´s adult life began with three hours of cleaning the washroom, cleaning the tool bench and the anchor and tasting the chocolate omelet that was supposed to be a muffin. The fourth hour she listened to our intern watch leader read out loud under the stars. At that moment, we were situated between Scotland and North Ireland. Although there was no wind and the temperature was much more bearable than we we’re used to, the thought of crawling into bed tempted us.
Instead of waking up attached to solid ground, like we were supposed to, Midship informed us that we would spend a few more hours at sea before docking in Belfast. Instead of waking up to immediately attend assembly at 9 o’clock, we woke up well rested. The sun shone just like the Birthday-girl! We were all surprised by the high temperature on deck which we hadn’t experienced since we left Sweden. T-shirt-weather, lovely!
In Belfast we enjoyed a creamy “Kärleksmums” (soft chocolate and coffee cake) made by our beloved chef. We had already formed our own preconceptions about the town before leaving the ship. Belfast seemed like the very essence of a medium-sized British city. Made of concrete, gray and cold. However, once we entered the city square, the shops were surprisingly good. No one went home empty-handed that day. After returning home to hop into our new clothes, we went out on the town to have birthday dinner!
To find a restaurant with seating for 14 people in a city with only small pubs is hard. On top of that, some of us aren’t eighteen yet. After a while we gave up our search and asked an old man for advice. We ended up on a basic but nice burger place. Lucia had specifically asked for fatty fried foods, so she was very content with how the evening turned out. After we got home, we were exhausted and went to bed early. Good night!