Guess how I’m going to be spending birthday? Nothing special… just cruising the Arctic Circle!
That’s right, the time has finally come… I have been placed!
Having heard nothing about placement since a disappointing false start last Thursday (there was an urgent opening on a Disney ship… but they needed a guy!) I decided to give our big and powerful Course Director a call this morning. After a rather confusing and awkward conversation about the weather (him saying it was sunny in Cape Town, when the weather man predicted rainy and miserable weather all along the coast today), he oh so casually mentioned (yes, as if it were an afterthought) that I would be flying to Copenhagen… I was like WHAT?!?!?!?!?!!??! I’m going to see the Copenhagen Mermaid? Yes… that was my first thought! I really want to see the mermaid statue okay!
Perhaps Georg was using the “sunny” weather as a metaphor, meaning he had good news for me? Or maybe it’s just really nice weather where he is! Whatever… I don’t care, I’ve been placed! Filled with mermaid visions I listened to him go on about my Letter of Employment, not needing to worry about a Schengen visa, my ship being the Vision of the Seas and my joining date of 1st June. My heart stopped. 1st June? I was hoping to leave WAY before my birthday month…
Once I got off the phone with Georg I burst out crying. Ridiculous, I know. They weren’t even happy tears. Even now I’m not sure how to feel about this placement. This is partly because it has come too late for me to be back in time for the family Christmas we had planned (David and Michael are flying out from London), but mainly because it feels wrong to be happy and excited, when a wonderful, lovely friend of mine passed away this morning. Ant was a brave, loving, smart, funny, crazy guy and even in his last few months, his love for life was evident. He was so supportive and happy that I was heading out on this new adventure. His strength and generous spirit were evident in his zest for MY life, “It’s lovely seeing your life so exciting!” he said. Ant’s last wish was for us to celebrate his life, rather than mourn his loss and so with this in mind, to his MANY friends, family and wonderful wife, my sincerest CONGRATULATIONS for having known and loved him!
After about 20 minutes of foolish misery, I pulled myself together and phoned my mother to tell her the good news. After a couple more calls from David (brilliant brother) and Barry (fabulous Friend), I was feeling much better and started googling (yes, I googled!) the Vision of the Seas’ itinerary… My home port is to be Copenhagen (Denmark) and from there I will be sailing around the Baltic Sea and Northern Europe. This includes visiting ports such as St Petersburg (Russia), Stockholm (Sweden), Helsinki (Finland), Glasgow (Scotland), Dublin (Ireland), Dover (England), Bergen (Norway), Tallinn (Estonia), Warnemunde (Germany), Riga (Latvia) and sailing through the Fjords of Norway and down the Loch Ness of Scotland! Oh… and that’s only the first 5 months of my contract… From November I’ll be cruising around the Caribbean! Happy dance! Okay. I’m officially a little excited.