Saturday, February 9, 2013

Headed to Hong Kong

Feb. 6-7, 2013

This trip is bombarding all that I am with questions of who I’ve chosen to be and what I’ve chosen to do with my life.

The first aspect of this trip is the very apparent one: travel.  I’m learning to adjust to a new way of living. We’ve got tight quarters, lack of available resources, close community where we eat, sleep, work and play together, not having to take care of the usual daily needs like cooking our own food or doing our own laundry, and lastly culture shock on a weekly basis.

Experiencing a shipboard community where people are from all different cultures in one thing, but being immersed into places that we don’t speak the language, don’t know the customs and have to find our way around and do our job of capturing a story we can’t plan for, has been a challenge.  Not in a bad way, but in a healthy way. I feel like I’m growing and learning to be less uptight and more flexible.

On our journey from Shanghai to Hong Kong, I was tasked with editing the 2nd webisode for Unreasonable at Sea.  We had followed Protei, the company that is creating a social R&D platform for autonomous sailing robots that have the goal of researching and cleaning up our oceans.  (That’s quite the mouthful)

Their goal in Hawaii was to do some research about the plastic pollution that washes up on the beaches of the island, and they found a place on the main island that was nicknamed “Rainbow Beach” because of the way that millions of pieces of plastic have been caught in an eddy and trade winds and washed up on the beach.  Because of the waves and rocks, they’re smashed down into tiny rainbow confetti which is spread around everywhere.  It goes meters deep and it’s impossible to clean up, so they just let it be.

The episode should be up by February 12 on, and I really hope you’ll all check it out!

The edit took be longer than I had expected, so my first day in Hong Kong, February 7, was actually spent on the ship finishing the episode.  I worked all day, and got a pretty solid cut which Daniel felt happy with, and all I had left in the evening was finishing.  If I got it completely done, Matt and I would get to venture out into Hong Kong on the 8th which was highly motivating.

That night, there was a very special dinner on the ship which consisted of five courses, plated and served.  It was honoring the big dogs in the Semester at Sea program and also honoring the Tung family who started the Institute for Shipboard education back in the 1960’s.  It was based out of Hong Kong, and we were honored to have several members of the family on board for the dinner.

Matt and I sat at a table with two scholarship students who were on the ship thanks to the generous donors who were at the dinner.  One of the students, Pabel, who was originally from Peru, had been funded by this man from his high school studies in Italy through his college in Missouri and now on this semester on the ship.  He was so excited to meet the man that had made all of this education possible, and he kept pointing over at the table at him and explaining how he changed his life.

Pabel pulled a wrinkled, ripped piece of paper out of his fancy suit, and unfolded it to show us a full page of scribbled words.  He had written out a speech for the first time that he met his donor, and wanted to deliver it to him when he met him at the dinner.  We all joked that he should stand up after the board members spoke and give his speech.  No sooner had we turned around, and Pabel was gone and the dean was announcing him to everyone during dessert.

Pabel gave a heart-felt message explaining how he wouldn’t be where he was without the opportunities that were given to him through the scholarships.  He’s studying political science and wants to go home after his education is complete and become the president of Peru.  I think he can achieve it.  He’s a charming, sharp, driven young person that could change his country for the better.  Go Pabel!

After dinner, I cranked out the finishing on the episode and dropped into bed around 2:30am with hopes that I’d get to get off the ship in a few hours.