All good things must come to an end. This being our second voyage we knew what to expect but it is still so powerful to watch the students realize that this amazing experience they have just had is now really going to come to an end. There is something about SAS that is different than any other experience you will have. It doesn't matter if you are faculty, staff, life long learner, or student, Semester at Sea will change you. We have been through so much with each other. We have explored the world, been uncomfortable, we had learned from each other, we have shared countless meals together. It is difficult to talk about all the emotions you feel as this comes to an end.
The most powerful thing, in my opinion, is watching the students say goodbye to each other. There are hugs, tears, laughs, photos and more tears. It has been so incredible to open our cabin door for the past few mornings and find handwritten notes from our students telling us how much they learned or how much they appreciate what we did for them. It is that kind of experience that makes you want to keep teaching.
When we woke up we were about an hour outside of Southampton, our final stop. We ran up and got some breakfast and then came up to the Glazer lounge to watch the ship come in. As we saw Southampton approach we saw parents and friends on the dock with flags and banners waving and greeting us. Students were gathering and cheering as we docked and lowered the gangway. It was official, we were done.
They called us all to the Union to go through immigration and get our passports then we finished packing and had to be out of our cabins at 9am. We didn't start getting off the ship until 9:45am so there were more hugs and info exchanges until finally we heard "faculty you may now make your way to the gangway". We said one last goodbye to our amazing new friends and family and we walked down the 40+ steps to land.
After you are on land it is a whirlwind. We headed to the warehouse where our luggage was sorted by the colored tags we had put on them 2 days ago. We grabbed our luggage and went to a shuttle bus that we had signed up for through SAS. The shuttle bus took us to Heathrow Airport where we are staying in the Hilton with about 400 other SASers. We arrived and luckily were some of the first people here. We got a room upgrade and breakfast for free and now we can relax.
We got settled in our room and then took the metro (hour train ride) into London. We had the opportunity to see one of the best pieces of theater we have seen in a long time, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime. I am honestly too drained to tell you to much about it, but it is coming to Broadway and it will change your life. See it!!!!!
We returned from the city around 11:30pm and we went right to bed. We didn't wake up until 9am this morning. We didn't mean to sleep that late, but I guess our bodies needed it. Our flight doesn't leave until 4:15 today so we just had breakfast and now we are going to go to the gym and then pack up and fly home. We have an 11 hour flight on New Zealand Air into LA and then we will rent a car and drive home from there. Long day ahead but we are ready.
So I guess we have reached the end of this adventure. Thank you so much for sharing this experience wit us and for reading this blog. It was so nice to know that so many of you were following us on this journey. Who knows what new adventures life has in store but we feel truly blessed and duly grateful to have had this opportunity. Time to come home...