On Break

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Ships have their own language and terminology. This can be exciting but also a real burden for someone new to life at sea. These are just some of the interesting words that were added to my vocabulary last year when I joined Pacific Dawn for the first time. There’s actually a long list but I opted to cut it short.

aft – the rear of the ship
forward – the front area of the ship
bridge – the ship’s command centre
cabin – a compartment for passengers or crew
deck – floor
debark – an abbreviation for the word disembark meaning to land or go ashore from a ship
embark – to go aboard a ship to begin a journey
galley – the ship’s kitchen
gangway – location where the walkway is located to disembark a ship
IPM – in port manning, specific umber of crew members required to remain on board while the ship is in port, in case of an emergency
port – the left side of the ship when looking forward
starboard – the right side of the ship when looking forward

We also have the word dock, which in general use means the structure at which a ship ties up when in port. This word can be used in two different ways. We have what we call dry dock and we also have wet dock. In both cases, the ship is on a stop – having a break, getting fixed, being renewed. The main difference is that in a wet dock, the ship is still on the water while getting made over. For dry dock, on the other hand, the whole ship with its evident size and weight is lifted form the water by  some powerful machines to undergo complete overhaul.

In April of last year up to the second week of May, I personally witnessed how dry dock is done. For many weeks, the majestic cruise ship which is everyday busy went on a much needed break to get a new look. It was tiring for most of us because we’re obliged to have our own share of helping. So from morning til night, we’re all set to work. The crew were delegated to many different sections to perform specific tasks. Lucky for us if we’re given time off. We get to go to the city using the free shuttle on port. And from there, explore some new corners of Brisbane that were hidden from our view before. Funny how for many nights the Queensland library were filled with youth staff aching to have a word with families and friends back home. Thanks to their super dependable free wi-fi. Hehe…

On top of this collective effort by the crew to improve the ship’s condition and appearance, hundreds if not thousands of outside workers were contracted to work on the ship. These people came from different countries and have various expertise. Yet all are striving for the same end. Nothing’s small or big. Every single act is counted.

In less than a month, we were all rewarded. All the hard work paid off. Most parts of the ship were renovated and improved. They were even given new names much to the surprise of the passengers especially the old timers. Only it took a while for old crew including me to get used to memorizing all these. But then I got home weeks after that so in a way I was spared from this additional task.

Being away from the ship for months made me realized a lot of things. Interestingly one of these is that people also need to dock. We sometimes need to stop. There are times in our lives when we’re forced to be on a temporary hiatus, to get away from the daily routine and everyday grind and evaluate the lives we have, make sure it still matches the picture we have in mind. This way we can see what areas need fixing, which parts need changes.

For more than 3 months I found myslelf doing all of these. I was on a break. 🙂 A happy break, if I may add. A fruiful break, too. I got off from the ship and I had some precious times with loved ones and with myself. I must admit I was instantly bothered by the thought of getting broke since I was technically a bum in those times. But after a while, I felt thankful for those days I had which compelled me (more than inspired awww!) to once again contemplate on the things I really want, set a blue print for my dreams so I can make them real one day. Yes, make them real and not just tag them as dreams forever lingering in my head. Incidentally, just like the ship, I didn’t do it alone. I needed other people to do the fixing. I allowed them to work on me as well. It was again a collective effort. There were friends and teachers who helped me along the way.

And so after my “personal dry dock” I really felt ready to start again which surprisingly I was able to do first week of November. After more than 3 months of waiting, I once again headed to the land down under this time more prepared. I already know why I’m going there. I carry with me hopes and dreams which have deadlines to meet. I bring with me enthusiasm and gratitude for many good days ahead. I know that this time my plans will work out for I will not give up on them. And no matter how hard the signal may get, the good Lord will always find a way. 🙂

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