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Sunday, November 9, 2003

I have to admit that I was a little overwhelmed by the whole process of boarding the ship. More than a little, actually. As usual I was afraid to do the wrong thing, afraid to get separated from the group, and simply overcome by the massive newness of everything about the experience.

It was wrong, of course. I shouldn't have been afraid. I was with people who know enough to look after me, at least until I get my bearings. I'm almost there. We had the welcome brunch on deck 9, overlooking the port. That'll be a better vantage point once we get underway and out on the ocean. I followed everyone around, up and down stairs, through bars and dining rooms and lounges, to get used to the layout of the ship. Then I had to lie down for a while.

Eric and I are sharing a stateroom deep in the bowels of the ship. We're on the lowest of the passenger decks and almost fully aft. When we look out the window we can see the water just a little way below us. I don't expect him or anyone else to keep track of me for the next week, though. We meet for dinner at 8:30 every night, our whole group, but the rest of the time we'll just do what we want to do, with whoever is around at the time.

Our group consists of 23 people, out of 2,400 passengers aboard the Vision of the Seas for this voyage. That makes us nearly one percent of the population. Of the 23, I know about half of them, but only a handful really well. I don't know what the next week will bring, but I hope to be more relaxed about it all very, very soon.

This was a night for retiring early. I let the stress wear me out. By the time we'd seen the cruise director's welcome show and sat through three courses of gourmet dining, I was ready to let the engines rock me to sleep.

The vibrations started when we sat down to eat and go so bad that they made Tammy sick. (I had to drink her glass of champagne. Oh well.) The motion doesn't seem quite as severe down here in our deck 2 cabin as it did up in the dining room on deck 5.

For now I'm happier here than I would be at the karaoke party or sitting in a bar drinking a piņa colada. There will be plenty of time for that. (The drinking, that is. No karaoke for me, ever.)

09 November 2003

Through the open window on the pool deck: the Pacific Ocean.

For a while today I thought it was a mistake for me to be on this cruise. I didn't know how I would fit in, or even if I'd ever find my way around. That was just a typical panic reaction, because by tonight I felt more like part of the group. I know I can have as good a time as I'm willing to let myself have. I can't change who I am, but I can relax enough to enjoy myself.

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