A different Christmas – by Marie

schueler.marieOf course Christmas on bord was different than Christmas at home. We had about 30 degrees, waves were crashing over the deck and we were sitting outside in short trousers and t-shirts. We were in a Christmas mood just when we were eating cookies and singing Christmas carols in the messroom, because there wasn’t any snow outside nor any Christmas market. But the 24th began just like a normal day. We got up, had breakfast, went to watch and cleaned the ship. In addition to that we weren’t allowed to say „Merry Christmas“ because Christmas on bord started at 5pm and not earlier. However you could see little differences between the preparation and the atmospere here and at home. The decoration team started to prepare everyhing. We got a tree and little stars which were hanging over the main deck. Everybody also took a shower. After a while all crew members seemed totally different. It was a big change from ‚Thor style‘ that meant boxershorts, dirty t-shirts and salty hair to ‚Christmas look‘, as we called it at home: fresh-showered, clean clothes, a little bit of make-up for the girls and hairstyling products for the boys.
At 5 pm we met at the poop deck… and then Christmas began! For a good start in the evening we listened to some Christmas carols and a funny poem from the former KUS generation in „Denglisch“. Then it was time for the aperitif, a rumpunch, which was a bit difficult to drink when you are at sea and the ship is moving up and down the whole time. Soon we went down to the main deck, sat down, talked about Christmas at home and what our families might be doing at this moment and waited for the food. The meal was prepared by different teams. One team was responsible for one meal and it was served by an extra service team. Everybody had a task, for example to cook a meal, to serve it or to go on watch. That’s why everybody also had some time to enjoy the evening and to sit down. The first meal consisted of avocados with scampis and thousand island dressing. It was not the average food for the 24th, but very delicious! Afterwards Miron told us a story about Christmas at sea at the South Pole. Of course we also sang a lot. It might have been a bit wrong but we were full of enthusiasm. For the main meal our captain went to the galley and prepared the fish by himself. I can tell you this was an event! Our captain doesn’t cook everday, but the fish tasted fantastic, maybe because there were nine pieces of butter in the sauce. Furthermore we got some luxury drinks like beer and coca-cola. But we had to pay attention because the drinks fell from the tables every time with every wave.
At 8.30 pm we started handing out the presents. We all looked forward to seeing our selfmade products. Everybody had prepared one present for another person and the condition was that it was totally selfmade and not just bought. All of us invested a lot of our free time, inspiration and energy to do it. There were bracelets, little bags and many more interesting things. At the end of our evening program we ate the dessert which was a wonderful ice-cream with starfruit and melted chocolate and we sang one last song. Happy but absolutely tired we went to bed because it was 11 pm which was very late for Thor conditions.
When the evening was over I could clearly see the differences between Christmas on bord of the Thor Heyerdahl and Christmas at home. Here you have a Christmas organisation team which doesn’t necessarily exist at home. Furthermore everyone has something to do and helps and doesn’t chill like at home. The food is important everywhere but on the Thor it is much more important than anywhere else. From my point of view it was a wonderful Christmas even if it was different. But different doesn’t mean bad, it just means interesting and new. Christmas is a celebration of love and we celebrate it together with our family. And with a family it was. We celebrated with our new KUS family and I am sure that I will remember this Christmas at the age of 80.