I am sitting with the other KUSis at the poopdeck, thinking about our rituals and running gags. Which one could I write about? It’s so hard to choose, because there are so many. Suddenly Marta shows up and says (imagine a Russian/Polish accent): “Guys, I’m back from the safety round and everything was okay.“ The students look at each other, grin and start to clap. Marta makes a grinch-face, turns around and leaves around the corner. Jonas, wearing his O Alele-Beanie, cries after her: “I am a flower“. Pling – I have my ideas!
1. O Alele – Everything started at the try-out-week in May. We already had kind of a community and one special song, we loved to sing together in magical moments. During the journey the tradition stayed, got more important and we wrote a new verse for it. On top of the Baru, at the Panama Canal or at the end of our stay in the Friedrich-Engels-School in Cuba – Jonas is always the one, who starts the song and since he got an “O Alele“ hat for Christmas the feeling in those moments became even more amazing, when he wears the beanie while we are singing.
Jonas is standing in the middle, we are in a circle around him.
Jonas: “O Alele“ (KUSis repeat) “Alele tigi tomba“ (KUSis repeat) “A masa masa masa“ (KUSis repeat) “O balue balua baluele“ (KUSis repeat)
Jonas: “That was way to quiet, we have to sing this louder“ (KUSis repeat)
Jonas: “For the KUSis“ (KUSis repeat) “The KUSis 15/16“ (KUSis repeat) “We sail around the world“ (KUSis repeat) “Freaking awesome time“ (KUSis repeat)
Jonas: “Say Aha“ (KUSis: Aha)
2. Russian/Polish accent – It was just a part time ritual and we can’t remember how this one began but the fact is: everybody both students and crew member was involved. One day some people started talking German with a Russian/Polish accent. It was a pretty simple story: first you just ignored it, later you answered in the same language and in the end you reached the point where you start to use the specially pronounced words yourself, without even realizing it that you do. In the beginning you were probably annoyed by this ritual… later on you just did it, too. Maybe I should explain that during this time, the stage from Grenada to Panama, our German teacher wasn’t on board. We all knew that if she had been there she wouldn’t have tolerated it at all.
3. Clapping – We, the students, LOVE to clap. At the end of every school lesson, before a meal, when the galley-duty cooked something delicious, after a speech with good news from the manager of the project or just in a happy moment, we use every possibility to applaud. When we came back from our stay in Panama, we clapped without any reason and all the crew members just grinned with a face that said: “Well, we could’ve done longer without this stupid tradition.“ Why did I use Marta as an example in the first paragraph? She hates this ritual more than any other crew member, but we think she loves us anyway.
4. “I am a flower“ – A pretty new running gag, that just started. During our stay on the Bermudas we came in touch with the students and the crew members of School at Sea on board of the Regina Maris, a ship from the Netherlands. One of their crew members is German and showed them a German song called Blume (=Flower) by Herr Tischbein. The singer says nothing else but “I am a flower“ in the song, that’s probably the reason why it’s the only sentence the students from School at Sea can say in German. The song was played up and down at our barbecue in Bermuda, we had a lot of fun with it and at one point this little sentence was part of our daily routine on board. Normally you say it just for fun with a higher voice and everybody joins.
Back at nightwatch. I stand in the lookout, still thinking about our traditions, smiling. There are so many more I could write about, but most of them are about people or specific situations and hard to explain. Yes, some of them are pretty dumb or crazy, but gags or rituals like those are an essential part of our journey and in a few months when we’ll think about them back at home, we’ll always remember these awesome moments we’ve been through together.