Happy hour


by Hanna

A dream has come true. Or to be more precise: my dream has come true. I have never thought about having the possibility of living on a ship for six months. Getting woken up every morning by the whisper of the sea and enjoying life in the sunset makes me so happy that I can`t imagine another way of life after my experience of being on the Thor.

Nevertheless, traveling around the world on a ship for such a long time not only has its good sides, but also its down sides. Such as the daily routine of cleaning the ship. Everybody has the duty to clean the ship at least one hour a day.

The so called happy hour contains four stations. Every station belongs to one watch. These stations are the main and poop deck, the mess room with the two companionways, the sanitary station and the fourth station is the workshop.

And if this wasn`t complicated enough, you can´t just use any wag you want. There is an entire system of which wag and which bucket to use when cleaning different stations: The yellow wag and the same coloured bucket are just to be used in the galley as well as all other gastronomic stations on board. The white wag and its bucket belong to the floor. And then there are the blue and green wags for the walls and doors. But the most important cleaning rule: never touch the red wags without rubber gloves, these are for the sanitary station. Nobody likes cleaning the ship, especially cleaning the sanitary station. The only great thing is: You can see a difference between before and after cleaning. In contrast to the sanitary station, the workshop is the most unsatisfying and unuseful station of all: you could clean for hours- with no result.

Back home in Germany, Saturday is a special day. Normally, you needn’t go to school, and can sleep for ages and be lazy. On our ship, Saturday is also a special day. In comparison to the Saturdays in Germany we can’t sleep for ages and even worse we can’t be lazy. Saturday afternoon is ship cleaning time. Apart from your watch’s cleaning station, you need to clean your cabin. That includes ironing out the creases of your sheet by hand and folding the blanket in a special way. Furthermore, hardly any kind of waste is allowed to lay on the floor, the space behind the door has to be clean and lastly don’t forget to tidy up your fan. The dust, which enriches through the week has to be removed, so think of the lamp edge and the flap of the ventilation system. After hours of cleaning, complaining and sweating, everything is done.

Frankly: You only think everything is done: at three o’clock, the ship’s court goes through the rooms and complains about every speck of dust. Every time the ship’s curl explores new corners and angles, so after they have left, the game starts again. Last Saturday e.g. Tobi (a member of the ship’s court) was complaining that the little space behind the generator was a bit dusty. If all the work is done, everybody is laughing, smiling and dancing over the main deck.

Ok, I was exaggerating. Saturday is a special day here, too, not just because of the cleaning time but also because you are allowed to be a bit lazy. Free time is valuable on the Thor. If you have watch for six hours a day, sleep between six and eight hours and study nautical theory for at least two hours a day, you are as happy as a honeycakehorse for having five minutes of free time.

Saturday is a special day, not just because the amounts of things you have to clean, but also because Saturday is the movie day, too. After dinner you have around two lazy hours to do nothing. Some students prefer sleeping or reading books in our small library but If you want, you can also watch a movie in the mess room. A rating decides witch movie is going to be seen.

At first watching a movie while sitting on a wooden, overfilled bench was a bit uncomfortable, but you get used to it. (The benches are overfilled because you can see the screen just from special places, not from everywhere in the mess room.) While you are watching the movie, you are forgetting the cleaning- and all other kinds of stress. You forget your homesickness, your salty hair and tiredness. You even forget being on a ship because watching a movie is something as normal as drinking tea.

You can say, at home in Germany, Saturday is something special but here at the sea, Saturday is something more special. No Saturday is like the other and sometimes, even cleaning time is funny.

A dream has come true. Or to be more precise: my dream has come true. I’m enjoying every second even when I have to clean.