Sea burial

BLOG POST 20TH DECEMBER
GOODBYE GOZO

It’s almost twenty minutes past midnight and my packing adrenalin has begun to calm. This is my last night on Next Wave and the very early hours of this Saturday seem like a good time to breathe it in, listen to the quiet and then sleep in my unfamiliarly bare bunk. Then up at 7 to post my German grammar, Italian phrasebooks and Christmas present Harry Potter books home at the early opening ‘Malta Post’. Finally, pulling on our overstuffed rucksacks and boarding the ferry that brought us here more than three months ago. I will give my pet rock Pedro a sea burial in the Gozo channel and also throw in a very tiny message in a bottle that I’m praying will wash up on English-speaking shores. Or any shores. It’s my goodbye to the sea- just for a while, I hope. If only I could share, whether through bottle-messages or blogs or song, how truly romantic life can be. Maybe you would hate to live on a boat (strange people do exist, after all.) But then, I think, you would find what does make you feel fully alive. Like the family cheese business in Siracusa. More thereof soon- I’ve been meaning to blog about it passionately for over two weeks.
*What are your views on random Capitalisation?
Hoping I don’t get sick from typing on the bus, winding through the cactuses and sandstone caves and stacked sugarcube houses of mainland Malta. The journey again, traveling with my best friends! Seth got it- it’s like leaving Rivendell, the restful paradise of Gozo, and the real mission begins. I’m wedged into a corner with my oddly heavy violin case (you wouldn’t believe how many books and pairs of socks you can fit around a violin) and vagabond travel gear. My rucksack has sandwich bags and shoes and paraphernalia hanging all around it, but that’s OK because as soon as I put it in a sack and check it in I’ll only have two bags to take care of. Then I can enjoy two flights and an 11 hour layover in Istanbul, to the full. (No sarcasm intended- I am incredibly stoked for all of it. I can catch up on sleep- apologies to my mother but I haven’t slept more than 5 hours a night for quite a few days- and Seth and I will walk around and busk in the airport if such things are allowed. There is only one way to find out.
This is the bus that brought me here three months ago! 96 days on Next Wave, somewhere in the vicinity of 600 nautical miles, some Sicilian postcards, Italian phrases and a jump off the bowsprit later, it’s goodbye to the sea and into the incredibly beautiful unknown. I give thanks with all my heart to God for what he gave us. We stood on the ferry and watched Next Wave shrink into Mgarr, the figures of the Cotitas and Kyrah waving from the bowsprit, and heard the bell ringing for us the way we knew it would. “Don’t forget your old shipmates!” Next Wave has been so good to us. Gozo has- God has!To have the chance to walk away changed and alive lessens the sense of loss. Maybe we’ll never see the boat and those friends again. Maybe some of us will. All I thought, watching the blue of the channel and the last sight of the cliffs, was that I give thanks with all of my heart for God’s incredible goodness in drawing us near to him, smiling at us and inviting us to leap free.
So Next Wave isn’t home any more, not for now. My bunk is stripped of my photos, notes and doodles and disinfected for the next person who’ll call it home. My possessions are either with me or given away- or, like Pedro my beautiful rock who was just too heavy to fly, given an honorable sea burial midway across the channel. We left him behind like our own tiny cairn in the middle of the sea where we’ve learned so much. I apologise for the excessive poeticism. It’s not necessary to my point. In the very stillness of no words, I don’t worry about the finesse of capturing a moment. It’s not what matters.
I’m tired of blogging for now so I will leave you. I’ll be back.

PS. Apologies for this being a week behind time!

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