3 weeks into shipboard life

That was fast, I’m left with 7 weeks of my vacational attachment. 1/3 through?

After attempting to remove traces of my blog appearing on social media pages I hope I become less traceable to professional stalkers like myself. Recently I have been wanting to share a lot of my time in London but I was always limited by my own position as a scholar… and the need to present the fact that I am not struggling academically. More so because it’s the first time in my life striving to meet unsaid expectations.

I reflect on my first day on board ship and I remember feeling how lost I felt coming on board, not even sure how to navigate around TNB, not even sure how to get to C Pier, not even sure where I was supposed to report. I wasn’t even sure what to expect of the wharf, how did it look like? How were the ships arranged? And then there was the whole getting onto ship and seeing a whole bunch of new strangers. It was the very first challenge: everyone close to me knows that I am terrible at remembering faces (names and appointments are no problem) and it was a struggle to remember the ship crew from the start. I rehearsed the nominal roll in my head over and over again, reviewed it every 2 to 3 hours and stood along the corridor to match faces to appointments. This I will always fondly remember as a lesson from my OCS Divisional Officer: he managed to memorise our names and faces before even meeting us for the first time. Not sure how, but he was already addressing us by names during the typical self-introductions on the first meeting. 好的东西一定要学 and that was what exactly I was trying to emulate.

Surprisingly I was given the opportunity to go home that very night, much unlike the rumours I had been hearing about a compulsory 2-week confinement on board ship for the first time. However I chose to stay in that very night. This decision was based ironically on the fact that I was feeling very very down over having to be away from family again; I wanted and needed to get used to this routine again. For some context of it I was… crying on the shuttle bus back home to grab my bed linen. Which struck me as really odd and triggered a word post:

that familiar feeling of having everything and having it all taken away from you….. And wondering if I’m the only one feeling this way. It’s sad because honestly I should be more optimistic

I will work fucking hard through this and emerge stronger

A few days later I started wondering why the hell I was feeling so emotional on the first day and I concluded it was definitely PMS. I started enjoying shipboard life a lot more despite the unpredictable schedules and incomplete weekends since I started work. People were nice, even the most experienced seamen were extremely humble and extremely willing to assist for every stupid question I ask. Before Zheng Rui left for NJOC he dropped a subtle hint that all of us YOs were extremely lucky to have such a cooperative ship crew and I cannot agree with that enough.

I recall that nearly one year ago, in their move to comfort us and prevent some of us from moving they kept saying that MIDS wing was a misrepresentation of the navy. 3 weeks in I wholeheartedly agree, when I remember that I was crying every weekend in MIDS. I finally rediscovered the me in February 2015 who found book outs enjoyable, who proudly professed to people what she did over the week, who could share earnestly about why she was doing what she was doing.

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And all of this coincides with SAF Day. I remember returning to wing line disgruntled during SAF Day last year because we were made to PUSH IT UP (knock it down) for not disposing our rubbish properly. I returned to home happy this SAF day, despite the fact that I did not get to enjoy the half day that most regulars in other services had. Despite the fact that I am returning to camp tomorrow on a Sunday morning for duty. I am blessed and lucky to have such a welcoming ship crew, such nurturing officers and fellow batchmates. I will keep this in mind as I keep striving to improve to be of greater assistance to the ship. :’)

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