We're delighted to once again welcome Karen Albright Lin to Chiseled in Rock for her final installment of Teaching through the
Karen consults and edits for published and yet-to-be published writers of fiction, nonfiction, and book proposals. She writes in a number of genres and conducts writing workshops in various venues, including on cruise ships.
If you missed her previous blogs regarding Teaching through the Islands, you might enjoy reading them before this installment, as she first shared her preparations in anticipation of teaching classes while on board her latest cruise, discussed some of the downsides to teaching on a cruise, introduced us to new tablemates and the private beach on Moorea, how she was bit in Bora Bora, and then she described her first class while teaching en route to Fiji. Most recently she shared: Second Lecture enRoute to Fiji: A Great Storyto Tell, Fiji but the Wrong Port!(I won’t mention it, but I will), On the Way to New Caledonia, and Don't Judge an
Island by its Dogs.
Karen Albright Lin:
We’d started in Tahiti and had cruised through Polynesia and
Melanesia. I’d taught 6 classes in three different
venues, one per sea day: Writing Your Life, Have a Great Story to
Tell?, Writing Short Stories and Flash, Writing Nonfiction, Screenwriting,
and What Ghostwriters Do. The
cruise was coming to a close. We were
ready to face the chaos and unknowns of getting off the ship. As a “guest entertainer,” I’d taught on
Celebrity Cruise lines twice (through the Baltic ending in Southampton and down
the east coast of Central America ending in )
and I was always treated like a passenger when leaving. Ft. Lauderdale
For this Princess cruise, ending in
Wen was considered a passenger and I was considered crew. He was scheduled to debark early morning and
I after all the passengers had left.
That wouldn’t make much sense for us.
So we asked to leave later together.
Despite our debarkation time, too early for comfort, Wen and I emerged from our crew cave to stand on the moonlit deck as we glided into
past its famed Opera House. Sydney Harbour
Sadly it wasn’t lit. We were told it was to save on energy. This seemed a shame considering its shelled-elegance is probably the one building most associated with
Australia. I’m glad N.Y. stills lights up the statue of
After watching the sun rise, we waited for the chance to trade in my crew badge for my passport. Wen and I toured the underbelly world of the ship. Cold metal floors, unadorned walls, institutional. An anthill of activity between kitchens and hospital (where I know at least one passenger died), maintenance, safety office and crew admin, it was a different world. Colder yet less stuffy and less put-on. A 1,000-strong otherworld. A place where crew members got paid, we heard, according to the going wages in their own home countries. These “basement” inhabitants had their own ATMs, their own Internet kiosks, their own less-fancy buffet line.
When the activities office opened, I checked out, received my passport, then we walked off the ship. I was surprised that nobody asked to see my Maritime Visa or any of my employee paperwork. They’d made such a big deal of my work status before I left home.
Because I’d put all our x-rayed luggage in the crew cart the night before, labeled as mine, they had been taken off the ship first and sat along the wall, quick to pick up. We stepped out of the security building and to the taxi line ready to explore
Where Asians were abundant and stylishly dressed people sat in parks reading. Where they were good-day-mate-polite, and made passion fruit ice cream.
Where goods were expensive, “no worries” meant you’re welcome, “the lot” meant all of it, and “pissing” is what we call rain. The aborigines were short, beaming beautiful, and sported delightful tightly curled hair.
a botanical garden in which tagged ibises foraged under multi-rooted fig trees,
and the old town flanked by the
the world’s largest steel arch bridge.
I’m not a big city girl, but I could live in Sydney
Harbour Bridge Sydney.
It wasn’t quite the end of our trip; we still had
and the Great Barrier Reef to discover. But the “work” part of my trip, teaching on
the Sea Princess, was now molding itself in my memory, my bucket list one
strand of the world shorter.
Karen, thank you so much for sharing what you learned and experienced while teaching through the islands! You can learn more about Karen on her website.