It’s not ‘goodbye’, it’s ‘see you soon’

‘One day at sea is like three days at land.’ By now it’s already difficult to remember every little detail that happened on sunday morning because we experience so much every single day. However, there are some things no one could forget, for example saying farewell.

But the day didn’t start with saying farewell, it began much earlier. After spending our first night aboard the ‘Thor Heyerdahl’, we woke up at 06:30. Then we got dressed, ate our porridge outside and finished the cleaning of the ship. Everybody was pretty excited because this was the last time we would see our parents for six months. However, it didn’t feel like the end of something, but like the beginning of the voyage of our lives. Soon, even the last families arrived at the pier and the ceremony started.

At first, the music project played a song, then Ruth Merk held a little speech and everybody – the crew of the ship and the students – shortly introduced themselves, telling us about where they are from, their experience with sailing or their hopes and expectations. After different people like Detlef Soitzek (the initiator of the project Thor Heyerdahl), Hans-Werner Tovar (the president of the city Kiel and the official godfather of the Thor), and two of the students had held their speeches, it was time to sing the song ‘Möge die Straße’ (‘May the street’), for which the music project had changed the lyrics to fit the song to our future journey. The whole crew, both students and adults, sang the song and everyone enjoyed it a lot. After we had finished our part of the farewell ceremony, the parents started theirs and it was really touching. Some of us cried a little bit because of the nice speech they held where they talked about how we will change and grow and how they will support but miss us. They even changed the lyrics of another song, filled them with our names and sang that very song all together. Soon, almost too soon, it was time to say goodbye and leave the Schwentine in Kiel.

It was a little emotional, but we didn’t have much time to be sad and miss our families because we started to set the sails right away to head to our destination, a wharf in Søby, Denmark, where the last little problem on the ship would be fixed to prepare the ‘Thor Heyerdahl’ for our voyage. It felt strange to set the sails and start this big voyage because it was like leaving the ‘normal’ and ‘old’ world and entering a whole new one. When we left the Schwentine, our parents followed us alongside the pier a bit but then, as soon as the pier ended, they became smaller and smaller and we started this new chapter in our lives. Although I’m sure it’s partly because we are always busy, I feel that another reason why saying farewell wasn’t that hard is that everybody is really nice and we are already like a big family. Of course, we will miss our families, but if you are surrounded by people you like and trust, the homesickness won’t be that bad.