But what is it really like, you ask? It's dirty! I've already started developing calluses along both index fingers - a combination of dry skin and constantly using my chef's knife. My nails look disgusting, as if I were out working on deck. My hands are swollen, lord knows why.
I've started losing track of time and not managing to write every day. I'm exhausted. Not just once in a while - all of the time. I don't have a minute to myself. One day, which I shall dub Meatball Day, I didn't leave the galley for 18 hours except once to use the facilities on land (aka, the shore head). Twice as I was writing entries for this blog, I fell asleep - once while typing on my iPhone with my sleeping bag pulled up over my head for warmth and then again last night, as I was resting up at the home of old friends.
They took me away last night to celebrate my birthday, and so I could make a doctor's appointment in Chelmsford this morning (an appointment the new relief captain, Captain Might, seemed to doubt the validity of). Last night they showed up at the boat and took me home with them, fed me soup and sourdough bread, and then took me over to their daughter's house for dinner. She'd baked a triple decker chocolate sour cream cake with layers of real whipping cream and stewed cherries. It was phenomenal. It made me want to do something like that for the crew. The whole family sang happy birthday and the three little girls blew out the candles. It was lovely.
So maybe you're asking if I'm cut out for this life? Although there have been a few reasons to disembark, for the most part, I love this job. I love that I get to sail (hopefully, one day soon...) and cook for a living. I can't wait to get south and get a routine going. Yes, I will have to find ways to regularly pamper myself. Yes, that will probably involve an expensive St. Croix hotel room every other weekend. But hey, the rewards of hard work could be worse.