“Those who do not move, do not notice their chains.”
— Sarah Gambito
This past November, Josh and I traveled to two spectacular cities—Washington, D.C. and Nassau, the capitals of the United States and the Bahamas, respectively. It was a wonderful month, full of excitement, adventure, and laughter. In D.C., we were able to view most of the national monuments via segway, a fun and dangerous way to see the city. In Nassau, we were able to see the great disparity between rich and poor—on one side is Nassau, downtown or down the hill (as they call it), and the other is Paradise Cove Island, a condensed tourist spot with the beautiful and overpriced Atlantis. On the cruise ship Carnival Fantasy, we were able to meet people from around the world (mostly third world countries like the Asias and Eastern Europe), all people who worked on $40 a week and were only paid in tip. Though these trips were fun and exciting, they opened my eyes to a very real and very desperate world, and when I came back to Charleston, I realized how small my existence was compared to it. Though I loved every ounce of luxury on the cruise, I could not help but wonder how these low-paid servers viewed us, Americans, and how they viewed their own choices in life. To work over 15–20 hours a day and 8 months straight (two months off) at sea, without being able to call or talk to their families and friends back home is something I could never do. During the trip I thought how my family fought long and hard to get us to America, and how easily I could have been one of those servers if it weren’t for my family’s many sacrifices. Throughout our trip to the Bahamas last week for Thanksgiving, I was very thankful and very fragmented inside. Again, though I had a lot of fun, I re-realized Hamlet’s quote, that time certainly is out of joint.
I will end this brief blog with this: in all honesty, I had so much fun exploring the Bahamas, and I loved being treated like a queen on the cruise. We tipped well. But is that enough? I could not help but think about the status of others, the desperation of others, from the yelling Bahamian on the streets, saying, “Buy this! Buy this Buy this!” to the dancing Indonesian waiter who smiled when the lights flashed but held a blank expression when he was finished. Who was he connected to at home? Who was he working all these hours and low wages for? Who did he miss? Who did he love, and love enough, to exist here?
Excuse my thoughts, as I am only wandering.
These thoughts just marinated in my head for the past few days, and I’m trying to forget the waiting period after MFA season. I am near the finish line for my MFA applications, and now I am scared to reach that waiting period, which is long and torturing. I hope I get into my dream school, and… well, here’s to hoping.