23 January 2008

71.14.18.33

Do you know what those numbers mean? (My former student, Karis, would.) It's not a winning lottery number (at least, not one I know about) or the code the computer needed on Lost. It's how long it took Ellen MacArthur to sail solo around the world*-- 71 days, 14 hours, 18 minutes and 33 seconds. My students (I was in England at the time) were fascinated by her journey. One of our classroom jobs was news reporter. Ellen MacArthur was big news in J4.

*I still think it's a little presumptuous to call this sailing "around the world" when, really, it was just sailing around Antarctica. Yet another thing that wasn't up to me.

I just read the book Race Ag@inst Time. It's a book of Ellen MacArthur's writings during her journey. Frankly, I wouldn't recommend it. (Hence the @.) It's not very well written. (She's a sailor, not a writer.) It was basically 71 days of technical sailing stuff (gybe-ing and knots and changing sails) and, well, her saying, "It's hard." I'm sure it was. I'm sure I couldn't have done it. (Actually, I tend to think I can do anything I want to...but why would I want to do this? Deep water gives me the creeps.) But it didn't make for a very kateish read.

There were, however, a few quotes that resonated. Hmm. That might mean I'm a complainer. Still...

Day 52: ...We've just got to hang in there and keep moving. It's not been much fun recently, and I'm looking forward to getting into something that's actually stable. This has been one of the hardest stages of the record so far. To have had so many hurdles, as we've had over the last few days since Cape Horn, all in a row, has been pretty brutal. I'm just trying to take every day as it comes--it's sometimes not a good idea to think about the big picture. There is no doubt we're slowing, there is no doubt we're losing a lot of time at the moment, but we've just got to get through this and out the other side--there is no point in thinking about anything else right now.

Day 53:..All that effort, all that energy seems wasted...It feels like we'll be trapped here for weeks continually changing direction, continually adjusting to the unpredictable clouds we have. But I'm not going to give up. I've given everything and I feel empty, but I'll find that little bit left in me to get us through the last 5,000 miles.

Day 56:..I keep going because this isn't something that just sprang out of the dark. Building the boat and working on the project has been in my mind for a long time; it's not just something that started the day I left from Falmouth. However hard it gets, that knowledge doesn't let me go. This record attempt, right now, is the object of all our efforts.

Day 60: I need to de-stress and calm down a little, but it is exceptionally difficult to do when you've got the Doldrums in front of you.

Doldrums, ha! To that I sing, "Sail on! When the water gets high, sail on. When the wind starts to die, sail on. It's just a matter of minutes 'till the ship comes to get us and we all get in and sail on." Did you sing along?

There's a lot of gybing and tacking going on right now in my adoption journey. I'm trying to get a forecast on which way the wind's blowing. There are many things beneath the surface. But, we're still sailing.

Ellen MacArthur's solo journey around the world was incredible. I wonder how she'd fare on the journey of international adoption...

Russian proverb:
Pray to God and continue to row towards shore.

I'm doing both.

15 comments:

Jim said...

Ellen may not be much of a writer, but you most certainly are. I suspect that the combination of your international living experience and your simultaneous adoption experience would probably eventually make a good read, written properly.

Of course, I am secretly hoping that your child will keep you far too busy being a mom for you to have time to write a book! :)

Elle said...

Your quote, "pray to God and continue to row toward shore" is what got me through our adoption. Every where I went I had a 3x5 card with that written on it. When I worked at the trusty husband's office, there it was. At the church, there it was. Currently on my prayer board (hidden behind a DSW coupon) there it is. As long as you remember that one little saying you will make it.

debiP said...

and may God blow a huge wind to get you to the shore quicker...

Tami said...

What a great quote! I love it. Hang in there chica...and keep sailing. You'll get to shore soon.
BTW - Yes, I have come to really love Kiev. It's taken awhile, but it's growing on me. I really wish I could see it in spring or early summer, but I'm not hanging around here long enough to make that happen! :) Hopefully I'll be on my way home next week.
P.S. - Sneak peak on tomorrow's blog - Thursday is gotcha day! :)

chou-chou said...

Wow - amazing story!

By the way i just emailed you my snail mail address - you should have it now.

Rachael said...

I love that proverb too.

I was hoping you were going to tell us which way the winds are sailing these days. Is your dossier complete and submitted or are you still in more uncertain waters?

I agree with Jim. You should write a memoir someday.

Suz said...

Kate, I've had you on my heart the last couple of days. I'm praying for you and hoping that you'll hear something happy soon!!!

kim said...

What a perfect proverb!!! I agree... you should write a memoir.

6blessings said...

Imperials. Singing it with you.

You have great endurance. I'm reading a book called "The Dream Giver". It talks about when God gives us a dream of His work and the stages we have to go through to see it to completion. One of them is the Wasteland. We also must face the land of Giants. However, if we tough it through, have faith in Him, and keep moving on, He grants the dream. Hang in there!

Anonymous said...

Dreams come true. They really do.

Keep rowing my friend.

Heidi

Annie said...

You are a tremendous writer. Thanks for sharing that gift - and your heart, with us.

:: Suzanne :: said...

I don't know if you are a sailor Kate, but you certainly are a writer.

Oops, just noticed that Jim stole my line. Oh well . . .

Christine said...

I hope a gust of wind lifts our sails up any day now!

chou-chou said...

OK I sent my info again - this time from a different email address. Hoping it got through. If not, we're going to have to switch to carrier pigeon or something!

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