Posted by: Corina Paraschiv | February 7, 2009

Reflections on a new community

This was on the second week after we bordered the Scholar Ship (TSS) boat for our trip around the world.  We had people from all sorts of countries and we were just experimenting for the first time what it is to create a new community with common norms for life.  Here’s what I wrote back then as I was trying to make sense of everything that was happening around me:

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It is amazing to think that we have a community already.  It’s only been two weeks.  Already preferences are being formed.  The first week, i was trying a lot to eat with new faces every meal to get to know people, and even thought I meet new people at the table every day, it is wonderful to also notice that some friendships are being born.  that is, friendships in the end are a form of preference, because we cannot “prefer everyone”.  it is probably one of the biggest challenges for me to realize i have a limited amount of time on the ship and that i cannot be everywhere and do everything.  i think i had that problem back at home to some extent but being on a ship with just so many opportunities really is a lesson to me in making choices, and understanding value.  One of the previous tss students had came up with some seven recommendations for us prior to embarking in hong kong and he was mentionning “choosing quality over quantity”;  I truely think this is one of the major challenges on the boat; not to start doing everything.

Another point to bring up regarding the topic of our community on the scholar ship : we have been given absolutely everything here.  We have education, and medical care, we have tons of friends around us, and activities day and night, we’ve got access to pianos and guitars, paint and cameras, buffet with great food, and room services, computers and guided tours and special programmes in foreign countries.  we’re basically been given every single thing someone of our age could want in terms of possibilities.  I was debating with Arvid on the topic and he argued that if we’ve been given everything, what was there to achieve.  But I believe otherwise : If we have been given everything, and we do not worry about empty stomaches or having a roof over our head, in a community that is so attentive and compassionate, then imagine all that we COULD be achieving.  I feel like we are in a utopia because we have everything.  Greg, our residential community leader, reframed the question for me : is utopia a world where everything is perfect, or is it a world where everything is possible?

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