After sleeping for 10 hours, I woke up in time to sneak to breakfast. You see, my goal for the day was to be seen by as few people as possible all day. I have a bad burn on my face from the malaria medication, and I’m exhausted. My plans were foiled by a Global Studies discussion group at 9 a.m., however. I made it there by the skin of my teeth, worked out, then reentered my study hole. Every kid from the classroom I adopted in Boston wrote me a letter. I spent the afternoon reading and responding. I should be doing homework, but this so much better. Here are few of our exchanges (with changed names):
My name is Jack I’m 12 yrs. old I was born in boston then I live in cherry street. What countries your going to next? And how did you do in the boat? and living in chelsea and wright middle school is great because my family are very nice and I have one brother and two sisters and I have one dog he is a boy and his name is Guero and we first got him when he was two months old. And from school its we learned lots of work do homework a lot and what are you going to do next.
Thank you for your letter! I have been to Boston. I liked it a lot. You live in a very historical city! Next I am visiting Mauritius and India. I’m glad you like your family. It’s best to be best friends with your siblings!! I have two sisters, and I miss them very much while I am at sea. I write them often, though. I also miss my dog Trixie. Guero sounds great. I bet she and Trixie would be friends. Many of the dogs you see when you are traveling in poor countries do not have owners, and that makes me sad. I’m glad you are learning a lot in school! Doing well in school is a good chance to work for opportunities to travel when you are older. Next I am going to go snorkeling on an Island! I have never been and am excited.
Jane- Hi Martha,
how are you doing I would love to be on a boat ride. and learn the things that your learning. I hope you are having fun in suite life of jack and cody. Win I grow up I want to do something like you and I am 12 year old and I live in Boston it a small town it ok living here. I have a question for you how is it living on a boat. do you ever gets seas sick. I wonder is your roommates mean or nice do you have a boyfriend to keep you company but anyway nice talking love you
Hello! I am doing just great. I hope you are too. I think it’s great that you want to do something like this when you grow up and I hope you do. Maybe it will be even better! You could go to different countries from me and tell me all about it. I had to work hard to get here, but I’m sure you are a hard worker, too. To answer your question, yes! I do get seasick. I have some seasickness medicine to take, but it makes me sleepy and makes my mouth feel all dry so I usually don’t take it. The longer I live on the boat, the more used to the ship rocking I get! Today it just feels like a gentle crib rocking. My roommate is very nice and named Laura. She says hello, too. She is from Georgia. We both like chocolate. I do not have a boyfriend…some girls on the ship do, but I’m not lonely. I like meeting new people and having guy friends and girl friends, and I’ll have a nice boyfriend some day. I’m homesick, but I see so many cool things that I don’t really have time to be sad. Thank you for your letter!
Dear Martha Groppo
Hello my name is Emily I am 12 but turning 13 this month in September on 24th my hometown is Boston, MA. I’m from the Philipinnes and I am a Filipino/American because I was born in Boston I have 1 sibling I love to draw and write all the time and singing of course.
I have so many cousins in my country and what I do is karate I am a green belt I did very well in school work hard and getting good grades giving my respect to the teachers and the principal. I’ve met your friend Ms. Henry since August 31st of 2011. My favorite subject is geography/history because I love taking notes do you. Are you happy when you travel to different countries in the continents? I wish I could travel. Where are you from? I heard that you went to Kobe, Japan. Have you been other places? The Philippines also Japan are my favorite countries.
You have a pretty name. On your birthday I was in South Africa. I hope it was great. I wish we were going to the Philippines so I could learn about the country you are from. You will have to tell me about it instead. Do you have special birthday traditions in the Philippines? I’m glad you like to draw and write and sing. I love to write and am hoping to be a writer one day. I write for a newspaper now. Maybe you would like being a journalist one day. I like to draw, as well, but you are probably better at it than me. I am taking lessons now. I’m very happy when I travel, and I think you will be happy when you get to travel one day, too. I’m glad to hear you are a hard worker, and I hope that you get to travel to many countries including Japan and the Philippines one day! Respecting your teacher and principal are also important. They are there to help you meet your goals. I am from Kentucky, but I have visited your city of Boston several times and liked it a lot.Thank you for your letter!
Jill – Dear Martha A Groppo,
My name is Jill. I am 12 year old. My family is from Colombia. I live in Boston, Massachusetts. I love music. I want to ask you a question. How can you sleep on a boat? Do you like to be there in the boat? I guess you do not. But probably love to be in different country. Can you go to Colombia? I do not think you can go because you do not have time. I can’t wait until you come back.
Hello! It is really neat that your family is from Colombia. I won’t get to go there on this voyage, but I hope to go another time. Until then, you will have to teach me about Colombia instead! I’d love to learn. I like music too. What kind of music do you listen to? To answer your question, I sleep in a little twin bed next to a window where I can see the waves and the stars. Sometimes I have trouble sleeping when the ship is rocking a lot and I feel like I’m going to fall out of bed. Most of the time, it just feels like I’m a baby in a crib that’s being rocked slowly. I like being on the boat pretty well, but you are right: I enjoy being in port much, much more. I look forward to when I come back too. Hopefully I can say “hi” on skype!
Tommy – Dear Martha
My name is Tommy and I am 13 year old and I am in 7th grade I can’t wait to go to college and get a good job. What is it like to live on a boat? And explore different countries and states? Did you have to cover your face in Morocco! What is it like to sleep on a boat. Is college big. And is there a lot of homework. And is there a lot of classes to go to.
Nice to meet you! It makes me so happy to hear that you are excited about college. I hope you get to go and that you also get a good job. I’m sure you will. You sound like a hard worker! Living on the boat is fun, but it’s much more fun to explore the different countries. I hope you get to travel some day and see for yourself what it is like. Some things are very different like the food and traditions and houses, and other things are very similar. There are happy kids and friendly faces everywhere! To answer your question, I sleep in a little twin bed next to a window where I can see the waves and the stars. Sometimes I have trouble sleeping when the ship is rocking a lot and I feel like I’m going to fall out of bed. Most of the time, it just feels like I’m a baby in a crib that’s being rocked slowly. My college is big, but some colleges are probably not much bigger than Wright Middle School. Going to a big school is nice because it is usually less expensive and there are lots of people to meet. There is a lot of homework, but it is very interesting because you get to choose most of your own classes. Some are required, but some you choose just because you are interested in the subject. You usually take 4-6 classes. What is your favorite subject? Do you know what you want to be?
Rachel – Dear Martha
Hi My name is Rachel I wrote you this letter because I want to know what have you been doing. How is it over there. What have you done over there. How fun is it to be on a boat. How good is the food there. In the pictures we seen it looks like you had a lot of fun you must be lucky to go on that boat for free your lucky I never been on a big boat just like you. My favorite pictures was you on the mountains and all mountains were behind you it might be nice over there.
I live in Boston I go to school at Wringle My teacher is Ms. Henry. You know her she your friend? How many animals and what kind of animals did you get to see. I heard you have eaten a lot of different food how was it to eat different food was it good or was it nasty or was it okay because I seen the place where all the food was. They have some weird food it looks like you’re having a lot of fun and i bet you’re having more fun right now than I am at Wringle.
How long have you been gone I bet you miss all your family members and friends are you homesick? How is it to sleep on a boat? Did you keep moving because the boat was moving? What ocean are you in?
Well, Good Luck Martha
Thank you for your letter! I can tell you thought a lot about it and I will try to answer all of your questions. I am doing just fine. I just got back on the ship to travel to our next country. I was in South Africa. The food on the ship is pretty good, but sometimes nasty. The food in South Africa was yummy! Some of it was strange like crocodile, springbok, and ostrich, but usually only the fancy restaurants had that meat. I am very lucky to be on this boat. I wish you could be here with me! Maybe some day you can travel a bunch too. I saved my money for many years to do this trip. I also did my best in school and applied for scholarships! Maybe can pay for a trip by doing that some day too. I don’t know that I’m having more fun than you are at Wringle…it’s probably just different! You can have adventures wherever you are. Some adventures, like going shark diving, sound big, but others, like going up to a kid you don’t know and making a new friend, are just as scary, but lots more rewarding in the end. Shark diving is over fast, but that new friend could last for a very long time.
I have been gone for 36 days now. I miss my family and friends a lot. But I got to video chat them when I was in Africa, and that made me feel better. I also send them postcards and write to them like I am writing to you now. To answer your question, I sleep in a little twin bed next to a window where I can see the waves and the stars. Sometimes I have trouble sleeping when the ship is rocking a lot and I feel like I’m going to fall out of bed. Most of the time, it just feels like I’m a baby in a crib that’s being rocked slowly. I was in the Atlantic Ocean, but yesterday we moved into the Indian Ocean, which is much warmer.
Allen – Hello Martha
My name is Allen I am 12 years old I live in Boston. and I like to play video games. I am sending this message to you because I want to know about your journey. If you went to China can you send a picture of you and the Great Wall. You think you can take some more pictures and some videos like 3 or 4 of you and your journey. I like videos. Have you went to Africa? If you have can you take lots and lots of pictures of animals I’ll tell you what kind lions, hippo, crocodiles, giraffes, cheetahs, leopards, buffalo, wild beast, kimono dragons, and dingos.
Hello Allen! It is nice to meet you. Boston sounds like a nice place to live. You should tell me about it. You like video games? Lots of my friends do, too, but I am terrible at them. There are no video games on the ship, but we will visit Japan soon, and there are many people who love video games there. I have not been to China yet, but I will be sure to take a picture of the Great Wall for you when I see it. I’m really excited about going there. I will try to take more pictures of my journey for you to see, too! Videos are hard to get to you because of how slow the internet is, but maybe I can find a way to do that. I can video chat you when I get home, and that will be fun! Yes, I just left Africa. I took pictures of these animals for you: lions, hippos, crocodiles, cheetahs, wildebeest, seals, springbok and ostriches. I also petted a cheetah.
I hope you enjoy looking at the pictures when Ms. Bethany gets them, and I hope you get to see all these animals in person someday.
If you know a kid who wants a pen pal across the globe, let me know! I will write back.
My plans of hiding were again foiled by a muster drill at 1600. We all shuffled out by floor and lined up for a cabin number roll call as we stood in lines in our life vests and looked at the calm water and green coast of South Africa. It was about as fun as it sounds. I kept getting moved around because they want women and children in the front and a guy stood in front of me and totally eclipsed me. After some more studying, I reveled in anther early bedtime.