Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Celtic Thunder Cruise 2013 - Day 6

November 6th, 2013
At Sea

Today has been stressful but so. much. fun.

We didn’t do much during the day but eat, watch TV, and wander around. The fun really started at around 2pm.

I went to one of the lounges to watch the musicians do a show. I opted out when I saw George Donaldson out in the hall; I went to talk to him instead. We chatted for a few minutes, and then he had to go. We were going the same way for a while, until two women stopped him. Then I lost sight of him.

Eventually, I went back out onto the Lido Deck. There was Irish dancing going on with the dance team. I watched that, and when Colm Keegan, one of the singers, got up on stage... well, a lightbulb went off and I told Mom I was going to go and stand close to the stage so I could possibly stop him when he left and ask (in a polite, respectful way; not throwing myself at him like everyone else, :P) for a picture.

I got tired of holding my laptop along with the camera though, so I decided to drop it off back at the room. On my way there, who should I see standing by the door of the lobby but Ryan.

I waved and said ‘hi’, and he said ‘hi’ back. I asked him timidly if he would mind taking a photo with me, and he said that was fine.

Looking around, I spotted a young guy standing a few feet away and asked him if he could take a photo of me and Ryan. He agreed—but couldn’t figure out how to use the camera. He had it on videorecording. I showed him how to change it, and then he took a picture.

I was delighted; Ryan had given me a one-arm hug, and I’d gotten a photo with him. I thanked both of them, and practically skipped away to the room. I went in, put my laptop down, and excitedly showed my mom the photo. (Her only response was to bemoan what a bad picture it was and complain about the cameraman’s skills. *rolls eyes*)

Me and Ryan Kelly. ^_^

Then I trotted back out onto the deck to take up my position next to the stage, so that when Colm left, I could ask him for a photograph.

Ryan was up on stage dancing when I went back, along with Belinda Murphy, another dancer, and two lucky women who had been chosen to dance with Ryan and Colm. I watched, and got a few minutes of video of Ryan dancing with none other than Colm. XD

Then Colm and Ryan left the stage. I had been prepared, and was standing next to the steps they had to use to get down. I asked Colm if he would mind taking a photo with me, and he was very sweet and said he didn’t mind. I handed the camera off to someone... and they still couldn’t figure out how to use it and stop videorecording.

I fixed it, apologizing several times to Colm, who shrugged it off with a smile. Then I got my photo, thanked him and the photographer, and left. And then a bunch of people who had been on their way over swamped him and Ryan. More of those women who have lots of money and have met all the singers before. :P

Me and Colm Keegan. :D

I stood closer to the main part of the deck, where Ciaran (the handsomest dancer, I must say. *pokes Everly and giggles* ;) ) and a few other dancers were dancing in the crowd of people. I danced for a little while. Another woman took my hand and had me be her partner for a while (it’s not weird; there’s a shortage of men on the ship, so sometimes girls have to dance with each other. :P).

I spotted Damian (remember the cute little boy from earlier?) dancing. I was going to go ask him to dance with me, but several girls had already asked him to be their partners, so I didn’t. He’s a very popular little guy, I have to say. XD

In a lull, I leaned over and asked my partner if Ciaran would mind if I asked him to dance with me. I was kind of joking, even though secretly I’d like to dance with him (mostly because no one has ever danced with me before, besides my mom and brother when I was about five) but she said, “Oh, not at all!”

I stopped short, and then giggled with an, “Oh, goodness, but I’m shy...”

To my chagrinne, she called out, “Ciaran!” He looked over, and she gestured at me, saying, “Dance with her!”

Ciaran gave me this grin and beckoned me over. I hesitated, then laughed sheepishly and tentatively walked over, apologizing to him for some random reason. He sensed my nervousness, I think, and gave me a huge hug.

There was single dancing for a few minutes... and then you had to dance with a partner.

I think I stopped breathing for a second when Ciaran took my arm and started dancing with me (as I followed the steps as best I could); I stopped breathing because he suddenly spinned me extremely fast, and it was a bit of a surprise to suddenly be moving that fast. XD

Then it was single dancing. Another partner dance came up, and he again spinned me around so fast my feet nearly left the ground. I was laughing now, and when he stopped, I stumbled dizzily. He quickly put an arm around my shoulder, steadying me. Then he carefully wrapped his arm around my waist and dipped me back, which made me even dizzier but very happy. XD

I asked someone if they would film me dancing with him, but she didn’t know how to use my camera either. :P I explained to Ciaran what I was doing; he had come over to ask me if I was alright. I think he was afraid he had spinned me a little too quickly.

He understood and attempted to hold the camera, hold it out, and film while he danced with me. He spun me around, occasionally shouting in an exaggerated voice, “Yay!” Then he stopped, steadied me, and said, “A kiss for the pretty little lady.” Then he gave me a kiss on the cheek.

I think my face went bright red, and I giggled. He gave me a big hug again, and handed the camera back. I thanked him, and walked off.

There was more dancing, and it went on for a while. I had a lot of fun; even when one of the female professional dancers grabbed my hand and pulled me into the ring of dancers. I felt my face go hot and protested, “Oh, goodness. I don’t know how to dance!”

She said, “Oh, sure you do!” and proceeded to do the Irish version of a polka, I think, with me. I was embarrassed, but happy.

Shortly after, the Ceilidh dance was over. I returned to my room, passing Mom on the way. I spoke a mile a minute, telling her about the video—but when I tried to show it to her, I found that Ciaran must have shut the camera off very early on, by accident. There was only two seconds, not enough to even show the dance.

I was very upset. But he and the other dancers will be around again at two events tonight. I hope to ask him to dance with me again at the karaoke (or ask him at the quiz before, if I can dance with him at the karaoke); he’s sweet enough, I’m sure if I explain that the video was cut off early, and I want to show the video to my family, he’ll understand. It won’t take longer than ten seconds or so to do a quick waltz.

Besides, I think I have a bit of an advantage in that I’m younger than about 95% of the people on the ship, as well as far more modest and respectful. Rather than demand they do something like take pictures, like everyone else here, I actually ask, “May I please [such and such]”, or “Could you please [such and such]. And he might also realize that the reason I don’t have the video was because he couldn’t use the camera too well.

Anyway, I had a lot of fun with that. I’m very happy; I have pictures with all but two of the Celtic Thunder lads, pictures of me with a few other people, I danced with someone for the first time in my life, and I got a bunch of hugs and a kiss on the cheek—and might again tonight.

I’m also stressed out though. :P My brother has gotten worse and worse on this trip—impolite, withdrawn, snappish.

And he’s also acting very suspicious with this new friend of his, the girl who calls herself Sprite (yes, like the soda).

He keeps asking to go find her, but when Mom tells him to go say hi when she sees her, he refuses. Then, this afternoon after I came back from the dance, he said he wanted to go wander around the ship.

When Mom asked him ‘why’, he refused to give a straight answer. She asked where he would be, and he avoided the question, several times. Finally, Mom said, “You’re going to go look for Sprite, aren’t you?”
He finally admitted that he was. Mom told him to go and just stay in sight on the Lido Deck. He flopped over and grunted, “Forget it.”

They kept at that for a while, and when she asked why he refused to go when she was with him or when she knew where he was, he said, “I just want to be...” and trailed off.

She demanded, “Alone with her?” He stuttered, and then fell silent. I buried my face in my hands. He finally caught his bearings and protested, but it was unconvincing. I shook my head.

So now we’re both paranoid about him. :P

But anyway. In about ten minutes, I’m going down to the lounge where some of the dancers will be doing a quiz show. I’m hoping to catch Ciaran and ask if he could re-film that dance with me, at the karaoke. If he’s not there, I’ll ask one of the others to please ask him if he would. If I don’t catch him, I’m going to show up at the karaoke anyway and try to find him there. I’m keeping my expectations and hopes as low as possible so I don’t get discouraged and disappointed.

Well, this is actually being typed on the 7th, since I ran out of time to type last night. But I can remember the happenstances of yesterday well enough.

I did go to the quiz show, as a matter of fact. It was a lot of fun; I wasn’t on a team this time. I was just sitting by myself, since the main reason I was there was to talk to Ciaran afterwards. It was still fun though to listen to the questions being asked and the lads and lasses play around. There was a lot of Dublin-accent-and-slang imitations going on. A few videos shall be here shortly. *grins*

I knew the answer to one of the questions that most other people didn’t know—that ‘dulaman’ means ‘seaweed’ in Gaelic. *grins* My Irish translating comes in handy. I also knew the answer to some of the more ‘complicated’ questions, judging by how few people answered them correctly. Not that that’s anything for me to be proud of, because I didn’t know the answers to most of the ‘easy’ questions. XD

A few minutes before the game ended, I walked up to Belinda Murphy—the teacher and dance choreographer, which makes her Ciaran’s and the others’ boss—and asked her if she minded me standing next to her, because I wanted to talk to Ciaran. She said it was fine, so I sat down next to her.

After the game ended, a group of people walked up to the miniature stage and asked for pictures, signatures, etc. I waited patiently for them to finish, though I was getting a bit anxious—dinner was going to start very soon.

I timidly walked up to the stage when most of the people had dispersed. I ran into Sammi; I tried to tell her in excitement about how I had gotten pictures with Colm, Ryan, and Keith. She didn’t even respond; she heard me though, because she started bragging about all the pictures and signatures she had gotten last night. :P She’s very competetive and a bit of a braggart, sadly.

She got her signatures from the dancers, and then left. I waited until people stopped approaching Ciaran, and I hesitated before walking up to him.

I think he greeted me with something like, “Oh, it’s the lovely dancer! How are you? Having fun?”

I said ‘yes’, chatting with him for a few minutes before saying, “I hate to harass you again, but when you were filming earlier, the video didn’t work, and I was wondering if you would mind dancing with me again just for a few seconds later, so that my mom could film it.” Yes, I really did use that sort of run-on sentence. :P

He was very friendly and said ‘of course’, and I asked if tonight at the karaoke would work. He agreed to that, and told me to be all set up by the time he got there. I said ‘okay’, and then hurried away to my room to get ready for dinner.

While we ate dinner, since it was the last night of the cruise, Mom talked about what she had learned. Basically, she has learned that she should never, ever leave home, and that if you don’t have money to go on tours at port, don’t go at all. My brother learned... something silly, like ‘don’t go on ships’ or something.

As for what I learned, well... that shall be saved for my final blog post on the adventure. ;) Wait patiently, lads and lasses.

When we left the dining room, I quickly shook one of our waiter’s hands. He was a very sweet guy, but I can’t remember his name—it was long, and he was from somewhere like the Philippines. He gave me a smile, thanked me, and let me follow my mom, who was rapidly exiting the room.

After dinner, Mom had to go call Guest Services. Earlier, she had seen an email from our airline, but had been unable to read it before the WiFi died. As a result, she was going to talk to Guest Services and ask them for their help.

I wandered over to one of the entrances to the Caribbean Lounge, which was a short distance away from Guest Services. While I stood there, I watched Celtic Thunder perform their show. I didn’t really need to watch it; they were going to do a second, identical show later on for people in my seatings (my family and I were Red Seatings; half the ship is assigned Red, and the ther half is assigned Blue). But I didn’t have anything else better to do but wait nervously for the karaoke to start.

Eventually, I left and went to sit at the bar a few feet away from Mom—no, not because I wanted a drink. It gave me a good view of the pianist and drummer playing behind the bar. :P

Finally, Mom got off the phone. It was 6:50pm. I told her I needed to run up to the room and grab my camera and one of my three program books—I was going to get the dancers’ signatures when they showed up for karaoke.

So we ran up the stairs to our room (yes, we’re crazy and take the stairs rather than use the elevators). I grabbed my camera, put its battery back in, and looked for a program I hadn’t highlighted events in. I found it and took it too. Then I realized I couldn’t find a pen. I rummaged through drawers, unable to find it. Eventually, Mom discovered it on the floor next to my bed. *facepalm*

By this time, it was 6:57pm. I told Mom I was going to run down to the casino (where the karaoke show was) and try to get a good spot, and that I would wait there for her and Larry. She agreed, and I made my way down three or four flights of stairs.

No one was at the karaoke stage when I showed up, so I stood there awkwardly. Soulman—the really sweet Filipino man in charge of the karaoke nights—approached me and asked if I was going to sing something. I shook my head with an awkward smile and told him I was no good. He kept trying to convince me, finally walking a few feet away after saying, “Well, just think about it.”

Still no one showed up, besides one or two people who sat down next to the stage rather than stand. I believe Soulman came up to me one last time and asked if I had decided to sing something yet. I shook my head, and he told me, “Aww, come on, what songs would you like to sing?”

I said that two songs I liked a lot were Katie and The Rocky Road to Dublin, both by Celtic Thunder. He said apologetically that he didn’t have those songs in his CD case at the time. A few seconds later, he told me that if I chose a song he knew, he would come and sing along with me. I smiled and shrugged in a ‘maybe’ gesture.

A song he liked came onto the speakers by the karaoke stage. So he jogged over, hopped up onto the stage, took a microphone, and began to sing along.

Let me tell you, he had an amazing voice, no joke. I greatly enjoyed hearing him sing. I just stood there with this huge grin on my face, and when he caught sight of that, he smiled a big and bright smile back at me.

A few more people gathered around by this point, but the Gaelic Rhythm dancers still hadn’t arrived. Soulman stopped singing at the end of the song, and came down to take slips of paper from people who wanted to perform in the karaoke. I walked up to him when he finished with that and told him he had done a really good job. He thanked me, smiling.

More people gathered, just as another young woman got on stage and started to sing. Mom came up to me, and for a little while, tried to talk me into singing again. I kept protesting, coming up with excuses like ‘I’m waiting for the dancers’ and ‘Maybe I’ll do it if Ciaran gets here’.

I said that last one because Ciaran is very, very good at convincing people to dance or sing, and I knew he would try to convince me. :P

Austin, a young man who was at the last karaoke session (and who also has an amazing voice), overheard us and said, “They’ll end the karaoke at 8pm, whether the dancers show up or not.”

I frowned, but cleared it after a few seconds and thanked him for the information. Mom continued trying to talk me into it, saying that if I did Matchmaker, Matchmaker from the Fiddler on the Roof movie, she would sing it with me. I was leaning more towards Michael Jackson’s Thriller or Relient K’s Who I Am Hates Who I’ve Been.

I finally, after much more convincing from Mom, told her I would do the Relient K song, scrawled it out on the slip of paper Soulman had eagerly presented me with (writing things in the wrong spaces and thus causing much crossing out and mess-making of the paper), and handed it to him, admitting, “I’m scared to death.”

He smiled encouragingly and told me I would be fine, and that I would have fun. He went to put my slip of paper with the others he had collected.

Just as another gorup of singers got onto the stage, Gaelic Rhythm finally showed up. I spotted them and grinned.

I walked up to someone and tapped them on the shoulder, only to find that it was one of the Irish performers I had talked to during the last karaoke session—the one who looked so similar to Ciaran, I got them confused. :P Luckily, I just said ‘hello’ and chatted for a bit, rather than ask him if he was still going to dance with me; because, obviously, he would not have understood what I was talking about. Fortunately, before I asked him about the dance, he left to go sign some autographs.

Luckily, the actual dancers gathered around the stage. I watched them for a while, as Ciaran got on the stage and sang along with the family singing currently.

When they stopped, and someone else got on the stage (that ‘someone else’ being Austin), I finally decided that Ciaran was busy. Instead, I asked Alan, one of the other very sweet dancers, if he would ask Ciaran (when Ciaran was available) for me whether he still was able to dance.

To my complete shock, rather than waiting, Alan just walked up to Ciaran (who was standing at the edge of the stage), tapped him on the shoulder, and whispered something in his ear. Ciaran glanced over, saw me, smiled, handed his microphone to Hayley-Jo (one of the other dancers), and walked over to me.

He took my hand, and I nodded towards Mom so that he knew who would be filming. I expected him to lead me to the back of the room, where the crowd was much thinner (it had gotten quite thick in front of the stage by this point), dance with me for a few seconds, and then go back to what he was doing.

Much to my embarrassed surprise, he instead led me out to the empty-ish space in front of the stage; in very clear view of both Austin, who was singing, and the crowd standing a few feet away.

I couldn’t very well refuse now that he had done that, so all I could do was let him hold my hand and start dancing with him. I still didn’t have all the moves memorised, so I just followed his movements as best I could.

I felt very awkward, but was having a wonderful time. I won’t explain exactly how the dance went, because... I have a video, which I will show right... now. (I would have embedded it, but it wasn't working. :P)

My dance with Ciaran Keating of Gaelic Rhythm.

After the song ended, he gave me a hug and kissed my cheek again (you may be able to see that, in the video, though not too clearly) before escorting me out of the crowd and to the back where I had been before.

In the excitement of the moment, I hadn’t been paying attention to Hayley-Jo, who had just announced the next singer. Suddenly, Mom poked my shoulder and said, “Teddy, it’s your turn!”

My eyes probably widened an insane amount, and I spun around to look towards the stage and towards where Ciaran and Soulman were watching me expectantly. I stared, and finally Ciaran came forward, murmuring, “Do you want me to announce you?”

I nodded dumbly, unable to even think  about what to say, because I was so scared. He escorted me to the stage and helped me up onto it, and then introduced me (Hayley-Jo had only called out my name, not introduced me).

The music started playing before I even knew what was happening. To my horror, it wasn’t the Relient K song I had heard so many times... and thus, I failed miserably, even worse than I would have if it had been the right song. :P But I tried and didn’t die, so I did fairly okay in that regard.

I have a video, but I'm afraid to show it. One person already teased me to death about it, and it wasn't my brother. XP If you really want to see it, let me know in the comments.

My hand holding the microphone was shaking uncontrollably, and according to something Mom said later, Ciaran most likely noticed it. He stayed by my side the entire time; as emotional support, I guess. He goofed around a bit, urged the crowd to clap... 

(And yes, right after he finishes an odd, little dance and puts his arm around my shoulder, he does indeed give me another kiss on the cheek. He seemed very perceptive, and appeared to realize [like several of my friends know] that hugs help me to calm down, and physical touch is my love language, which means hugs and hand-holding and such makes me feel much more relaxed and safer.)

After that, I got off the stage. Soulman was right there to congratulate me and take my hand to help me off the stage. Mom said it was time to go and get ready to watch our seatings’ Celtic Thunder show, but I told her to wait just a few minutes longer while I got the dancers’ signatures.

I took my program and pen, and then approached Alan and handed him the book, asking if he would mind signing the page at the back (which is notebook paper, basically). He was happy to, asked my name, and then wrote a note addressed specifically to me.

After that, I went up to Hayley-Jo and got her signature. Then I got Aoife’s. It went on like that until all I needed was Ciaran’s (and one other guy’s, but I don’t think he was present).

I waited until the end of the song, and until he had time, and then shyly went up and tapped him on the shoulder. It was loud, so I just showed him the program and the paper with his fellow dancers’ signatures on it, and gave him a questioning glance.

He nodded and scrawled out a quick message. I took the moment to talk to him one last time, since I knew I wouldn’t see him again. I told him something like, “Thank you for dancing with me. You really made this cruise the best time of my life; you’re the one person who has been friendly to me the whole time during this trip, and the one person I really felt like I had made friends with. So... thank you.” And I meant it.

He smiled, seeming touched, and said, “Aww... thank you.” He gave me a hug, and I said quietly into his shoulder, “I’m going to miss you.” I meant that too.

I don’t think Ciaran knew what to say to that, so he just said ‘thank you’ again. I shook his hand, and he held it for a few seconds longer than a normal handshake, telling me to take care. I told him to do the same, and then ran to catch up with my mom and brother.

We made our way to the Caribbean Lounge to watch the Celtic Thunder show. I spent a good few minutes looking at the signatures the dancers had made, and looking forward to seeing how much of the dancing my mom had gotten on film.

While I waited for the show to start, I glanced over to see the women next to me looking at a flyer of sorts. I saw the words ‘Celtic Thunder Cruise II’, and asked them what it was.

As it turns out, a cruise is planned for next year. No, I don’t plan on going. :P My mom would never let me get away with it. Besides, after how homesick I was this time... I dunno if it would be a good idea until I know how to get off on my own without having panic attacks every few minutes. *rolls eyes*

Anyway, after about a half-hour, the show started. It was amazing. They played all of their best songs—meaning, the ones that are liked the most. I was proud of the fact that I knew the lyrics to all but two or so of the songs, and could sing along quite easily.

At the end, Mom went up to the room. Me and Larry stayed to listen to the Celtic Thunder band talk and thank the audience for things, and Sharon Browne talk about the next cruise and introduce every performer who had performed on the ship this week—Gaelic Rhythm, Goitse, Michael Londra... lots of people.

(The Celtic Thunder singers had been wearing captain-style hats at the end of the show, and had thrown them out into the crowd. Sadly, I didn’t catch one, but that was okay.)

Then everyone bowed, the chorus of Ireland’s Call played again, and then all of them left the stage. Me and Larry made our way back to our room, where we cleaned up and got ready for bed. I typed a bit before going to sleep.

Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4
Day 5
Day 7

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