I came back to Castine, ME for the first time since I graduated from the Maine Maritime Academy (MMA). I have to admit that I was a little nervous. I have very fond memories of my time spent at the Academy but (yes but) I have some not so fond memories as well. The whole drive up from Portland I kept seeing things I recognized....the Harley store, the curling league building, the open field with big rocks, and the rock shop (yep, I really think they sell rocks).
When I hit Route 175 I was back in the groove. I was going 60 mph (which is probably too fast for a rural Maine road)....and I literally groaned out loud when an old lady in a mini van pulled out in front of me. When Route 175 split into 166 and 166a I waited to see which way she went and then I jammed on the gas on the opposite Route to beat her into Castine. We used to call this our 12 mile driveway. The road basically dead ends in Castine (aka Maine Maritime Academy). The town is very small - and very beautiful....but there isn't much to see and you can't miss MMA. Driving too fast and beating the slow pokes at the split made me feel like maybe some things don't change.
Walking around campus I realized that in fact things do change. No one knew who I was! It was incredibly strange to walk around campus completely anonymously. Improvements had been made on campus and some offices had been rearranged. While I realize change is necessary I wasn't sure if I liked the changes. It made the school seem softer. While attending MMA I would have hoped and dreamed of attending a softer program - after sailing commercially for 6 years I think the toughening up that occurred during my education made my life infinitely easier when I transitioned to sea. Now as an officer I wish that the cadets and fresh out of school Mates were just a little bit tougher.
I have some meetings today with professors - just to shoot the shit - and I'm really looking forward to it.
I'll certainly keep you all posted with some added perspectives!