To most, the Spring 2017 voyage around the world on the MV World Odyssey is the adventure of a lifetime. To lifelong learners Martin and Grazyna Kabat, it is a celebration of a lifetime spent together.
Grazyna first sailed with Semester at Sea in 1988 when she served as a Resident Director alongside fellow RD Terry Vecchio and Dean of Students Dan Garvey. Grazyna also sailed in the Summer 2014, with Martin joining her on board for part of the voyage.
Grazyna and Martin both have backgrounds in academia. Martin was a chairman of humanities while Grazyna was a scholar of literature. The pair met in Chestertown, Maryland when Grazyna, who was then dating Martin‚Äôs dentist, asked Martin to join them for dinner.
‚ÄúI love classical music. It was me, Martin‚Äôs dentist who I was dating, and my girlfriend. We decided to go to dinner and I invited Martin to join. Martin drove. When I got into the car, the first thing I heard was that he had classical music on,‚Äù Grazyna said.
At dinner, the two argued about Russian literature and spent the entire night talking to each other. A couple years later of dating later, Martin, then in Barcelona for work, proposed to Grazyna over the phone. Grazyna was visiting her longtime friend and current Spring 2017 Assistant Dean of Students Vecchio at the time.
Fast-forward to 2017 and Martin and Grazyna have been married for 25 years. As with any lasting relationship, it has not come without challenges. In 2016, Martin was diagnosed with Stage 4 blood lymphoma.
‚ÄúWe agreed that if I survived the cancer, and it wasn‚Äôt clear that I would, we would take a voyage together,‚Äù Martin explained. ‚ÄúIt was my wife‚Äôs idea. She said we need to move forward and think about the future. What better way to do that than Semester at Sea?‚Äù
Martin and Grazyna have high hopes for the voyage and beyond. Like many voyagers, they have decided that Semester at Sea is the best way to embark on a positive new chapter of their lives.
‚ÄúThis was our dream and we are living our dream. For our anniversary, I didn‚Äôt want any diamonds. I didn‚Äôt want anything material,‚Äù Grazyna said. ‚ÄúI just wanted to go on Semester at Sea and celebrate our life, our 25 years together.‚Äù