Friday, April 20, 2018

Reflections on Seabury in Europe (from the words of the students who went)

On my first day, the 24 Seabury kids arrived in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Many kids and chaperones were exhausted, tired, and sick. We met up with our tour guide, Robert. On our first day we went to the diamond museum, a canal tour, and finally we went to some churches. At the end of the day we went to our hotel and we were not supposed to sleep until ten. On the next day we went to Anne Frank’s House/museum. We walked in the empty rooms of the office. Our group was too big to fit so we split up, one group explored Amsterdam and then we would switch. In Amsterdam the homes are really cramped. There are no skyscrapers in the Netherlands due to wet, bad terrain. Streets are small and many people bike.

We left Amsterdam on a train that went all the way to Paris. We went through Belgium to get to Paris. When we arrived, we went to our new hotel and dropped off our luggage. We saw the obelisk and the Arc de Triomphe. We walked to the Eiffel tower and took a boat tour and saw the Louvre and Notre Dam. When we were done we walked to the Eiffel tower, and we had to walk to the first 2 floors and we then took the elevator to the top. When it got to the top my legs felt like noodles. It was very pretty at the top, we could see all of Paris. It was dark and we went back to the hotel to sleep. The next day we went to the Louvre and I got to see the Mona Lisa and some other famous artworks and sculptures. We latter left to Versailles. We walked in the gardens and rooms of the palace. We departed to Normandy and went to the memorial for the dead soldiers who died on Omaha beach. I walked in some bunkers deep underground. We left to our hotel and saw a tapestry along the way. On our last day we went from Normandy back to Paris. We said our goodbyes to the kids staying.

For our spring break this year, we toured Amsterdam, Paris , and Normandy. My favorite part of the trip was definitely walking around Amsterdam, though I almost got run over multiple times, it was all very pretty and the architecture was beautiful. I also enjoyed walking around the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial. In Amsterdam, we visited a diamond factory that showed us how diamonds were cut and what types of cut people liked best. The Princess cut was my favorite. We also went on a canal ride, we saw amazing house boats and waved at people whenever we could. We got lunch and afterward visited a shop that was filled with rainbows, it’s a lot like a store we have here and I bought a bunch of items from it. Amsterdam was definitely  my favorite part of this trip, from the diamonds all the way down to the little shops.

My favorite attraction we visited was the Anne Frank house. It was a indescribable experience, quite literally. When I was talking to my family on the phone I couldn't find the right word to describe it. Wonderful or fun sounded wrong, because visiting the house was so raw and moving. I struggled to wrap my mind around the fact that I was there, and this was where the diary was actually written. Seeing the old pictures stuck to the walls made everything so much more real, and surreal at the same time. I was surprised by the size of the annex at first, because there seemed like plenty of space, but walking through it seemed to get smaller and tighter, even without any furniture. Overall I thought that visiting the Anne Frank house was a beautiful experience.

My second favorite part of the trip was going to the Anne Frank House. When we read the book in class I thought it was such a moving thing to read, so to actually go and see the place where he lived in hiding was amazing. Being able to know what exactly had happened to Anne and her family is incredible and so is finding where she lived in hiding. When I went into Anne’s room and saw all the pictures on the wall of movie stars and other famous people it made me realize how much she was just like any regular kid. I have always tried to understand what it would be like and how it felt for people just like me to go through an experience like WWII or the Holocaust, but I could never imagine it. So when we went to the Anne Frank House it helped me understand more of what people went through. That is why that Anne Frank House was such a touching experience for me.

The second thing that really moved me when we went to France was the Secret Annex in the Anne Frank house. When Anne writes about the annex in her diary I thought it seemed spacious or a least the smallest bit cramped, but after going through the actual thing the living conditions seem small and unworthy of a large family. I also noticed that the bedroom where Anne was is about the size of a large closet witch I find outstanding because she got into few fights over how small it was in her diary. The last thing I found was that the family lived fairly well in the house besides its smallness. Overall I find that the house was incredibly small   

Though our trip to Paris was what I had presumed would be the highlight of our adventure, my favorite place hands down, was Amsterdam. It was such a beautiful area that was so aesthetically pleasing it made me happy just to look around. I have some of the best pictures of the small beauties there. My top three are one of an old rusted bike resting against a huge brick castle, with small pink flowers in the basket, a vintage bright yellow motorcycle with vines crawling up the wall behind it, and a picture of the swan that swam right up to us on the side of the road. Walking down the streets on the worn down bricks right next to the canals, and seeing the tall close together buildings is something I will never forget. Plus, we cannot forget the thousands, probably millions of bikes EVERYWHERE. Anywhere with a railing has bikes propped up against it. Some of them being old and strangely twisted, and others looking clean and new. Out of everywhere that I have traveled Amsterdam is the place that stands out to me as somewhere I would love to live.

First we went to Amsterdam and stayed there for about 3 days. While we were there, we took a boat tour, went to Anne Frank’s house, and went to some really cool shops, bakeries, and restaurants. The people there rode bikes a lot (Maybe even more than cars?) so you would be able to see hundreds of them locked up in one place.

A lot of things happened during this trip that I didn’t expect, here are some of them. One of the very interesting things about Amsterdam that I didn't expect was the lack of cars in the city. Cars were of course still present but I didn’t see as many of them as I expected. It was really interesting to see how Amsterdam as a city was formed around cycling. Another thing I didn't expect was something I learned at the Louvre. This is that all the famous roman statues like  Aphrodite de Milo were actually originally painted but it has since worn off over the hundreds of years surviving the elements. Those were some of the surprising things I learned on our trip to Amsterdam and France.

I loved every activity we did on the France and Amsterdam trip, but my favorite would be going to the Eiffel Tower. I have always wanted to see the Eiffel Tower, like any little kid but it was even greater than I imagined. When we first started climbing it was a little hard for me because I had a cold and I kept having to stop to cough, so I was a little discouraged. But when I reached the top the view was amazing and I could see things like L'Arc de Triomphe and that really giant ferris wheel that no one knows the name of. On the way back down the Eiffel Tower, all of the lights came on. The best part of the whole night was when we were leaving and the flashing lights went on. It was beautiful and I pretty much had to be dragged by my friends to stop taking pictures. So even though it isn’t very original the Eiffel Tower was still my favorite part of the trip.

The Eiffel tower was really cool. It was really tall and you could see a lot from the top of the tower. The Eiffel tower looked better at night, because the lights were on. It was amazing when the Eiffel tower started sparkling. Everyone in Paris probably saw it.

I climbed to the top of the Eiffel tower.I even sprinted up the tower. The elevator that takes you to the top only worked to the second floor when we were there.So I and a few other kids sprinted to the second floor to use the elevator.The elevator on the way up was quite creaky and you felt like it was going to drop.So when we got to the top I took a few pictures, looked around, and then I felt the Eiffel move. It actually wobbles when you are up there and you feel it. That is the scariest part.Then it was time to go down I thought the way down would be way more scary than the way up, but it wasn't. I think it is because you going towards the ground.That was my time at the Eiffel tower.

When I was in France, my favorite part was the Eiffel Tower. I was so scared at the top because I am very scared of heights. Maybe my favorite part of the Eiffel Tower was as we were walking away the Tower started to sparkle and flash and it was so cool! Over all, France was amazing!!

When looking back on our trip to France one event that sticks out is my experience at the Eiffel Tower. It was a huge bucket list item that I climbed it, but sadly I am terrified of heights. I am proud to say that I made it to the top, where I stood just long enough to see the view, feel the floor breaking and swaying beneath me, and truly believe that I was about to die. Climbing up was somewhat enjoyable though. I walked with Abby, and she held my hand the entire time. We both made time lapses of climbing to the first floor, and they turned out pretty neat. At the second floor I stopped at the gift shop to buy some presents for my sisters. The way down the tower was terrifying. My legs were shaking so much it was hard to walk, and Dr. G seemed a bit concerned. As we reached the bottom I sat down on the floor shocked that I had survived. I am glad that I made it all the way up, and I never have to do it again.

I went to Paris with my school we visited a lot of interesting places like the Eiffel tower. When we got to the Eiffel tower it was a long line but definitely worth it. My class and I climbed all the stairs all the way to the top. When we got up to the top it was so beautiful. The walk down was very hard too. When we were leaving the tower at 8 o'clock the lights came on and it was amazing, the coolest thing I have ever seen.   

The trip was awesome. One of the things that I really liked was the boat tour that we did in France. It was really cool because of all the bridges. There was one bridge which had a bunch of faces with different expressions. The bridges were all unique. This was a really cool experience.

The art museums were definitely a highlight of the trip for me, especially the Louvre. My mother told me about how when she went there a man said that if you were to look at every piece in there for only thirty seconds you would have to stay in France for at least a month. I was quite enamored with the Greek and Roman statues at the Louvre because I am so fond of their mythology. An easy favorite of mine was Hermes, who was standing proudly with his helmet and staff. I am disappointed that I did not get to observe the Egyptian exhibit because I also think their legends are a delight.

The Louvre I have to say was pretty awesome. It was interesting to see the inside of it, because the only thing I’ve seen was the actual pyramid. You could see it from inside if you looked out the windows and it was pretty remarkable how many people were in one area. The three places where it was almost impossible to get a good picture were the Mona Lisa (obviously), the Wings of Victory, and that Venus thing that I can’t remember the name of. The maze was pretty cool too, but it wasn’t really a maze, just a few bushes that were aligned in a symmetrical order.

One of the good parts of the trip was when we went to Notre Dame. The reason for this is because there were pigeons all around. A very nice man gave us corn so the pigeons landed on our hands.

Visiting Normandy and walking through the cemetery was very peaceful and calm. Everyone was quiet and recognized that this was not a place to fool around in, well almost everybody. I saw hundreds of crosses and only a few Jewish stars, the Jewish stars marked a Jewish person, and a cross someone catholic or christian I believe. That is very sad, because I heard that more than half of the soldiers were Jewish and I had only seen a few of them marked. But if I had served in that war and wasn’t marked with the correct symbol, I wouldn’t care because at least I was being remembered, no matter what my religion. After we visited the cemetery, a few of us walked down to the beaches, there were some bunkers that we could walk through which was really cool. Since it was raining and very muddy, only a few of us came out clean, but after that bus ride there was mud everywhere.

On the trip to Europe there were two things that I thought were really interesting and moved me. The first of which was seeing all the american crosses at the beach. When I was walking through the fields I knew that each and everyone of those crosses represented a fallen soldier who died on that beach.  My mom talked to me before I went to the airport about the what seemed like miles of rows of crosses and stars for each person who died on the beach and how much gratitude and respect the should still have after seventy years. Those are the things that moved me at the american beach of Omaha.

I enjoyed many unique, pleasant experiences while embarking upon a journey across Europe, from Amsterdam to Normandy. Traveling with the school was an interesting and rewarding endeavor. Visiting many significant monuments of France and the Netherlands on our trip was a joy and being able to do in the company of friends was great. Everything from the Eiffel Tower to the Rijksmuseum had something to offer and the knowledge gained from this tour is of considerable educational value. Experiencing Europe for the first time through this school trip was great.

Specifically, visiting Versailles, the Anne Frank House, the Eiffel Tower, and the Louvre were especially outstanding experiences. While visiting Versailles and the Anne Frank house, it was amazing to walk in the houses of the many greats that came before us. With the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre, the spectacle of such places were enough to entertain for years. There was so much to see in Europe and, with that, there was so much to learn from the many significant landmarks we visited. The journey around Europe was an amazing educational experience and it see these things with the school.

Even though a bunch of middle school kids can cause some drama, some of it is kinds of fun to go along with. Although there was some bad drama, there was also some good drama. By drama, I mean something that happened that everyone was talking about. For example, the last night we were there, some of us went to a cafe where we ate frog legs, duck, and steak tartar! It was really fun to talk about all of this and laugh at it too. I have got to say, this trip was a little overwhelming, but also really fun.

Something that surprised me was how I tried frogs legs. I was not expecting me to go and try them but I am glad I did. I have never had chicken but it apparently it tasted like it. It was actually pretty good. I also had some bad pizza at that restaurant but the pizza was made up for by the frogs legs.  

Going on a trip for a week can be a hassle, especially when you are with forty-four other people, which is exactly what the entire Seabury Middle School community did one week ago. I have got to say though, there was a lot of drama on the trip, some good, and some bad. First of, the bad, three people got pick pocketed. I mean, we all new that there was a risk, but no one actually thought someone would get pick pocketed. It was a little scary, I have got to say, knowing that someone could grab my phone and my wallet without me noticing. But I didn’t let that ruin the trip, it was still a really fun trip to Paris and Amsterdam.

Everything we did in Europe was very fun, but I especially loved the Anne Frank House, the train from Amsterdam to Paris, and spending time in Normandy. The Anne Frank House was one of my favorite parts of the trip because it was very interesting to see a piece of history that had hardly been changed. While reading Anne’s diary I often felt that I was similar to her. Visiting the Secret Annex was very interesting because it has barely been changed since they hid there more than fifty years ago. When we walked through the actual Secret Annex I imagined it as it might have looked when it was in use. The spaces were already small, but with all the furniture put in the spaces would have been tiny. The Anne Frank House is not just there to uphold the memories of the people who lived there, it is there to remind us of everyone who was forced to live in hiding like they were and I felt it as we walked through. To get from Amsterdam to Paris we took a train, and that too was one of my favorite parts of the trip. The reason that I liked the train ride was because I loved seeing the landscape change from city to farmland and back again. The landscape at first was very pretty and I enjoyed looking at all the farmland. Once we reached Paris, however, I began to see lots of litter and evidence of homelessness. After we left Paris we went to Normandy and the time we spent there was also one of my favorite parts. I enjoyed Normandy because it did not feel so much like a city as a big town. The first thing I saw in Normandy was someone wearing a unicorn costume and from that moment I knew I was going to love our time there. It turns out that there was some college costume party nearby and so we saw a lot of people in costumes roaming the streets. The hotel was also nice and I enjoyed the room because it had a big window that let in a lot of light and so it was naturally lit most of the time. When we went to dinner we went to a restaurant called the Hippopotamus that had very good food and very nice people. The next day we went to the cemetery which I also enjoyed. I liked the cemetery because if someone was Christian they had a cross for their headstone, but if they were Jewish they were given a Star of David shaped headstone. I enjoyed everything that we did on the Europe trip, but I especially loved the Anne Frank House, the train from Amsterdam to Paris, and Normandy.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Undersea with Seabury Students

 Today we went to the Naval Undersea Museum in Keyport on the Kitsap Peninsula. As part of our mission to learn about Modernity and WW2, learned from the exhibits and curators of the museum. Students began their study at the museum with a hands-on robotics activity. Robotics is a huge part of undersea exploration and the work of Navy specialists. Many of our students were able to program the bots to solve a series of challenges.

Next students explored the exhibits with a scavenger hunt, looking for answers among the artifacts. We looked at early diving gear, torpedoes, and submersible crafts. Students were able to take a seat on a mock up of a modern submarine deck, and man the instruments. They had some surprises too, like the role of train marine mammals in modern naval missions. Sea lions that grab enemy swimmers!

 We had lunch in the Norwegian Village of Poulsbo, and compared the donuts at Sluy's Bakery to the ones from House of Donuts.

Seabury is all about challenge, fun, and learning,