Happy Birthday Justin! It will last 44 hours! Flying home today!

Dear Parents,

Your students should return at 4:20 in the North Terminal!  I just ask that you wait until Sarissa gets through customs and you check out with her before you leave the airport!  Please thank her!  She was amazing!  This is quite the bonded group, so I hope that they will take one last group picture to finish out this blog after they give Justin his birthday present!  It will take a few extra minutes at the airport, but it will give you a glimpse of how many inside jokes, laughs, and adventures this group has had together!  The games are still going.  We’ve played 3 rounds of  “Murder” and we still have one unknown murder on the loose among us.  I also hope that this blog is a resource for the students to remember ALL of the memories and events of this trip.  It was so packed full that it will take a week of rest to be able to go through it all in our minds.

We took some time as a group to reflect last night and everyone shared what their most memorable moment was and something that they learned.  I had a wonderful trip and thanked the group for being so awesome.  You should be proud of how they behaved!  I truly enjoyed them all as individuals and I like each of them better than when we left!  I can assure you that that is not always the case!  We simply have had a lot of fun together, thanks for affording them this opportunity.  They have had freedom and responsibility and handled them both with grace and spunk!  I wish everyone a GREAT SUMMER!

Frau Senden

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A long escalator ride

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The final group picture, just as it began, without Tia and Andrew!

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We dropped Andrew off at condor

First Day in Stuttgart: by Jaidyn

Today is the day we are heading into Stuttgart as our last trip to another city in Germany. We had to take a few trains to arrive in Stuttgart and our youth hostel. As we were taking the last train there, the doors almost closed on many people but we ran to another door and barely got through. There were a few people including Frau Senden thankfully, that were left behind while we were around 25 minutes ahead of them. But we all finally made it back to the youth hostel!

After all of the train rides and traveling most of us decided to go shopping for souvenirs and partly for ourselves. First stop, we decided to get icecream of course. While eating our icecream Marta and Elizabeth went into a camping/sporting store called Decathlon. They looked in there for a bit and Marta came back saying she bought an 8€ backpack!! So Erin, Tia and I really wanted one too, so we went as well and bought them! After this shop we went into Tk Maxx and all 5 of us tried on dirndls, since we are in Germany! We went to a few more stores and Marta, Tia and Elizabeth spent around 200€ worth of chocolate combined. Around 7 o’clock we went out to Hansin Gluck and ate burgers and drank lemonade. After dinner we took some pictures, went home, played some cards and headed to bed to get rest for our last official day in Germany!

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They didn’t buy them, but this looks like a fun shopping adventure!

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Great burger restaurant with cool decor

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Auswandererhaus in Bremerhaven: by Tia

This appears out of order, but I”m seriously behind on the updates!!


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A Sad Goodbye, a Long Train Ride, Public Viewing on the Bodensee: by ?

We are on the road again, so I’ll update when I can.  We are safe in the hostel, students slept the whole day on the train, it was a good time for them to get over being sad about leaving their partners and get back into travel mode.  We’re in a beautiful location and hope to have a day at the lake tomorrow.  We watched the second World Cup game for Germany and they were in a must win situation and they won the game 2-1 in the last 10 seconds of the game.  We watched it with about 500 people on the banks of the Bodensee.  I’ll add pictures soon and blog entries.  I’m behind on the updates! The WiFi is too slow at the moment!

 

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Happy Birthday Jan, a Zoo, the Farewell Party, and a Mohawk?!: by Adrianna

Today the group was supposed to go to the North Sea but due to the unexpectedly bad weather the teachers decided to take us to the Hannover Zoo! This zoo was GINORMOUS, well at least to the Alaska Zoo standards. There were separate areas with the different animals from all of the different countries. The animals ranged from hippos to wallabies and all of the group was thrilled. After the first 15 minutes the group split into smaller groups. Some went adventuring through the the maze of animals, while some decided it was best to rest and replenish all of their calories in one of the many restaurants in the Zoo. In the three hour time period our “slightly” large group of teenagers had done almost everything from playing with goats, dominating the young german children’s playhouse, or feeding parakeets and verbally harassing the meerkats. I can almost guarantee that all of the German and Americans would love to go back and do it all over again. After the excitement of the zoo, we took a fairly long train ride back home and then went straight to the farewell party located with our lovely german hostess Karlotta and her house. This party was no less than exhilarating. Right as everyone arrived wind and rain started and soon it was a complete downpour. Thankfully, it quickly stopped, allowing us go outside of the cabin located in Karlotta’s yard. Once the wind stopped we dished up our plates with loads of delicious foods that the host parents prepared for us to take to this farewell shindig. As we ate we talked about many different things. One of which was a bet from one of our many games we played called “What are the odds?” In this particular game of it our lovely chaperone by the name of Sarissa Lammers asked Austin Ashcraft “Hey Austin, what are the odds you let me give you a mohawk?” Austin confidently responds with “one and one million” so as the game goes some one counts down from three and they both say their answers. If they both say the same answer out of a million Austin must let Sarissa cut his hair into a mohawk and if they don’t then nothing happens and you move on. Somehow, out of pure luck, they both say the exact same number out of one million and Austin in in shock. After a half of an hour begging Austin to do it and telling him he had to he ran to Frau Senden and asked her if he had to do it and she played by the rules and said he did. So after that, he finally gave in and let Sarissa take scissors and a buzzer to his head to create a pretty impressive mohawk. Sadly, he looked really good with this hairstyle so the group didn’t get as much of a laugh as we wanted to. But oh well, can’t win them all. Once we finished watching Austin’s hair get cut we recited our poems to our partners and said some of our farewells. The last exciting thing that happened at this soirée was Jan getting the traditional 16th birthday flour dumped on him. With this we all left the party one by one until all that was left was Austin’s hair covering the ground of the woods.

 

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Ta-Da!

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The first cuts!

Happy Birthday Frau Senden, Laser Tag, Escape Room: by Joey

Today was a whirlwind of fun… after school of course. We started the day of nice and calm being interviewed by a 7th grade class, we were asked pretty deep questions. After the awkward but fun interviews, my presentation group went to room 07 to present to the 8th graders, but little did we know there was testing going on, so we went off to search for the new classroom it was moved to. After being led to 6 different classes by a math teacher who spoke no English, we finally came to the conclusion that the teacher was absent, so naturally, we gave up. An hour later in the day, Sa’rissa, Taylor, Marta and I went off to buy flowers for our great teacher Frau Senden’s birthday. When we got back to the school, all four of us snuck the flowers into our homeroom where Frau Senden’s giant card was, but we had not gotten everyone’s signatures for the card yet, so we devised a plan. Taylor and Serissa would stay in the room and Marta and I would go out to the courtyard where everyone else was playing ultimate with 5th graders and we would sneakily get people to go up to the room one at a time to sign her card. It was a success of course.

    Later on in the day when we had to meet at homeroom where we would surprise Frau Senden, Marta distracted her in a different room  while Sarissa passed out the flowers to each individual person to give to Frau for her surprise birthday gift from us. Everything went smoothly and I believe we sang the happy birthday song 3 or 4 times in total.

    The rest of the day was boring up until we all met at the laser tag and escape room building. We started the activities by splitting the 50+ people into 3 groups of 16 or 17 people, where two groups did laser tag first, while the other group of 16 broke into two smaller groups of 8 and did 8 people for each of the two escape rooms. I started off with the escape rooms and my group did the pirates one first. It was fairly easy compared to the last one we did in Berlin, only the end confused us because we didn’t know we had already beaten until the worker came in and told us. After that very fun fun event, we went over to play some laser tag. That was a blast for everyone I’d presume, we got to see the competitive side of the group come out during this. The best and funniest way I can remember getting out is when I turned a corner and see Kristoff come sliding across the ground to get me, it worked, for I was very shocked by it, his “NASA training” is the only explanation for those skills. After a couple very intense and sweaty/competitive rounds of laser tag, we all dispersed and went home for the night.

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Second School Week, Universum: by Izzy

Today, I began the day with an extra hour of sleep, as my partner doesn’t have a 1st hour on Monday every other week. This was quite the blessing, because I have been more exhausted during this week with my exchange partner than the week traveling before. It’s been so bad that I’ve begun to count how many public places I manage to fall asleep in during the day. I have a feeling that the constant german that goes in one ear and out the other has something to do with the frying of my brain. My partner and I biked to school without our usual buddies Leto and Nate after eating breakfast since they departed an hour before we did. Upon arriving to school, I presented for the 4th time (I had to go on the spot by myself once) to a group of seemingly uninterested German 9th graders (in reality, they are just shy!). The class we presented to were, per usual, afraid to speak up or ask questions until we started to call on them without warning. After a while, a few of the kids warmed up and we had good conversations concerning issues within the United States, as well as in Germany. For my 3rd hour, my partners class brought in breakfast, so we went in expecting to grab a muffin and go to homeroom, but that was not the case. The Germans had set up a whole table WITH CANDLES to eat a full breakfast together. It was also a full course breakfast with lots to eat- especially bread!!  We then had another presentation with similar enthusiasm as the first, and lastly a Latin class. It is pretty difficult to learn one language being taught in another you barely understand! After school we went home quickly (all the Germans are speed racers when it comes to biking home) and got on the train to go to the Universum (a museum). It had a bunch of cool interactive displays and exhibits. I personally wish we had a museum like this in Alaska. Think imaginarium on steroids. All of the teenagers seemed to enjoy the few hours we stayed at the museum, and would have even liked to stay a bit longer. After the museum, a large group of Germans and Americans went to get ice cream in downtown Bremen. The ice cream was expensive, but definitely did not disappoint. It was some of the most extravagant ice cream we’ve had while we’ve been here in Germany. After getting ice cream, we hopped on the train back to where we all live and had a little bonfire at Jan’s house with some music. I was the DJ, so safe to say everyone was jamming (at least a little). It was a relaxing way to end a Monday in Germany. Best wishes, John Green… just kidding.

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Weekend Adventures: by Austin

I woke up at 9 AM this morning, it was a miracle, the latest I have been able to sleep in for over 2 weeks. Breakfast was the same as it has been for a week, or our entire stay in Bremen, bread and jam, nothing else…nothing else. As my family and I were preparing for our trip into Hamburg to visit the Miniature Wonderland, everything was seemingly seamless. All 5 of us board the very European, small car. Three of us packed like sardines in the back row. And in the blink of eye, my host father, driving the car and enjoying his spacious placement up front, compared to my cramped one in the back, gasps and pulls over with much celerity. Turns out the trunk of our car was wide open for a lengthy mile. After we did a mental checklist of everything in the back to make sure nothing fell out onto the road and risk a hefty littering fine, we were on our way for an hour and a half drive.

Before we made our way to the Miniature Wonderland, we took a detour to an opera house building that also has apartments and viewing decks, I’m still confused on what the building is. All I need to know is that it is architecturally pleasing. Including it’s other purposes, this opera house is also home to the supposed longest escalator in Europe. It was very impressive but the reality of the escalator did not uphold to it’s expectation or title. It was just an escalator. At the top of the exhilarating escalator were large viewing decks in order to view the city of Hamburg and all of its piers and harbors used to import and export goods, what Hamburg is known for.

Grants family, and my family planned to spend the day together, so we waited up top until they arrived. And finally after only a few minutes of waiting, we can vaguely see the small people waving at us, in the big crowd. As we finished taking in the amazing view of Hamburg, I once again get on the breathtaking, simple escalator to get to the bottom. Seeing Grant was planned, but there were also some unplanned encounters. Just stepping off the escalator, I see Izzy about to step on. We are both happy to see each other, and both a little shocked that we are both in the same place, but have a brief conversation and go on with our separate days.

For lunch, we ate fish and chips. The stand was located next to the harbor so I had high hopes. They were decent, but being from the fishing capital of the world, I am accustomed to eating prime fish and chips. After lunch, we kept the theme of underwater, and went underwater. We traveled down to an underground foot bridge that goes through the river. The thought of it sounds nerve-racking but the bridge itself exceeds that expectation even more. There were holes in the tile that seems they should be leaking but surprisingly are not. It felt like I was back in the Cold War due to the gloominess and the materials used to construct it.

As I thought my day couldn’t have been more exhilarating and exciting, we made it to the Miniatur Wunderland, and I was right, my day didn’t get anymore exciting. The only thing that was running through my head was the descriptiveness of the exhibits. The exhibits depicted almost the entire world. Even including some of the landmarks of America. Overall the Miniatur Wunderland isn’t something you should go to when looking for excitement, but if you are looking for a mellow time, it’s just your place.

One thing that I saw that made me feel unsettled was a fellow GAPP group, but instead, they were all matching neon blue, “GAPP 2018,” shirts that are purely bait for pick-pocketers. And all I could think about was how thankful I am that Frau Senden isn’t so ignorant as that teacher, and how I’m so thankful she hasn’t made us wear matching t-shirts… yet, we never know what she will do next. The last thing I want to talk about is something most of us have noticed this entire trip, bachelorette and bachelor parties. I guess since it’s summer and wedding season, Germany is the place to be. In my only few hours of being in Hamburg, I witnessed 6 bachelorette celebrations and 2 bachelor.

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