Saturday, September 27, 2008

Chat at Tapped In

Today, a group of us gathered in my virtual office at Tapped In for a chat. Hiromi (2006), Mike, Nikki, and AGU2008 participants Kei, Emily, Masatoshi, Masanori, Tomoko, Saaya, Sachi and Ayumi joined me for over an hour. It was really great to "see" them and to "hear" how they have been doing! Even though we are separated by so many thousands of miles, we are still connected by friendship and our shared experience with AGU in America.

Our next chat will be October 25, 2008, at GMT 15:00. That's 7 am Pacific time, 10 am Eastern time, and 11 pm in Tokyo. I hope even more people will join us next time!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Extraordinary Bloggers

I am so pleased to see that six participants have already posted to their blogs on their first day at home (Ayumi, Emily, Misa, Sahori, Risa, and Sachi). Kudos to you ladies for being the first--but I hope not the only--ones to keep your blogs going!

I have scheduled a chat for Saturday, September 27 at 10 a.m. EDT (11 pm in Tokyo). Everyone mark your calendars and join us at Tapped In!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Don't Go!

Wow, I can't believe this will be my last post for the AGU 2008 blog. What an amazing, hilarious, wonderful, interesting, and exciting two weeks.

Staying up ALL night Thursday night/Friday morning was well worth the exhaustion I'm feeling right now. I had a lot of fun playing a few last games of volleyball, sharing one last American meal with you all, hanging out in the hotel, drinking Slurpees, practicing billiards at 4 in the morning, learning new games, and just soaking up our last few hours together.

Also, I want to thank each and every one of you for our goodbye surprise on the bus. It was so well planned out and was very special to me. I love my Princess crown and will keep it in my room to remind me of you all. Additionally, thank you for the kind comments on my card, they really mean a lot to me. Although it was hard saying goodbye at the airport, saying goodbye is just one step needed before we can reunite. I hope that you all contact me if you ever come hang out in America again!

In closing, I want to remind you all of how lucky you guys are to have each other. Right now, you have nineteen new friends who understand what you've been through the past two weeks. If you experience culture shock or are just "homesick" for the Quality Inn, you have so many people to look through pictures and laugh at memories with. I want you all to remain in touch with me, but more importantly I hope you remain in touch with eachother because you all have shared such a great experience together.

Once again, thank you, thank you, thank you.

Your friend,

BubbleShare: Share photos - Play some Online Games.

Quick note, I will be emailing you all at your Gmail accounts so be sure to check them! If you do not recieve an email with a list of everybody's contact information, it means I have the wrong address and you need to let me know!!


Was it only two weeks ago that we welcomed the group to the United States? The time has gone by so fast. The program has been intensive and intense. Although most of the students claimed they were not ready to leave, I think that if they had stayed any longer they would have collapsed from sleep deprivation. Most of them solved the problem of early check-out by staying up all night!

We all met at the Quality Inn at 7:30 a.m. and by 8:00 were loaded on the Terrapin bus and on our way to Dulles International Airport, where it all began 15 days ago. The trip passed quickly because the group had prepared a very original thank-you "ceremony," which began with them setting off a firecracker (having fortunately warned the bus driver that this was going to happen); continued with the presentation of thank-you cards on which every participant had written a personal message to each of us; and ended with each participant taking the microphone to say thank you. We were all very touched by their words and impressed by their English!

After everyone had checked their luggage, we hung around taking pictures for a while, trying to put off the inevitable--but eventually, we said our final goodbyes (some very tearful) as the group passed through security and out of sight. (There was a lot of American-style hugging too.)

Nikki, Joe, and Mike passed out from exhaustion on the ride back to College Park (see slideshow). As I write this at 4:30 pm, I imagine twenty Japanese students in a similar state on a plane traveling west (or north?). Sweet dreams!

BubbleShare: Share photos - Create and Share Crafts

Everyone has promised to keep blogging and to meet at Tapped In to chat. I hope you will keep these promises! I've set the next chat for Saturday, September 27, at 11 pm (Tokyo)/9 a.m. (EDT). Mark your calendars, and make sure your computer is configured for chat with Java Runtime prior to that day!) You can check this by logging in to Tapped In as a guest and seeing whether the chat screen appears.) You can also visit my virtual office (NinaTL_Ofc) to check on the date and time for the next chat. See you in cyberspace!


On Thursday, the last full day in the United States, we marked the end of the program with a farewell reception in the Stamp Union. There were speeches (by MEI Associate Director Linda Sahin, who oversees AGU in America, and also Heather, Nina, and the mentors), lots of food and many photo ops:

BubbleShare: Share photos - Create and Share Crafts

Afterwards, the participants and the mentors went off to play for a while before going back to the hotel to pack. They then "pulled an all-nighter," as we say, but I will leave that to the mentors to blog about!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

One day left! :-(

Yesterday was Wednesday and there were only two days to go. After classes and hitting the library to see the Prange collection the group went on to play several games of bowling... I was very impressed with many of the girls' bowling ability, but not too much with the guys'! Just kidding! After bowling, we all went to Shoppers supermarket and then Target. I think a lot of people enjoyed the supermarket and Target. After Target I and two others ran over to Petsmart and pet some cats... Unfortunately, I keep forgetting I am allergic to cats and was sneezing the entire night! Afterwards we went to some food plaza and I went to an African-Caribbean restaurant. I got something called Jama-Jama! It was really good! We then headed on to play putt-putt and go to the batting cages! I wasn't very good at the batting cages, I didn't even manage to hit a single fast ball! Rolling down hills afterward brought everyone to a good mood.

I'm sad to say, only one more day away till the return of the AGU.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Last Day in Washington

Yesterday, we went back to Washington to give everyone a final look at the Nation's Capital. The Aoyama students got a VIP tour around the Capitol building from Congressman Cummings' assistants. We walked from the congressman's office building to the Capitol through some underground tunnels. We started in the lower levels of the Capitol and saw the old Supreme Court where 12 men ruled in the 19th century that slaves could be regulated as property. I thought the room was very dark and a little creepy, almost like a cave.
Afterwards we walked up to the rotunda and saw the inside of the Capitol's dome. George Washington was painted on a fresco depicting him as a Greek god. Around the dome's circumference is a frieze that depicts the history of America from Columbus' landing to the birth of aviation. Finally, to leave the capitol we took the "world's shortest subway" and it was indeed very short.
We walked from the Capitol building to the White House via the the National Mall, stopping in at the Botanical Gardens on the way. The walk was very long and on the way I talked with Saaya and Sachi about Habitat for Humanity in Japan. Habitat is an organization that builds housing for low income families around the world. I was surprised to hear that Sachi is going to help build houses in Thailand later this summer.
In front of the White House we got some "Kodak moments" with the Aoyama students. Joe asked a police officer (who I thought looked like Wesley Snipes) if he could take a picture with us. "No, sir," he said stoically. Nice try, Joe.
Back at College Park we ate at an Israeli pita place. We were all impressed by Joe's fluency in Hebrew. The food was very good and it seemed like everyone enjoyed what they ordered. Towards the end of the meal we were joined by Sachi and Nadav, Japanese majors and friends of Joe. They were very nice and we hope to see them again tonight.

I apologize for the late post. See you guys in a few hours.

BubbleShare: Share photos - Powered by BubbleShare