Saturday, September 27, 2008
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
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
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.
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!!
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!
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
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
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
Monday, August 11, 2008
We arrived in our monster truck vans around 6 o'clock. We had a very traditional summer meal including burgers, hotdogs, corn on the cob, and potato salad. For dessert Heather melted chocolate and cut up some delicious fruit.
After everybody was stuffed full of American goodies, everybody split up around the house and entertained themselves. Some people tried "American lemonade" (jalapeno juice and water). Mike actually liked it and drank half the bottle. Some people also had a chance to practice their pinball and billiard skills. I'm not sure who the champions were, so you all will have to tell me.
Out front, we worked up a sweat playing basketball. I was surprised how good Ice and Grass were. Also, Emily is a great defender and is really tough! Then we played knockout with everybody. Dad joined but got knocked out right away every time. I think he needs to practice more before playing the Japanese students again!
The students also had a chance to meet my two cats, Yogi and Tori. Tori was in heaven because everybody was giving her attention and petting her. I think that some of the students want to put her in their luggage and take her home!
All in all, we had a great time at my house. Now I'm off to go join in another activity. I am always so impressed how much energy you all have. = )
BubbleShare: Share photos - Play some Online Games.
Sunday, August 10, 2008
BubbleShare: Share photos - Powered by BubbleShare
After enjoying cuisine from around the world in the cafeteria, the AGU students heard from 3 employees at the Inter-American Development Bank. After their briefing, they all took a turn at the gavel in the Director's Boardroom!!
Saturday, August 9, 2008
After NMAI, I took a group to the National Air and Space Museum, which is a place you can't help but like. We saw the Wright Brothers exhibit that displayed the first plane ever. For some reason my favorite part was the original patent for "Flying Machines". It's amazing how that little piece of paper has affected our modern world. To finish off the day on a mall we watched a movie about black holes in the Einstein Planetarium. I thought it was kind of cool but a lot of my group ended up dozing off because of the dark lighting and reclined seats.
Afterward we went to what some might call a playground (for lack of a better word) and Masatoshi, Nobuya, and Ryohei performed some acrobatics. Joe and I weren't able to swing around a 7 foot tall pull up bar, but the other guys did it with ease. In the end they helped push me up to the top and we all took a picture. So much for showing off! I'll have to practice more tomorrow when we go to Voice of America.
Back at College Park we played more volleyball with Nikki and her friend, Chris. I did not have a good day and ended up costing my team a few games. Sorry guys. I will compliment Tomoko on her awesome plays though: the experience really shows. Later, Masahiro tried to teach me how to spin a basket/soccer ball on my finger like the Harlem Globetrotters. I made a wager with him that I'd be able to do it by Friday and if I can do it for five seconds, I'll get a Japanese souvenir. Wish me luck!
We finished off the night with a dinner at Potbelly and a game of "Keep Away" with me, Nozomu, and Yuya. Nozomu was often the "monkey in the middle" but he was a good sport and made some good steals from Yuya, Nobuya, and me. By the way, I don't recommend having an Oreo milkshake and then taking part in an hour of intense physical activity. That's all I'm going to say.
BubbleShare: Share photos - Play some Online Games.
After AVAM we walked over to the Inner Harbor for lunch. A lot of the students had crabcakes, which are very famous in Maryland. Then we boarded the Water Taxi and headed over to Fells Point. At Fells Point a majority of us got Maggie Moo's ice cream. People got some very interesting flavours, including a bright blue ice cream that tasted just like cotton candy! After we all enjoyed our ice cream we jumped back on the Water Taxi to go pedal boating. It was very inexpensive and everybody seemed to enjoy themselves. I was very proud that nobody fell into the water!
Next, we spent an hour or two sitting on the steps in the Inner Harbor. Some people went shopping, some played cards, and some (cough, cough Pig cough, cough) scared little children with a two headed baby.
Finally, we headed over to Camden Yards to watch the Orioles play baseball! I had such an amazing time sitting next to Smiles and A-love-yumi. We all chanted (CHARGE!), cheered, and clapped. We watched a very exciting game that included two Oriole homeruns, a triple, and a victory! After the big win we watched a great fireworks display!
After the game we walked to meet our bus. The bus finally came around 11:30 and we all headed back to College Park.
Thank you, everybody, for another fun day.
"http://BubbleShare: Share photos - Play some Online Games."
Friday, August 8, 2008
We have been extremely lucky with the weather so far this year. The first two weeks in August are usually very hot and humid, but it has been really nice, and rain has not spoiled our days--except for yesterday, briefly.
Today the weather is drop-dead beautiful for your trip to Baltimore. I hope you all have a fabulous day! My daughter Vicki and I are headed to Maryland's Eastern Shore to spend a few days with my sister. It is her birthday Sunday and there will be a party to celebrate. I am sure I will have a great time, but I will miss seeing your smiling faces! I'll see you on Monday.
I enjoyed the Chipotle burrito! I then returned home to get lots of sleep!
Thursday, August 7, 2008
Afterward, we split into groups and walked around Chinatown. D.C.'s Chinatown is too small! We looked in a few stores but everyone was tired so I took them back to the nice fountain sitting area outside of the Archives metro station where we rested up and talked for a while. It was nice talking to Tomoya who gave me suggestions about good grad schools in Japan for studying Business Administration. When everyone was in the mood for walking again we walked down to the White House and took some group photos. Tomoya's SLR camera is great--13 megapixels makes me jealous. For dinner we stopped at one of my favorite D.C. chains, Teaism, which serves a mix of Asian cuisine and quality tea. Many of us ordered the Ochazuke, which is tea poured over rice and a topping such as fish.
We met up with Joe again at the Metro station and played onigokko all the way back to the Quality Inn. Joe as the Oni was too fast to run from and I was particularly slow at catching Nobuya and Masatoshi. I need to get in shape! Billiards at Laundry World was the evening's choice of activity for some and we stayed until midnight playing. We played in teams to compensate for a lack of pool tables and Kei helped me play agaisnt Masanori and Sanae, but in the end Sanae won the game, knocking in the 8-ball with a well-placed shot. According to Masanori, it's about $5 per person for an hour of pool in Japan, so it must have been nice to play for $1 a game even if it was at Laundry World.
Hope you guys get some sleep tonight!
Also as you may have noticed, I made a mistake with my previous post. In Onigokko the Oni is the one who tags, not the one everyone chases. Sorry.
BubbleShare: Share photos - Powered by BubbleShare
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
*the role of the media in how it covers a story such as the VT shooting,
*the role of politics in the Beijing Olympics and whether or not the government should use the Olympics for political purposes (boycotting or not??), and
*the issue of economics as it relates to the Olympics or other government concerns.
Each group discussed some of these roles. My group talked about the differences in how the news from the United States reports events and how the same news is sometimes reported very differently in Japan because of interest/importance/perspective. Though this was a difficult class, the students did a great job practicing their English skills. Thanks also to Ji Won and Shania for joining our class--we could not have done it without you. Thanks!!!
Today while I was sitting in the hotel, Nozomu came running in, sweating like crazy. "What's wrong?" I asked. "Onigokko!" he said. Onigokko is the Japanese equivalent of "tag" where someone is a "Oni" or demon and everyone chases him. Masanori is the oldest so he got the honor of "Oni".
In the afternoon we went to the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City with some of the Aoyama gang to do some shopping. This time Joe's friend Junior and Junior's friend Koran (whose name I hope I spelled correctly) as well as Shania came along too. Joe and I split up into groups and went shopping. After spending a while in Victoria's Secret, Ryohei emerged from the store with some presents for his girlfriend and the girls with some knickknacks for themselves. Masatoshi and Yuya, who were too timid to enter, bought some chocolate at the Lindt chocolate store. After trying some sample chocolate, my stomach started growling, asking me to fulfill its primal need. Misa, Kyoko, Sachi and I got some suprisingly filling mediterannean food from Au Bon Pain for only a few dollars, allowing us to avoid tipping and expensive entrees. After dinner, Masatoshi, Ryohei, Yuya and I headed up to American Eagle to get some clothes. I was suprised to learn that in Japan pant sizes are only labeled with width and not length. I imagined how great it would be if I didn't have to worry about jean lengths when buying clothing for my 6'5" figure.
Afterwards we headed back to College Park. Joe spent some time with Ayumi who wasn't feeling so well. We miss you Ayumi! Get better soon!
I apologize for not posting more pictures, hopefully everyone else took enough to make up for my complacency.
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Then we ordered pizza and went back to my apartment to eat and relax. Everybody got to meet two of my roommates, Qing and Kristin. While we ate the pizza, we listened to some Japanese music on Risa's iPod. Then the students got a tour of my room which they seemed to enjoy. Before heading back to the QI, many of the AGUers played Mario Kart. I'm not sure who the champion was, but everybody had a lot of fun.
I hope that everybody enjoyed their day.
Nikki<"http://BubbleShare: Share photos - Powered by BubbleShare">
I observed that at first, almost all the students separated their sentences. I showed them how to write their post as a single paragraph. Now it is time to teach them that when they talk about different topics (e.g., meeting the American students, visiting the Kennedy Center, and dinner), they should have a new paragraph for each topic.
Today, I followed them over to Plant Science 1111 to make sure they knew the way. It's a good thing, too, because they all started up the hill to Stamp Union! (early lunch?) I stayed long enough to take a couple of pictures and missed Shania's visit by a couple of minutes. However, I saw her later at the Dairy, where the group had lunch with Heather and Marie Hallion prior to her lecture on the history of U.S. diplomacy. (I hope the students were able to understand at least half of this very interesting presentation!)
Tomorrow, I am going to teach them how to add links to their sidebar. That will make it easier for them to go from blog to blog, reading and commenting.
Ayumi caught a cold and missed class today. :-( I hope she feels better soon!
So, today after all the Aoyama and Maryland Japanese language students met, around four o'clock all the Aoyama students met up at the Quality Inn to get dressed and ready for the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts. A VERY big building with lots of stages. The view around the center is breathtaking and at the same time housed a nice Jazz ensemble Naval Academy in Annapolis.
Afterward we went to Dupont to eat some sushi! We then came back! In the end we came back very late because the sushi took forever to make. For that reason, this post is being written very late and probably has tons of mistakes... Sorry!
Monday, August 4, 2008
Yesterday, we had a BEAUTIFUL day in Old Town Alexandria and Georgetown. The entire group walked to Christ Church to see where George Washington worshiped, and the group even got to sit in his pew which was larger than all the other pews in the church (tall man!!). Additionally, my group saw Washington's townhouse that he used when he visited Alexandria and Gadsby's Tavern where Washington ate and partied!!! We then visited a candy store where we tried many different flavors of taffy and the students bought POUNDS of candy!!! Afterward, we had to eat seafood--the favorite was the Maryland crabcake, a popular delicacy of this area. The fun did not end when we all boarded a boat to Georgetown where the group stayed to enjoy themselves.
Sunday, August 3, 2008
My group went to a pizzeria. There we split two small pizzas and a salad. We got a broccoli and chicken pizza and a shrimp pizza. Afterwards, we did some shopping. Many of the girls got I Love DC shirts and mood rings. Then, we met the rest of the crew for a boat tour from Alexandria to Georgetown. During the boat tour we saw many beautiful sites, such as the Washington monument and the Capitol building.
When we got to Georgetown, everybody split about and went shopping for an hour. After we met up, I took a group of girls to a beautiful field to rest before dinner. We sat in the shade overlooking the water. I taught the girls how to play one of my favorite card games, Crazy Eights. I was surprised how quickly they learned how to play, they beat me every single time! Then they taught me how to play "Wink", which was very fun. During this time we also got to know each other better. We talked about the sports, music, and movies that we all like.
After we were done resting, we went to go eat. We ate at Qdoba, which is a Mexican fast food resteraunt. This was the first time any of the girls had eaten Mexican and I was very impressed at the different types of food they tried. I'm pretty sure that all of the girls enjoyed their food which made me happy because Mexican food is my favorite. When we were finished eating, we walked to the Metro and came back to College Park.
Today was a wonderful day. It was so fun to have the opportunity to get to know each of the students more. I am looking forward to learning more and more about each of you.
Your friend, Nikki
Today started out with lunch with everyone and then a tour around campus. Unfortunately the only open shops at Stamp Student Union were McDonald's and Chick Fillet so the students didn't get to taste the delights of Sbarro's pizza. We then split up into groups and showed the students our campus. My group braved the heat and followed me to the Campus Recreation Center, Byrd Stadium and Hornbake Plaza, The Mall, McKeldin Library, and Van Munching Hall. Despite all the walking, everyone seemed to like the pool at CRC and Van Munching Hall's spaciousness. I think after two weeks at UMD everyone will have the leg muscles of olympians. After resting up at bit at the Quality Inn we headed out to Union Station on the Metro. At Union we walked around some shops, many of which would have been more suited for the ladies (and my group was all guys). For some reason salad seemed to be the choice of dinner for most of us, except the clever Tomoya, who managed to find some sushi in the food court. I think they overdid it on the wasabi since he grimaced more than once. Afterwards we headed out in the direction of the Capitol building which was visible from the station. We walked up as close as we could to it and everyone took a picture of it. We walked around the capital for a while and then headed back. On the train ride back Nikki and I were suddenly horrified to think that we'd left Masatoshi and Tomoya back at Fort Totten, but apparently those two blended in so well with the Americans on board it was about half a minute before we saw them. Everyone made it back safely and with enough time to catch some sleep for more fun tomorrow.
Saturday, August 2, 2008
Friday, August 1, 2008
So today was the first day of AGU in America 2008's program. Everyone seemed to be very excited, albeit a little tired. After leaving the airport, we all traveled through Washington D.C. on the very cool Maryland bus and saw many different parts of D.C., including the White House! After we got back, the students rested a bit, and then went out to dinner. I took my group to Noodles and everyone said the food was either Good or Okay! Afterward, we got ice cream from Cold Stone! We then went to CVS for a bit, and went back to the hotel. It was a long flight and a long day.
I hope you all rest well and are excited and ready to enjoy your time in America.
When we arrived at the Quality Inn, everyone checked in quickly and went to their rooms to unpack and freshen up before dinner. Heather and I left and the mentors planned to divide the group into three to go to Noodles & Co., Potbelly Sandwich Works, and (I'm not sure where Mike was going to take his group). They must be having dinner now, as I write this.
I was pleased to meet Masanori Sugiura, who is a friend of Ryo Kamiki, one of our AGU2006 participants! I hope I can learn everyone's name in two or three days.
Here is a slideshow of pictures from today:
BubbleShare: Share photos - Find great Clip Art Images.
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
My name is Heather Strube. I have been involved in higher education settings since 1997 and currently work as an Assistant Director of Residential Life at Johns Hopkins University. My degree is in TESOL, and I enjoy seeking out opportunities to use my skills throughout Maryland and abroad during the summers such as being the Coordinator for the AGU in America 2008 program. I love to travel and have backpacked in Italy, taught in Korea, lived in Russia for three summers, worked at an international school in El Salvador, toured Israel, and most recently vacationed in Vancouver, British Columbia. I live in Baltimore, Maryland with my husband Joe and our two children, Hannah and Isaac.
Hello! My name is Nina Liakos, and I will be your reading/writing instructor in this year's program. I will show you how to create a weblog that your family and friends can follow while you are in the United States, and that you can return to to remember the fun times you are going to have here. I have been teaching English as a Second Language at the Maryland English Institute, University of Maryland, for 27 years. I am married to Christoforos and we have a daughter, Vicki, who will be 16 on August 13! I have had the pleasure of working with the AGU in America program since 2006, and I am looking forward to meeting all of you on August 1.
Hi, my name is Michael Dougherty, and I'm a Japanese-Linguistics major at College Park. I like playing tennis and soccer. I also like experimenting with music production software and synthesizers as well as doing some amateur deejaying in my spare time. I'm interested in Eastern languages like Japanese, Korean, and Arabic and would like to be able to speak all three someday. I will be one of the mentors for the AGU2008 program.
Hi everyone! My name is Joe Paulson, and I am a math major at the University of Maryland. I am honored and excited to be one of your student mentors during the AGU summer program of 2008! I look forward to meeting all of you!
I am Nikki Slatkin, and I am a senior at the University of Maryland. I look forward to being a mentor for AGU in America 2008. I have just done a coast to coast to coast USA road trip with a friend. We started in Maryland, drove to California, and ended up in North Carolina. I love to travel and meet new people, I'm always ready to watch or participate in some sport or another (even the ones I'm not good at, which is a majority of them), I think that people are fantastic, and I wish I was a better writer. I am looking forward to hanging out with you and exploring the Maryland and D.C area together. I'm also looking forward to teaching you a little about the American way of life, and I'm really excited to learn what everyone else has to teach me. It's going to be a great August!