Tuesday, December 8, 2009

It’s hard to believe that I only have three more days working at the preschool and four more days with my family in Mata Gorda. I think the last seven weeks have gone by faster than the first five did. Not too much has happened since we went to Dajab√≥n. This past Saturday, we watched a video about the Mirabal sisters. About sixty years ago, they helped bring down the dictatorship of Trujillo and ended up losing their lives for the cause. After watching the movie, we headed to a museum that was actually in the house they used to live in. Probably the coolest part of the experience was getting to meet the one living sister (she didn’t directly take part in the resistance movement).

I didn’t have school today because a funeral was taking place at the school. Yesterday morning, a man living in the next town over shot and killed his wife. She had three children with him, but they were somewhat separated because she was seeing another man. Yesterday morning, when she went to his house to get some of her things, he killed her. Her three children are usually in our town; when they were born, she didn’t register them with the government so they are basically nonexistent in the government’s eyes and aren’t allowed to go to school. When her mom, who lives just down the street from us, found out yesterday morning that her daughter had been killed, she fainted in front of her young children and grandchildren (there are six kids, children & grandchildren, between the ages of 2-12). The kids were naturally scared out of their minds and came running hysterically to the school. Four of them spent the day with us there. Towards the end of school, the YWAM people who had been living with our pastor for the week came and bathed the kids and found them clean clothes and shoes (these kids are always dirty and the youngest one usually runs around completely naked). The daughter and one of the sons of the woman who was killed spent the night with us. Our mom is thinking about adopting the girl, which would be really awesome. Prayers for this family would be greatly appreciated.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The past several days have been very full and somewhat crazy. Wednesday afternoon, we had a pulga (flea market) at the school. Instead of staying until 2:30 like normal, the kids went home right after lunch. We sorted through all of the items people had donated to Students International and snagged a few things for ourselves. People began lining the fence at 1:20, almost an hour before the pulga opened. When Alberto opened the gate, people came charging in - literally running out of their shoes. For the next half hour, people frantically searched through the different tables. It was basically the small scale equivalent of Black Friday sales in the U.S. That night, we had a Thanksgiving dinner at the base. The food was good, but I have to say my Mom's stuffing is way better.

On Thursday, the American teacher I work under had to go to the capital, so Mary (a Dominican helper) and I taught the class by ourselves. I was a little bit nervous before hand, but Mary is very good and the kids were awesome. Nap time was a bit more rowdy than usual. I believe a few of the kids were testing me to see if I would really make them take a nap ... they soon found out that nap time means nap time. All in all, the school day went very well. That night, Dennisse and I joined Dan at our old family's house for supper (he is staying there now). We had hamburgers! Even though they are nothing close to the hamburgers I have at home, they were still a nice change from rice and yucca. Dan walked us back to the base where we made brownies and watched "Diary of a mad black woman" with Brent. It was the most interesting movie I've ever seen. I can't say I will ever watch it again, but it did give us a lot to laugh about this weekend. Dennisse and I spent the night at the base in the softest bed I've slept in since being here.

Friday morning, after a wonderful breakfast of raisin bran (first time I've had that since leaving home), we all piled into the van and a truck and headed to Dajabon. We went to the Haitian market and actually walked all the way up to the border. It was the craziest thing I've ever experienced. The market is open on Fridays and Mondays; any Dominican or Haitian can cross the border with goods during those two days. Brent explained to us that the Haitians usually bring over stuff that has been donated to them by organizations, like toys and shoes, while the Dominicans sell things like food, diapers, and carry-out containers. The Dominicans are able to buy stuff cheaply from the Haitians and then resell the goods in stores and make a profit. All of the Haitians I saw crossing back into Haiti were either pushing wooded wheelbarrows piled high with rice, beans, and ice blocks or carrying big bundles of goods on their heads. The traffic of human beings was nothing like I've ever seen before. At one point, I was wiggling my way between a moving charter bus and wheelbarrows while ducking so I wouldn't get hit by the huge bundles on peoples' heads. I don't yet have pictures because only a few of us brought cameras, but hopefully by the time I come home I'll have gotten my hands on a few. We walked around the outer edge of the market. It was just as crazy as the border crossing. We had to hold hands and form a chain so we wouldn't lose each other. That night, we headed to a church camp about half an hour away. Me and four other girls pushed our bunk beds together and had a sleepover on the bottom bunk.

We spent Saturday at a beach. This was the first beach we've been to yet that has had waves. That was fun for a while, until one caught me, buried my face into the sand, flipped me over and drug me for a little ways. But I still enjoyed myself. There were lots of cliffs that offered a bit of shade ... I took a nap for a while under one. After leaving that beach, we went to another one, but everyone was so tired that we ended up heading back to the camp fairly quickly.

This morning, we went to a Missionary church in Dajabon. We introduced ourselves and sang a song in English and a song in Spanish for the congregation. We stayed for Sunday School, but the actual church service wasn't until later on in the evening. We stopped in Santiago for lunch. Since we were near a supermarket, several of us decided to pool our allotted money and buy some fiberous food there. We ended up being able to get a lot of really good food, like wheat bread and yogurt, without going over our budget. Creativity is pretty handy at times ... it saved us from McDonalds and Kentucky Fried Chicken.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Some pictures from the last two weeks

Still an hour from the top of Magote. It was a long and tough hike, but I think we all had lots of fun anyway. Plus, there were black raspberries near the top ... definitely worth the climb.

Lining up by the flagpole at the beginning of the day to sing the national anthem.

Singing during the morning devotional time.

We had a sleepover last Friday with our mom, one of her friends, a girl from church, and a YWAM girl we know. We did masks, played truth or dare, ate lots of good food that was really bad for us, and watched a movie before all piling into two beds for the night.

In the backseat of the van on our way to the baseball game. We call ourselves the munchkins because we are the four shortest people in the group, and we all happen to be close to the same size.

We went to a baseball game last weekend. Our team, the Aguilas (Eagles), was playing a the Indios from Puerto Rico. We won, 5-4, at the bottom of the last inning.

It's nice to have a roommate who wants to learn how to paint nails Dominican style :)

Yinelvy will wear a coat all day long unless someone takes it off of her, even though she sweats like crazy with it on. I think she just forgets she has it on.

Alexander is one of the older students in my class. He doesn't come every day, but when he does, he's always wearing is thick, brown, leather jacket, no matter how hot it is outside.

Yocaira, my nap buddy. She likes to make up her own stories to match the pictures in books.

Smil always has a smile on his face, even when he's embarrassed, which is all the time!

During breakfast time, Kyarolin peeled three oranges and didn't eat a single piece of any of them, even though she told me she was going to eat all of her food. She is one of my favorite kids at the school. Right now, we're trying to get her to spend more time with the other kids; if she had her way, she would sit in our laps all day. But, she recently discovered how much fun the sand box is, so we're making progress!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

I thought it was about time for another blog post ...

Last week, one of our professors from Bethel came down and we had a ministry class at the base. It was nice to see the other students so much again. And we had an awesome snack every day! However, I’m beginning to wish I didn’t have all of the sugar … I have to run a lot more to work it off than I used to!

Friday night, Dennisse and I spent the night in Hato Viejo with two of our friends (also Bethel students). It was the birthday of one of our Dominican friends, so we spent the afternoon with her, eating cake and catching up. Dennisse and I also visited our first family for a little while. After an awesome supper of Dominican style spaghetti, we gave each other facemasks and then made a fun little music video (while we were wearing our facemasks). It started to get late, so the mom of the house came into the bedroom to tell us we needed to be a little bit quieter. She wasn’t expecting to see four snow white faces. After her little scream, she hid her face and tried not to laugh too hard at us, but we didn’t mind because we were already laughing pretty hard at ourselves. We eventually washed our faces off and started a movie. Our hosts fell asleep before we did, so Dennisse and I decided to turn the movie off and try to get some sleep. We failed in the last endeavor. Three of us were in one bed and Dennisse and I were trying to share one tiny blanket. She got it for the first half of the night, which meant that I didn’t sleep much for several hours. Eventually, she somehow figured out that Kirstin was wrapped up in a huge blanket all by herself, so Dennisse took some of hers and gave me the other blanket. It was a fun time. But seriously, it really was. We laughed a lot and got to be American girls for a night.

The next morning, after having leftover birthday cake for breakfast, we walked to the base and headed out for our excursion. We hiked up a river for three hours. I’m using the word “hiked” very broadly here. We did a lot of slipping on big rocks, swimming against the current, staggering through the middle of the river, clinging to big rocks with the tips of our fingers so we wouldn’t get pulled away. The boys also did a lot of pulling girls to safety. We eventually got to the waterfall we were supposed to see only to find out that there really wasn’t a place to sit or do anything by it. We decided to turn around and go back to a sunny spot for lunch. Luckily, we had packed our lunches in plastic bags; they were the only things in our backpacks that weren’t soaked. We made it back down the river in an hour and a half, half the time it took us to reach the waterfall. It’s amazing what traveling with the current can do. I don’t think anybody walked away from this excursion without at least one cut and one bruise. Personally, I have more cuts that I can count and two huge bruises. Another girl and I found out that if you brush up against a particular plant, it will leave little slivers in your skin that are really hard to pull out. Luckily, they didn’t hurt too much.

The church here in Mata Gorda is a lot different than La Vid, the one I went to in Hato Viejo. As I understand it, the church has had some disagreements among its members and the groups they work with. As a result, the congregation now consists of about seven adults and twenty kids (all under the age of eleven). Our pastor is currently in Africa, doing mission work. We’ve had guest speakers every Sunday I’ve been here. I think the pastor and his family will be moving to Africa within the next year to be full time missionaries. When that happens, I have a feeling the church will die out, which is very sad because they have an awesome children’s ministry going on in this community.

We didn’t have school on Monday because of some national holiday. Dennisse and I decided to run to our friends’ house in the next town. As we were running, it started to pour down rain. After about an hour, it hadn’t really let up, so we decided to just head home. It only took us about five minutes to be completely drenched. The people in our town had a good time laughing at us gringas running in the rain. It rained for the rest of the day, so we didn’t do much … we had hot chocolate, slept, ate, played Nintendo with our little brothers, had more hot chocolate, and then went to bed.

This week at the school has been a lot of fun for me. Katie, the teacher I’m working with, put me in charge of three different subjects for each week. I like having something to plan for and something definite to do while I’m in the class. This was my first Friday actually being at the school (I spent last Saturday at the base for the ministry class and the Saturday before that at the clinic with Dennisse). Fridays are gym days … after the devotion/singing time, we took a walk through the neighborhood and then had our snack. After recess, we made finger puppets. The kids loved them.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

All of this week, we have a ministry class at the base. One of our Bethel professors flew down on Sunday and is spending the week with us. We have class for four hours every day with a nice long lunch break in the middle. Monday morning, I was pleasantly surprised with a package from Peter. He sent it along with the professor. I had been dropping not so subtle hints that chocolate would be wonderful, but he didn't let on at all that he was going to send me any. I'm trying my very hardest to not open anything until later on, when I really, really "need" it. Because Dennisse and I went through a fun lack of fiber time last week, Peter also sent some fiber rich cereal that we can snack on. I have to say, he's very thoughtful. Monday afternoon, I washed my clothes Dominican style for the first time by myself. While living with my first family, I was never home when the laundry had to be done because of Spanish classes. It's hard work! I first put the clothes in the little washing machine, which could rinse the clothes as well as wash them, but I would have had to empty the water between each load. Since we didn't have water, I figured that wouldn't be a good idea. I actually ended up using the same water for four loads, which was pretty nasty, but the clothes got clean. After the clothes when through the washer, I had to wring them out, rinse them in a bucket of water, and wring them out again, all by hand, before putting them in the electric wringer and then hanging them on the line. I definitely appreciate the washers and dryers I'm able to use at home a lot more than I ever did before.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

I'm now living with my new family in Mata Gorda. I have three little brothers, Junior (11), Jansys (9) and Jeremy (8). All three of them are very cute and love to spend time with the two of us girls. When we go out on walks together, they tell their mom they'll protect her daughters. They love to pick flowers for us and play games with us (Uno is a new favorite).

Our mom is crazy and always full of energy. Her husband works in the capital (about three hours away). He can't come home very often because it's really expensive. He came home yesterday just to meet us but probably won't be able to come back home until Christmas time. There are lots of neighborhood kids that would play with us every minute of every day if they could. I'm working in the youngest class in the preschool (ages 3-5). They are all really cute and fun, but very tiring. School goes from 9:30-2:30 MWR and 9:30-12:00 TF. We have a nap time on the longer days, which I'm very grateful for. A little girl and I share a blanket so I can rub her back until she falls asleep. The teacher I am helping is an American who is working through Students International. She's fun and easy to work with and I'm learning a lot. This is the first time I've ever worked with kids that young in an educational setting. We've also been having lots of potty accidents every day, which the teacher said isn't normal, so hopefully next week will be a little bit better.

Dennisse and I are still having trouble with low iron and lack of fiber in our diet. Dennisse ended up having to go to the doctor yesterday morning because of it. Our mom decided afterward that she was going to start buying us more fresh fruits and vegetables and wheat bread. We're both so thankful! This past week, we've been eating nothing but starch (bread for breakfast, rice for lunch, yuca for supper) and we were getting really, really exhausted because of it.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Well, travel week is over and I'm back at the base. On Friday, I move in with my new host family and start working at Mata Gorda in the school there. I spent the last few days at a resort somewhere in the DR, I don't even know where. But we were really near the water. On Monday, we hiked for a couple of hours through the jungle, got picked up by a boat and taken to a really cool Taino cave, and then to a little bay/beach area where the people from the resort had a barbecue lunch waiting for us. We spent the afternoon playing in the water. Yesterday, we took a boat to Samana Bay and did a little bit of shopping before heading to a private island where we spent the day playing sand volleyball and swimming in the beautiful water. Tonight and tomorrow I'll be at the base in Jarabacoa, and then sometime on Friday I'll be moving in with my host family in Mata Gorda.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Travel Week

Last Tuesday, I said goodbye to my first host family. It was a bittersweet experience. I was a bit sad to leave them, but also excited for the rest of the semester and what it had in store. Tuesday night, we had a Spanish graduation party. It was so much fun! Each level had been working on a song and a skit/dance for the party. We had fun laughing at each other and embarrassing ourselves. Wednesday morning, after getting up at 5:30 to run with a bunch of other girls (we had an American mob running down the road), our group left for Santo Domingo. In the course of the last four days, we've visited caves, six museums, the first cathedral built in the Americas, an awesome beach, and several of the local restaurants and shops. Wednesday night, after eating supper and not being even close to finishing all of our food, a group of us gave our food to a homeless lady on the street. We struck up a conversation with her and have been going back to visit her every day since. Last night, we took her out to eat with us at a really nice Italian restaurant. She was giddy with excitement. Earlier in the day, we put together a care package for her and made her a card. She opened the card last night and couldn't go any further because she said she was just so grateful. We figured out that her favorite fruits are apples and grapes, so we decided to get up early and buy her some for breakfast this morning. Unfortunately, the fruit vendors aren't out that early on a Sunday morning. We ended up just giving her the money. She took us on a very brisk walk/tour and showed us several parks, churches, and beaches. Every time we came to a man she didn't approve of, she shook her stick at him! She was too cute. We are leaving Santo Domingo this morning and heading up north to some more caves.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Our excursion this Saturday was pretty interesting. We went tubing down the river, through rapids. I never want to do it again. It was fun for the first little while, but two hours of it was a little bit much. A lot of us girls couldn't stop ourselves once we got in the current ... thank goodness there are boys on this trip. The boys would go through ahead of us, and then stop and spread out across the river and catch any girls that came shooting towards them. Sometimes we got past them, but they somehow managed to catch us anyway.
Saturday night, Dennisse and I watched Amy and Darell while our parents went to a couples thing at church. A few neighbor kids came over. We played card games most of the evening. After the neighbor kids went home, Dennisse, Amy, Darell, and I cuddled up in bed and watched a Barbie movie (apparently those are the only DVD's in our house?). We were just drifting off to sleep when our parents came back.
We went to one of the rivers near our house Sunday afternoon and played in the water, tried to catch minnows, and made sandcastles. It was a nice study break.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Waterfall Excursion

We drove up a mountain, hiked for 15 minutes down to some waterfalls, spent the morning and part of the afternoon down there playing on the rocks and in the water, and then hiked back up to our cool truck and driver that were waiting for us. The hike up was a killer! But the day was fun.

This was the cool truck we went up and down the mountain in. The air really felt good after our long hike up!

View from somewhere on the trail.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Last night, my dad decided it would be fun to write and illustrate Bible verses on construction paper. We spent a good hour just sitting around the table doing that. Darell woke up sometime in the middle of it, so Dennisse made him a sandwich. Turns out, he really likes butter :P

I'm now a real Dominican because I took three helpings of rice today at lunch. Or at least that's what my dad said. Also because I like concon (the hard rice that you scrape off the bottom of the pan). I don't particularly prefer it, but I don't mind it mixed in with my other rice.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The days are beginning to run together. Every so often, someone from our team will try to figure out how long we've been here. I'm tempted to not believe it has only been 2 1/2 weeks. Time goes by so much slower here, but the days also seem so much fuller. I've never spent so much time getting to know people and just talking.
Today will be the fourth day my house hasn't had water. We have plenty to drink and cook with, because my parents have to buy purified water for Dennisse and I so we don't get sick. But we can't do our laundry and we've been having to take bucket showers with about two gallons of water/person. I'm realizing just how much water I waste in the U.S.
One of the hardest things to get used to the very first week was throwing my used toilet paper in the trashcan, not the toilet. It's second hand now. I'm wondering how easy it will be to go back to flushing it down the toilet?
Friday evening, everyone from Bethel plus Josh and Vicki (our student directors from SI) went out for pizza. I've never enjoyed pizza so much in my life.
On Saturday, all of the students went to Santiago. We visited Centro Leon (an art museum) and Santiago's historical monument. It was kind of humorous to listen to our tour guides try to give us tours in English. They all did really well, but it made me realize how funny I probably sound to Dominican's when I speak Spanish.

I was able to move up to level three in my Spanish class. I was originally in level two, but things were moving really, really slowly and I was pretty bored the second day in. Level three overlaps level two a bit, so I didn't miss anything by jumping ahead. The biggest bonus is that level three moves a lot faster. I'm definitely being challenged a lot more.
I had my first Dominican style taxi experience Sunday on the way to church. We stuffed eight people into a five person car. And when we almost got there, we came to a road the was completely torn up and blocked off by some guys pouring concrete. So, we walked the rest of the way to church. I love that when things like that happen here, it isn't a big deal. People don't get stressed out, they just roll with the punches.
Yesterday, skipped class and took a field trip to a book fair in La Vega. It poured most of the time we were there, so we really couldn't look at too many books. My class ended up standing in a booth for about 45 minutes, talking to the vendors and waiting for the rain to stop. It was still a good experience, just not exactly what I was expecting.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

It's already Thursday, I can hardly believe it! An annual festival started here last night. The first couple of days of it are centered right behind my house. Then I think it moves to another location? I hope anyway. Music was blaring from the time we got home from classes until midnight. It was literally shaking our walls. The festival lasts for 9 days ...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

One week

A week ago today I met the family I'm living with now. It feels like I've known them forever and that I've been in the DR for a month. I'm really enjoying my time here, but I've also had times where I wished I could be home. The one thing I would love to have most days is chocolate. I don't usually crave chocolate, but the food here is very bland and seasoned with salt, if anything. I like it a lot, but sometimes you just need sugar! I think my body is finally starting to adjust to the food ... this is the first day that I haven't been constipated or had diarrhea (sorry if you're squeamish).
I've been asked if bugs crawl in my ears at night. The answer is no. But mosquitoes and little tiny bugs do somehow manage to get into my mosquito net, so I have bug bites all over my body. I'm just hoping my malaria pills actually work.
My dad here is very interested in my Spanish progress. He tell me every day before I leave for class to learn a lot and then asks me what I learned when I get back. He isn't very good at carrying a conversation though ... he talks a lot, but not really with you, more at you. But I'm learning nonetheless. Dennisse is a great help. When I don't understand something that was said in Spanish, she explains it to me ... in Spanish. I love it when one of my vocabulary words comes up around the table; I feel like I'm actually progressing in my language skills.
I'm dying to climb a mountain. I see them everyday, but I haven't had time to actually go to any. I believe one of our Saturday excursions entails mountain climbing though. This past Saturday, we went hiking in one of the rivers here. In some places it was nearly impossible to keep your footing because the water was going around rocks so quickly. But we made it to our destination without very many injuries (a few people busted their knees). A lady met us in Los Higos and made us a rice/bean/chicken meal over over an open fire. It was pretty amazing that she could whip up a meal like that ... outside ... for about 30 people.
I'm enjoying my Spanish class for the most part. I have two teachers. One is my classroom teacher and the other is the grammar teacher. I really enjoy the grammar teacher, even though she gave our class 14 pages of homework on the first day. She's very easy to understand and explains things very well. Basically, she makes me excited to learn.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

I met my family last night. I have a two year old brother and seven year old sister. Our dad was very excited to see us ... "I have three daughters now!" Our mom is kind of quiet, but still very sweet. We're moving in with them this morning. Spanish classes start this afternoon.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Today was mostly filled with orientation stuff. We learned about the history, current society and different education systems of the DR. We did have time to do some exploring in the town surrounding the base. We walked down the main road leading from the base to downtown Jarabacoa. We didn't go all the way into town, but a few of us girls did visit Halto Viejo, the town most of us will be living in the next several weeks. While walking, we met up with a school boy who took us up to the top of the road. We were able to see into the valley.

Lunch was amazing. It consisted of a meat/egg casserole topped with cheese. A variety of toppings ... tomatoes, salsa, lettuce, ranch dressing, corn ... were available.

I may be addicted to coffee by the time I get back. I really don't like it, but the coffee here is different. It is sweetened as it brews, so "black" coffee is similar to American coffee that has been doctored up.

This afternoon, we went into the main part of Jarabacoa for a photo scavenger hunt. It was kind of stretching to go out into a town where Spanish is basically the only thing spoken. I realized I knew a lot more than I previously thought. We were also able to exchange some of our money for pesos. We ate at Pico Pollo, a little outdoor restaurant that serves mainly chicken fingers. I also got fried green bananas which taste quite a bit like french fries, especially after you put salt on them. A stray dog sat under out table while we ate. Somebody must have fed him, because he followed us for a couple of blocks after we left.

I saw my first lizards today. They are all over the outsides of the buildings and boy are they fast!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

la republica dominicana

We made it safely and mostly without incident to the DR. We left Bethel at 7 this morning and headed to Chicago. Our plane boarded on time, but we ended up sitting on the runway for almost an hour. Turns out the original flight crew for our plane was delayed, so a replacement crew had to be found. A lady was also escorted off the plane, which took some time. Apparently she was intoxicated and causing a bit of a scene. Because our flight was delayed, our layover in Miami was a bit shorter. We had plenty of time to get a bite to eat and contact people for the last time via cellphone. It was quite the feeling getting on the plane leaving Miami, knowing it was going to take us away from our country and into a place none of us had ever been to before. Our flight was a bit turbulent ... at one point, we even saw lighting. Unfortunately, it was pitch black by the time we landed so we couldn't really see much of Santiago. However, we'll be visiting it during our travel week next month. We got through customs and baggage claims without a hitch and quickly met up with the man in charge of Students International (I don't exactly know his name yet ... :P). We piled all of our luggage into a trailer and then piled most of ourselves into a fifteen passenger van and made our way up to the mission base in Juarabacoa. We are staying here for the next couple of days while we go through some more orientation. I was told we will be seeing lots of lizards and possibly cockroaches & spiders. Me and rodents are going to have a whole new relationship by the time December rolls around. It's pouring down rain right now. I understand this is a normal thing in the tropics.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Ben and I got bored this afternoon, so we decided to make cookies. We like to try new recipes together. Today we made no bake cookies and snickerdoodles.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

tie dye!

Jenna, Allie, and I did some tie dying this afternoon. Most of our stuff turned out pretty well. Jenna went crazy and dyed as many things as possible, including a sweatshirt that wasn't so much tie dyed as blotched with random colors.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Museum of Science and Industry

Upon arriving at the museum, we immediately got in line for the coal mine tour. We had to wait a little while before our tour began. It was pretty neat to see both the old and new machinery used to mine coal.

"While fixing a clock, Foucault accidentally proved that the Earth rotates. Foucault was making a small metal rod to fix a broken piece of a clock. An accidental bump set the rod into a back and forth motion. Curious, he rotated the rod to see if this swinging motion would also rotate. Instead, the rod continued to move back and forth along its original path. Soon after his discovery, Foucault proved to the world that the Earth rotates at the Paris Exhibition. This accidental discovery changed many people's view of the world."

We came across a small climbing wall that definitely wasn't meant for bigger kids. We could have climbed up into the ceiling if we had wanted to. Or disabled the sprinkler system.

The bathrooms have the coolest hand dryers! They actually dry your hand without you having to touch anything gross.

Lucy, Kathleen, Mom, and I went on the Green Home tour. It was really cool! We couldn't take pictures inside, so we took lots outside.

We had ice cream and water for lunch! We had a huge breakfast before the museum opened at a nice little diner close by. While we waited for the train that afternoon, we brought out the snacks that were hidden in our backpacks (apparently, you aren't supposed to check food into the bag check at the museum. We did anyway).

"The hug shirt creates the feeling of being hugged using actuators embedded in the shirt to simulate the warmth, pressure and duration of the hug and even the heartbeat of the sender. A hug can be sent from another Hug Shirt or from your phone as a text message."

This is a U-505 German submarine from WWII. It was captured by the U.S. Navy just a few days before D-day. Aunt Lucy bought us tickets so we could tour the inside, which was really cool. Our tour guide was awesome! He kept the tour interesting and kid friendly. Sailors were on the sub for three months at a time. In that time, they never showered or changed their underwear! The sub could be submerged up to 36 hours, in which time the toilets couldn't be flushed. There were 59 (?) men on the sub at a time, but beds for only 37 of them. One room of the sub still has the original flooring. Unfortunately, we weren't allowed to take pictures inside.