Day 1-Settling In

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DSCN0452For those of you that don’t know, the magnet program that I’m in goes to New York for a week when we reach 8th grade. It’s not all fun and games, though.  There are usually around 8 groups of 8, though this year we were a little smaller with only 7 groups and two of which only had 7 people. We have 4 documentaries to get footage for while int he city. For the main documentary we have to set up an interview with a company based in New York and our group choose the Brooklyn Art Library/ Sketchbook project. Then we had to choose a historical site, which for us was St. Patrick’s chapel. The last 2 documentaries were “walking tours” where we were given a list of significant sites in Manhattan, one for midtown and one for lower, and had to get footage for as many places as we could. I completely lucked out, with only a little bit of drama at the beginning of the year over group arrangements, it seemed to all work itself out and I love my group, plus we got my favorite teacher, who is pretty much my school-mom, as our group chaperone. Although, I’ll admit, I was a little bit nervous at first because she can get stressed and flustered really easily, but she was unbelievably amazing. And because of my brilliant mind I ended up not taking many photos, I think that I took a total of 8 which were all taken on the first day at liberty island, so instead I plan on blogging my story as to not forget too much of all of the fun.

Monday had been an early start, getting up at a quarter to six. I had packed up and was ready to go the night before. We, both my mom and dad accompanying me, drove to school where I immediately perked up at the sight of my friends where it was very fun to talk about our hopes of the trip and our excitement, where we inevitably fed off of one another. We were almost ready to go with the luggage piled under the bus and everyone on board ready to leave home behind, when we realized that a great friend of mine, and a group member, was missing. It was really no surprise, she was always running late to our friend get togethers. Luckily, she had called the coordinator and we waited for her to arrive only a little late.

The thing that I had been looking forward to the most for that day was the bus ride and just getting to the city. It started out as a great bus ride, but not all that far into it I started to feel a little sick. I did what they told us to do, tell a friend so that an adult could be told and then move upfront. Not exactly how I wanted to spend the bus and I hate it when people make a fuss over me. I sat and watched the horizon for a little bit, which is supposed to help with upset stomachs. Finally, I was feeling better so I decided to go rejoin my friends int he back, but it did not last long until I had to return to the front. I ended up spending the whole ride up front, even after I was feeling better, which ended up being not too bad. The teachers were all up front and I love all of them and I like listening to them talking to one another, so it wasn’t that bad. I could still hear my friends and it was nice to be reminded that they were there. Though if it was not for one of my best friends who was awesome enough to come keep my company, it would have been a very long 4 hours. It was very relaxing to sit up front, there was a lovely view, and it was nice to just sit and chat with my friend.

One really good thing about sitting up front I was one of the first to see the skyline of the city. It was just how I imagined it, only better. We stopped a little out of the city in order to get on a ferry to go to liberty island then to Manhattan. We all took turns going to the bathroom, getting organized, saying hello to everyone, stretching after a long bus ride, and sharing in our enjoyment before boarding the ferry. I was feeling great and ready to go. It was so hard to believe that leaving the school and our homes in the dark was still the same day. It was so much fun to say hi to everybody that I hadn’t had a chance to say hello to at school. Everyone was so impressed with my newly dip-died hair. (I had done it the friday that we had off the week before, so no one had seen it, using a method that involved kool-aid.)

After making it through security we got on board a ferry to take to Liberty Island where we would have lunch. Usually we go to Ellis Island, but it was closed due to Super storm Sandy last year. The ferry was great, more time to hang out with friends before the real work kicked in. Luckily, my stomach was feeling fine so I was able to enjoy the trip. We got to the island and I knew that it was going to be a great trip already. Our chaperone already gave us a bit of freedom,  we were allowed to split up as long as we stayed in pairs, 4s being better, since we had entered our phone numbers into her phone on the bus. In the end we all stuck together and Mrs. S was so much fun and it was very cool to see the statue of liberty up close and to see the New York skyline. Especially since it looked really small while we were on the bus.

After walking around and eating lunch we joined the very long ferry line to Manhattan. It was really fun though because we were being very silly and just getting to know each other a little bit more before spending the week together. At one point we had a ‘knock-knock’ joke competition and it got pretty fun. There was only one other group from our school that made it onto the same ferry and it was one group that had some of my close friends on it, so we sat together on the ferry and started walking around together once in the city. We visited battery park and I had fun soaking everything in. Although I had been to Philadelphia and Chicago it was still so different to be in the big apple and I still could not believe where I was. I have been pretty much looking forward to this trip for 4 years when my brother went and the excitement has only grown every year. Also while we were in battery park we decided on a group name, B.O.S. It was really silly because of its double meaning and it became an ever lasting joke. I have a feeling that Mrs. S. will not forget about our group for quite some time.

Once everyone got back from the island we boarded the busses and headed to a few locations in midtown and then the hotel. It was definitely smaller than I thought, but it was very nice. It was also a different location than I thought. Being the Hotel at Times Square I was picturing it being on iconic times square, but it was still in the middle of all the action. Usually we had several floors reserved for the trip and we were the only ones on that floor with our chaperone and other room near us, but it was more spread out this year. Just our group spread across 3 different floors, my room with 3 great friends being on floor 10 out of 11. Once we got into the room it was lots of fun to unpack and turn a little hotel room into home for the week. It looked really nice and neat for oh I don’t know maybe an hour or so. Mrs S. then came to get us, making sure to test us on making sure that it was her that we were opening the door to. We headed to Macy’s cucina for dinner. Although we were all eating there we were on our own on how to get there. This was another time that I loved our chaperone because she wouldn’t let us get too far in the wrong direction. The food wasn’t that great, it was normal cafeteria food, but it was nice to have dinner as an almost complete group.

After dinner we were again left alone to get to the Empire state building. It was a very long time to get through security and spent a little bit of it comforting my friend who was afraid of heights. A little teasing went a little too far, but it ended fine. The elevator was really fast, what usually took two floors, we got up ten, which was good considering that there are a total of 96 stories. Once we were up there my friend started to feel a little better, especially since I held her hand and she actually made it to the edge. The wind was insane and it often blew into my face, but I kind of liked all of the wind and the view. Oh my gosh, the view was amazing. When we about to go back inside Mrs. S. thought of a really good photo op and because of her we got chastised because of where she wanted us to stand. Oh, well. We were able to laugh about it.

On the way home we were supposed to be silent in order to really take in all of the sights, sounds, and smells of the city. However, we were also on the lookout for the cheapest post cards. We had a competition going on, how many postcards we could find for a dollar. The previous record was 18, but we found 20 so we thought that no one would be able to beat that. So we bought them. However, the next block we found 30 for a dollar and thought, what the heck, its only a dollar. Sadly, we found out that other groups also found that deal, but at least we would be one of those groups. What we did not know was that one group would barter for 40 and another group would get 80 for free with the amount of other stuff that they bought. At one of the stores Mrs. S and 2 others bought hats and on our way home we were joking about how cool we looked, including our amazing chaperone. Also, at one of the stores Mrs. S bought all of us ‘I love NY” pencils because she is just that sweet.

When we got home we started to get ready and we worked on our New York HW book for a little bit, trying not to fall too far behind (lots of other groups worked at each site while we just had fun due to Mrs. S. instructions) We also wrote our surprise postcards to our parents, too bad we didn’t need all 50. Sadly lights off at a quarter to 11 was the earliest all week.

Mrs. S was super great and really made sure that I was always feeling all right and caring for me, while also being very funny and relaxed knowing how great a group we are. I knew that it was going to be a great week with her being “mom” and I could not have wanted another chaperone


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