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The Final Post…

Today my trip ended. I am back in Philadelphia now, wondering how the trip went so fast. I guess it’s because I had so much fun in South Carolina. There wasn’t a moment when I felt mad or sad.

After I woke up at around 9:30, I packed everything that I brought with me back into my suitcase, and loaded it into the car. Clae and Mr.Wyckoff had already left because they had a shooting tournament. Mrs.Wyckoff and I had some time to kill before I had to be checked in at the airport, so after a small cinnamon toast breakfast, we went to see the Hundley, a submarine used by the Confederates in the Civil War. It had been discovered in 1995, and was the first submarine ever to successfully sink an enemy vessel. It was the fourth submarine ever, the first being a one-man submarine used in the Revolutionary War. It ran on complete manpower, seven men rowed it from the inside. We looked at it and the artifacts found in it for about an hour and a half. Then, we stopped for a quick bite to eat at Chick-fil-A. I had a grilled chicken sandwich. Next, it was off to the airport, to come home after a week of fun and great experiences.


The day before I leave…

Today was my last day of school at Pinewood Prep. I feel like this week has been a great experience that I will never forget. I got my Spanish matching quiz back today, and, well, lets just say I wouldn’t be very good at talking about food in Spanish or being in a Spanish speaking restaurant. I got 49%. But, fortunately it doesn’t affect my language grades at GFS. After break was social studies. We went over the answers of a quiz about the first railroads and plantations. It was interesting, and the teacher is really funny. After trying a math test that I didn’t get back and watching some of the movie Little Shop of Horrors in drama, we had lunch. Lunch today for me was a ham sandwich that I liked. After running around outside after eating with Clae and his friends, I had science. My class talked about the apple preserving experiment, and drew elements. It was fun, I like science. Next, in AP Human Geography, we found out which countries produce the most resources. We found out that China produces the most flax and soy out of all the countries in the world. I have promised to send Mr.Stjern, the teacher of the subject, a postcard when I get home to Philadelphia because his sixth grade science class is collecting them from around the world. That would be an interesting project to undertake. I might start a postcard collection. Last period was a calm study hall, in which I read part of The Losing Role by Steve Anderson on my Kindle, and I played Battleship with a seventh grader. After school ended, I said goodbye to Clae’s friends and teachers, including Wendy Girgan, the network exchange adviser. Clae and I were soon picked up by Mrs.Wyckoff, and we drove down to Charleston to explore part of the city and eat dinner with Mr.Wyckoff. Charleston is a very nice city, it reminds me of New Orleans. We had dinner at Bubba-Gump Shrimp Company, a very good shrimp restaurant chain featured in the movie Forrest Gump. I had “Bubba’s after-the-storm Boat Trash”. It consisted of: two Canadian lobster claws, six breaded shrimp, and two smallish pieces of fish. It was a well-chosen meal, in my opinion. I am extremely happy to have been on this trip to South Carolina. I will definitely make it a priority to go on another exchange.

Today was another normal school day at Pinewood Prep. By the morning, I had memorized my schedule:

1.Spanish (then break) 2.Social Studies 3.Math 4.Drama (then lunch) 5.Science 6.AP Human Geography. 7th period varies from day to day. Today I had gym, in which we played basketball. I did well as my team won four games in a row. But that was the end of the day.

In first period Spanish, my class did not get our quizzes back from yesterday, but we did review verbs and sentences. Whenever the class had to write down something on their paper, I wrote in French to practice. It was fun. After taking more notes in history and working on linear equations in math, I had Drama. Today was the day each group presented a movie plot and two character descriptions for it. My group’s movie plot was ab0ut a school in the future. The two main characters are a boy who lives in the past, dressing like a kid from 2000. He is constantly picked on by the other main character. The other main character is the most futuristic-looking in the futuristic school. He is the most popular, and likes making fights. One day, the kid who is picked on gets tired of being bullied, and starts a revolt. Lunch was ok, it was pizza. In science we started a lab experiment. It was to find out which of the following would preserve an apple slice best: table salt, baking soda, Epsom salt, any combination of two, or all three combined. Unfortunately, I will not be in South Carolina when the results are found. Next was AP Human Geography, which, as always, was fun. We had a discussion about health advances and problems in the world, then, for some random reason, the teacher read to us the ingredients of  Hostess Twinkies. They seemed pretty unhealthy. The last period was basketball, which was fun.

When Mr.Wyckoff picked us up, we went to Patriots Point, SC. We went there to see the U.S.S. Yorktown, an aircraft carrier that was used during World War Two. It was huge, even though it was one of the smaller aircraft carriers in the U.S.’ fleet. Clae, Mr.Wyckoff, and I almost got lost in it. It had 15 dentist rooms, five bakeries, two shoe repair rooms, a very big kitchen, and an escalator among other large amounts of rooms. It held 3,500 people during WWII. After a self-guided tour of most of the ship, we left to go to a very good hamburger restaurant. I had The Yank burger. It is grass-fed beef burger with lettuce, horseradish sauce, mushrooms, and Swiss cheese. It came with sweet potato fries with apple butter It was clearly one of their best dishes. I can’t believe that I leave the day after tomorrow, but I think I have made the most of this trip so far.

Today was my first full day with my own schedule. I noticed that I don’t have English for some reason, but I guess that’s ok because I wouldn’t have known what the class was talking about, anyway. First I had Spanish, and my class had an English to Spanish vocabulary matching quiz. There was an extra copy, so the teacher let me try it. I don’t think I did too well, but there were some things I knew or could understand because of my French and Latin experience. Next was Social Studies. The class went over the answers to the test that I mentioned in a previous blog post, and took notes about plantations. After math and drama, we had lunch. I decided  on a turkey sandwich and sweet tea. It was satisfying. After lunch, I had Science. We worked on making our own personal periodic tables and finding how many protons, neutrons, and electrons each element has. After that 50 minute period, I had the AP Human Geography. We first looked at and talked about two live chickens that the teacher, Mr.Stjern (not a typo) had brought in for a sixth grade class. Next we finished the documentary about corn that we were watching, called “King Corn”. We then talked for the rest of the class about how corn has taken over farming, and how family farms are going out of business as commercial farms get larger and more powerful. Last period always varies, depending on the day. Today I had Chess Club. I played three matches and had fun, but ended up losing all three. It would be fun to play more chess at home. After the last bell had sounded, Clae and I were picked up by Mrs.Wyckoff and we went to Guerrin’s, a vintage pharmacy that has been open for over 100 years. It is also well known for it’s chili dogs and lemonade. Clae and I each had a chili dog and a glass of lemonade, and I can see now why people like them so much. After looking around the pharmacy for a little while longer, we left and went to a farmer’s market to buy some boiled peanuts. Boiled peanuts are exactly what they sound like. Unshelled peanuts, boiled. A southern treat. They were delicious. We then went home and Clae and I shot his air rifle at bottles and boxes in the backyard. (It’s not a real gun, it shoots pellets, there is no gunpowder involved, and it is a lot safer. Also we were under adult supervision, of course.) It had less recoil than his shotgun, and it made less noise. It was fun, I got a few shots that went right through a closed bottle full with water. At dinnertime, we ate our leftovers from the Italian restaurant last night. For dessert, Clae and I made chocolate fondue. That was good, especially with banana slices. Well, that’s all for today. Tomorrow will be another good one.


P.S. If you’re wondering what the heck Food Lions and Piggly Wigglys are, they are both southern supermarket chains. Piggly Wiggly, by the way, was the first real self-serve “supermarket”. Before it, wherever you could buy food you had to give someone who worked there a list. They would disappear into the back room, and come back with whatever was on your list.

A new class schedule…

Today when Clae and I got to school, we stopped by the Middle School computer teacher’s room to pick up my Panther Pass (a debit card for students to use to buy lunch). It was nice of the teacher to make it so quickly. Afterward, we went to homeroom and said the Pledge of Allegiance. I’m glad I knew it! We had English first, reviewing the comparisons between the new Romeo and Juliet movie and the old one. Afterward was Spanish, but I was pulled out of it in the beginning by Wendy Girgan to make a schedule for myself. I also got a Pinewood Prep shirt for free! I ended up missing the rest of Spanish, but I don’t really care because I wouldn’t have understood most of it. I am now in an AP Human Geography class with high schoolers for the rest of the week because the teacher really likes exchange students and they thought I would be interested in it. It was fun, I introduced myself to the class and we watched a documentary about corn usage The rest of the day was pretty normal, but I am still getting used to the bells that begin and end each class. Last period, I went to a Latin elective class. We worked on numbers and phrases. At the end of the day, Clae and I were picked up by Mrs.Wyskoff. We then rode to where Mr.Wyckoff works, and picked him up. We continued to Genero’s, an Italian restaurant in North Charleston. We got a table quickly and ordered our food. I got lightly breaded veal with capers sauteed in olive oil, lemon juice, and white wine. It was very flavorful. None of us could finish our meal, so we packed them all up for dinner tomorrow. I am happy to be with such a nice family and I have had an awesome experience so far.

First day of school!

Today the family and I got up at around 6:30 to get ready for school. After getting dressed and having a casual breakfast of cereal, Clae and I were picked up by a carpool. A 9th grader and her mother. At school Clae took me to meet Wendy Girgan, the exchange administrator. We then continued to homeroom and I continued to meet people. First was English, where the class finished watching a modern movie version of Romeo and Juliet. It was alright. After break and a few more classes, we had history, where there was a test. I decided to take the test, just to try it out even though I hadn’t studied or known about it until then. It was about Westward Expansion and the California Gold Rush. I ended up guessing on most of the answers, and I ended up with a 66%, an ok grade considering I knew almost nothing about the topic. Next was lunch, and I used my Panther Pass (a lunch credit card that all students have) to buy a chicken sandwich and iced tea. We sat with Clae’s friends, who were nice and pretty cool. Soon lunch ended and I had a few more classes. At the end of school, Mrs.Wyckoff picked us up and we drove to the beach to look around. The air was very salty. At about 6:00, we met Mr.Wyckoff at Red’s Ice House, a seafood restaurant right on the harbor. Every Monday night at the restaurant, they serve all you can eat crab legs. We all had them, and each one of us had eight or nine baskets. They were the best crab legs I have ever eaten. They were also a bit messy, but it was well worth it. Today has been fun, but I’m sure tomorrow will be great, too.


Today, we woke up at about 9:00 AM and ate a very good French toast and bacon breakfast. Afterward, we got ready to go to the 10:45 AM service at St. Paul’s Episcopal church. The service was about the same as I’m used to, except there was only one reading and the sermon was a lot longer. The service ended at about 12:00 PM. Next, we went home and changed into more casual clothes before we went to Clae’s grandmother’s house for lunch. We had homemade BBQ pork, baked beans, and coleslaw. It was a very good dish. After a fruit pie dessert, Clae, Mr.Wyckoff, and I left for shooting practice. When we arrived at Partridge Creek Gun Club, we were met by the coach of Clae’s shooting clay team. Watching his team practice was fun and exciting, but getting to shoot a gun for the first time was even better! I did alright, but the recoil was more then I expected. After getting to shoot at the end of practice, we made a quick stop at Target to stock up on Super Bowl snacks. In the soda isle, I saw a drink I had never seen before. It’s called Cheerwine (a soda that taste’s like Dr Pepper, not wine). We decided to buy a bottle of it so I can try it, and it’s really good. Now we are watching the Super Bowl, and eating snacks and Mr.Wyckoff’s homemade smoked ribs. I’m excited for school tomorrow!

Day one!

Today I left Philadelphia as an unaccompanied minor on a flight to Charleston, SC. The flight was smooth, and only an hour and a half. When I got to South Carolina, my host family was waiting for me at the airport. They are a happy, smart, and funny family. On the ride to the house I will live in with them, we passed through North Charleston and the historic district of Summerville. After getting to their very nice house and receiving a tour, we ate turkey sandwiches for lunch. Next I took a ride with Clae and his father on their Polaris (a vehicle that’s like an ATV with four seats.) We visited Pinewood Prep (where I will be going), and they showed me around. When we got back, Clae and I played some video games, and petted his two Yellow Labs. Then we had dinner, which was jalepenio peppers stuffed with cheese and black beans, and jambalaya. We just finished dinner, and I am looking forward to the rest of the week!

I am leaving for South Carolina tomorrow and I am looking forward to making new friends, trying new things, and experiencing a slightly different culture. I am curious about going to a different school (even though I wouldn’t want to leave GFS), and experiencing family life unlike (or like) my own. When I get there tomorrow, I will meet the Wyckoff family who I will be staying with and Wendy Girgan, the exchange advisor. I will go to school with Clae Wyckoff, who I have been getting to know via texting. I am excited to visit the SC beach and visit the historic city of Charleston.                                                                                                                                                                                          

Very Excited

Hi everyone,

My flights are booked, and I am looking foward to leaving in 2 weeks! More to come once I get there…

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