Well, orientation has come and gone in a whirlwind in Washington DC. The teachers arrived on Sunday, August 18th and were able to meet a few students (Ariela, Peri & Molly) and families for lunch at the American Indian Museum. We made an attempt to visit an amazing exhibit: Our Peoples: Giving Voice to Our Histories, but it was really more interesting at that point to chat and get to know one another. I'm sure we were a bit of a nuisance to other museum-goers, so we eventually got the picture (see below) and walked across the Mall to the Natural History Museum to view the exhibition: Nature's Best Photography Awards.We saw amazing photos of African wildlife from places the students will travel this semester: Kruger, Etosha & Chobe National Parks.
|Brenna gets froggy|
Students and parents enjoyed more Smithsonian sights or made final preparations for the semester, and the teacher team headed back to prepare for the rest of the group orientation.
Tuesday is a blur of airport shuttles, duffel checks, and shuffling of group gear bags! The girls arrived from the airport in waves and dove right in: full of enthusiasm. Maeve was the first to arrive and Sarah was not too far behind. Students and families collected in the lounge, waiting for rooms to open up. We learned that Megan missed her first flight and would come in later and waited for the 4 o'clock flights to arrive. Anne drove in with her family and soon after Anna, Mayree, Katherine, Eleanor and Mara all arrived in short order, followed by Emilee and Juliana. When given the option or a spare minute, students circled up and began their process of getting acquainted. The group walked to dinner at Pei Wei nearby, and Sarah and Heather followed with a few last students: Natalie, Hannah & Lindsay to join us.
|Teachers travel skit: What not to do!|
On Wednesday morning, there were a few last minute details to complete: breakfast, a Target run, a travel skit by the teachers and then goodbyes to the parents and siblings. Students had a few hours together eating lunch and the shuttling to the airport began. I saw the group off around 3pm, after they'd all checked in and were heading to security. There were plans for a scavenger hunt and a bit of free time with a buddy prior to boarding the 5:40pm flight.
So the girls have arrived in South Africa. They're heads are filled with dreams and hopes for their upcoming semester. We are so excited for the group and for you at home too. Please call and email us along the way. Check in if you need news; share your news with each other on this blog. It's a place for you all-- so make yourselves comfortable here and join in the conversations!
Cheers to you all,