Category Archives: A Day in the Life

Montreal Day 4

 

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Today we were at Moisson Montreal again, although things were a little different. We split up into groups of five and were sent to different tasks. My group was taking boxes with different supplies and loading them onto palettes which we then moved to an area with loading trucks. In previous days we had been helping with other parts of the process. To see the full picture of who and how we were helping people really brought the service aspect to life and showed a different perspective. It was also nice to have a change of pace, see new parts of the warehouse, and meet different people. Since we were so tired from moving boxes all day, we settled in the apartment for a short rest after service.

After the break we took off for a long walk into the city and saw the heart of downtown. We ventured into old Montreal and broke off into smaller groups. We ate dinner out and got ice cream after. We explored the quaint pop-up shops that lined the brick paved road. We saw street performers, caricature artists, and small school groups touring. There was so much more we wanted to see but time was running out. Gathering back together, we took the opportunity to take some photos in the fading sunlight. It had been a long day so we rode the subway back home to rest our feet.

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Bonaire-June 12

by Arran Goldman

Because I am a certified Advanced Scuba Diver, I got to go on a morning dive as a safety diver to certify Avery this morning. We stayed at the same location that everyone else had been certified: ChaChaCha Beach. This dive spot is pretty nice, and on every dive,  I have seen something new and amazing. So far on this trip, that was my favorite dive due to  the incredible life we saw. It lasted about 68 minutes which is a very valid length is consistent with my previous dives with my brother. I found a spotted scorpionfish underwater during the dive. He was incredible and blended in perfectly with the rocks. We also saw another rock beauty, one of my absolute favorites, as well. Every time I think about this fish I smile.

At the end of the dive, Avery and Chris took off their fins and staged a fake fight underwater in slow motion. It was really funny, and I finally felt like I was diving at homeThat dive was awesome. We did a second dive later that day, too. This was the dive which changed the way I thought about diving, and proved to be a pivotal dive in my trip so far. When Chris was hovering above the water in a sitting position, I realized how incredible just the action of diving is. We are underwater with hoses and tanks, observing an almost completely different world. It’s really amazing to think about how everyone else is living their lives on land, while the fish and the corals are living separately in a different world underwater. The things and fish that amaze us are just normal, daily life for everything else living sub aqueously. Anyway, after we de-kitted and put our dive equipment away, the small group of us met up with the rest of our service trip at a place called Eden Beach, where everyone else snorkeled and played in the water. Barbie, Olivia, and I hung back to snorkel and flip in the water. We saw a sharp-tail eel, honeycomb cowfish, and countless trumpetfish. We also stumbled across some coral tree farms where there were pieces of staghorn coral hanging on PVC pipes to promote growth. I’ve always heard about the coral farm, but I had never actually seen them before. It’s incredible to think that humans can do good and save a reef, but we can also be mind-blowingly destructive as well.

Later today around 8 p.m. we went to a sea turtle presentation to raise awareness about the dangers to local sea turtles. The presentation was very factual, and I learned a lot about the life of a sea turtle. I also learned how to better tell the species apart. I really hope that we can see a turtle. Even though I have seen countless turtles on dives in Cayman, it would still be amazing!

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Day 3 in Montreal

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by Melissa Ford ’21

Today was our second day of service. We all awoke reluctantly with immediate exhaustion. It rained off and on today which allowed us to cool down for the first time since we arrived in Montreal. Trying to not let exhaustion consume us, we got ready to go back to Moisson Montreal.

When we got there, we put on our protective toe covers and locked our belongings away. We walked back to the tables we were at the day before and waited for our task. Sorin asked if we wanted to do something new or the same thing, we said we wanted to do the same thing we did the day before without hesitation. We already had a routine set up, so we knew what to do. There were already pallets full of chocolate for us to unpack, so we jumped right back into our groove. We weren’t as fast as the day before, but we were still trying our hardest.

We had half a day at Moisson Montreal where we finished two and a half pallets and all of the chocolate that we were given. We had gotten out a little early so we ate our lunch before we got back in the cars and went on our ways. Next we went to CHSLD Providence. Saint Joseph Retirement Home.

Here we got a quick tour of the home that had over eighty residents. On the second floor was a church room where everyone gathered for mass or other religious activities. There were dining halls on each floor as well. We all gathered with a handful of the residents and volunteers in the first floor dining hall to play Bingo. Each of us got placed around the tables so we could help and talk to the residents. Some of them were over 100 years old! The oldest we heard was 108 years old. We then played many different rounds and types of Bingo. Sometimes we had to fill the whole board, get a “T” shape, the square around the FREE space, the four corners, or just a line.

Each time someone won. They got a prize from the prize table. The whole time we were playing Bingo, they were only speaking French so we got a lot of practice with our numbers and simple conversation.

After Bingo we said goodbye, well “au revoir” to be exact, and climbed back into the cars to go home. At home, a group of us began to make dinner. We all ate and those who didn’t cook, did the dishes.

Today went by fast and was a bit exhausting, but we were still able to have a good time. It was fun to use our French skills to help the residents and to challenge ourselves with hearing French.

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Costa Rica Day #1

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by Ashleigh Curry ’20

Hey everyone! It’s Ashleigh Curry ’20 and I was the blogger for our first full day in Costa Rica! After an early morning start, we traveled Rincon de la Vieja Volcano National Park for a three-hour hike through the luscious forest. The hike included a spectacular view of the park, several bubbling mud pools, and sights of several species of insects, birds (including several toucan sightings!) and monkeys.

We learned that while the country of Costa Rica is 19,700 square miles, it contains nearly 920 species of birds. The United States, which measures 3.797 million square miles, has roughly the same amount of bird species. The biodiversity of Costa Rica fascinated us as we realized that this small country contained nearly 9% of the word’s bird species. Some of the birds we saw on the hike included the Motmot, Toucan, and the Lesser Ground Cuckoo. At the volcanic lagoons, we also learned that only 5% of the electricity in Costa Rica comes from fossil fuels – the rest is from renewable energy sources!

After the hike, we gathered back for a delicious lunch at the hotel before going on a horseback ride to a nearby waterfall. All the horses led us swiftly to the waterfall, occasionally speeding to a fast trot or diverging from the path for a snack. At the waterfall, we had the opportunity to swim and spend time relaxing in the natural plunge pool.

Our final activity of the day included a visit to the Rio Negro Hot Springs and Mud Baths. At the destination, we soaked in the hot water and even dipped our hands in the 90-degree Celsius spring (for an instant only!). We also had the opportunity to paint ourselves in mud for a full-body facial. The hot springs were a perfect way to end the busy day and allow us to unwind before dinner.

We are looking forward to our first service project tomorrow – a cleanup at a beach on the Pacific coast.

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Montreal Service Trip Day 1

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by Rachel Brown ’20

Excitement was high as the 10 of us awaited for our departure in Gate A11 of the Newark Airport for our Montreal Service Trip. Our arrival to the airport was joyful as we sang along to modern music and played games to familiarize ourselves with each other. As we worked our way through the TSA, a few of us were called to be randomly checked, which was suspenseful yet we all made it through one way or another.

We arrived at the gate at 9:50 am and waited until our boarding time of 10:20 am. As we made our way into our seats we felt our excitement rise as we knew that we were going to be in Montreal, Canada in less than an hour.

The flight was smooth, as Johanna and I watched Mama Mia 2 and before we knew it we were on the ground in Canada. Customs was exciting, we saw things that we have never witnessed before such as Advil dispensers, and a quick and efficient check in system contrary to the States.

When we arrived, there was a bit of chaos with different Air BnB’s and car exchanges however we made it to our house in one piece. We then made our way to get some sushi, which happened to be all of our favorite foods. As we enjoyed our miso soup and sushi rolls we basked in the glory of the kindness of the Canadian people.

We then had time to relax and chill out while buying groceries for the apartment, which was at a market called Marché Eden. Overall, our first day although a bit chaotic was successful in learning to go with the flow and learn to deal with what we were given.

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Costa Rica Service Trip 2019: The Day Before Departure

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by Kim Major, associate director of admission

In less than 24 hours 14 students and two adult chaperones will be on their way to Costa Rica to begin our adventure. I can’t wait! Admittedly, I also can’t sleep. Before a trip, I get so anxious worrying about last-minute details, that I am writing this at 4:00 AM (yikes!).

This will be the second time I have gone on this trip, and I am looking forward to so many things. I am eager to go to the places we ventured before and look at them at a deeper level. Without everything being so new, I wonder what I will notice that I missed the first time around? For me, the first trip to Costa Rica opened my eyes to a whole different kind of travel. Before going on the trip, I saw an ideal trip as one where I could see some landmarks or sleep in the sun (and, don’t get me wrong, I will never turn down a day at the beach). After the trip, I realized that what I had most enjoyed was getting to know members of the local community and seeing plants and wildlife I had never seen before. It hit me that travel isn’t just about relaxing and taking photos, it is about working to understand a world different than our own. I truly hope that our students end the trip believing this is true, as well.

On this trip, we get to experience so many different regions and ecosystems in Costa Rica. It is truly eye-opening. As we learn about the country’s efforts in environmental sustainability during every stop, our students will have a chance to understand the fragility of our environment, the wonder of a diverse ecosystem, and what can be accomplished when leaders in government, industry, and science come together to solve problems. Our service work is largely environmental – trail work, beach clean-ups, and some community resource work in our homestay community. My wish for our students is that they be inspired by what they learn about sustainability in Costa Rica and apply it back at home.

One of the things I am most eager to see is how our students will fare without cell phones for nearly two weeks. In the time leading up to the trip, students spent some time reflecting on this. While there is some anxiety about not being connected in a virtual sense, students are really looking forward to a different and perhaps more authentic sense of connection with one another.

Each day of the trip, at least one student will write a blog post each day. We will send them along to George School to add to this blog (we will have photos going forward!). We hope you will follow along. You can also keep up with our trip on our Instagram. Follow us on Instagram @gs_costarica19. Pura Vida!

Photo of Arenal Volcano National Park – one of our stops on the trip

 

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Last Day of Work in West Virginia

by Andrew Fallows ’19 Matt Majeske ’19

Today was our final work day in West Virginia. Despite the cold and wet weather we finished strong. Out front a group finished the porch and laid the post for it. Another group worked on the sides and the underside of the front porch overhang. Laying protective soffit and J channel. At the end of the day we discussed all that we have accomplished over this past week. While we were standing around talking it started to snow a little bit. After work, we met up with all the people that help us through the week for dinner at Rudy Tuesday.

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OUR LAST DAY IN CUBA

by Javi Vidal ’20 and Jake Armbruster ’19 

Today at approximately 6:15, we woke up extremely tired. It was our final day in Cuba and we were going to hike to the bottom of a waterfall (1700 feet). We went with some of the younger members of the church.

It was exhilarating watching the bus climb up and down significant angles on a wet dirt road. We started our hike around 10:30. The trail was extremely slippery due to recent rainfall and very steep, but we finally made it down after about an hour. At the bottom, the waterfall flowed into a swimming hole where some of us took a brief swim and a natural shower!

Afterwards, we turned around and climbed back up, stopping many times to catch our breath. At the top, we ate a delicious Cuban meal with a view over the valley.

When we got back to the church, we were greeted by the Moorestown Friends School students who are doing service here for the next eight days. While it was fun to see new faces, it was also a bit chaotic as we all had to reorganize to make room for everyone. They are about to start their Cuban adventure just as we are about to finish ours.

Tomorrow is our flight home! We loved the trip to Cuba and will definitely miss it, however, after two weeks, we are looking forward to our homes.

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TENTH DAY OF WEST VIRGINIA SERVICE TRIP: PART 2

by Eugene Anku ’20 Isaac Lee ’19

Today we continued with siding at the worksite. Since it was our third day doing it, we had become more knowledgeable about the procedure. It was a quick process and by lunch time we had already finished the left side of the house leaving only the back which we began after lunch.

Two people measured and cut the soffit while three of us set up the H and J channels and then fit the soffit. Our cooperation and experience made the work almost rhythmic and fun. After we finished, we went to the front of the house to help the others with porch and discuss the plan for tomorrow.

The weather was nice and lunch was filling as always, which put us in our usual high spirits. Although Mike was in charge of porch construction, he was nice enough to check up on those of us who did the siding. He made jokes and interacted with us frequently keeping the atmosphere lively. Today was tiring but we all feel proud at the amount of progress we have made on this house.

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TENTH DAY OF WEST VIRGINIA SERVICE TRIP

by Cooper Feiner ’20 and Matt McMullen ’20

We had our half day today, which was a nice break from working. While we were working, a few of us worked on the deck, while others kept working on the siding. After our time working, we had the ability to go in to the town of Lewisburg, which has been named “coolest small town in America”. We explored the town, went in to a few antique shops and tourist attractions, and cooled off with a scoop of ice cream from a local dessert shop. All in all, it was pretty interesting, and a pretty cool town.

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