Like every morning, the German students met in the homeroom at school. We were all very excited about going to New York. But first we went to the Cosmetology class (yes, they have Cosmetology classes in school!!) and got our hair and nails done. Then we put our luggage on the bus and left Kent. We drove through Ohio, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
Time went by quickly: we spent it singing and playing cards. We made some stops and got something to eat for lunch (McDonald, Burger King, …). After almost seven hours we could finally see the famous skyline of New York. It was a great moment!
We went to a restaurant/arcade called Dave and Busters and had dinner. As it was David’s birthday and he got a huge ice cream cake with candles on it. Then we walked to Times Square. It was really impressive! There were lights, people, cars and tall buildings everywhere. Finally, we got everyone back on the bus (which is not that easy at such a busy place) and went back to our hotel in New Jersey. It wasn’t too late so we could go to the pool till 10 p.m. After that we played card games in our rooms. It was a great day that we definitely won’t forget!
Like every day, we woke up at 6 a.m. and went to breakfast at 7p.m. After bagels, toasts, waffles and other delicious things, we got on the bus and left the hotel. Even though we had a hard time finding the parking lot for our boat tour to Ellis Island and The Statue of Liberty, we finally got there and had a nice view on downtown Manhattan. We had a sunny boat ride over to the Statue of Liberty. We took a lot of nice pictures and had a lot of fun posing in front of Lady Liberty. It is really impressive to see the real size of the statue – believe me, it is HUGE! Later, we went to Ellis Island and visited the museum and the Wall of Honor. We even got an exclusive preview of an exhibit being made by Kent State University students. The KSU Professor explained to us that this exhibit of the Italian Lady Liberty statue was a remake based off the drawings that Bartholdi supposedly used to create the Statue of Liberty. We then went back to Manhattan by ship and went to Wall Street. On the way there we went through Battery park and we looked at the Wall Street Bull. The buildings were really impressive and we saw a lot of well-dressed people. Later, we went through the southern part of Manhattan and set our meeting spot in a nice and tiny park between the astonishing skyscrapers of Manhattan. We had a little bit of free time to get some lunch. We all went to different places, but I can tell you, New York Pizza was really good.
After lunch we went to Ground Zero to view the 9/11 Memorial, and the atmosphere around us changed. Everybody (even Johnny…) went silent. What had happened at that spot on 9/11 is so horrible and sad. The running water in the monument reminded me of the collapsing towers. I felt so sad, and every time I read a name on the memorial I wondered what plans the people had had for their lives, if they had a family and how these families have coped with this loss. One of the names had a white rose to it, probably because the person had their birthday on this day. After this, we drove to Chinatown, away from Ground Zero and the sad mood.
Chinatown is a small district which looks Asian. We walked through a small park and saw some skater boys doing tricks. Then we had time to check out all the shops there. A group of us went looking for fake Gucci, but sadly we didn’t find any.
We got back to the bus again and drove to Times Square for dinner. Bubba Gump Shrimp Company was a Forrest Gump themed restaurant, and if you looked out the window you could see the bright lights of Times Square. The food was great, I had a veggie burger. Then we had free time, David obviously had to go to the Hardrock Café. In the store there was a huge guitar hanging from the ceiling.
After that we went to the Broadway Show ALADDIN. The theatre itself was really pretty and we sat all the way up in the top rows. The show was awesome, too. I loved all of it, the actors, the dancing, the singing and the story.
At the end of the day I was really tired, but so grateful for being on this exchange and experiencing all of these amazing things.
Text: Lisa & Mario