Feb 15, 2018
Around the world in 30 days
2018 is turning out to be quite the adventurous year. I kicked off the year by packing up all my stuff in Boston, hauling most to storage (read: winter gear, air conditioner unit, mini-fridge, comforter and mattress pad, cooking utensils, etc.), and the rest to bring with me on a journey around the world.
With a 50-lb suitcase maxed out on the weight limit and carry-on backpack, I was ready to embark on my first stop -- San Jose, California. I brought with me all that I would need for the next 9 months. I spent one night at home, then drove down to the South Bay to compete at the 2018 US Championships. I came in with a nagging hip injury, and after the short program, the first segment, wasn't even sure I would make it through. I pushed through the pain, but it wasn't pretty. Shoutout to my friends (two from MIT!) for coming to watch and cheering me on! Some of my friends I've skated and competed with growing up qualified for the Olympic team, so I'll be rooting for them during the next two weeks as they compete in PyeongChang! Luckily, because I was close (ish) to home for the competition, I had some time (read: a few hours) to spend with my family, before leaving for the next leg in my trip -- a layover in Barcelona, and then Essen, Germany, and time to rest up physically and mentally.
This IAP, I took part in the MISTI Global Teaching Labs (GTL) program in Germany. For three weeks, I was assigned to teach 10th thru 12th graders with a partner, a Course 20 PhD student, at a gymnasium (the German equivalent of a high school) in Essen -- Leibniz Gymnasium -- located in the northwestern region of Germany. We were hosted by a computer science teacher, and I myself taught 2 computer science courses -- one on databases, another on app programming with MIT App Inventor and 3 separate figure skating courses for Honors PE. My partner and I also presented and took part in discussions and debates in 4 different English classes in various grades.
During my 3 weeks in Germany, I also had time to travel around to various cities nearby for day and weekend trips. I had a chance to check out Bochum, Bonn, Düsseldorf, Hamburg, Münster, Cologne, and Dortmund, and fell in love with each and every city. The architecture, food, history, culture, museums, memorials, and unique personality of each made every trip an exciting adventure.
I stayed with a host family, and they were absolutely wonderful in feeding and taking care of me, and welcoming me to their home and country. One of their sons was coincidentally in the US studying abroad for a year at a high school in Missouri.
There were also two MIT events hosted by the MIT Club of Germany that I attended. One was a presentation by MIT Alumna Sabine Bendiek, Chairwoman of the Management Board, Microsoft Germany at the HaffenCity University in Hamburg. The second was Toast to IAP, hosted at STARTPLATZ in Cologne, an incubator co-founded by an MIT alum. Without further ado, here are my memories from the past month -- pictures, videos, and snippets and entires from my journal.
This blog, in particular, covers the first 4 stops of my travels, the month of January.
And that's a wrap! FYI, I'm still experimenting with different medium to journal my travels, whether it be video, photos, or written thoughts. Let me know if you enjoyed this blog format (or if you have any ideas on what I should try out as I adventure on my way to Zürich!