Blogs from Grand Rapids, Michigan, United States, North America

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North America » United States » Michigan » Grand Rapids January 23rd 2013

On that 2004 cross-country one-way road trip I’m always talking about (just mentioned again in my January 20th blog), after weleft our disposable car in Omaha, Nebraska, we raced across Iowa to the Bridges of Madison County – trying to get there before sundown. (Again – a story for another time.) With that theme in mind, I was happy to find out about the Bridge of Kent County, the Ada Covered Bridge, built in 1867, across the Thornapple River. It’s 14 feet wide, and 125 feet long. I’m not sure why I’m drawn to covered bridges, but I’m not alone. There is a “National Society for the Preservation of Covered Bridges”, which publishes a World Guide to Covered Bridges, a quarterly magazine, and a newsletter (http://www.coveredbridgesociety.org/). And, for me, it’s not because of the movie (“Bridges ... read more
Ada Bridge
Ada Bridge
Ada Bridge

North America » United States » Michigan » Grand Rapids October 22nd 2012

We’re finally done with the hard work of building and moving and decorating our new condo and are enjoying the fruits of our efforts. We are proud of the work we did installing wood flooring (with the expert help of cousin Colleen and “her man” Craig, and son Aaron), installing ceramic flooring in the master bath, repairing vinyl siding and many odds and ends. Our talented Builder Tim did great work and met the goal date of 3 months. Then we got to move in our possessions from “storage.” After 5 years of dirt and grime it was a dirty job. We lucked out that nearly everything we stored was still usable and in good shape. Our sons John and Aaron, and grandson Cory and girlfriend Megan along with a number of friends helped so much. ... read more

North America » United States » Michigan » Grand Rapids July 23rd 2012

“The Journey Begins” Who would have imagined Jenison teachers planning and executing a Fine Arts Camp in Beijing China? It all started with a phone call in the summer of 2011. A Jenison alumni contacted the offices of Jenison International Academy (JIA), inquiring about our school for a friend that lives in Beijing. This began the journey. What started as a personal inquiry proved to be much more as weekly correspondence developed with this parent in Beijing. It was discovered that parents all over the world have similar goals and aspirations for their children…What if we could bring two cultures together through educational experiences? In February, a team from China, including an elementary principal and educational consultant, came to visit and tour JPS. During their time here, they were able to meet staff, students and parents, ... read more
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North America » United States » Michigan » Grand Rapids July 19th 2012

Four teachers, a principal, and one incredible journey. Making final preparations for our trip to China, I don't think any of us can believe our departure date is so quickly approaching! In just two days our team from Jenison Public Schools in Jenison, MI will leave for Fengtai, China (part of greater Beijing). Here we will be teaching a fine arts camp to 28 fourth through sixth grade students of Fengtai First Elementary School. Let me introduce our team. Grant Carmichael is our music teacher who teaches at both Bursley Elementary and the Early Childhood Center. With his 6'6" stature and musical prowess, he will no doubt wow the students of Fengtai! Grant has always viewed music as a global language, and this perspective will certainly inform his teaching approach while in Fengtai. Tobi Hoeker is ... read more


I just wanted everyone to know that I did make it home safely! :)... read more

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North America » United States » Michigan » Grand Rapids April 25th 2012

Although I am not planning on actually traveling until 2013, a trip like mine needs a lot of thought and preparation, especially if I am planning on going by myself. This is a general introduction for what I am planning on doing, and why. Over the past few years, there have been a lot of changes in my life, and I have grown immensely as an individual, and have figured out what a few of my passions in life are. One of these passions is traveling. In April of 2009, I traveled to Unguturu, India and volunteered in a children's home, until the end of July. Although my trip was cut short (I was supposed to be there for a year), I can not begin to list all of the things that I took away from ... read more

North America » United States » Michigan » Grand Rapids April 21st 2012

Jo and I arrived safely back in Detroit Thursday night, and now it's back to the grind ; ) Thanks for tuning in!... read more

North America » United States » Michigan » Grand Rapids January 23rd 2012

Two more days until I leave for Great Britain!!!! So far I have been packing and rearranging the room for its future tenets (both of my ex-roommates lol). I think we did a good job. There is the photo of what the room currently looks like. As for the packing I actually have a wealth of knowledge available all the time. My roommate Alberta is a very good world traveler and is always traveling abroad. So she knows how to pack, what to pack, and how to travel. The only problem is that I have to pack not only for York but I also have to pack up all of my other stuff to take home. I have to say that my dorm room has temporarily extended into the hallway, but no one has seemed to ... read more

North America » United States » Michigan » Grand Rapids January 16th 2012

Today the trip seems so close, yet still so very far away. I have so much to do and I haven't even begun to think about packing. :( Yet I am still going to enjoy the time I have with all of my friends at school before I go; (so that they'll be sure to miss me when I'm gone.) Just kidding, I am most likely going to keep them updated through skype or facebook :) they won't miss me that much then, hopefully. Other than that in a few minutes I am going to go through the painful process of tearing down my room so I can pack all of my stuff and be moved out for the next person to move back in. That will be sad and the room will look pretty dull ... read more

North America » United States » Michigan » Grand Rapids January 15th 2012

This is the 10 day countdown till I board a plane headed for the UK, more specifically headed for York St. John University in the city of York... (obviosly lol). The plan is to study at York with other students from my college in Grand Rapids. We are going to try to integrate ourselves into the culture as much as possible while hopefully maintaining a good GPA. This is going to be made a lot easier with our living arrangement. I am going to be living in a coed apartment with 4 to 5 other British students. Honestly this scares me a little bit but I think I will be fine by the time I get settled in. After a month or two of school at York the "real" adventure will begin. We get a 3 ... read more




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