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Published: March 13th 2016
The event that we have been awaiting for over a year has finally arrived. Our German friends from Haigerloch have now joined us in Washington! After much planning, preparation, anticipation and building excitement, we were ready to welcome them into our homes. After months of emails and Skype chats, it felt as though we were welcoming lifelong friends.
Our group slowly trickled in to the area outside of the "A" gates starting at about 10am. By 11, we were ready, en masse, excitedly waiving handmade signs and eagerly asking every departing passenger which city they were coming from, hoping beyond hope they would reply "Newark", thereby signaling our friends imminent arrival.
Eventually one of our group exclaimed, "I see blue, there they are"! It was true, they had arrived. A tired but excited group emerged from the hallway and into the arms of the waiting assembly. Hugs and smiles abounded and cameras flashed as the students found their partners and met them in person for the first time.
After completely blocking the walkway and drawing the ire of the security guard, we eventually moved on to collect the luggage. Our German guests were working on three hours of
sleep after departing New York at an incredibly early hour. In a flash, each family collected their guest and were off to eagerly share with them our beautiful state. The prospect of impending rain hastened the departure as everyone was hopeful of squeezing in a few activities before Washington's liquid sunshine began to fall.
Many would stop in Seattle to see the sights. The Great Wheel, Pike Place Market, the gum wall, Starbucks, and of course the artery clogging goodness of our beloved local burger join Dicks were popular stops. Some went north to the daffodil fields of the Skagit Valley in order to take advantage of the somewhat decent weather. We took our teacher guests to downtown Seattle. After a battle with full parking lots, we arrived at the Columbia tower. Up to the top we went for a cloud shrouded but still impressive aerial view of the city. Lunch at a brilliant local eatery, a stroll through Pike Place Market and a tour of Seattle's amazing library capped off our visit. All told, it was a great first day.
Saturday saw lots of local adventures undertaken. Some ventured north to Bellingham for a myriad of activities
including Woods Coffee, shopping, trampoline time, and even some hiking in the Chuckanut Mountains (thank goodness they survived unscathed). Others enjoyed time spent cheering on their American hosts as they competed in local sports, Lacrosse and Basketball.
In the evening, we convened at Edison for the welcome dinner. It was a wonderful evening of sports, loquacious conversation and great food. The American hosts presented their welcome bags full of local items and American goods, like "Peeps" (which are illegal in Germany) and reusable Starbucks cups. The group then proceeded to take part in the annual shirt signing. Green shirts with the exchange logo were graciously provided by our guests. They now they bear the names of all of the participants. It was a great evening to be together as a group and it was wonderful to see the bonds already so strong between everyone. It's like they have been best friends for years already!
Tomorrow we embark on a "Three Hour Tour" of sorts aboard a Washington State Ferry, hopefully not named the SS Minnow. We'll head out to sea to venture toward Friday Harbor. It could get interesting as we are expecting significant winds associated with an
approaching storm. When asked in a poll to name a movie and TV show that symbolize what may transpire tomorrow, responses such as "Castaway", "Titanic" "Gilligan's Island" and "Survivor" washed in. It will be an adventure to remember I am sure!
We are off to a phenomenal start on Edison- Haigerloch Exchange 2016! I will update things post odyssey tomorrow!
Attached are a few pictures that were submitted to the group by some of our families.
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