Friday, May 31, 2013

Music Lessons & Performance

Friday, May 31 was our second day of being in Cambodia. In the morning we were told that it was going to be a “musical day” and that we were going to join in on a long-necked guitar lesson after breakfast. Our expectations didn't seem very high but once we got there, we were all surprised at how amazing this strange instrument was. It looked somewhat like a guitar but had only 2 strings and 1 silent one. We didn't only take joy in listening to the traditional music, but also in understanding how much joy and passion the musicians had in playing them. We learned about the history of it and what it is made of.

Later that day, we went to the Russian Market. The market consisted of lots of small stands, where people were selling anything from smelly fish to screw drivers. The best part about being at the markets was being able to negotiate prices with merchants!

After having an American lunch, we took tuk-tuks to meet one of Cambodia's best musicians who taught us how to play the flute.
After about 10 minutes, it was easy to say that we were really bad at playing the flute! But it was no challenge for Mrs Yim Chanthy; she could turn someone who was tone deaf into a rock star! Ms. Zych was really rocking it!

Later on in the evening we went to a traditional play. "The History of Yike and Mak Therng," was a beautiful story about a Prince who steals a beautiful woman from her elderly husband. When the old man goes to the King and claims that the King’s son took his wife, he calls the Prince out and tells him to bring the woman with him. The prince gives the woman a different name and she denies that the old man is her husband in fear for her life. Before the king could have the man killed for trying to fool him, one of his honorable men begged for the case to be judged to find the truth!
After the old man and his wife were judged, it was found that the Prince had lied. Before the couple could leave, the Prince attempted to stab the old man but instead killed his wife while she tried to protect him!
In the end, the king sent off his son to be killed.

By the end of the day, we were all surprised at how amazing the day had been! We are all more than impressed with the talent that we have found in Cambodia and we look forward to more wonderful days!

~Ari Abrams

Thursday, May 30, 2013

The National Museum & Royal Palace

I woke up this morning around 6:00 am. A few people went for a walk with Dyer for about an hour then went back to the hotel. For breakfast, I had a baguette, mango, hot chocolate and a purple fruit. I didn’t like the fruit that much but I’m glad I tried it.

We went to the National Museum and learned a little bit of Cambodia’s history. I saw that some of the statues had a lot of arms on their bodies even though most of the arms had been broken off. We learned that some of the religions that are here in Cambodia are Buddhism and Hinduism. My favorite piece of art is called the Singe Monkey. He has the arms and legs of a human and the body of a monkey. The monkey symbolizes that the religion is Buddhism. It also shows that he is strong like a man.

In the evening, we went over to the Royal Palace and got a tour of the place. I took lots of pictures of the palace. In my opinion it was very interesting to learn about and to see what the palace was like years ago. We had dinner at a place that helps orphans and street children succeed in life. I tried a grilled fish fillet and it ended up being really good. I also tried a nice mango drink and found that to be very good as well.  I am feeling very happy that this day went as planned.  Now I’m ready to fall asleep and continue my journey in Cambodia tomorrow.

~Ali Anders

Monday, May 20, 2013

Today is the day we had planned our whole group good-bye BBQ.  It was pretty rainy and the grass at the river was wet, so we changed the plan to go to the Alten Flugplatz (Old Airport) which is actually an old US airstrip, active from the 1950s-1997.  Now people take their kids there to learn how to ride a bike, or rollerskate.  Below is a picture of our whole group.

Below are some clips of our kids presenting their yearbook gifts to the German students.  Not everyone played along, but here are some clips from those who did.

Tschuss to the German families, and Hello America!!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

On Thursday morning, the City of Frankfurt hosted a reception for the Northpoint travelers.  We were invited to the City Hall, a beautiful building that not everyone is allowed to go inside of.  We met in a room (the Emperor's Hall) decorated with paintings of each of the Emperors of Germany.

We stood in awe of the history represented in this room, until a representative of the Mayor's Office and the leader of the Green Party (who is an ERSII graduate) in Frankfurt greeted us and gathered us into a Northpoint-style circle-up and spoke about how important this exchange is to the City and Germany as a whole.  They had very nice things to say to Mr. Zinni and I about how powerful the exchange between Northpoint and Ernst Reuter II can be for both cities and countries.

The Rathaus (City Hall) flew an American flag in our honor and presented me with a book about Frankfurt as a gift.   The principal of ERSII also presented gift baskets to both Zinni and Wagoner, on behalf of his school.

We all felt quite honored.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Frankfurt and Berlin, two very different places in this amazing land of Germany.

The city of Frankfurt is compact, inviting and very comparative to a cross between Phoenix and Beverly Hills.  Frankfurt has this feeling of being planned and well organized.  Frankfurt is super clean, and has very little street art/tags and where it does, it has the look of being cleaned up and covered up very quickly. 

In contrast, Berlin is spread out, incredibly artsy and definitely gritty.  Berlin has so many different eras of architecture that it feels miss-matched.  Berlin has so much street art that it feels super inviting for creative types.  It also seems a little revolutionary, which makes sense, considering it’s long and complicated past.

While these cities are completely opposite, they do have some similarities.  Both are surrounded by lush, green forests, and both cities have amazingly dressed people each in their own style.

If you can come to Germany, I would definitely recommend coming to both of these cities to get to know two different types of culture.

--Briar Aven 
Notes on the German Democratic Republic:


AFter WWII, Germany was split essentially into four districts: U.S.A., French, Great Britain, and the Soviet Union.  The districts of the US, Great Britain, and France combined to become West Germany, leaving the east to the Soviet Union.  This East Germany was its own Communist Country known as the German Democratic Republic.  

When Germany was split, Communist Soviet Union believed they had to protect their people from western influences.  They told the people of East Berlin that the west was filled with Fascist ideals.  In order to "protect" their people, they constructed the Berlin Wall in 1961.  The wall was apart of the "Iron Curtain" that divided the entire continent of Europe into two parts.  The wall cut through the heart of Berlin.

Throughout Germany history, Berlin has been a significant city.  The GDR decided they needed to protect their own citizens with a physical wall.  So on a quite Sunday night, the government built a barrier around the "Fascist" sections of Berlin.  The entire city was separated.  People couldn't get to work, see their familie.  One interesting story was that a man bought a new "flat" over the weekend in West Berlin while living in East Berlin.  He planned to move into his new flat the following Monday.  When he woke up and saw the barrier, he couldn't pass to move into his new home.

We can't help but see a connection here to someplace quite a bit closer to home, the US-Mexico boarder.  

- Jacob/Hannah

Thursday, May 16, 2013

 Notes on Street Art in Berlin:

Let us (Summer and matt) start this off my saying that we are not artists, whether it is drawing, painting, spray painting—it all just ends up being a blob.  However, during our stay in Berlin, we were allowed to go to a “Street Art” class.  Now, as Summer likes to say, ”This class is much harder than it sounds. You don’t just take spray bottles and tag buildings.” To explain what we were truly doing, we’ll talk a little about the final outcome and the steps to get there.  First, you get your design in mind.  Next you must draw this on paper that will soon be covered in tape.  Once laminated with tape, you then begin to cut out your designs with ‘point objects’ or properly know as exacto blades.  Then you prepare your board.  Starting with your background color.  This could be one or more color in different patterns.  Once this all dries, all you must do is apply your stencil to your background.  This is so much harder than it sounds, because you spray paint over your stencil.  After that, you’re done.  Now since we are both terrible artists, I would say everyone was surprised when each of us created great art pieces.  This entire class was a VERY fun experience that we are both glad we were allowed to participate in.
--Summer and Matt

Street Art is dynamic.  It is rugged and relentless. But most importantly—it is necessary.  Street Art allows a community to express relevant messages and provide personality and humor for both buildings and our lives.  The Street Art scene in Berlin is extremely fascinating.  I’ve never been in a major city with actual Street Art (not graffiti) and it was really incredible to experience an absolute overload of art, stickers, stencils and the like.  It really opened my eyes about my opinion between the difference between art and graffiti, and where that line is drawn.
--Jason Bartley

Everywhere you gaze, your eyes will fall upon art.  Art is different for every person, with the message or image itself.  Street Art is placed into the rebel category.  Here, in Berlin, it is socially accepted for the most part.  I liked seeing everyone let out their inner artist.  In Berlin, I feel I can voice my artistic opinion.
--Aubreigh Himes

Notes on Sachsenhausen:

Having read so many books based on the atrocities of The Holocaust, I was very intrigued in going to a concentration camp.  But I must say, I was not prepared for what was in store for me.  Walking up to the camp, I felt an awful feeling of anger and stress.  If I would have allowed myself to, I could have had an anxiety attack right there.  These feelings were awfully strong, and difficult to keep away. 

I felt oddly peaceful at the same time as I was angered.  The breeze in the air, the trees surrounding the camp, and the brush of the flowers and grass gave the camp a beautiful and peaceful feeling, and then I remembered where I was.

Why am I here? was one thought I always came back to.  What am I looking for?  Is this for knowledge or feeling safe?  Am I here to feel sorrow for those who have been lost or to see the ways they were murdered?

Most of the time I refrained from slapping other people fr disrespecting the area; coffee cups and trash left in exhibits, awful drawings left in the dirt, and lack of compassion for where we were.  I feel pity for them.

I’m not sure if I have an idea why, but I’ve always wanted to visit a concentration camp.  I guess it is because you read and hear about the horrors of WWII so much.  You are just curious.  But once I got there, I only had one thought—WHY?  Every time I saw, read, or even thought about what happened here, I became angry at humanity as a whole.  Anyways, it was extremely interesting (and depressing) to see the ‘model camp” which Sachsenhausen was during The Holocaust.  It was also interesting to see what happened after WWII, when it was being used as a prison camp by the Soviets.  Altogether, it was an extremely interesting experience, even though and angering and depressing one.

The moral is necessary and sad.  Necessary for the human mind to remember, to conquer the fear of losing humanity is only to be prevented by remembrance.  I took it in, but I didn’t take it in too deeply.  But I won’t be one of the people to forget—ever.  The atrocities that went on can be repeated if we lose control.  The memorial was not the most elaborate but it’s doing it’s job—offering the message to the next generation.

I think that the trip was absolutely wonderful as a whole.  Such a trip can be awesome or terrible, depending on the people.  I was very glad our group was so quiet, responsible, and reflective during the time we were in Sachsenhausen.  The experience itself, though, I’d say was probably one of the best so far in Germany.  To read and hear about something is much different than directly experiencing it for yourself.  The concentration camp just put things into perspective for me.  Seeing how large the camp was and just imagining tens of thousands of people imprisoned was really impactful.  I also learned that Auschwitz was the major camp that was responsible for the naming of the term “death camp”.  I think that we all should visit one, or maybe have a simulation, because it made me think of how bad living conditions were.  People often joke around about such concentration camps but I’m sure visiting one for real will stop that immediately.  The art and happy day after was also well-planned and seemed to work well for a day.  I think more of a talk when finished would have been nice though.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

We dropped off the radar for a bit because of difficulty accessing wireless internet at our hostel in Berlin, and three long and exhausting (but wonderful!) days.  Check us tomorrow for our reports of our Berlin should be worth the wait!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Today was full of excitement and new experiences. As we navigated our way through the city train by train, we slowly familiarlized ourselves with different surroundings, people and languages. First, we grabbed a bite to eat at the train station and then headed straight to the beginning of our tour. Our guide lead us through many amazing sights like the Jewish and Homosexual Deaths Memorial, several museums and even the sight of Hitler`s death [Which is now a parking lot]. We finished the day with way too much pizza and a group bike ride through the city. Overall, a wonderful day!
-Emily Anders

Sunday, May 12, 2013

This Sunday, I went to the Mathimatikum, an interactive math museum with a lot of interesting exhibits. Even though most of the signs were in German, the language of math seemed universal; you don't need to read the signs to enjoy watching wave back and forth in harmonic motion (trust me, it's not as nerdy as it sounds). The museum had everything from simply putting shapes together to comparing your body to a drawing of Da Vinci's to trapping yourself in a giant soap bubble.  The grand finale was an intricate sculpture that had a few dozen balls flying around through chutes and loops and tunnels. And hey, here is a video of some liquid in a spinning cylinder.

We all miss our Mamas, so we made a little video to express our love...enjoy!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

The home I am staying at is wonderful, they grow there own food and have chickens for fresh eggs. Its the perfect living environment for being right in the middle of Frankfurt. A great place to come home to every day.

Friday, May 10, 2013

We are staying in a fairly large apartment. The place has an artsy sort of vibe and as there are two painters living in the place it is filled with much of their art. We are living with Ina, her mother Susanna, her father Micheal, her sister Mona, and her two cats.

--Summer and Hannah

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

About 15 minutes away (on bike) is this gorgeous, GORGEOUS! Forest. Tim took me riding there on my first day visiting. I was completely stunned that such a thing could exist, near such a large city. With my amazing abilities of riding with no hands I was able to capture this moment and share it with everyone I could.

What we have been eating...and eating...and eating!

No chance of going hungry here...Some examples of what we have been eating below...

Hey! Jason here...I wanted to share some of my photos.  I am having a blasty-blast!  Gotta go now, but when my internet is working, I will post more.

Three different days, different activities, different people, different thoughts. Frankfurt has a different feel. No matter where you go everything will make sense connecting in some way. Nothing seems to go to waste. All very different .

Tuesday, May 7, 2013


here are some pictures from my day (Sunday)

My host family took me to Hessem Park today, and it was absolutely beautiful!
Everything was so green, and reminded me of Upstate New York, where I grew up. The rolling hills and trees were amazingly stunning. After that, we went over to a castle, called Römerkastll, and looked at all the interesting artifacts and horses. They had an awesome moat as well. 


Sunday, May 5, 2013

I live with Vanessa and her mother, father, sister and cat. They are all amazing people (I have yet to officially meet her sister and mother but saw them on skype!) and the cat comes and visits me every once and a while. We live in an apartment, I am housed in Vanessa's room upstairs. Her sisters room and the computer are also upstairs and the bathroom is right next to the staircase. Her parents room is next to the front door, and next to them is the living room and dining room, and the kitchen. They also have a basement. All in all, I love everything here! 

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Yesterday my awesome host family took me out on a tour of the city, it was wunderbar! The pictures, from top to bottom, are the city hall, the old opera, a really big euro sign, and picture of my host family and I (my host mom, Gabi, took the photo). Lastly, Tobias and I being goofs with handbags! Deutschland is great and I think I speak for everyone when I say that I'm having a great time. Tschuss! 


Friday, May 3, 2013


When we met as a group today, we each took a turn giving our number on a 1-10 scale of how we are doing...nearly everyone reported being a 10 or above, with only a few 8s.  That is pretty terrific.  I asked kids to give a rose and a thorn for the trip so far, and here are what Matt, Jacob, Aubreigh, Emily and Hannah had to say.  This is a group truly living in the present!

Hannah's thorn was her host cats--which run from her (but seem to tolerate Summer, who stays in the same house).

Thursday, May 2, 2013

We have arrived!  All are safe and in host homes.  All luggage made it to Frankfurt.  At times our overseas flight seemed to be moving backwards in time...but we are here now, quite groggy, but super excited.  Jacob and I had schnitzel and potatoes for dinner and then played a few games with the family.  The family Lapp is treating us very well, and their little dog, Jerry, is pretty excited to have company.