Thursday, July 2, 2015

Day 14- Happy Birthday Kaylee!!!

Lauren: This Trip is Dover

Today was Kaylee's eighteenth birday, so HAPPY BIRTHDAY, KAYLEE! Since today was not filled with many plans, Diana, Faith, and I went into town and got Kaylee a vegetable cake (she is vegan), balloons, and birthday gifts. I got her two choker necklaces and a ring. I'm really glad that we were all there to celebrate her birthday. It was so great to see her face light up when we came in with the vegan vegetable cake, birthday balloons, and our gifts to her. A few hours after we got back from the town, we all went to yoga. Honestly, I really did not want to go and was totally not in the mood to go, but after I went, I was glad that I did. After the class, I had much more energy and I felt happier. Anyways, tonight is our last night in Dover and although I enjoyed every minute of this trip, I think I'm ready to go home. Since we our leaving for our flight in the morning, I'm gonna get some sleep. I cant wait to see my family when our plane arrives. Goodbye, Dover. Hello, California.

Diana: Sad and Happy

Today we celebrated Kaylee's birthday by getting her a vegetable cake, balloons, and presents. She turned 18 today so I wanted to make sure it was memorable. I got her cat earrings. It was really fun because we got celery, grapes, bananas, and blueberries. It was funny because we got her sparklers and we could not get them to light up but when Kaylee did it, it worked. She was super happy which was so awesome to see and I was glad that she was happy. Later we went to yoga which was fun. I really liked being able to still do some yoga. The yoga was not hot yoga so it is a little harder to do the poses because the muscles are not loosened as much. I am so glad that I am going home tomorrow. This trip has been so amazing and I am so thankful to my dads, to Cheryl, to Lisa, John, Heather, Lin, all the donors and everyone else. I had a wonderful time. As for Zombie I am so glad that I was a part of it and that my parents would take me at 5 in the morning. I would like Zombie to go on because I want newcomers to be able to experience something that I did and have memories that will last a lifetime. Also Zombie has helped us come together as a whole and kept us out of trouble. Not doing Zombie will result in some of us being off pace and getting into trouble. It is only fair to give the newcomers a chance at what we experienced. I am sad to think that Zombie is done. I think all in all Zombie was a huge help to our lives and who we became. Thank you so so much dad and papa for driving me in the morning, I know it was not what you wanted to do, but you did it anyway. Thank you as well for paying, I cannot express how thankful I am of you both for giving me this chance to have an experience of a lifetime. Love you so much. see you soon.

Faith: Sweet Home California

Today is Kaylee's birthday. So, Parth, Noah, and I gave her a card and present we got yesterday. She really liked it. Later, the girls celebrated with a vegetable cake, and we gave her jewelry. A little later, some of us went kayaking again. It was really fun, but I was really sore from yesterday. The water was also colder, so dunking each other was not as fun as it was yesterday. So, I really want to dedicate this blog to all of our donors, supporters, etc. This trip would not have been possible without all of the money we raised, and especially all of the support we have. Without that, we would not have been able to swim the channel!! I am also very happy my parents let me come on this trip, and that they did soooo much to help get money for the trip. I also want to thank Sam Busby, because we had team suits, caps, and robes that helped us bond, and feel closer as a team! So thank you! Also, I learned a lot about myself on this trip, and I created many memories that I will have for the rest of my life :). So overall, I had an amazing trip, but I am happy to be coming home. Last but not least, I want to say thank you to Cheryl, Lisa, and John for helping soooo much on this trip. On my last note, goodbye Dover, England and hello Carlsbad, California!!!!!!!!!!


Today was an amazing day. Kaylee and I stayed up until midnight and I was able to sing her happy birthday. The highlight of my day was getting my tattoo. The most painful part was the outline. the shading didn't hurt nearly as bad as the outline. I am extremely proud of myself and very happy with my tattoo. I want to thank my parents for letting me get it, Cheryl for educating me on tattoos, and the girls for holding my hand from the other room. Later, we went to yoga and had our last team dinner. This trip was more than a global trip for me. This was a learning experience and a great way to transition to college. I learned about friendship, teamwork, love, compassion, strength, and happiness. All things that I can take to Chicago. Thank you mom and dad for sending me to England, I wouldn't have been able to swim without your unconditional love and support. Thank you Arch for everything, this has been a life-changing experience that I will never forget!!!!


Today I woke up older. I am officially a woman. 18. The day started with breakfast downstairs. I was given a card signed by everyone. Super sweet! Noah gave me a stuffed cat which was the best because I really love cats and it was REALLY nice that he remembered and went out of his way to get it for me. Later on, Maddy brought me into the hotel lobby where the girls surprised me with a PERFECT CAKE which was made out of blueberries, bananas, celery, grapes, and a sparkler that said 81. They know me very well lol. Best cake I have ever received. After that I went with Maddy while she got her tattoo done. John walked all the way to the yoga place by the hotel and got the instructor to lead a class for us. It was very relaxing and felt super good because I haven't done yoga in a while. THANK YOU JOHN!! Honestly, this day has been really awesome. I am really glad I was able to spend it with everyone. The best gift of all is life. I am so glad I made it to 18. Thank you to Cheryl, my dad and mom, my family, and peers. THANK YOU ARCH ACADEMY!! This will be the last blog of the trip so I want to say thank you again to everyone who supported us! This whole trip has been such a great experience and has helped me to become a stronger person. It has also helped us to bond more as a group. 18 and couldn't feel any better!! THANK YOU THANK YOU EVERYONE!!!!

Parth: The End of the Trip

My day began with an interesting two hour hike, made more interesting with the progression of rain throughout the day.  It was awesome, being less humid by far than the last hike that we went on, and much faster.  Later in the day, we also went kayaking, making our way through the water.  It was awesome as well, and I managed to keep my top half dry this time.  I did not get dunked, and I loved it.  Throughout the day, Wesley and I were upping our social skills, and I managed to help him through several tricky situations.  Later in the day, we went to yoga, and then dinner, and I celebrated the end of the busiest day since the English Channel swim happily.  I would like to thank the sponsors and everyone who has helped with the swim and the global trip.  I would like to thank everyone who has contributed in any way to Zombie.  I have really appreciated being a part of it, and I really believe that it is good for everyone who has experienced it.  It is a staple of the school now, and I believe that for the school to keep going as well as it has been, it needs to keep Zombie.  The best part of Zombie was that it improves my life throughout my time in it.  I love my time in Zombie, and I think it is a necessary ingredient in the recipe for success for Arch kids. 

Noah: final day of the global trip

Today we went hiking to the white cliffs with John and Lisa, where we went to the white cliffs before. It was a rainy and windy day when we’re walking towards the white cliffs. When we were on top of the white cliffs the English Channel was foggy and I couldn't see France. We got back to the hotel and ate lunch. We also went kayaking at the beach. It was fun back because I like kayaking and the beach. After we went kayaking, we played games and watched TV in our room. We also ate dinner near the beach and the food we ate was good. Tomorrow morning, we are going to the airport and our flight leaves at 3 o’clock. I’ll see you soon in San Diego. I really like Zombie and I think it helped me become stronger and make better friends with my peers. Thank you to Cheryl for doing Zombie and I hope it will continue.

Wesley: Sad, and happy

Today I woke up, and went to the gym, and I sadly realized today is my last day. I am so glad I got to go to England again in a very good way. I know next year I will go to my first Spanish speaking country which is the second popular language in the United States. After I went to the gym I ate breakfast. Then we went on a hike again, and it was even prettier than last time. Then I went and ate some lunch. I had sausage, and chips, and pistachio ice cream. Then me, and the guys, and Faith went kayaking, and we flipped each other out of each other's kayaks. It was raining while we were in the water. A lot of you know how I said as a little kid I want the queen to blow me a balloon. Today when we go out of the water, as a California blond hair teenager I said I want princess Diana to give me a surf lesson. After that we went and did some yoga. Then we went and had the last dinner of our global trip. I had fried squid, prawns, and tart. I am very, very sad I have to leave England for the second time. But I have a lot of people that would miss me if I didn’t come home. I am sad this trip is over but I will look forward to going to Spain, and Portugal next year. Besides, there's no waves on the channel to surf. I think we need to keep Zombie going, for several reasons. One of the reasons is because it's made school more fun, and not just work. Its makes us feel good afterwards, and have a good day at school. We get to go places together. I think from now on for Zombie we should do swimming not as early, and only two times a week. I think we should train to do the Madagascar channel. Zombie is helping me train to do my future job which is a navy seal.

Zach: No title

Today was exactly the same, although a little different. We started off with a hike that John lead. Then after the hike, some of us went off and did another hour of kayaking and paddlboarding. During which, as I was on the paddleboard, I thought about Zombie. Now I think that Zombie is a very key role in the success of the students attending Arch Academy. It simply helps with getting our academics done and keeping our well being well. I think that overall, noticing that I managed to get to swim the English channel is amazing. Something else that was amazing was that the English Channel was a goal which became a motivation to get things done. I think that this helped me and without continuing Zombie, I think that the future students will not be able to have the same opportunity to be as successful. That is what I think of Zombie and I truly will miss it. Later we did yoga and after yoga, I was exhausted. I will also truly miss Dover and England in general. I also again want to thank all that have supported us.

CJ: The end of an era?(the triathlon)

The end days. Nobody sees them coming and then bam, here they are. So what did I do? Today we woke to my favorite type of weather, dark and stormy. J. So after a very small breakfast we went on yet another hike with John to the White Cliffs. This hike was better than the first, because the fog looked spectacular and we went farther than before. After this we had lunch and went kayaking again because it was freaking awesome. Today was stormier and cloudier so we decided not to kayak as long. But it was still fun. Then when we returned, we all went for another yoga section. As a result, my legs are toast, and my abs hurt. So, I guess this is the end of the trip, but is it the end of Zombie? As much as I dislike getting up early in the morning, I have to admit, it is an experience like no other, and I have never been on a team like this before. It’s truly one of a kind. I feel I have taken a lot of life lessons from the experience. But, after an achievement like this, what is next? Do I want to stop swimming, no, but a break would be very welcome. I think I would like to go back to Alcatraz, with no wetsuits. The experience is indescribable really. I want to take this opportunity thank everybody involved and who supported us. You support is greatly appreciated and we could not have done this without you.

Paul: Dreams of Chronic & Sustained Cruelty

Last night, Wesley and I played Guess Who?, and on the third round, I guessed his person on the first turn! Anyway, today we started off hiking along the white cliffs through a thick morning fog. It started pouring rain after we got inside for lunch. I worked on the Zombie A video after lunch while the others went kayaking for a second time (of course, after it stopped raining).
My reflection on Zombie is a challenging experience. Getting up in the morning at 4:00 to swim 3 hours later three times a week is physically and mentally challenging. It’s hard to work your schedule around it, and sometimes you’re tired and may not want to continue. But we carried out three swims a week all the way up until now. I feel very grateful for this opportunity, and am enthusiastic for its use for colleges.

Matt: See You Later England

So yeah it is our last day, and yes I have to admit it was a very good day. I’ll talk a little bit about today and then I will talk about a more important prospect, the future. Today we got up and went for a hike. It was so foggy but, it was so cool because this time we went extremely close to the edge. We looked down and we could see the ocean and a sea of fog. You could also see the cliffs closer towards you. It looked ridiculous. After that we went SUPing and kayaking again and it was still super fun. So the more important part is the future of Zombie. I guess it is not mindful to think about the future so I will say what I feel in the present. I feel like the Arch Academy group has never been more focused academically or even physically in years that I have been here. People don’t get into nearly as much trouble because everyone is too tired to do anything. Also the goal oriented system Zombie provides is amazing. Anyway thanks for reading and have a nice night...we are coming home.

Betzi: Talks of Resurrection...

First off, Happy Birthday to Kaylee!! She has really been an amazing friend to me, a support through the humorous, the painful, and the victorious. The girls welcomed her to adulthood this morning with sparkler-topped fruit and birthday balloons. The streets this morning were blanketed in a thick, warm
fog. We were trying to time the hike such that we might avoid the rain, but the droplets began to fall just as John had us all gathered in the lobby with our backpacks and water bottles. Lisa, Noah, Matt, Paul, John, Zach, CJ, Parth, and I decided to go regardless. We had a lot of fun hiking up the hills, allowing the plummeting orbs of rain to meet our bare faces and arms, and this time when we reached the cliff's ledge, the view was startling- just the grass, maybe seven inches of white chalk cliff, and
then- nothing. Only fog for what might as well have been miles. What had previously shown us a descent into sandy beach and green ocean was somehow much more frightening now, as though the abyss of gray fog that filled everything below would somehow entangle our uncoordinated feet and pitch us from the precipice. I was thinking that the whole scene would have been perfect for a Lovecraft novel. The yoga instructor seemed glad to see us again and to hear that we had been successful in our swim across the Channel, even after I interrupted trikonasana by accidentally sliding my foot across the blonde wood floor in a way that produced a fart noise, and even after Wesley started randomly clapping during seated poses. I know that the English Channel was supposed to mark an end to the swim team at Arch. However, as was discussed over seafood and vegetable stew, it seems as though the Zombies might be resurrected in the coming year. The tattoo I designed for Cheryl and the others is a symbol of accomplishment in channel swimming, but also of the journey. The kelp represents our beginning in the La Jolla Cove, the uncomfortable slimy weeds we had to push through to get to clearer waters. We fought tall waves, jellyfish, currents, fatigue, cold, fear, frustration, and avoidance, sometimes all in a single practice, and we helped each other through it. The kelp twists and progresses to come around back to itself, forming a wreath, just as Zombie progressed from La Jolla Cove to Alcatraz to Catalina to the English Channel and gave us a
success in the water that ultimately guided us back to success in who we are as individuals. I am incredibly happy that the group recognizes the strength they have in motivating and pushing each other as a team, and that they want to get back in the ocean. They know it will be difficult. They
know the next goal, Santa Barbara islands or Alcatraz without wetsuits or whatever it is, will not always be fun to train for- but through this experience I believe that we have gained an invaluable intrinsic self-motivation. I will also be continuing swimming as a part of staying focused and in recovery while on the other side of the continent. I am so proud of us! I am so grateful for Cheryl, John, Lisa, Dan, Mike, Chloe, and all the Arch students past and present who helped develop the swim program into what it is today. I feel like I am part of what will be a legacy left for the next kid who enters the school. They are in for a turbulent ride.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Day 13- Fun in the Sun

Lauren: Reflecting

Today consisted of the perfect "girls day." All of us went out into town and had a lot of fun. We left at noon and we probably stayed in town until closing hours. Today was a great day. Of course, everyday here in the U.K. has been an amazing opportunity. Thank you to both my parents for paying for this amazing experience. And thank you Cheryl for making all this possible. I never thought in a million years that I would be able to say, "I swam the English Channel with my school and we succeeded." Right now, I am reflecting back on all the training we did and all the hardships we had. It made me realize how worth it all of it was. I'm also looking back on when we first arrived and England and now, two days before we leave. We have all grown so much from this experience and not only as individuals, but as a team. We swam the English Channel and that is an achievement that will stay with us for the rest of our lives. I am one hundred percent positive that when I'm an eighty-year old woman, sitting in my retirement home, I'll remember this achievement and I'll still smile when I tell myself that we didn't just swim the English Channel freestyle, we swam it ARCH style.

Diana : So Grateful

Today I woke up and went down for breakfast and ate the same I usually do. I then went into town with Parth and Zach to get some more conditioner. I got back and showered which felt good to have conditioner for my hair. After that I got a tattoo which is so awesome. It was also painful. When he started it was not that bad because I was reading some of the things on the wall but once I was done with reading what was on the wall it became more painful. I was so nervous because I didn't know how it would feel at first but it was not as bad as I thought it was going to be. The end result is amazing and I am so happy with it. I also like that it means something to me and is not just a random tattoo. To me it means that I accomplished something no one ever thought I could and now I did it. And all those people who said we couldn't do it, we did it and I am so happy. Later we went to dinner and blogged. I want to say thank you so much to dad and papa for allowing me to get the tattoo and to Cheryl for taking me and helping me get it. I appreciate everyone who has helped me get to where I am. Great job to the Zombies, I am so proud of us for doing it and for showing everyone we could do it. Have a great night.

Faith: Kayaking

Today, after I had breakfast, me and some others went kayaking. At first, I wasn't looking forward to it, but it turned out to be sooooo fun!! I wasn't remembering that ARCH Academy makes everything fun :). At first, CJ tipped out of the kayak, and that is what inspired all of the others to start dunking each other. Paul and I were a team, while the others teamed up. It was really fun, and I'm glad I went. The rest of the day was laid back, and 'chill,' but we still had a GREAT time. Parth, Noah, and I went out to town for a bit, but we headed back soon after. For a few hours, I was playing cards, Battleship, and other time consuming games to keep us occupied. So, I am really thankful for all of our donors, sponsors, and supporters. Without them, we wouldn't have been able to come to England and swim the Channel. We are leaving in a few days, and I am so thankful for being able to come on this trip because I have been able to make myself into a better person, and I have been able to reflect, and become more mindful of everyone and myself. GO ARCH!

Maddy: Sweaty

Today was hot. Hotter than hot. So hot, that I was sweating. It was hotter than Channing Tatum in the middle of the desert. Anyway, today consisted of me, Betzi, and Lauren all hanging out in a hot, sweaty room in Dover. So many people were on the beach today, enjoying the water. We had fish and chips for lunch. Later, we went to dinner in a place THAT DIDN'T HAVE AIR CONDITIONING. I get frustrated in the heat. It was, however, a beautiful day in Dover, England. Throughout this whole trip, there is a certain pride that radiated all through the group. I am proud of the school, the students, and am looking forward to the future successes of this school. It's all good in the hood, and I can't wait to get home!

Kaylee: THANK YOU!!

Like Maddy already said, it was very hot today lol. I was wearing shorts and a tank top and still sweating indoors. Could be because there is not much air conditioning over here. Anyways, today was still such an awesome and memorable day for me. First I ate some breakfast, then Cheryl, Diana, and I got tattoos. They say "English Channel 2015" and has the wreath above it. I am really glad that I can have such an accomplishment not only in my head but on my body where I can be reminded. It took a little less then an hour and surprisingly did not hurt at all. The place was called No Pain No Gain. Although I feel like I gained There was only one guy working there and his music choice was pretty on point if I say so myself. It was loud and screamy so I was able to jam while waiting. The tattoo is on the back of my leg and is healing now. I really love it and I am so glad I got it. Thank you so much to my parents and Cheryl!! After walking back to the hotel we went to dinner. Tomorrow is my birthday! Woo Hoo!! (:-0

Parth: Kayaking with my Friends

The beginning of my day today was especially fun in the way that the days where there is no plan are.  After breakfast, we went over to the ocean to kayak to our heart’s content.  I had a lot of fun splashing and getting splashed by the boys of the Arch Academy, and Faith, as the other girls were elsewhere.  We toppled each other’s kayaks, splashed each other, and generally had a good time roughhousing with each other.  After kayaking for an hour, the group split, half of us going to the café to get lunch, and half of us remaining in the water.  I went to the café, and had a delicious cheese and tomato sandwich.  Wesley and I have been working on our social skills, and I help him with his skills while he helps me with mine.  Later in the day, we had dinner, and it was delicious.  I am really thankful to all of the people who have helped me get where I am today, from my maternal and paternal families, to my family at Arch.  Goodbye for now, and see you soon to my family. 

Noah: Kayaking and a secret for Kaylee’s birthday

Today we went kayaking near the beach. I know how to row the kayak because I’ve seen how people can row their kayaks. I also paddle board at the beach. Kayaking and paddle boarding are so fun. After we went kayaking and paddle boarding, we played playing cards and battleship. I also went to town with Faith and Parth for Kaylee’s birthday. I bought a stuffed cat for Kaylee, Parth got the birthday cards, and Faith got a present bag. We also went to Eight Bells restaurant for dinner. I also talked to Kaylee about the movie Jurassic World we watched yesterday and I also talked to her about how the dinosaur escaped from the cage. Our trip is almost over, I’ll see you soon and tomorrow will be our last day of our trip.

Wesley: Row your boat

Today I woke up and I went to the gym. Then I went and ate breakfast. Then me, Faith, and the other dudes went both kayaking and stand up paddle boarding. I chose stand up paddle boarding because it's like surfing. Right when I saw the fins on the paddle board it made me know that I will be surfing again in no time. It was so fun to be SUPping, in England, and on the channel. I could not believe I was doing it in England. I could see the British flag, the white cliffs, and part of the town of Dover while I was paddling. I was so happy paddling I had to take a deep breath, and let some negative thoughts go. I was even so happy I had to sing row your boat. After that I went and ate some lunch, I had a burger and chips. Then I played some games with Faith, and the other guys. Then we went out to dinner, and I had a great meal, of fried prawns, for an appetizer. For my meal I had really good ribs, and chips. For dessert I had a mars bar, and the Pistachio ice cream that I used to eat, when I lived in London. The kind at Baskin Robbins is not as good. On this trip, I just consider Dover, this hotel, and all my Arch friends my home, and my family. I feel like I have been living with Paul in a hotel room, and in Dover for years and years. I am very very sad that tomorow is the last day. When I get back I want to finally try surfing, or bodyboarding, at Windansea beach. I will enjoy my last day tommorow. I am all ready excited for next year's trip, and I know it will be just as fun.


Today Matt, CJ, Faith, Parth, Noah, Zach, Wesley and I went to the shore to use paddle boards, single manned kayaks and two-manned kayaks. I took a two-manned kayak with Zach, and we all set off for the far end of the harbor. We ended up tipping each other’s kayaks and boards, having splash battles and switching up vessels. Although we rented them out for 2 hours, a few of us went in after 1 hour. I would have stayed in longer if I had brought my jammers and other swim gear. Too bad, since it was very fun. For the rest of the day, we played cards and I worked on the Zombie A Relay video. Too bad I won’t be able to see my English friend here, since tomorrow would have been open if he weren’t busy again.

CJ: Fun and sun-------burns.

Today after waking from a 5-hour sleep, I went to breakfast for half a waffle that still refuses to come out of the machine. Then after, Matt invited us to go kayaking in the Dover harbor. It was a BLAST. After forgetting to put on sunscreen I took off in my single kayak with ease, and then watched as my less experienced peers figured out how to get in theirs. Then, I forget how, but a war started between Faith, Parth, and Me, versus Zach and Paul. Then Faith turned on me, then I flipped her and Parth. Then Matt, Zach and I went out to this yellow buoy, and I claimed it for Zombie. After drying off, most of the guys went to Matt's room and we played Texas Hold’em. Then we went to dinner where the AC was broken and I realized I had a massive sun burn. And now I am here, listening to Matt and Zach play battleship.

Zach Irvine: Row Row Your Boat Gently Down the Stream…

Today I will say that our first fun activity was that we got to go kayaking and paddle boarding in the water. In the beginning, I would call it battle ship or battle kayak. Everyone that went got in a kayak or paddle board and started capsizing each other. I found this really fun, until my kayak got capsized L but still it was fun J. Later in the day we played Texas holdem. Parth, in the beginning, was winning and I think he did win? Oh wait yes he did and the fun part was seeing how mad CJ got every time he lost against Parth. Then we all went to dinner at which the AC in the building broke so everyone in the back including the locals had the menus in their hands and fanning themselves. Afterwards we came to blog which I am doing right now. End of Blog.

Matt: Activities in Dover

So today we woke up and we got the idea to go over to the sea sport rental place in front of the hotel. It was one of the most exciting experiences we had during this trip. Everyone involved was able to get out in the water and do a physical workout besides swimming. It is always nice to enjoy the water and still be able to breathe the whole time. I am going to make the video today and it is going to be about all the watersports we did today so you will see it in more detail. A couple of students were able to do stuff they have never done before like stand up paddleboard and I was excited to be able to share the experience with them. All the guys had a lot of fun playing games in my room. We had a pretty good dinner today. Thank you for sending me. 

Betzi: Sweat

I woke this morning to Diana adjusting the electric fan in our hotel room, voicing her annoyance about the sweltering heat that had dropped down over Dover while we slept. No kidding. I kind of wish I had taken her complaints more seriously while determining what clothes to wear, as the weather ensured that my black cotton Misfits t-shirt spent much of the day plastered to my back like wet clingwrap. This trip has been drastically less nomadic than global trips typically are with Arch, but I don't mind at all. The White Cliffs Hotel always has a rotating assortment of Brits and Channel swimmers in its lobby, the entire Dover Harbor out front serves as a constantly-shifting swimming pool (with sail boats and cargo boats and fishing boats), and, Kaylee has probably mentioned before, the muesli at the breakfast buffet here is great. We smuggled about five bowls of it in my thermos for swimming. Some people went back to town in the afternoon to walk around and explore the sun-cooked hodgepodge of parks and shops, while others of us went ocean kayaking. Great video material, especially Noah on the paddle board. Speaking of videos- Matt finished the Zombie B segment of our English Channel film, and I highly encourage all of you to check it out! Link below.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Day 12- Sunshine and a movie

Unleashing Our Inner Dinosaur
Today was overall pretty relaxing and at first, there wasn't really a scheduled plan. The plan was to basically just go with the flow. My day started at 8 AM when I went down to eat breakfast with Zach who was the only one up at that time. (we went to bed pretty late) I then went back up to go back to sleep until Diana told me and Betzi that we should probably get up because we were the only two still sleeping. After going down to see everyone and their smiling faces, the girls decided to head out into the town of Dover on a spontaneous adventure. I think Dover is a really cool place to visit, especially in the town where all the tourist shops are. I'm definitely going to miss Dover after coming home to San Diego, but at the same time, I also miss home. However, despite a little case of home sickness, I am still having the time of my life. We just got back from the movie, Jurassic World and all of us thought it was a pretty cheesy movie. I'm glad we saw it though because it was nice being able to laugh at all the dinosaurs with Faith who was sitting next to me, along with the others. I'm having so much fun. I'm not sure what is going on tomorrow but I do know that this trip has been full of adventures and I am sad to say that it is almost over. I miss you all back home.

Velociraptor to the Rescue
What a fun and exciting day. I went down for breakfast and had the same of what I usually get which is eggs, hash browns, and peaches. When we were done with eating breakfast the girls walked around Dover exploring what was around us. We found a nail place so Cheryl got her nails done and so did Lauren and Maddy. It was funny because at first when they were putting the acrylics on it looked like cat woman with the nails. The final result was good. When we were done with that Cheryl and I went back to the hotel and then went in the water which was not bad. It is not so bad getting in the water when you don't have to get in right away or it is just for fun. The other girls met up with us and chilled at the beach for a while. We then went back and relaxed and had noodles for dinner which were very delicious. We then went and saw Jurassic World which was not the best, however it was fun to sit and watch the cheesy parts. What I loved about the movie were the Velociraptors. On the way back to the hotel Maddy and I pretended to be Velociraptors. It was so awesome today. I hope everyone back home is doing well and tell nelson I love him.

Today was nice and relaxing! The girls and I wandered around town, trying to decide what to do. Then, Cheryl, Lauren, and I got our nails done. Mine are a SUPER bright orange!! After our nail appointment, we sat on the beach because, finally, the sun was completely out. We had lunch on the cafe patio and were told we could "chill" until dinner. Kaylee and I went to the lobby and worked on my intricate coloring book. We then had the worst Chinese food I've ever had. Its okay though, we would fill up on awesome snacks in the movies a couple hours later. We went to see Jurassic World at 8:30. The plot, bad. The acting, eh. But those RAPTORS, YESSSS!!!!! I want one. I am really starting to miss home, but I'm staying in the present and enjoying the moment. Can't wait to see my bed, Sam, and Mom. Love you guys!

Chilling in Dover
Today we woke up and ate breakfast. We then walked around the town and looked around. Then Betzi and I decided we wanted to swim so we went back to the hotel looking for a third person. Parth volunteered so we got our suits on and went in. It was really sunny today which made the water feel warmer. (Don't worry mom, I have plenty of sunscreen!) I got out pretty early because my breakfast decided it didn't want to be in my stomach anymore lol. After that we all relaxed and Maddy and I did some coloring which was pretty calming. We then met up for some dinner. After dinner, we walked to a cinema and watched Jurassic World. The best part of the entire movie was how they added an intermission at the most intense part. It was pretty funny. Missing everyone back home!! Love you guys!! (:

Jurassic World
Today was a chill, laid back day. We didn't have anything planned, so all of us walked around town. I got some souvenirs, and then me Cheryl and Diana chilled by the water. They both had bathing suits on, so they swam to this bucket about twenty feet from shore. I stuck my feet in, and honestly, it felt warmer. After finishing lunch, we were all allowed to hang out until dinner. Right before dinner, I found out that we were going to be seeing the movie Jurassic World! I was really excited, because I've been wanting to see that movie ever since it came out. I really liked it, and I especially love the RAPTORS!! These dinosaurs seemed to be the more popular ones throughout the group :). I am loving England, but I can't wait to see my parents, and go home and tell everybody my accomplishment; swimming the English Channel. Oh, and don't forget... RUN!

The theater and the unwise
Today was a relaxed day. I woke up in a pretty happy mood, and then watched as many tried to make Cheryl a waffle, with a machine that was not good at its job. Then we went into town where we went to a British supermarket and then a souvenir shop. After having a burger in the very nice weather, I went down for a nap. The most exciting part of the day was after dinner where we went to see Jurassic World. The movie theater was placed in a super sketchy location, but actually turned out to be a decent theater. As for the movie, it was decent but did suffer from some plot holes. I loved the day, thank you mom and dad for sending me.

Fun and games
Today I slept in, and then woke up, and ate breakfast. Then me, the boys, and Faith went to town. I bought myself some milkybar which I have not had ever since I came back from London. We walked through a neighborhood that had houses that look a lot like my old house that I lived in when I lived in London. That was fun to see. Then we came back to the hotel. We rested for a little bit, and then went and ate lunch. I had a burger and fries. Tonight we went to see Jurassic World. It was so cool. It had a lot of action. Noah was scared. I forgot to say this but yesterday I had the black current juice that I used to drink when I lived in London. It was good. After lunch I played guess who, speed, and Monopoly with Zach. I have more fun to enjoy.

I had fun today
Today I went for a swim in the morning shortly after I woke up and ate breakfast.  It was refreshing to swim of my own volition, rather than because I was forced to.  I had lunch, which was good, and I loved it.  Later, long after I had lunch, we went to the movie theater, which was cool.  We saw Jurassic World, and it was amazing that we were able to go.  I really appreciate being able to go to the movie, and I had a great day.  I have loved this trip, and I really appreciate being able to help Wesley with his social skills, and increasing my own social skills in the process the past few days.  Thank you family, I love you, and thank you everyone who has helped me to get where I am today.

Jurassic World
Today we travel through the town in Dover. We went through supermarkets and souvenir shops in the town. It was really fun. We went back the hotel and watched TV and ate lunch at the café. I also took a shower after we ate lunch. We wrote what we’re going to eat for dinner. After we ate dinner we watched the movie Jurassic World. The movie is terrifying because the Indomus Rex escaped from the paddock. And the Jurassic Park visitor center is back from the first movie and I was surprised that the building is back. Thank you for sending me the comments and I want to specifically thank my parents.

Today we did a lot of relaxing in Dover. We hung out and I also did a lot of solitaire and other card games with other students. This includes boardgames. I also went to the English Costco called Morissons it was real neat. The real big hit for today was that we saw Jurassic World. There were a lot of pineapples in this movie due to a lot of suspense. It scared the living crap out of me but it was fun. It was an amazing movie. I want to thank Cheryl and Lisa for an amazing job that they are doing on this trip and also planning the movie.

Waterfront Property
Today was another resting day, so I decided to go into town with the others to go get a souvenir or two. I got a drink coaster decorated with London-related inscriptions. We watched Jurassic World at night, which wasn’t as bad as I expected. I thought they put too many people in it, which I feel makes it stand out from the three past movies. They also explained everything way more than the past ones, although all explanations weren’t too lengthy or bad. The best part was when the movie theater called intermission right as a dinosaur chase scene started, and so everyone in the theater got a laugh out of it. I look forward to meeting an old friend tomorrow, which will happen if we visit London again. Matt got very good footage of Zombie B’s relay, and his finished video was great. I hope to do well on Zombie A’s video later this week, and also the final video covering our entire experience in Zombie.

Summer in Dover

Today I woke up and I had a super healthy breakfast which consisted of some delicious fruit and some cereal. The milk in Dover is so good. I think it is because it is much fresher than the milk is in California. After that I could not believe what I was feeling and seeing when I walked outside of the hotel. It was hot and the sun was out. Summer in Dover! It was so beautiful today and it reminded me how lucky I was to be living in California because I get to experience that pretty much every day, here they barely get to experience that. After a nice day in the town we watched Jurassic World, what an amazing piece of cinema. Thanks for sending me, good night. 

If you ever get the chance to walk around the town of Dover, I advise you to be overly cautious around anything even resembling a road (and because the narrow sidewalks are not raised, this includes pretty much every outdoor area not covered by grass). Even the pigeons sprint when they cross the street, and I have come to wince every time a car passes, because Doverians drive like they're trying to escape a pack of undead velociraptors in a world where hitting pedestrians gives you bonus points. We have all been working on our reflexes as a result. Parth, Kaylee,
Dan, and I went swimming again in the afternoon, and it was strange to be out in the ocean without anything driving us, without anything in particular to train for or any specific purpose. It was more of a meditation than a workout. I focused on the sensation and the rhythm of what I was doing, pulling at handfuls of icy salt water and allowing myself to glide, and I felt grateful to remember that open water swimming does not stop here for me. Because the English Channel was successful, the future is
open for me to pursue other crossings, and for Arch to continue passing on the competition in other events. I am so glad that my brother got to experience this. It is something that we will both always be able to carry with us, something glowing to hold onto when things seem dark. The sketchbook I brought along is nearly full. I brought it with when the group decided to visit a small theatre in town, a quiet and kind of dingy place tucked away in an alley. Although I can't say I blame the screen crew,
considering how little there is in the way of entertainment in Dover, someone evidently decided that it would be a hilarious idea to pause the movie for intermission right as the giant dinosaur-mutant was about to kill the protagonist on the edge of a waterfall. Noah's look of terror was frozen throughout the entire ten minutes. As we left the theatre an hour later, everyone was stalking around the streets and squawking like velociraptors with hip dysplasia. Thank you Mom and Dad for supporting my
trip here, and for the gofundme help- it has been a blast.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Day 11- London

My day started out with a light breakfast before getting on the hour long train ride. This train ride was going towards the one and only, London. I cannot even describe to you how excited I was to go there. Getting there made me realize that it is a lot like New York City which I thought was pretty cool. Throughout this trip, I have been saying that it would be great to go to college in the city of London. However, after visiting, I have decided that I would rather not. Even though it is an amazing place and I enjoyed every second there, I would prefer to go for a vacation rather than four years of college. The first thing we did in London was tour the war rooms of Winston Churchill. Throughout this tour, I learned so much about him. I probably know more about Winston Churchill than I do about myself now. (Just kidding!) Even though that was a great historical experience, I would have to say that my favorite part was when all the girls tried to find their way to Big Ben and it took longer than expected. In other words, we got pretty lost. Even though the trip to London exhausted me, I'm so glad that we went because it truly was an experience. 

What a Great Day
Today I woke up at 6:30 am to go to the gym. Worked out for a little and then ate breakfast. I then took a shower and went to the train station with the group to go to London. It was awesome and so cool. We went to Churchill's bunkers and went to the museum which was interesting. I like looking around and the interactive stuff. After that we went to lunch which was good. I had a Cesar salad which was not much but it was really good. The girls went to look around and then we went to meet up with the others at Big Ben. It took a long time to actually get there but we did. Once we met up with the rest of the group we sat for a little and then headed back to the train station. The train ride was an hour long and we mostly just joked around until we got back. It was a tiring day for my feet but it was really fun. We then went back to the hotel and put some stuff away and headed out to dinner. We ate at the restaurant called The Eight Bells. I had a hot dog and nachos. I then came back and then started blogging. 

Today we were able to take a train into London. It was a bright, sunny day in London and that made the trip even better. We first went to Churchill's War Rooms, a museum dedicated to Churchill and his kitchen (seriously, there were a lot of exhibits/postings about his eating habits). We then went to lunch.We wandered around London looking at all the sites. We then decided to call it a day and go back to Dover. We then had dinner at The Eight Bells. Now, we're blogging and desperately wanting to go to sleep.

After we got to London after an hour and a half's train ride, we headed to Churchill's War Rooms. It was very warm, but since we were underground, it got cooler. After this we headed to lunch, and it was good. Then, we headed to Buckingham Palace. It was amazing, and we could all see the Beefeaters guarding the palace. We then headed to Big Ben, and soon after we arrived, the big bell rang. Later, we headed back to the train station to come back to Dover. I am having to finish this up, but I had a great day, and I am so thankful for all of our sponsors :).

I found my new home
Today we woke up semi-early, ate breakfast, and took a train into London. London was super cool. It reminded me of New York City, except the cars were heading a different direction. We all managed to stay safe though lol. We stopped at Churchill's Bunker first. I was able to learn A LOT of information I didn't know. Then we walked around and found a diner to eat some lunch at. The girls then walked around to take a look around the city. After walking for a while, we met back up with everyone else and walked back to the train station. A lot of walking was done today!! We have been getting A LOT of good exercise. After returning to the hotel, Matt and I were interviewed on Skype by Fox 5 News. We then met back up with the group and ate some dinner. I can not wait to sleep in tomorrow!! I'm really loving England. 

I had not expected everything to be so centralized in London. Big Ben, Churchill's bunker, the London Eye, a couple different embassies- they are all within walking distance of one another, conjoined by imposing iron statues and old, intricately-sculptured architecture. Even the central
train station had an interesting stylized roof structure covering the lines of people and inside awnings (which were lined a bit obsessively with spikes to prevent pigeons from sitting on them... also covered in spikes were the light fixtures and CCTV security cameras, as though some anti-pigeon maniac unleashed their wrath on every upper surface of the entire station). The museum set up inside Churchill's bunker was really thorough in its display of Winston Churchill's life. While I honestly could have lived without learning about the prime minister's favorite beverage or breed of dog, it was interesting to see that his "private lavatory" actually held a secret phone with a direct connection to Franklin Delano Roosevelt during World War II, and to learn how the East India Trading Company so heavily influenced Churchill's response to the India independence movement. The museum's structure can be accurately described as labyrinthian; I got lost, Paul got lost, and when Parth went back in to get CJ it only resulted in both of them taking half an hour to find their way out. I have not tried much tea yet, as very few people here seem to prefer decaf, but I feel it is important to mention that there is currently a very large silver tea kettle on the lobby desk adjacent from the one I am
typing at. It is dark outside the hotel, save for some lights reflecting off the water of the Channel. Goodnight.

A Trip into London
The day began with my excursion to an early breakfast, followed by a day-trip to London.  We first took the short walk to the train, then went from there to London.  I loved looking at Buckingham Palace, and enjoyed our view of Big Ben.  We saw the London Eye, and throughout the day, I talked to Wesley and worked on his social skills.  During lunch, we had nice conversations, and I improved my social skills as well, bringing greater insight to my life.  I also got to carry the medicine bag, which was awesome, as it shows that I am more trustworthy.  Lastly, we got out of London, and made our way to dinner.  We ate good food, and I am going to go to bed happy.  Thank you to everyone who has helped me get to where I am today. 
Today began with a 2 hour train ride across British countryside to London. The first thing we went to was Churchill’s Bunker from where he commanded the British forces during World War II. The bunker was full of artifacts and maps that were used during the war. Many of the rooms were sealed off to look into. There was another part that was a museum about Winston Churchill and his life. We then went to lunch at a restaurant that attempted to be American and Italian, but was not. I had an oversized burger that was good, but would have been better in America. After lunch we walked to Buckingham Palace and Big Ben. London was very cool and I am glad that I had the opportunity to see all these thing in person.

Amazing things in London
Today we went to London on a train. For me I thought we’re moving to London because I thought the entire group is going with their luggage but we’re not and that taught me that I need to listen. The train ride is fun because the train is running fast like a high-speed train from Japan which was really cool. I talked to John about the high-speed trains in Japan. He said he has been on one before. When we arrived in London, I saw the London Eye and Big Ben. We saw statues of lions in front of the museum. We also went to Churchill’s war room. I only know one part of Churchill and why his country went to war. I like it and it was really fun and I also learned about Churchill. I also can see Big Ben and the London eye from Churchill’s war room. After we went to Churchill’s war room we ate lunch and we went to the palace where Queen Elizabeth lives. I didn’t visit her because she’s not there but I saw the guards in the palace. Tomorrow morning, I don’t know if where going to London or we’re doing something else at Dover.

The Dream
Today I woke up, and ate a big breakfast. Then we went on a train to London. It was so pretty riding up for example I saw a meadow of wild mustard. When we got to London I could not believe I was at last there again. I saw the London eye working which they were building when I lived there. I walked through St. James Park which I used to go to when I was a kid, and I could not believe I was there. Then we went to Churchill’s war tunnels. They were ok. Then we went and ate some lunch. I had a whole sheet of ribs. Then we went to Buckingham Palace for my second time. I did not see the queen but I liked knowing she was there. Then I saw Big Ben. Lisa told me that it’s not just the clock that’s called big ben it’s the bell inside, I really liked learning about Big Ben and I loved talking to Lisa about London. I did not see my old house in London, or the family but it felt good to know it was somewhere in the city. Then I got on a train, and came back to Dover. I took a nap on the train. Then we went out to dinner, and I had fried chicken and fries. Parth has been helping me with my conversations, and he said tonight I did a very good job. The whole time on this trip, I have considered England my home, and all of the Arch friends my family. When I saw St. James Park, and Big Ben, I could not believe I was seeing it in real life again. I have more to enjoy on this trip.

Zach Irvine
Today we finally got to explore London, which is always something that I wanted to do. To get there, we took a train. On the train ride, there is this ongoing joke I guess I would call the “pineapple” joke. When we were in Canterbury doing the ghost tour, the tour guide said to say pineapple when you were scared of something. During that tour, I said pineapple a lot since the tour guide scared the crap out of me. So now, during the train ride, I remember that Wesley tried to hug me from behind and he did it slowly. So when I noticed him, I yelled pineapple on the train. It was really hilarious and we all had a good amount of those similar times which they were also really funny. Ok, now when we reached London, we first explored the War Rooms which Churchill lived in for periods of time during WWII. We then went to the place that the queen of England lives. After that, we went to Big Ben, and then we went back to Dover.

London Bridge Is Falling Down
Hola! Today we went to London and after the Arch Academy was there it will never be the same again. The bridge of Britain society will fall down. After the excitement and positivity the Arch Academy brought to the grand capital they call London. First, we went to that courtyard in front of the natural history museum that only Lisa knows the name to. After that we took a walk in one of the most beautiful parks in London. I think it was called St James. I am really bad at remembering these British names. I can, however, remember the amazing times I had in front of Big Ben when I was with my Arch Academy friends. We also had some delicious food and I felt like a great leader.
(ps-the courtyard Matt is referring to is Trafalgar Square, which everyone had a hard time remembering!-Lisa)

Cosmic Spallations

Today we walked around London, which wasn’t too comfortable on my ankle. I think I twisted it badly over those days walking on the beach. I think the most interesting part of the Churchill museum was his escape from the Boer War in 1899, earning him enough fame to jump into politics. Why don’t we have more towers with clocks on them like Big Ben? It’s pretty convenient to have the time available up there. The traffic here is pretty fast and close to public walk paths. Ambulances speed by at high speeds with very loud sirens. I hope to get a good idea of what gifts I want to get for our next day in London, since there isn’t that much time left.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Day 10: Hiking the Cliffs and Mindful Reflection

Today was an easy day with a light breakfast of Miralax water and another huge bottle of water. Cheryl and I went into town to find a place to get our nails done. And like every Mexican food place in San Diego, they were all closed on Sundays. The two of us went back to the hotel to chill out while the rest of the clan went on a hike to the White Cliffs. From what I heard, it was spectacular and everyone had fun. I had a good time reading my book and waiting for my stomach to feel better. We got some lunch in the cafe which we very much enjoyed. Thank you to all our sponsors and donors. You guys are the reason we're having awesome meals, going to London, and getting souvenirs. We also had a productive group and are looking forward to tomorrow when we leave for London! Thank you everyone!

The White Cliffs
Today, I woke up at about seven. I headed down for breakfast, and heard that we were going on a hike at 11:00. At first I was not looking forward to it, however, I ended up LOVING it. THANK YOU JOHN! John led us on this hike. We walked along the white cliffs of Dover, and we headed to the viewing point. When we reached the farthest viewing point, we found a shipwreck! We all thought it was probably from World War II!! Nevertheless, we are not 100% sure. So, the rest of the day was low key. I am very excited to go to London, and get some souvenirs. I am having to end this, but, today we had a very constructive group. This helped me realize how I can be selfless instead of selfish. Also, I learned how to be more mindful of everyone else, and how I can't let others make me feel different about myself :). I also want to say thank you to all of our donors, sponsors, and everyone else who helped make this trip possible. YAY ZOMBIES!

The Adventures of Arch Academy, Zombie Patrol: Hiking
Today started out with a beautiful hike. Thank you, John for taking us! The view was so amazing and I honestly felt like I was in the field in the movie, "The Sound Of Music". I wish I could have brought my camera but that's okay because I have the beautiful view captured in my mind. When we got back, the group had a team meeting led by Cheryl. The team meeting made me realize that I need to step out of my own bubble and start asking others about their interests or how their day is going. I've been selfish and self-absorbed my entire life and it is time for me to start stepping up as a leader for the current ARCH students and the others who are yet to come. Also, I found out that a lot of RESCU students have been following our blogs and if any of you are reading this, I would just like to take a moment to tell you that what you have started here has not been forgotten. Thank you for all those days at the YMCA and all the cove swims. You guys have all helped make up what ARCH is today. Overall, today was kind of a free day. We relaxed after the hike and the team meeting and now we are blogging after dinner in the hotel. I miss and love everyone back home and want you guys to know that I am having the time of my life, so thank you mom and dad and all the donors for sending the Zombie Patrol to the English Channel.

What a Beautiful Hike
Today we went on a hike to the White Cliff's of Dover which was beautiful. Thank you John so much for taking us. It was nice to get out of the hotel and get fresh air in a beautiful area. We were walking up a lot of stairs and up hills so it was also a good workout. There were a lot of bees that were bigger than the normal worker bees. When we were walking back Betzi, Matt, and I saw the quadratic formula on the wall. Betzi had drawn a Venus fly trap with a bee around it on the sidewalks. We then had lunch and then watched a little TV. We then had a group in which I realized that I need to become more mindful of the people around me. I want to thank all of the donors that helped support us in getting to the English Channel, to my peers that helped, to Lisa, John, Cheryl, Dad, Papa, and to everyone else. I thought it was a wonderful day and there is always something to be learned inside and outside of the water.

A Day of Beauty and Reflecting.
Today, at breakfast we talked about what we would be doing in the future for PE and whether or not we would continue swimming (HAS NOT BEEN DECIDED YET). This gave me time to reflect and really think of how much swimming has changed and saved my life. I just wanted to thank past students who started and were a part of the continuation of the swim program before me. As much of a pain and challenge swimming can be for me at times, at the end of the day it always makes me feel better and it really has saved my life. I personally would like to continue swimming so future students can experience something similar to me. Swimming has also brought me a lot closer to my family (missing you guys!!). During the day, John took us on a hike on the white cliffs of Dover which was absolutely BEAUTIFUL!!!!!!! The walk was intense but once we made it to the cliffs it was well worth it because the view was incredible. I wish I had brought my camera but I am glad I was able to live in the moment. I was also glad I was able to bring the speaker so I could listen to some music. After coming back we had a group with more reflecting and I continue to remember there is always something I can do to improve. Thank you again to ALL the people who donated: family members, friends, peers, etc, and all our sponsors: HXC Sport, Milwaukee Tool!! Your support helped make this possible.

Today we started off by taking an amazing hike lead by John Allcock to the White Cliffs of Dover. At the top of the White Cliffs of Dover, I looked around and saw so much beauty in nature. It was really amazing and I loved the views. One that I liked specifically was the the over view of the small town of Dover and the port. With this being said, I thanked John for taking all of us to the White Cliffs of Dover and also planning the hike. Something that I do want to mention is that during the day, I was thinking along with the other students about whether Zombie should continue. I would say yes because it has helped with our academics and our well-being and our relationships with our families and friends. I also want to thank the past members of Zombie and the people who have started and kept the swimming program running because it has helped everyone who has been in it and will help the future students who join. Later in the day, during dinner, I was working with improving Noah's conversation skills. I tried my best to talk with him about a lot of different things. I feel that I made some progress.

Fun, thanks, and friends
Today I woke up, and I went to the gym again. This time I was very sore from yesterday. Then I ate some breakfast with Dan. Today we went on a hike along the White Cliffs of Dover. It was very beautiful. I found a bunch of dandelions, and I made a wish. I found the nature so pretty. I took a deep breath, and let the nature throw away some of my negative thoughts. Even the walk to the cliffs was so pretty, for example it was green. On top of the cliffs I could see a shipwreck in the channel water which I have never seen in real life before. It made me want to try shipwreck scuba diving. Then we came back to the hotel, and we ate lunch. I had a burger, and french fries. Then Paul, and I watched some of the Princess Bride. Then we had a group. In group I realized I need to work on understanding social cues especially with girls. I need to start holding myself accountable for my actions. This group also made me realize that I should start bonding with the guys more and not just the girls. After the group, I talked with Parth a lot. Thank you, Parth, for helping me with my conversational and social skills. After that I went with Paul, Parth, and Zach and we played cards and munched on frosted flakes, which in England, they call Frostys. Then we ate some dinner together, and Parth helped me have a good conversation. Tomorrow we are going to London. I am thrilled. I lived in London for six months and I have been wanting to go back, and now I get to go with my Arch pals. I want to thank Sam, Milwaukee tools, and everyone who helped us get money for our trip, and a good swim.

The Great Group
The beginning of today's events involves a trip to breakfast and then an interesting hike, where we saw the most beautiful flowers and insects, as well as an amazing shipwreck, which was really awesome.  Later in the day, we had a group.  From this group, I reflected on my various antisocial habits and inherent selfishness.  My habit of hoarding as well as my not listening to advice from peers and teachers have contributed to my bad behavior.  The group has helped me with my antisocial behaviors as well, and today before and after dinner, I managed to hold a conversation with Wesley, helping him with his social skills in the process.  I am glad that I managed to improve my social skills, and I hope to have been a help to Wesley as well.  After the group, I will focus on improving my habits of hoarding and antisocial behavior.  I would like to thank the group for helping me correct my misbehavior, and I really appreciate it.  Today, I have made steps to correct my bad habits, and I would like to thank the group for that.

Hiking in the white cliffs
Today we ate breakfast in the morning. I helped Zach to get his waffles out of the toaster during breakfast. We went hiking to the white cliffs. I saw France and the port of Dover and ships. I also saw a wrecked ship near the shore. I was thinking it's a U-boat because it was used during WWII. We went back the to the hotel and ate lunch. Today I thought of 10 positive things in group. I also talked about improving my social skills with Zach during Dinner. Thank you, Zach, for having conversations with me. The 10 positive things are helping me be more positive with myself. Tomorrow morning we're taking a train to London and I'm excited to go to London. I miss you all.

Telephone Pole
I want to point out that this global trip has been a strong social experience for me. At the beginning of the trip, I was worried that I would get behind on homework if I did not bring it on the trip, and that I would have to be very busy getting back on pace for the time afterwards. Many people warned me that I should not have brought it anyway, but I ignored them and mentally prepared for working. Once the trip started and I began to work, I was told that I wouldn’t be allowed to do homework. A few days into the trip, I realized that even during idle times, I wouldn’t even get very far on homework, since I’m busy working and planning stuff with the rest of my peers. Heck, without homework or the rest of my activities back in California, I feel very relaxed. I can focus on going around and sight-seeing with others, play cards, or see what kind of strange children’s shows the British make. All of it is new, original experiences that I’ll probably never get to repeat again, so I’m going to make the best of it.
Anyway, today we walked around on the white bluffs. I liked the breathtaking view of the harbor and the rest of Dover. The loading procedures of the ships at the harbor involved organized rows and spirals of cars and semi-trucks. There was a sunken ship at the base of one of the cliffs, and we speculated that it may have been a U-boat from World War II. I think it possibly could have been a platform that collapsed from the top of the cliff, since there was some concrete/brick supports at the top where we were standing.

Amazing Day

So we had an amazing day. We got to have a great walk along the White Cliffs of Dover. I mean the views were incredible. I was so happy that I got to hang out with John and all of my peers. We could see France over all of the blue water. The other really cool thing was the huge tankers that were going across the channel. We also got to see a really cool shipwreck from the White Cliffs. After that I got to sit with the Arch friends and play cards. I was really happy to help the other kids be a little bit more socially engaged. After that I was able to enjoy a group and I really felt like I was becoming a better leader and a better person in general. This was a pretty great day and we are about to go to London so that is going to be really fun. 

I really enjoyed today, especially the hike around the white cliffs of Dover that John mapped out for us. It was discovered that the chalky calcium carbonate that comprises the cliff faces can be used as commercial sidewalk chalk like the type used on kindergarten playgrounds, even creating a white cloud of chalk dust when thrown at a stone or the pavement. The tops of the cliffs are far from being consistently white though. There were many shades making up the different species of grasses,
gnarled trees and ivy, and wild flowers scattered throughout the landscape; plants bearing burgundy seed pods, purple bell flowers, light green tendrils, and startlingly red petals textured like crepe paper. Lots of insects too (yeah, the camera was filled up pretty quickly), and especially spittlebugs of the family Cercopidae. The nymphs reside in these milky gobs of saliva-like froth attached to their preferred plants, the former keeping them protected from predators/extreme temperatures and the latter being their food source during the first instar. Unfortunately, the biggest froth-gobs were located directly inside a patch of stinging nettles... the thought of the pictures I came away with make me feel better about the burning rashes on my forearms as I type this. Zach was kept moving along the trail quickly in his attempts to avoid the big, bristling carpenter bees that were out despite the wind, which was pretty funny. I stayed behind at a certain point in the hike to hunt through some brambles in peace, but the rest of the group returned with photos of a sunken ship that they saw through the water shallows. Later, Parth, CJ, Matt, Paul, Zach, Noah, and I played Texas hold 'em (as re-imagined by Zach with Uno cards). A serious group meeting preceded the announcement that we will all be going to London tomorrow. Prime opportunity for new leaders to step up.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Day 9- Sightseeing in Canterbury

Hop Onto The Ghost Tour!
Today, we all slept in (Thank god!) and at about 11:00, we all departed toward Canterbury, which is a cute little historic town. We went into the Cathedral and walked around, taking in the history. It was actually really cool. Since I'm not Catholic, I wasn't expecting to be that interested in all of it, but I actually really enjoyed it. In the Cathedral, there were a lot of statues on top of the coffins along with the remains of bishops and priests. After stopping to get some lunch, (I ate tomato soup) we went onto the ghost tour. We didn't really know what to expect at first, until the tour guide started making sexist and ignorant remarks.He was trying to be funny but instead, he crossed the line with us. This is why we left in the middle of it. Even though after that tour, we were all really angry and upset, I'm glad that we didn't let it ruin our day because that would be unfortunate. I feel like throughout this trip, the students as a group our bonding and becoming closer than ever. Overall, our day was good. Whenever stuff like that happens and gets me down, I like to think that a bad day on vacation is still a great day.

Canterbury Ghosts
The Canterbury Cathedral is architecturally astounding, especially considering that it was built around a thousand years ago. The crumbling outside walls and spires are encircled by a carapace of steel lifts and equipment for reconstruction, but much of the original sculptures and glasswork still remain on the inside- as well as what is left of the bishops who preached there when they were alive. The bodies were entombed within ornate stone blocks carved to each bishop's eternally-resting likeness, their cold, white hands carved to cross in front of their chests in a way that was wonderfully macabre. Next, we followed an extremely boisterous and not very self-aware man on a tour of the places in Canterbury where ghosts had been spotted. He told us about the various ways Canterbury citizens had been killed by others or by themselves, and about the witch hunts that spread through the town, before the British humor started to cross a line with our particular group and we decided to silently retreat. We hung out by the edge of a canal used for transporting water through the town, and saw a brown-feathered duck with eight ducklings in tow. The best part of the day was when we saw this guitar-playing eye-patched street performer sitting in the town square at a fountain, playing Muddy Waters with great skill. Matt started singing and dancing with him, the two having a great time, and when the man went to go take a break in a nearby restaurant, he let Kaylee take over for him with the guitar. It was a long day. I am pretty excited to sleep tonight.

So Happy
Today started out by me looking over toward Lauren's bed and not seeing her. This is unusual because I always wake up before her. We went to Canterbury and had some fun looking in the shops. The food was good, I had a lovely view of a panini and then ate that same panini. Some of the stores were cool to look at and there was this one store that had a lot of Buddha stuff. The Cathedral was beautiful and one of the archbishops was killed there. Later, we were waiting for the bus to come and saw a person that played guitar really well. Kaylee and Matt were singing and playing it as well. When we got back we ate dinner and I had a bruscetta yummy delight, and risotto that was really yummy in my tummy. Also Kaylee and I went down to the gym and worked out (me running on a treadmill for 10 minuyts on 8.1 or as Betzi is telling me, I ran a little more than a mile.) Now I am blogging. Also I want to say thank you so much dad and papa for allowing me to get the tattoo, Betzi for designing the tattoo, Cheryl for helping me think more deeply about the tattoo, and to everyone else. Love you all.

Today, we were all allowed to sleep in. However, the one day I actually am allowed to sleep in, I wake up at seven! Nevertheless, I still had a fun day. All of the girls are getting tattoos to represent them swimming the English Channel. I am not, however, but that is fine because I am only 14. Betzi is going to give me a copy of the design, and she will draw it on my ankle after all of the other girls get theirs. When I'm 18, I'm getting that tattoo, and Cheryl said that she would be with me when I get it! :) So, today we all went to Canterbury, and had a ghost tour. This tour was interesting... and when the jokes went too far, we left. We didn't feel it was appropriate to listen to young girls getting pushed off buildings etc.! Anyways, I am now blogging, and I have to end it, so... I LOVE you mom and dad!! :)

London Ink
Today we went to Canterbury, a small town outside Dover. Our taxi driver was very lively and funny. Matt and I talked to him about how much he hated the Queen and how amazing Princess Diana was. When we  got to Canterbury, we went to the Cathedral and wondered around. Dad, I left a prayer for Nana for it to be read on Sunday Mass. (I also left a prayer for Louie Zamperini...) We then had lunch at a small place by the Cathedral. We then had three hours to kill before we would have our Canterbury Ghost Tour. We walked in and out of many shops that were super TOURISTY and had the same items in each shop...TOURISTY. However, I found a couple posters for my dorm in Chicago!!! Anyway, we found a grassy knoll and sang songs together. Finally, when 4pm rolled around, we dragged ourselves to the tour. Maybe 30 minutes into the tour, we realized that the tour guide was a messed up man. Cheryl rallied us and we slipped off into the alleyways, away from that weirdo. Good Night. I can't wait for my tattoo! Thank you Mom and Dad!!!!!!!!!!!

Can of Berries
Today we went to Canterbury. It had some pretty rad shops that we were able to look inside. We also saw a Cathedral that was HUGE and made me feel like I was on the set of Lord of the Rings. For a while we waited in a grassy park (that had lots of bugs). We then went on a "Ghost Tour" that didn't last very long due to the ignorant jokes made by the man leading. While waiting for the taxi to pick us up and take us back to the hotel, Matt and I watched some man with a guitar on the side of the road play Chuck Berry and Muddy Waters etc. We gave him some change because he was very good. He then took the change to get a drink and he handed me his guitar for me to play while he was gone. It was pretty cool because it was a really nice guitar and really nice place. Then the taxi picked us up and Maddy and I were able to have a cool conversation with the driver about his family, etc. He was a really cool dude.

Normal Tourist Stuff:
So today we went to Canterbury, it was pretty interesting. First, we had a bus driver that was a super nice guy who actually visits Egypt on occasion. So that was really cool. The guy also told us a lot about the English Royal Family. After that we went sightseeing in the cathedral, it was a pretty interesting cathedral. It was where Christianity in England began. The architecture was really amazing for that time period. It was pretty exciting. Then me and a couple other students went around town. I don’t know if we were supposed to go off like that but, we ended exploring by ourselves and it was pretty fun. After that we had a pretty sexist tour guide so that was interesting. After that we ate food and went back to the hotel. Alright I got to go bye.

Touring in Canterbury
We went to Canterbury in a van. Canterbury has a lot of buildings, stores, and restaurants. We got in the church first and the church is so cool. After we got in the church, I walked with Matt, Paul, and Wesley. We got lost after we got out of the store. We had a hard time finding the Arch peers and so we stayed in the center of Canterbury. We found them and we’re safe. We looked at stores and found something to eat. We got in to the army store. There were lots of clothes for soldiers and helmets. I wore a gas mask when we first arrived at the store. The peers took pictures of me wearing a gas mask. I went to the ATM and finally got 40 pounds. We visited a ghost tour man who talks about the things that happened in England a long time ago. He scared some peers but he didn’t scare me. The van picked us up late because the drivers had jobs they have to finish. After we got back to the hotel, we ate dinner at an Italian restaurant we ate before. We’re going to London next week and I miss you all.

The Beasty man
Today I woke up, and I went to the gym and lifted weights. John was in the gym too. For some reason last night I went to bed, and this morning I woke up, and I was missing Bella. So I went into town and I got her a gift. I also got a bubble maker for Otto. I finally found the right gift for my best pal Jeremy. We went to a church, and it was so sad, we saw a coffin with a person inside, and they had a statue of the person on top. It was sad. For some reason today I was very huggy with my pals.  I just love all of my Arch pals. We went to a ghost town, and we had a not good tour guide he was dressed weird, and was scary. I was scared he was going to scare me so I had to stand by Parth. We left the tour. Dad I wanted to ask you, may I please get diamond earrings on this trip. I think I would look so good with them. That would give me extra help remembering this trip, and after the swim I deserve them. Ask Uncle Dave and Terry Folly what they think. Tonight we went out to dinner as a family. I had steak and fries. I am very excited to go to London. Tonight at dinner I was just loving all of my Arch friends. I know they all love me, and I have more and more fun to come on this trip.

Anti-mass spectrometer
I found it interesting how this church we visited is still standing over 1000 years later. I’ve never seen such a tourist-y place before, considering the large groups of people and hallways. Matt, Wesley, Noah and I nearly got lost in the crowds after we split up to get food, but we managed to reunite with the group within 15 minutes. While waiting for the ghost tour guide, we waited for 2 hours in a grassy area and sang songs.

Zach Irvine
Russian Bling
Today started our trip off by going to a very, very old church in Canterbury. It had a lot of dead people, Christians, and dead soldiers. After that we wandered around. I also wanted to mention that we found our first rock shop in London and I bought two buttons one saying “Punk's not dead” and the other being an Anarchy sign. Alright, moving on, now during our wandering hours, we stumbled upon a military shop. I found it fascinating because it had a lot of genuine WWII military equipment from all sorts of countries. Now this where I decided to call my blog “Russian Bling”, I bought a genuine Soviet Union pin. It was not a replica that was made in China. So now, I have put it on my mad bomber hat. Alright, now moving, after all this wandering, we went to this supposedly ghostly thingy. The tour was alright we stopped halfway then left and got dinner because all our comrades were hungry. End of Blog.

Our day begins with a trip to an old cathedral, the center of Christianity in England.  I loved the exquisite stained glass windows, and the incredible murals and sculptures.  Beyond the obvious benefits of the beautiful artwork, I could feel the ancient history and religion of the cathedral.  It had been built in the late 1000’s, almost a millennium ago.  Later in the day, after a lot of wandering around, we went to a park space, and played music.  We managed to annoy half of the people around us, and people sang along with the songs, one of which was Ikea.  Lastly, we managed to have a good dinner, and we all ate good portions. 

Day: I lost count. I’m free from Dover.

FINALLY, WE LEFT DOVER. After more than a week here I do not think I could have lasted any longer before the boredom killed me. Our trip to Canterbury began with us taking a tour of a large cathedral, which was ironically being repaired by the national lottery. Afterward we had a few hours to look around. First, I had a bacon and chicken wrap, and then we found this military surplus store. Then we found several other stores which sold assorted posters and goods. Then we had a little ghost tour with a guy who was not very appropriate. So we left Canterbury after that and had a very filling Italian dinner, at the one restaurant in Dover that could actually sit 16 people.