Woke up at 6.00 because I had to use the bathroom. Breakfast was earlier today. I had French toast with cinnamon and sugar. After breakfast we had class - Life as an exchange student. We covered so many subjects! It was pretty intense and long. First we talked about high school - our leader (who is a returnee) shower her schedule, talked about how to handle the first day, lunch time and sports. Then we talked about host families - the struggles you come along, religion.. etc. Next up we had communication, where we talked deeper into dating, making friends, partying and swearing. Last subject was difficulties and challenges, were we talked about what to do in case of homesickness.
For lunch we had tacos!! It was so good - almost like in Sweden. Best food so far.
We had some time to pack and get dressed for our trip. We had to bring water, maps, wear our yellow t-shirts, backpacks, a working phone in each group, 7 dollars even, money and a leader's number on our body. Then we walked to the train station in New Rochelle and headed toward Grand Central Station.. I took many pictures and sort of felt like Selena Van Der Woodsen (how is it spelled?)
We had to walk to Times Square from the station. Our drop of point was the red stairs. The faster we walked the more free time - thankfully I have long legs so I tried to keep up with the leader in the front. When we arrived by the red stairs we got some free time. We had to walk in groups of 3-6. I was actually a bit nervous of not having anyone to walk with, but two girls asked me and then two others joined. None of us has been to New York before so we did not really know where to go - just that Rockefeller Centre seemed nice. So first we went to Top of the Rock. Almost everyone did. The view was so cool and we took so many pictures. I recommend going there, it costs 32 dollars (tax included).
After top of the rock we went to Starbucks, because they have wi-fi.. And well we choose our priorities. We had not used snapchat in forever! I just ordered ice water because I am cheap.. And I do not drink coffee, tea or soda..
I wanted to buy the "Harry Potter and The Cursed Child" so badly. We passed a Barnes and noble but it was sold out.. And then Sarah wanted to go into Urban Outfitters to look for a Polaroid.. And I saw "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child"! Guess if I was excited!! Although I was not sure if I should get it.. Because it was expensive - 30 dollars.. Also heavy and big.. Had to fit in my suitcase. But I got it!
We wanted to make sure we were on time so we decided to walk somewhere closer to Times Square - the M&M store! Actually I was not very impressed. I do not see how you would want to buy merchandise of candy? Does anyone like it that much?
We also walked into American Eagle where Sarah both some shorts. Then we hurried back to the stairs. We were one of the first groups. Of course some people were late.. Only 10 minutes but they did get punished later!
I felt pretty tired in my legs but that I just had to ignore. We basically jogged toward the ferry which were supposed to take us around NYC through the water. We also got lunch - a turkey sandwich from Starbucks. White bread.. No dressing.. Just a package of mayo. Not my thing! Haha.
The ferry was nice but it got cold after a while. We saw several buildings and I am to tired to name them all but I think you get the point. I did get to see the Statue of Liberty too! That is a must if you are visiting.
After the ferry we hurried out. The leaders had told us to bring 7 dollars for a surprise. If you do not want to know the surprise - do not read any further..
Instead of walking from the ferry to the station, we took a limo!! The limo was pretty small so it got crowded. We listened to really loud music, sang along, danced and took pictures. It was so cool! Although no one seemed to think we were celebrities..
Suddenly in the limo we all had a flood warning alert on our phones. In like a couple of seconds it started raining. It was not until we had to exit the door we realized it was pouring. Like, extreme. We ran out of the limo and into Grand Central Station. While at Grand Central Station we had some free time to take pictures and such.
And this is where I find myself now. I just had my first "I-hate-America-moment". After the train ride, we had to walk 20 minutes from the station to the collage. It was pouring rain. We all got soaked and ran into puddles so our shoes where drenched. At first it was cold and awful but I accepted my fate and kind of enjoyed it.. Until I looked in my back pack and noticed my new Harry Potter and the Cursed Child book was all wet and the spine was mushy.. I wanted to cry. But I could not let myself reach a breaking point so I tried to act natural. My room mate helped me place the book so that it would dry during the night, and then I went to bed as soon as I could.
One thing that I forgot to mention yesterday was that at dinner I talked a lot about my name and made everyone try and pronounce it, and actually it helped people remember it! Just make fun of your name and you will be alright! Haha.
Woke up at 7.00 feeling so much better than the previous day. For breakfast there was oatmeal, scones, fruit, muffins, bagels, yoghurt and different cereals. I really recommend you to try the scones! We always have an hour for breakfast and getting ready for next class.
After breakfast we gathered in our smaller groups. We repeated our names (this time we wrote them on the board so we would know what we were pronouncing). First of our leader showed us how much our comfort zone will expand during our year. Sure gave me some confidence. Then she talked about her exchange in Texas. I always enjoy a good talk from a returnee. Then we were asked to mention our fears and hopes. Like first day, getting fat, homesickness and then becoming more extrovert, travel, experience a new culture.. And such. Our hopes were more than our fears, and that is always good. After class we had lunch. I think we had hamburgers and BBQ chicken. And corn bread! I had never tried that before.
After lunch we had class - this time all together. We talked about the history of New York.. I knew nothing. I think I might have some struggles with American history.. Because I only know the European history and big world events. Some people knew so much! Then we talked about our trip to Manhattan. We received a map where an area was circled - where we were allowed to be. They mentioned what we need to bring and also some places they recommend us going to - like Top of the Rock, M&M store, fifth avenue.. It is really important that you listen during this lesson and follow the instructions!
We got some time to get dressed, and then we played American sports! Cheerleading and football was on the schedule. We met outside the lawn and gathered in our groups. Now we had to choose a team name. We went with the unicorns because our leader had a unicorn t-shirt.. So much team spirit! The other teams had quite a different thought.. The Destroyers and the Warriors!! Haha. After that we off to come up with a rhyme or something to say during our cheer in front of the group. We came up with "We are fast, never last. We are strong, never wrong. We are pure not insecure.. Go unicorns!"
American football was fun! We had a real coach teaching us. First we stretched and learned how to hold the ball. Someone gave me a compliment because I could throw and catch the ball nicely. We did not play the real version, just a basic one.. And not much action happened. Most people were just confused. The guys seemed to enjoy it though.
Cheerleading was fun. It is a lot about spirit and attitude. "Because we are the unicorns and we do as we please".. We learned how to do a pyramid! I was the person in the back because I am tall.
After doing big sports we had 5 minutes to put together a cheer.. Which we were supposed to have done first thing when we were outside!! We rushed and came up with a routine. We devided into 3 groups and then we stood in window positions - so in three rows and so everyone was visible. We clapped with our hands a certain way to make the sound of a horse. Then the first group said "We are fast never last" while looking very proud and clapping in a cheer way. Next the other line said "We are strong never wrong".. And the last line "We are pure never insecure".. And we all walked into three times who did pyramids. I was supposed to count but I forgot so we stood still for a while.. Oops. Actually we got points for our work. The other teams did not do stunts like us, so we were all so confident we were the best group.. But he judges did not prefer our routine. Haha!
Everyone wanted to use showers so I was so stressed! One of my fastest showers ever!
After dinner we had group activities - charades and making statues with people (like for example, your shoulder has to touch someone's ear and then you can not move.. That makes you a statue). During charades some team members wanted help and I wanted to win so I just ran up to them.. We got "sorting laundry", "go to the zoo", "teacher", "martial arts".. It was pretty difficult!
Then everyone was so tired so we went to bed. The end. Lol.