Tuesday, November 22, 2005

The Adventure Begins: Sunday, Nov. 20- Airports, San Francisco







The Yanagawa Group and my roommate in San Francisco and Chicago : Cathie


1. At home in OKC: Brian and Mark had already left for Tokyo.
2. At home in OKC: I was hesitant to take the shuttle to the airport at 4:00 a.m. alone. I was lucky. The shuttle driver had worked with Chris Mauldin, the Casady Development Director. The journey to the airport was interesting because of the stories he shared.
3. Will Rogers Airport: At the airport I realized I had one too many pieces of luggage. Like a magician, I made one of them dissapear. I had packed too much. The candy I was taking for the Japanese kids was too heavy and my small luggage was not going to last the long trip. Since I was wearing several layers of clothing, I was as hot as I could be. I had breakfast at the airport and waited until boarding time.

I met Kathie Carter, Principal of Stratford Elementary School at Will Rogers Airport. She also had packed too much. We helped each other as we could and we got on the plane.
4. Chicago Airport: We had a connecting flight in Chicago. We met other FMF teachers. We had great expectations but we also were a little bit fearful of the unexpected outcomes.

5. San Francisco International Airport, Sheraton Gateway Hotel: When I arrived to San Francisco, I knew I had to re-pack and ask for help with the candy I was taking for the Japanese students. I could hardly move with my luggage. At the Sheraton Gateway Hotel, I found out that Kathie was my roommate. We continued helping each other problem solve. Unfortunally, I felt sick. I realized I needed to drink more water or the trip to Tokyo and the jetlag were going to be difficult to overcome.

6. Lunch: We ate a quick lunch, turned in our follow-on project updates.
7. Meetings: We had our welcome meetings as a huge group (200 US educators) and then as groups of 20 participants going to different areas in Japan. I was so tired that the only thing I wanted to do was sleep. From the Internet communications before arrival to San Francisco I had an idea of the big group: Many talented educators eager to make this be a memorable experience.

Program for the afternoon and evening
Orientation Program Welcome: Christopher Powers, Deputy Director, Institute of International Ed. Waashington D.C.
Opening Remarks: Representative from the Japanese Counsulate in San Francisco
JFMF Program Overview: Kyoko Jones, Program Director Japan Fulbright Memorial Fund, Japan-United States Educational Commission (JUSEC)
Information of Friends of the Memorial Fund and CE/Graduate Credits: Robert Radford, Director, Friends of the Memorial Fund.
Follow-On Plan Overview: Christopher Powers, Institute of International Education, Washington D. C.
City Group Meetings: Information about groups and home stay
Panel Presentation: The JFMF Experience and Follow on Plan
Reception and Dinner


Reflection Time

The orientation was long, but necessary. Everything was done to perfection and on time.

I brought too much luggage and I had to give up some of the candy to the people who were going to Yanagawa. Whether I gave the candy to the kids or they did, it did not make any difference. The candy went to Yanagawa children.

I found out about my host family. The father was a carpenter, the mother, a housewife and the only daughther, a nurse. I wish this information had been delivered to us via Internet to be better prepared.

I also found out some information about my host city, Yanagawa: Rural town with little communication-Internet not available at the hotel. I would not be able to blog from there.

There were 200 teachers from all over the USA in San Francisco, but I feel too tired to socialize. Stanley is doing fine and making friends.

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