South Africa: Last Day at Christel House

Sorry about the delayed post—we had a busy day of travelling and Jenna and I have been sick for the past couple of days!

March 29 was our last day in Cape Town and at Christel House. Once we arrived at Christel House, we started with tea time with the students from Christel House, talking to them while taking pictures and exchanging contact information as it was our last day with them. Although we had only spent a couple of days with the Christel House students, everyone felt incredibly connected with them and genuinely wanted to stay connected.

Then, Ali facilitated a fun activity that all CGA students are familiar with. We all got in a circle and tried to sit down on the lap of the person behind us. It worked pretty well!

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After the activity, the four houses of USA, Mexico, India, and Jamaica gathered to prepare our performances. Needless to say, they were all very entertaining–there was a lot of singing, dancing, and clapping. We ended with performances from both the Culver students and the Christel House students. We sang the Culver song and “Home” and the Christel House students sang their school song and the South African national anthem, and in the end all of us gathered in a circle to sing “Lean On Me.” It was a very fitting conclusion to our week at Christel House.

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Before we left, we also went around signing our white LCA shirts that each Culver and Christel House student was given.

20190329_114928After lunch, we said our final goodbyes before departing. It is astounding how we were able to make such amazing connections with this wonderful group of students in such a short amount of time. It was an incredibly valuable experience to interact with their humility, vitality, and passion for learning.

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After leaving Christel House, we stopped briefly at a beautiful beach where a lot of us enjoyed ice cream and dipped our toes in the water.

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Rose, Sophie, Ellie, Erin, and Paloma at the Beach

After that, we picked up Abby and Mama Dee and headed to the airport to fly to Johannesburg!

Mexico: Day 8

Our eight and final full day of the Mexico GPS trip was incredibly emotional for all of us. In the morning, we had the Love Without Borders Program, where Culver traveled to a school and gave each child a backpack filled with supplies and snacks. They preformed the most adorable dance for us, and we were able to try all kinds of food.

After, we had the goodbye ceremony, where the students, adults, drivers and police man were thanked for their contributions, and we all got pictures with the families.

We are so sad to be leaving, but incredibly happy to have had this experience.

The China Team Is Leaving, But There Are New Places To Explore

When the China team woke up after a long day in Shanghai, we were told that it would be the last day. The China team went to breakfast together, and left on our long 3 hour drive to Guangzhou China.

When we reached the halfway stop, many people had to go to the bathrooms, but they were squaddie poddies’ so some hated the idea that you have to squat. So the China team got back on the bus and headed into Guangzhou China.

In Guangzhou China we went to the market to each lunch and buy gifts. We then went to an Ancient Emperors house. The next location was West Lake were we traveled on a boat to a separate island to hike around. It was a cold rainy day and everybody was soaked and ready to have dinner and go back to the hotel. The next day the China team was ready to head to Beishan Mountain and then Hangzhou West Lake Scenery Spot.

It was the next day and the China team headed up to Beishan Mountain. The next location that we headed to was Hangzhou West Lake Scenery Spot, where there where sanctuaries, caves, and cliffs that you could look at, go under, and climb up. We then went inside the temple were there where huge statues. This was the China’s team active day.

Ireland – Dean Rasch Dingle

Dear Parents,

We had another gorgeous day of sunshine and mild temps!  Our drive on the Dingle Penninsula was breathtaking!  I have attached a couple of photos.

We stopped at the Gallarus Oratory, a stone building over 1,000 years old, which was an early Christian Church. This building was built with only dry stone masonary and it is still waterproof!

http://www.gallarusoratory.ie/

We had lunch at a pub and students could choose from an Irish cheeseburger with bacon, chicken Caesar salad, mushroom pasta or pizza.  Dessert choices were ice cream, sticky toffee pudding, or brownie with carmel.

After lunch we headed to St. Brendan’s College (secondary school) where a group of 21 boys sang, played several musical instruments and performed for us.  

https://www.independent.ie/regionals/kerryman/entertainment/st-brendans-college-boys-have-got-an-abundance-of-talent-37617469.html

In return, Culver’s own Matt Dwyer performed and had us sing the chorus of John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads”!  I will attempt to post the film clips on the Parents FaceBook Page.  It was fantastic!!

Here’s a clip of some of the boys that performed for us.  https://www.independent.ie/regionals/kerryman/entertainment/st-brendans-college-boys-have-got-an-abundance-of-talent-37617469.html

We got back to the hotel and now the students have a few hours to rest or shop until our 7:30 pm dinner.

What an amazing trip!  Your sons and daughters are delightful to travel with and are having an awesome time!

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Best wishes,

Lynn

Ireland – Dean Rasch

 

Dear Parents,

We had another amazing day on the Emerald Isle! Sunny skies and mild temps greeted us for our bus ride and touring today.

We left Cork and headed to Cobh, Ireland. Cobh (prounced Cove) also formerly know as Queenstown was a port of emmigration as thousands of Irish people left through this port for the hope of a better life.

We went to the Cobh Heritage Center where everyone received a ticket of a passenger that had left Cobh via a ship. Each student was challenged to find the passenger on their ticket. Passenger info was located throughout the exhibit and the Culver team was able to find out about their passenger’s life and whether or not they perished at sea.

https://www.cobhheritage.com/

In 1912 Titanic left from Queenstown (now Cobh) prior to heading out on her fateful voyage. A passenger, Father Browne, boarded the Titanic in Southampton and had to leave the ship when she docked in Queenstown. Father Browne was a prolific photographer and took several memorable photos prior to Titanic leaving Ireland. The Titanic exhibit was very moving.

See more here:

http://coastmonkey.ie/titanic-photos-fr-browne/

There was also an exhibition on the ship, Lusitania which was sink by a German U Boat in 1915 off the coast of Southern Ireland.

https://www.rte.ie/centuryireland/index.php/articles/lusitania-sunk-by-german-torpedo

After leaving Cobh we headed to Blarney and the Blarney Castle where everyone could kiss the Blarney Stone to ensure the gift of gab!

https://blarneycastle.ie/

It was a beautiful day at the castle with flowers in bloom!

After a visit to the Blarney Castle, everyone hasd the option to go to Ireland’s largest gift shop, Blarney Woolen Mills.

After a delicious lunch we headed to Killarney where students had time after our hotel check-in to explore the small town full of quaint shops.

It was a great day!

Best wishes,

Lynn

Ireland and the Ring of Dingle

Dear all,

 

The morning began with a delightful breakfast in the grey flowered dinning room. Through communal dinning, we as a collective, faculty and student, are able to gain the global awareness of the binding citizenship we have not only to America but rather the world as a whole. Citizens from across the world are in a singular room drinking freshly pressed orange juice and eating a traditional English breakfast (something I would definitely recommend). After a philosophical breakfast, we strolled across the street to meet the massive red and vibrant gold bus. I was walking next to a young schoolgirl wearing the most fabulous fuchsia Hello Kitty sunglasses, and I was certain she obtained such a gorgeous accessory from the busy shopping street up the road. Joe was not our driver today but that allowed him to have more time and energy to tell his Joe stories. Once we got on the bus and before we started counting, we serenaded Joe with our own version of John Denver’s Country Road but with a slight twist. We were getting our vocal chords ready for our performance later in the afternoon.

               The trip commenced. We pulled out of the busy streets of Kallarney and into the green, fairy-tale like, mountains of the Dingle peninsula. We passed by quaint inns and a variety of pubs, but our most loveable and memorable visitors were the painted Scottish sheep and speckled cows. We pulled into our first sight in the ides of the morning. The Gallarus Oratory is a 1,300-year-old stone building that acted as a place of worship for Christians. The oratory withstood the test of time unlike its neighbors, which were burned and ransacked by the Normans and Vikings. In the words of Mr. Behling, “I cannot believe how thick it is” and I can presume it is due to the buildings water-proof nature. On our way back to the bus parked about 1 km away, we were serenaded once more by the iconic Grammy award wining song, Shallow.

               On our way to our next destination, the ocean danced violently against the coal-like rocks spread sporadically throughout the North Atlantic Ocean. Our next destination sat on the Atlantic Ocean, right next to the “sleeping giant”. The Blasket Centre touched slightly on the reality of the citizenship of the Blasket people. The center elaborated on the trade, societal constructs, Sunday festivities, and struggles of the Blasket people. The most interesting, in my opinion, was a storytelling woman named Peig. She was one of the islands greatest storytellers and the stories she narrated for the children of the island mesmerized and frightened them for decades after she perished. Life on the island was not bleak in the slightest but rather a joyful community, a community that only lost 1/3 of their population to the potato famine compared to the greater amount on the mainland. It was absolutely astonishing to see the difference in nourishment for the mainlanders and the islanders; the people who lived on the island, mainly received their source of food from catching crab, lobsters, and fish in their homemade canvas boats. The mainlander’s main source of food came from the glorious potato, which caused the potato famine to be so impactful and crippling to its population.

               We drove down the twisting roads of the Irish countryside as we passed a booth for surfing lessons. As I bet you can guess, we have a little giggle on the marketing decisions of the surfing industry in the early spring in Ireland. We stopped in Dingle for lunch; I am happy to report on the variety of gluten free options (they had the best gluten free brownie!). I am also happy to report that everyone left full and ready for the new adventure’s life had in store next. On our way back to Killarney, I enjoyed the variety of views with the faint sound of Billie Eilish’s newest album (it was released today!) playing in my movie of life.

               We arrived in Killarney not late, let’s just say the boy’s school was early. The community clearly knew we were in town due to the fact they held a beautiful spring wedding in our honor. We walked to the school in a clump, as if we were a pretty intimidating group of people to be around: me with my adidas superstars untied and my roommate with her grey fanny pack and pink bee socks. After we arrived at the school, the boys of Culver were surprised to witness the attendants of the school wearing multi-colored undershirts under their white dress shirts. But the real conversations began when we saw clusters of girls wearing kilts with the hem below their knees and their socks all the way to their knees. The dialogue between myself in the administration resembled closely to a Shakespeare drama, but they say they hope to implement the “new kilt guidelines” before we return from summer break. The choir did not have an auditorium to perform so they used the chapel. The chapel acted not only as their sanctuary of religion but also for music. Their room was filled to the brim with the enchanting melodies of the boy’s choir which slowly seeped into the beige halls of the college. Their world-renowned title was not astonishing due to their obvious talent but their variety of sounds from modern alternative to Irish folk music was exemplary. Once the choir started singing Seasons of Love from Culver’s spring performance of Rent, Matt Dwyer and I shared a look of excitement and surprise. But the performance would not have been complete without the Culver’s own Matt Dwyer sharing his musical talents. The entire room echoed with the blended sounds of Culver Academies and St. Berndan’s College. After the performance concluded, we socialized with the members of the choir and exchanged the reality of living in Ireland and America and exchanging social media information.

               After dinner, we had the option to retire to our rooms or go see a movie with our peers. Since the trip is almost over, I saw it only fitting that I go see Captain Marvel before we leave. I am happy to report that the popcorn in Ireland tastes almost as good as the oily “vegetable” we eat in the states. Let’s just say that today was some good craic!

Love,

               Kati Quigg’21

we have not only to America but rather the world as a whole. Citizens from across the world are in a singular room drinking freshly pressed orange juice and eating a traditional English breakfast (something I would definitely recommend). After a philosophical breakfast, we strolled across the street to meet the massive red and vibrant gold bus. I was walking next to a young schoolgirl wearing the most fabulous fuchsia Hello Kitty sunglasses, and I was certain she obtained such a gorgeous accessory from the busy shopping street up the road. Joe was not our driver today but that allowed him to have more time and energy to tell his Joe stories. Once we got on the bus and before we started counting, we serenaded Joe with our own version of John Denver’s Country Road but with a slight twist. We were getting our vocal chords ready for our performance later in the afternoon.

               The trip commenced. We pulled out of the busy streets of Kallarney and into the green, fairy-tale like, mountains of the Dingle peninsula. We passed by quaint inns and a variety of pubs, but our most loveable and memorable visitors were the painted Scottish sheep and speckled cows. We pulled into our first sight in the ides of the morning. The Gallarus Oratory is a 1,300-year-old stone building that acted as a place of worship for Christians. The oratory withstood the test of time unlike its neighbors, which were burned and ransacked by the Normans and Vikings. In the words of Mr. Behling, “I cannot believe how thick it is” and I can presume it is due to the buildings water-proof nature. On our way back to the bus parked about 1 km away, we were serenaded once more by the iconic Grammy award wining song, Shallow.

               On our way to our next destination, the ocean danced violently against the coal-like rocks spread sporadically throughout the North Atlantic Ocean. Our next destination sat on the Atlantic Ocean, right next to the “sleeping giant”. The Blasket Centre touched slightly on the reality of the citizenship of the Blasket people. The center elaborated on the trade, societal constructs, Sunday festivities, and struggles of the Blasket people. The most interesting, in my opinion, was a storytelling woman named Peig. She was one of the islands greatest storytellers and the stories she narrated for the children of the island mesmerized and frightened them for decades after she perished. Life on the island was not bleak in the slightest but rather a joyful community, a community that only lost 1/3 of their population to the potato famine compared to the greater amount on the mainland. It was absolutely astonishing to see the difference in nourishment for the mainlanders and the islanders; the people who lived on the island, mainly received their source of food from catching crab, lobsters, and fish in their homemade canvas boats. The mainlander’s main source of food came from the glorious potato, which caused the potato famine to be so impactful and crippling to its population.

               We drove down the twisting roads of the Irish countryside as we passed a booth for surfing lessons. As I bet you can guess, we have a little giggle on the marketing decisions of the surfing industry in the early spring in Ireland. We stopped in Dingle for lunch; I am happy to report on the variety of gluten free options (they had the best gluten free brownie!). I am also happy to report that everyone left full and ready for the new adventure’s life had in store next. On our way back to Killarney, I enjoyed the variety of views with the faint sound of Billie Eilish’s newest album (it was released today!) playing in my movie of life.

               We arrived in Killarney not late, let’s just say the boy’s school was early. The community clearly knew we were in town due to the fact they held a beautiful spring wedding in our honor. We walked to the school in a clump, as if we were a pretty intimidating group of people to be around: me with my adidas superstars untied and my roommate with her grey fanny pack and pink bee socks. After we arrived at the school, the boys of Culver were surprised to witness the attendants of the school wearing multi-colored undershirts under their white dress shirts. But the real conversations began when we saw clusters of girls wearing kilts with the hem below their knees and their socks all the way to their knees. The dialogue between myself in the administration resembled closely to a Shakespeare drama, but they say they hope to implement the “new kilt guidelines” before we return from summer break. The choir did not have an auditorium to perform so they used the chapel. The chapel acted not only as their sanctuary of religion but also for music. Their room was filled to the brim with the enchanting melodies of the boy’s choir which slowly seeped into the beige halls of the college. Their world-renowned title was not astonishing due to their obvious talent but their variety of sounds from modern alternative to Irish folk music was exemplary. Once the choir started singing Seasons of Love from Culver’s spring performance of Rent, Matt Dwyer and I shared a look of excitement and surprise. But the performance would not have been complete without the Culver’s own Matt Dwyer sharing his musical talents. The entire room echoed with the blended sounds of Culver Academies and St. Berndan’s College. After the performance concluded, we socialized with the members of the choir and exchanged the reality of living in Ireland and America and exchanging social media information.

               After dinner, we had the option to retire to our rooms or go see a movie with our peers. Since the trip is almost over, I saw it only fitting that I go see Captain Marvel before we leave. I am happy to report that the popcorn in Ireland tastes almost as good as the oily “vegetable” we eat in the states. Let’s just say that today was some good craic!

Love,

               Kati Quigg’21

Spoleto Cooking/Medieval Day

This morning, we woke up bright and early for a quick breakfast before walking over to the alberghero (cooking school) in Spoleto for a cooking class. It was a beautiful day, with very little wind, and the walk over was calm (as very few people had fully woken up).

When we got to the alberghero, we were immediately taken on a tour of the school: first, we were shown their computer lab, which was fairly typical for a high school. However, that was where the similarities with American high schools ended. The other classrooms were kitchens, bars, or spaces simulating restaurant seating areas, to train the teenagers the skills they would need to become professionals in the food industry.

After our tour of the school, we were led down to a rather large kitchen/restaurant seating area, where we encountered the students that would be teaching us to cook typical Umbrian food. They were 17 or 18, and although they seemed intimidating at first, it quickly became clear that they were much like us. 

Following a brief overview of what we would be cooking, we were instructed to wash our hands; from there, we were split up into groups to begin making different dishes. My group was charged with making pasta dough, under the guidance of two girls: Franceska and Manuela. It was a somewhat messy process (the pasta was made of eggs and flour), and Franceska had to intervene occasionally, but in the end we created a ball of lovely pasta dough.

To shape the dough, we moved to another station, where we rolled it out, fed it into a machine that would even it out, and then cut it into whatever shape we needed. Almost everyone on the Italy team was tasked with rolling out small portions of dough; unfortunately, that meant that there was not much space, so there were many hilarious incidents involving the crashing of rolling pins.

After I had served my time at the pasta rolling station, I was sent to the lasagna boiling station, and then the lasagna drying station. When we finished with that, I was sent to the cresconda (chocolate-almond-Orange pudding cake) excavating station. 

While we waited for the food to cook, we were served small pastries and juice to curb our appetites. The students learning to be professional hosts/servers seemed fascinated by us, which we later learned was because of the amount of friendly interaction between boys and girls (Italy’s conservatism makes that a rare occurrence). 

Our final meal was incredibly delicious: lasagna, two types of ravioli, meat-filled pasta, a log of porchetta, and cresconda for dessert. In my opinion, food always tastes better if you cook it yourself, and that held true for that meal. 

We had a quick turnover at the Palazzo Leti after our feast, and then ventured out to visit the Spoleto graveyard. It was far away from everything that we had visited up to that point, and far more solemn. The graveyard was filled with Houses of the Dead, and flowers were everywhere. The strangest part (at least to me) was the pictures of the deceased that were posted on the gravestones. It was beautiful, but somber, and very well maintained.

The final location that we visited as a full group was the Rocca
Albornoziana, the fort on top of the highest hill in Spoleto. To get there, you could either take the stairs or an escalator. I ran up about half the stairs, and walked up in between. Most people made the more practical decision and took the escalator. The fort itself was incredible; it was built by the order of the papacy, and thus the papal seal was everywhere. There was a well that created a lovely echo when spoken into, and frescoes covered the walls. The windows were covered only by a grate, and the wind whipped through them; from them, you could see far off into the distance, almost to Assisi.

After we finished exploring the fort, we were released into small groups, to do as we pleased. It was a lovely day, and I felt more relaxed than I had in ages afterwards (a sentiment that I believe was shared by many others).

Thank you for reading! Arrivederci!

Sincerely, Kristen (On behalf of the Italy GPS Team)

Kevin pouring the batter for Cresconda
Alexa, ecstatic over sauteing onions.
David, Robert, Deven, Kristen, Ralea, and Wenyi preparing to roll out pasta dough
View from the Rocca Albornoziana