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Expeditions 2016

This year was my third year of expeditions (but the first where it was called expeditions). This time I went to Niigata on a hiking trip. The hike itself was 3 days and 2 nights. Here we had to overcome many challenges and learn a lot of new lessons.p1310862

What I learned:
I learned a lot of practical skills for hiking such as how to put up and take down a tent properly and how to put on a heavy hiking backpack on in the best, most convenient way. However, I also learned a lot about how people behave differently in different environments and how it is important that we don’t always just take the easiest route. The second I learned when the hike split into two paths. One was an easy hike on the road and the other was a steep mountain that had a distance twice as long as the road. My team decided to take the mountain route. The other team decided to take the easy route. Even though my team arrived later than them, we felt accomplished and I got the feeling that the other team ended up regretting taking the easy way out.

How my views changed on things:
I am not a very athletic person so I was surprised at how quickly I made it to camp with my team and that I could keep up the pace. One thing I am incredibly glad that we had on the hike was one of our teammates who would always ask if anyone needed a break and made sure people were okay. We also had a person keeping track of how far we had gone. Whenever we heard the number we surprised and proud of us for making it that far. Everyone in our team played an important role
Another way in which my view changed was when we had to take down our tent. We had to try multiple times to fit all of the tents into the bag but in the end, we always managed. The lesson learned was that even if something seems hopeless and you keep on failing, you can succeed if you just try your best. This was an important lesson to learn, especially for me as this is something I struggle with.

Problems we had on the hike:
We had quite a few challenges during the hike. Not only was the hike a challenge but our group had some issues too. On the last hike, we got split into three groups: the front, the middle, and the back. I was alone in the middle. Eventually, I caught up with the front but we were still in two parts. This then became an even bigger problem because the back people decided to stay at the top of the mountain while we were waiting at the bottom. In the end, we had to go back and split into even more little groups. Finally, we all arrived at camp. I think this was an important lesson to learn. We have to stick together.


GCD: Global Understanding (Phuket Field Studies)

On October 2015, 30 students from my grade were chosen to go to Phuket to help redecorate a school for Burmese Orphans. I was lucky and was one of these students. What I thought was incredibly important and interesting about this trip was the way we could really see the cultural differences, whilst also helping people who are a lot less fortunate than us.


Screen Shot 2016-04-21 at 9.05.11 AMAs we were staying at the International School in Phuket we did not have a lot of food that is traditional in Thailand. We mainly had western food. However for there was a noticeable difference in the choice of fruit. Instead of apples and mikans, there were watermelons and papayas. This was especially nice as it gave us an idea of what types of fruit people farm in Thailand.


There was a 20 minute bus ride to the work camp where we were paining the walls. During this drive we always saw a variety of different housings. First we would drive past houses similar to the ones a middle class person in Japan would own. Then we would pass a settlement (it may have been a fenced area. I am not entirely sure) where people lived in ginormous, fancy houses. It was clear to see that these people had a lot of money and did not hesitate to show this. Some of them even had cars from companies such as Ferrari or Porsche.

And then we would drive into the poorer part of Phuket. The houses were made of metal planks. The doorways would either be covered with a sheet of plastic or just completely open. The houses did not look like they could stay together in storm weather. However the one of the worst parts for them in summer must have been that there was no way for the hot air to leave their houses. This meant that it could get very difficult to breath inside the houses. Seeing the way these people did not have something we take for granted really gave all of us a boost togive start appreciating what we had.

Work Camp

The main objective of us going to Thailand however was not to look at the fooScreen Shot 2016-04-21 at 9.03.15 AMd or compare their lives to ours. It was to help give burmese orphans a more lively place to spend their school day. What we did was paint murals on two of their walls and plant mongo trees in a garden outside. On the first day my group planted the plants and made a border between them and the pathway so that we could minimize the weed growth. ThisScreen Shot 2016-04-21 at 9.07.05 AM was extremely exhausting as it was hot and we were all sweating. However in the end it was definitely worth it as we knew we did something good for people who really needed and deserved out help.

On the second day my group continued paining from where the previous group had left off. This was a lot less exhausting but I felt more pressured to do things correctly as the children would be looking at it every day and I really wanted it to look right.

Spending time with the burmese orphans

Additionally to  making their school look nicer we also spent time with the children. I think this was probably the most enjoyable Screen Shot 2016-04-21 at 11.10.01 AMpart about the trip as it was nice to meet first hand with kids who have such a different life to us but still are happy. Whenever the children smiled it was really difficult not to smile back. They had really warm smiles and were so full of joy. Playing games with them was really fun because it showed how sports was a universal language. When we played dodgeball with them they immediately understood how to play and what they had to do to win. It was really nice to see how sports is a universal language.

Spending time with kids form the SOS Children’s Village

After spending the morning at the water park we got to meet thai children from the SOS Children’s Village. This was nice as the majority ofScreen Shot 2016-04-21 at 11.16.56 AM them could understand and even partially speak english, which meant that we could ask them questions and they could respond and vice versa. Spending time in the pool also made connecting easier because it was a fun activity where everyone could do what they wanted. I also thought this was better than dodgeball as swimming did not make us competitive.

Traveling on roads

In my opinion one of the biggest cultural differences between Yokohama and Phuket was the way people traveled. No matter where we drove there would always be people on motorcycles and often these people seemed to be underaged. Also they somehow managed to fit five people on one bike. It was always very shocking how risky they were on the roads.


On the third day in Phuket we went snorkeling. We went into the water in two different places. This was a fantastic opportunity to see the differences between alive and dead coral. It was quite interesting to see all the colorful fish and bright coral as a contrast to the grey, dead coral with only a few fish but mainly sea snakes. We also learned about the main causes of the death of nearly 50% of Phuket’s corals. As many of us expected tourists were high on that list. It is important for tourists and others who go into the sea to be careful not to step on the coral and especially not to take any of as a souvenir.


On the second to last day we went on a hike through the rainforest. This was meant to take about 3 hours. Screen Shot 2016-04-21 at 11.11.34 AMHowever a tree had fallen in our path so we had to take a completely different route. I do not know how long exactly we were walking around but it must have been around 5 hours. This hie was the most any of us had sweat in our entire life. The air was incredibly humid and it was very warm. About half way through the hike it then also started to rain (which could have been expected as we were in a RAINforest). However bad I just made this seem, it was actually quite a lot of fun. Maybe it was just because I like hiking or maybe because of the sense of teamwork we created due to the slipperiness that made us help each other.

The gibbons sanctuary

Once we were done with the hike we ended up at a gibbon sanctuary. This was a place where gibbons whoScreen Shot 2016-04-21 at 11.12.30 AM had either become to reliant on human help or who had no chance of survival were held. Those who could eventually become independent could go out into the wild again, however some of them had to stay in the sanctuary for their entire life. Going here really helped all of us to learn more about wildlife in Phuket, especially as we were experiencing it first hand.

Planting the Mangroves

After we had eaten lunch at the gibbon sanctuary we went to a mangrove plantation to each plant five mangroves (it may have been 4 I don’t quite remember). Previously we had been told why the local people could noScreen Shot 2016-04-21 at 11.13.22 AM longer plant mangroves out in the sea where they are usually kept. This was also why we went into a smaller area with an optimal place for the mangroves to grow. This meant that the floor was very swampy and full of tiny red crabs. However I don’t think anyone was bitten. Planting the mangroves was a fun experience. Whenever we dug a hole it would immediately fill up with mud again so we had to be extremely quick which made us less careful. This meant that some of us fell into the mud.


Overall I think Phuket was a great experience. Seeing the cultural and environmental differences was amazing and helping the children who were so much less fortunate was so rewarding for everyone. Seeing the smiles of the kids when they saw our murals and got all of our presents was heart warming. I would recommend this trip to everyone.

What can I do now that I am back in Japan?

To continue helping those who are less fortunate than me, I am part of two GIN/CAS groups (Combatting Human Trafficking and Student Service Committee). To specifically continue helping the burmese children the SSC has helped create a group dedicated to this service trip. As I am in the SSC group that helps new service groups, I make sure that this group has everything that they need, including support and members. I will also encourage all 8th graders to go on this trip when their time comes as it will definitely be worth it for all of them.

This is the certificate I received for helping redecorate the Burmese school


Comidas en España

¡Hola estudiantes!

Soy española. Vosotros quiere saber más sobre comidas españolas.Tan escucha y aprende. Estos son algunos de los ingredientes principales.

  • arroz (por comidas como paella)
  • mariscos porque España es rodeado del mar
  • jamón serrano (por tapas)
  • queso (en Guadalajara)
  • olivas (verde y negro)
  • vino, España tiene tiempo perfecto para plantar uvas

Comidas tipicas en España son:

  • Tortilla Española- similar a omelet. Es un plato con patatas y huevos. Freas las patatas en aceite y míxclalas con huevos batidos
  • Gazpacho- una sopa de tomate pero no la sirve caliente, sirvela frío
  • Tapas – una selección de bocaditos pequeños
  • Jamon Serrano – generalmente sirve en rebanadas o picada de vez en cuando.
  • Paella – un plato con arroz y mariscos o carne. Pruébalo.

Una día típica

El desayuno típico suele ser una taza de café con leche acompañada de un croissant o de otros pasteles.

Los españoles comen su almuerzo entre 2:00 y 4:00 de la tarde. Por lo que es el comida mas grande de la día el almuerzo tiene varios cursos. El primer plato es pequeño, por ejemplo una ensalada o sopa, mientras el segundo plato es carne o pescado. Un postre puede ser una fruta, flan, pasteles dulces o una torta.

En España cena es tradicionalmente algo más ligero como una ensalada, un sándwich o tapas. Los españoles cenan debido a la temperatura en verano. Generalmente comienza entre 9:00 y 11:00 de la tarde.


En España “tipping” es voluntaria pero parece grosero cuando no lo hacen. Generalmente dejas una punta entre 5 y 10% después de una comida.

Vocabulario Nuevo

  • rodeado de – surrounded by
  • bocaditos – appatizer
  • rebanadas – slices
  • picada – bites (small pieces)
  • acompañada de – accompanied by
  • mientras – while/whilst
  • podría ser – could be
  • ligera – light (food)
  • deber – to must
  • voluntaria – voluntery
  • grosero – rude

Wedding Q&A with Romeo Montague

The 15-year-old male heartthrob and fiancé of Juliet Capulet takes the VIVIENBlog Q&A

Screen Shot 2016-04-28 at 7.49.41 AM Vivien Heiderich

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Romeo Montague, the son of Montague

With his sea blue eyes and perfect jawline Romeo Montague has every young girls heart. However he crushed all their dreams yesterday when he proposed to his love Juliet Capulet. If you haven’t heard about this yet it might come as a shock. A Capulet and Montague together? Well it is true and we have the master right here.


Q: So. Juliet is the daughter of your one sworn enemy. How did you feel when you first found out?

A: It was a shock, of course, but every time I see her I quickly forget. She is so magnificent, I don’t even understand how she could be the daughter of that family. I would honestly do anything to change the families we were born into. It would make everything so much easier.

Q: That must be hard. Who do you talk to when something worries you like that?

A: Usually I just talk to my best friend Mercutio or my cousin Benvolio. They’re easy to talk to and don’t judge me when I show emotions. If I told my parents about my problems they wouldn’t understand and judge my manliness. I don’t want that.

Q: Well its always good to have someone you can talk to. Do you think you will be able to talk to Juliet that way someday?

A: Maybe someday, especially once we’re married. We’ll be spending so much time together she will naturally see me when I struggle with a problem. I already trust her and I think that this trust will only continue growing.

Q: Cute. So, what’s it like to have to start planning your wedding with Juliet?

A: It’s surprisingly fun. Our major concern lies with our families. We are not sure of we are going to invite them as that would probably just end in a giant argument. However I still want it to be perfect for Juliet.

Q: Aw. That is so sweet. Can you already give us any sneak peaks of what it might look like?

A: Currently we are planning to have a small wedding in the local church. I know the pastor and have already asked him to bless our marriage. He said yes and has already made sure that there will be roses everywhere, as those are Juliet’s favorite flower.

Q: That sounds perfect. I’m sure Juliet will love it. Do you already know where you’ll be going for your honey moon?

A: We are planning to go to Hawaii for a little getaway. You know, get a bit of sunshine and beach. We just need some time to get away from the family stress.

Q: Yah. I see how that could be stressful. Do you have any advice for people going through something similar to you?

A: First of all, I hope no one is going through anything similar to me but my advice for anyone in a stressful situation is “Don’t lose your mind. It is goingto be ok.” I’d also suggest making a list of steps you have to take to achieve your goal. It has always helped me. Also try relaxing. Watching the sunset at the beach whilst writing poems is one of my personal favorites.

Q: That is some great advice. Now lets get ask some more personal questions. Romeo, what is your biggest fear?

A: It might be a surprise but I am incredibly scared of disappointment. It doesn’t have a specific back story, I’ve just always been scared of being let down but I know I don’t have to be scared of this with Juliet.

Q: But before you knew Juliet you were still fast to fall in love with her. How come?Image result for heart

She is just so special. I love her with all of my heart. I can wait to marry her.

Click here to read 10 Amazing Facts You Will Never Believe About Romeo Montague!!!!!

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Reflexión Unidad 3

Three new things I learned in this Unit are:

  • What participios are and how you use them.
  • I actually learned a lot of historical information during this Unit which really shows that we are now transitioning between learning the language and learning the history of the countries.
  • The difference between the preterit and the imperfect. I now mostly know when to use which one and I am capable of using both in my writing.

Four Questions I still have are:

  • Which cultures specifically focused on story telling, maybe even did it as a daily ritual/routine?
  • Is it somehow related to bedtime stories that parents tell their children nowadays?
  • What is the use of the present perfect? When do you use it?
  • Did people used to use legends to learn about ‘history’ or why did people start telling each other stories?

Things that went well during this unit are:

  • I am proud of my writing during this unit. It was a lot easier for me to use my own words rather than translations.
  • My fluency and confidence in speaking spanish improved quite a bit. I am still no where near speaking without errors but I have managed to improve it a bit.

My goals for the next Unit are:

  • To improve my studying habits. This was something i was good at in the first unit but during this unit I stopped doing this. I would like to restart this habit.
  • Expanding my vocabulary by adding all of the new vocal to my quizlet and using it to study.
  • Doing extra curricular activities so that continuing to learn becomes less challenging.

How music affects memory

Today in I&S we did an experiment to see how listening to music effects our memory. To test this we had 4 lists of 13 random words and chose 4 types of music. We had Silence, the Beatles, Gn’R and  Let it go.

Before we started the experiment I predicted that the class was going to score best in complete silence as I am usually better at memorizing when it is quite. I thought that the song that was going to do the worst was going to be Guns&Roses as there is more going on it their song than in a Beatles song.

Screen Shot 2016-01-12 at 10.36.13 AMHowever the results were different. The Beatles song ended up score the lowest. Reasons why this may have happened is because it was the first song we played after White Noise. This meant that we weren’t ‘used to’ memorizing the words with music. As we started listening to more songs we started to get better. However one part of my hypothesis came true. When there was no music in the classroom we scored the highest. I think this is because there were then no distractions and we could really focus on the words we had to memorize.

3 things I’m most proud of in Spanish this unit

Three things I am proud of improving in Spanish 2015:

  1. I have improved a lot on freely writing emails and stopped relying on translators. Making lists of new vocal, transitions and expressions before starting to write has helped me do so. Getting in this habit has also helped me use and then remember the new vocabulary in more detail.
  2. My studying habits have improved from last year. I have managed to add all the new vocab to quizlet and study it multiple times a week. Memorizing all of the new and still studying the oldvocabulary has helped me write more varied and interesting texts.
  3. I was already quite good at this last year but I am proud that I managed to continue being organized and completing my homework. I have always managed to hand my homework in on time and bringing my folder, papers, booklet and note book to class.

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