Hong Kong 2016

My school had a four day break and we decided to take advantage of our location in Asia by taking a short, less than two hour plane ride to Hong Kong. But before getting into my favorite city in China, here is a short description of the day we left Taiwan. TAIPEI 2:37 pm

The following passage is slightly fictional. Just slightly.

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"Loic may you please go down to the office, you are going home. Don't forget to go to your locker for your backpack. See you at camp next week!" This was the last sentence I heard before I was zooming down the deserted streets trying to avoid the full impact of the incoming typhoon. Just as an afterthought, I probably should not have taken my bike home just before the largest typhoon in Taiwan history (and the largest in the world since 2002) was about to hit the capital so hard that half a million homes would be evacuated. Anyways, I arrived home about 17 minutes later, a personal best because of the winds pushing me from behind, and proceeded to change into dry clothes.

A few minutes later, we were in the taxi heading to the airport. We arrived at Taoyuan airport just early enough to make a pit stop at the lounge. This was especially exciting as there was an abundance of extremely healthy food that taunted my taste buds so much that I just couldn't resist. (For reference, the only reason we go to the lounge is for the food:) I started off with a large cheese hot dog, a side of organic cheese pop corn, and most importantly, a 4 scoop ice cream sundae with extra caramel sauce. And just as I finished my first YouTube video, my plate was completely empty. And guess what I did? I went to the buffet-style food court and got another hot dog, some more popcorn, and another 3 scoop ice cream sundae. The only difference this time was that I added mini chocolate cookies on top of the sundae and took a couple of Cokes out of the mini bar. Unfortunately, I was unable to get a third hot dog as we were asked to board via the loudspeaker just as I finished the last bite of my extravagant meal.

Then came the best part of my day... The airplane ride. No we didn't get upgraded to first class, no we didn't get to fly the plane, but we got to experience a flight through a typhoon! We were delayed for just about an hour due to winds over the allowed limit of 80 km/hr and then the winds dropped down to 75 for about 10 minutes and that is exactly when we left. They went back up to 100 just after takeoff. The taxi was already turbulent as the wind kept pushing us to the left thus putting the plane off balance; soon afterward we were in the air. It actually kind of felt like a trampoline park. You know the constant up and down feeling to your stomach and the occasional kid smashing into you except here it felt like a boulder had just hit the rear end of the plane thus catapulting those at the front, including my family and I, directly to the roof of the plane. This process repeated itself for about 40 minutes and then, unfortunately, we were too high for the typhoon to touch us so the free roller coaster ride had ended.  The only downside to this flight was that the seat belt fastened sign was never taken down for the entirety of the first half of the flight. Upon arriving in Hong Kong, we took the train directly from the airport to the station in the central part of the town and then took a taxi to the apartment. We were home!

Here is the video that quickly recaps our weekend and it you want to see even more feel free to check out all the pictures and comments below. Make sure to adjust the quality of the video in the bottom right-hand corner and set it to 1080p.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LbU208dZ55w

I know the video was a little short but it it is only my second video ever so I am still learning!hong-kong-china-city-skyline-3677.jpg

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These were the scenes in our apartment as we learned how to operate the endless gadgets throughout the room.DSC02125

My makeshift room! With a view!

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View from the back of the apartment.

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Our apartment owner was an airplane fanatic thus suggesting his job as a pilot.

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Some stores can be creative to encouralike this toilet store!

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We found this amazing glass bridge connecting two large shopping malls where we could observe the large skyscrapers such as the one below. Hong Kong loves ice cream too :)

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The Lippo twin towers.

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We visited many tea houses, this being one of them. They provide contrast compared to the modern city looming above.img_9265

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Tea is also a prominent part of normal citizens too!

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Tea drying in the city!

img_9368We went across the water to watch the fireworks one night!

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But what amazes me is that the city is so different at night!

On our way home from the night show, we decided to calmly take a walking route back to our apartment. Surprisingly enough it was everything but calm and we did everything except walk. We ran into a dragon festival. It was complete chaos! We even met a Franco-Chinese woman who explained everything to us

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After our first short break, we then thought we were done for the night. However in Hong Kong that never happens! We stumbled upon a stadium for horse racing, the national sport, and decided to take a closer look. Inside there was game of rugby, played by expats.

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We didn't even plan for it but the lantern festival was in full swing and my mom was loving it!

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Beautiful pork shop, or chop :) in a small street! Hong Kong is unpredictable sometimes. Basket of meat lying in the middle of a sidewalk.

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Cute little sculpture in a store

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Hong Kong temples are very different from Taiwanese ones!

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Mandarin Calligraphy that is very common throughout Hong Kong and China

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Lower level breakfast shop in the middle of the city

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The outside of a nice restaurant in mural town HK.

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What a view!!!

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These escalators make commuting up and down the hill much easier for many Hong Kong citizens

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Beautiful mosque gate in the downtown district.DSC01880

As we walked through the more remote places of the city, we noticed the rich people that lived tucked away from the busy streets, wanting to take a break from the hustling life.

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The view from the top of the Victoria Mountain.

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My dad loves his selfies!!!

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As we hiked to the top of the mountain, we saw mammals such as this little guy which we couldn't identify

The second day we headed out to the Hong Kong country side to go on a hike with some French friends that we knew from Arizona: Lea used to be in French class with me.

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Although this was our last excursion in the city of Hong Kong, we had one last surprise waiting for us at the airport!

DSC02129We started off by taking a quick pit stop at my favorite part of any airport, the lounge. Anyone likes free food and drink! Then just as we were heading out, the attendants took us with a golf cart to the gate where we were surprised with business class tickets because of my dads status! The plane was an A330 so we did not have the 1-2-1 formation but it was still a great ride! img_9445img_9434DSC02147img_9502

 

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Arriving back in Taiwan! Clean after the typhoon!

Model United Nations (Singapore)

Ever since I arrived at Taipei American School, I had the dream of traveling to another country with a competitive traveling team. I did not know if it was going to be sports, speech and debate, or an art competition. I just knew it was going to happen. Upon arriving to the school, I quickly realized that sports were not a major priority in middle school so that was already scratched off my list but what I didn't know was that there was a program involving the United Nations. The school clearly spend much time and resources to compete internationally because almost every teacher was involved one way or another with the program. I had never heard of this club and was pretty intimidated by the kids who already had several years of practice and experience behind them, but I knew I had a background of international relations and travelling all over the world so I went along forward and tried the application process anyways. Luckily, my dream came true about 6 months ago, October 2016, when I got accepted in the traveling MUN team. This prestigious program consists of a team of 14 kids, all from the 8th grade, which participates in a competition at the International School of Singapore in Singapore to debate against kids from all over the Asia. 27 schools to be exact. International school of Kuala Lumpur, American School in Amman Jordan, and Shanghai American School to name a few.

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So back to life before the conference itself. We practiced twice a week, 2 hours each session, from beginning of November until February 24, the day before our departure for the conference. It was not just us kids debating by ourselves after school. We were accompanied by two teachers, one from the IT department from the school and another from the lower school English department. Both were very experienced and thoroughly explained the basics of MUN along with many other useful skills. But this is not where the team of people coming along us stopped. There were 2 high schoolers, both part of the very extensive MUN program in Upper School, that were here as mentors to guide the debate and make sure that all of our work was well crafted, composed with general ideas not just pinpointed issues, and most importantly correctly formatted. These high schoolers, Brent and Dylan, were the driving force that made us want to spend those Friday nights completing our final clauses or final points of our against speech. Without these playful leaders, the team would have less energy overall and we would not have completed as much as we did over the course of our 4-month journey. They also came on the trip because they would be chairs (I will explain later) at the conference along with high schoolers from all around Asia as this is a Middle School only conference. Apart from their serious MUN duties, they were some of the funniest people I have ever met with jokes and made up phrases that will stay with me until the next time I spend time with them where I will hear some more of these thrilling jokes.

Brent Lin                                                                         Dylan Sun

I especially got along with Brent as he is an Eagle Scout and I went to his Eagle project the year before this conference:

IMG_2399 (1).JPGNow to the first day of the actual trip:

It was 11 am when we were all in the bus and headed to the airport. It was a rainy and drowsy day which just added to the excitement of leaving Taiwan. Most kids just saw this as a regular trip, but this weekend’s trip would not only mark my first trip while traveling on a school team but also my 45th country I had been to overall. The list keeps on growing! So we arrived at the airport, did the usual check in with Singapore Airlines and then headed to customs.

The candy that we received at the check-in counter

I took the pictures by the way with a tin foil background, and i thought it would look cool but it didn't really work out :)

Everything went smoothly and not soon afterward we were in the food court, calming our growling stomachs. Everyone started to order so I quickly grabbed some of my favorite noodles with sour chicken and sat down with the rest of the group.

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We then headed to the gate which featured an unusual model plane as you enter. The airplane ride was especially nice as the movie selection was excellent featuring Mullan and Lala Land. TV shows featured the Simsons and the Big Bang Theory. The electronic setup didn't stop here as every seat had a USB charge port and a 3 plug charger below the seat. Image result for singapore airline tv

Four hours later, we arrived at the best airport in the world, Changi Airport, and off we were to the hotel.

Our hotel had a beautiful view on a marvelous waterpark with slides up to 20 meters but unfortunately it is school policy that we are not allowed to swim on school trips. So we checked into our rooms and headed out for dinner. The rooms in hotel were very intricately detailed such as the ones below:

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We all went to the mall and searched for our favorite restaurants. My two roommates and I found a nice halal shop where they sold excellent rice with chunks of chicken inside. IMG_2373 (2).JPGIMG_2374.JPGWe went back to the hotel, put our computers to charge, and went to sleep. My friends and I talked a bit and finally went to bed at 2:30 am!

Here is a screenshot of mt Fitbit tracker showing my lack of sleep:

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Team bonding was clearly not a problem as shown in this picture:IMG_2372.JPG

And yes the kid who is not smiling was one of my two roommates who also did not sleep very much during the trip. The other roommate is the Indian child in the front. He always smiles!

We woke up towards 8 am and headed to the lobby for breakfast. Although today was not the first official day of debate, we would still go to the school to participate in the opening ceremony and then do some quick icebreakers to know everyone else better. We had some time to spare before heading to the school so we all decided to practice our opening speeches. These would be very influential to our reputation as a delegate as it was really our first impression to other delegates. Here are some picture of us practicing below:

IMG_2338We boarded the bus towards 1pm and headed to the school. Singapore Overseas Family School is located in east Singapore and is a pretty large campus. 3 spacious buildings, each 11 stories tall all encircling several soccer fields. And then, in a hangar type structure, tens of basketball courts all sheltered from the rain, a very imminent issue in any south east Asian country.

Image result for pasir risUnfortunately, today was a rainy day so playing soccer was not an option. Anyways, we went into the large amphitheater, and commenced the opening ceremony. It started off with a nice song from the choir, completely uncorrelated to the topic of MUN, but nonetheless very a nice start to the event. Then the president of the school came to talk and mentioned how his whole career in public speaking began at  7th grade conference and how much it benefited him as a whole. Now it was time to walk into our committee rooms, away from all my friends, and meet some new people. We started off with several presentations, vaguely reminding delegates on how the procedures work and when to ask certain points. Some of these include motion to move to previous question, which makes the house skip to the next procedure and point of personal provide audibility which suggests that the speaker speaks in a more audible tone. After finishing this, we headed to the more fun part of the day. Quizzes. Since everyone in the room had some kind of electronic device, we played this game called Kahoot where everyone in rooms can respond to a quiz hosted by the chair and we try to get every question correct. So we started off with a flag quiz. I completely crushed everyone else by a score of 13000 when the 2nd best had a mere 4000. We then went to type of birds where I only placed 4th but then we came back to my strong game of airline logos where I got another 13000. Image result for kahoot logoIt was now 5:30 and we headed back to the hotel for a quick dinner before heading to sleep. Just as a side note, we were more reasonable tonight and slept at 2 am :))

This still had an affect on me as I was extremely tired the next day. This picture pretty much sums up the whole situation:IMG_2559 (1).JPG

It was 7 o’clock when we woke up and headed to the hotel breakfast. It consisted of some sausage, eggs, toast, and some orange juice. We all discussed our excitement for the competition and immediately after finishing breakfast, we all went around the hotel in search of kids from different schools and talking about the upcoming conference. This was pretty easy as every single school that came from abroad stayed at this hotel.

About 30 minutes later, we headed to the school and searched for our committee rooms. My organization, the World Health Organization, was located on the 11th floor of one of the 3 immense buildings. We started off by all presenting our opening speeches which briefly outlined our country stance, which one of the 4 topics we had chosen to do research on and then we all finished by the same sentence that read: this delegate is excited about a weekend of fruitful debates and wishes good luck to all other delegates. If you haven’t noticed yet, in MUN there are certain words that are repeated millions of times. Fruitful, well-crafted and in an attempt are just a few of these words. Now it was time for lobbying.

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In MUN, about 2 months before the conference starts, the school hosting the competition publishes a document stating all four of the topics that will be debated in the conference for each committee. These topics are usually final but in certain special cases such as one of the topics of my friend, the topic had already been debated in the real United Nations so he had to choose a new one. Anyway, each delegate then chooses one of the topics to research on and after doing several tens of hours of research, we put it into a document where the delegate proposes several original solutions that address the issue. This document is called a resolution. You are only required to choose one topic and write one resolution but since our school loves to over-prepare its participants, we all wrote a resolution for 3 out of the 4 topics. Not only does this help us to write better resolutions in the future, but also the debate is more interesting as you actually have done research and know what is happening during debate. And if you really think that one of the clauses in you resolution would enhance the resolution debated, you can submit an amendment where you propose your idea and then the houses debates on it for a certain period of time.

My resolution just for an example: World Health Orginization resolution Loic Bosch (1)

Writing resolutions is a very effective way to prepare and that is why some of us even wrote a fourth one just for fun to enhance our experience. What we did not know was that some delegates from other schools had not even written ONE full resolution. They had no idea what was happening and only hurt the debate as when they were required to make a speech, it was utterly bad and annoyed the delegates who had actually prepared. Next came the lobbying: everyone separates in 4 groups depending on the topic they chose, and then the small group creates a google doc and everyone puts their resolution in the doc. The people then agree on which clauses are good and then the delegate with the most good clauses is determined as the main submitter. This title is very prestigious and many delegates fight for it by saying that their grade for MUN depends on this. This is because many schools have MUN as a class but this way of main submitting as a guaranteed good grade makes no logical sense as I am sure that the directors of the schools prefer that their students contribute to the debate overall instead of main submitting a bad resolution. Anyways, we now started on lobbying. My first topic was measures to eradicate mosquito-borne diseases but when I saw the majority of people heading for that topic, I decided to switch to one of my backup topics of measures to make dental health worldwide and inexpensive as I knew that I would not only be main submitter but I would also have the chance to educate the rest of committee.

Some pictures of our time during the trip:

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Thank You for reading the entire post on this incredible experience!!!

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The Perfect Italian Birthday

July 27, my birthday. We started off this day with an early wake up time as we were heading out to hike on a nearby mountain. Before we headed out, I remembered to take my fleece as it can get pretty cold in the Alps. We arrived at the trailhead at 9:30 and about 3 hours of intense trekking later we were at the top of the mountain called the petit mont blanc. Just to give you an idea, we started at 1000 meters and at the top we were at 2200. The view was extraordinary as we could even see the Mont Blanc itself since it was a clear day.IMG_8409.JPG But unfortunately, the most challenging part was yet to come. The way down was extremely steep with switchbacks every 10 steps but fortunately took a little less time.  At the end of the hike our knees hurt from the uphill and our thighs from the downhill. And just to mention, the total time was 5 hours for the hike :) Next up was lunch and we weren't going to go anywhere ordinary while in Italy so I asked to return to a restaurant we had been last year, serving meter and a half boards of pure prosciutto , salami and much much more.IMG_9758.JPG Many of us speculated that we would not eat all of it but 30 min later, there wasn't a speck of food left. We had completely devoured the meal. In the afternoon, we stayed home and relaxed because in an hour or two there was going to be the famous San Pantaleon Festival. Your ticket to the festival, food festival to be specific, is a wooden plate which you use to got to different stations serving a variety of Italian delicacies. Some examples were pasta, prosciutto, raw meat toasts, risotto, and the most famous, GELATO. We only completed three quarters of the stations as we were still full from lunch and then headed home after a great birthday.
The view from our friends apartment where we were staying at for the week.
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Le Corbusier

Born in 1887, Charles Gris, better known as Le Corbusier was a modern designer who revolutionized architecture in the early 19th century. After teaching in a small school located in Paris, Le Corbusier started designing villas for private customers, many of these large houses are now museums due to their uniqueness. This then led to the next part of his life in which he designed larger buildings. He first started with large apartment buildings but there was not much improvise so he started drifting to other types of large structures. notre_dame_du_hautws

This is when he designed the incredible Notre Dame du Haut church in Eastern France. Located on top of a hill overlooking the Alsatian region, you can see the Alps, the Vosges, and the Black Forest all at once. Now to the uniqueness of the church itself. Le Corbusier's mother taught him when he was young that the most beautiful form of architecture was that of simplicity. So when you enter the building, you immediately notice the plainness of the structure. Since in was built directly after WW2, there is a lot of concrete but he uses it to attract attention to certain objects. There is only one decoration in the entire church and that is the Virgin that was saved from the previous church that was burned down by the Germans during WW2. So he placed it in a small window in the midst of a vast ocean of cement. Since mass is usually in the morning, he oriented the wall with the virgin so that the light would shine brightly through that one window. This leads us to the next topic of light. The church is very dark except for that one window and another one which is located on top of the bell tower. These natural "spotlights" make you seem as if you are in heaven with the magical lighting and the jaw-dropping acoustics. The structure is made in a way that from the outside it may seem normal but inside the curvatures and the wave-like roof result in a mixture of sounds found nowhere else in the whole world.

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Another cool part about this chapel is that one of my mom's best friends from elementary school, Emmanuel Bueb, well her father is very famous for taking pictures of the chapel during construction. These pictures are very precious as they are the only ones that were taken during this time and thus cannot be retaken. This picture is the front cover of the book that my mom's friend made with all her dad's pictures.

The same day we were there, all of the Corbusier's works were admitted to the Unesco program. So that is one for the records, being to a site recognized by the UNESCO that same day!chapelle-notre-dame-du-haut-de-ronchamp.jpg

My own little photoshop project!

Upside Down House!!!

Taipei, Taiwan March 19 2016 Upside Down House

Today we decided to explore Taipei by taking a 30 minute metro ride down to the Huashan Creative Park located in the Zhongzheng District. Once a tobacco factory, this renovated warehouse complex is in the middle of some pretty prime real estate. Instead of demolishing this piece of history, the city of Taipei used this empty space to put a museum and install a relatively large scale art project, the upside down house. This unique piece of "modern and contemporary art"  is a traditional American house with a porch and all. When you enter by the "back door" situated on the second floor, you instantly feel that something is different, very different. While navigating through the occasional lighting surging from the floor, you notice a dining table hanging from the wooden ceiling. Then after waiting for your turn to take pictures, you continue into the garage where a Toyota Camry is hanging from the ceiling. But where I took the best picture was in the bathroom where I stood upside down with one hand on the edge of the bathtub! That was my first and last time doing a handstand on one hand!

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After leaving the over-touristed house since the CNN and BBC coverage, we went to a nearby shaved mango ice cream shop which was perfect for a warm day. They take a large block of mango ice and slowly shave it into a bowl where fresh mangoes and a scoop of mango sorbet are added on top. Dont forget the mango flavored marshmallows!IMG_5189

All in all, i really enjoy Taipei for many reasons but what excites me most is the possibility of going almost anywhere in the city with just a short trip with the clean and inexpensive metro, the MRT.

-Loic Boehler-Bosch

Iceland 2014 (via Baltimore)

Baltimore/ IcelandDay 1

Today we woke up at 8:30 to finish packing and cleaning before leaving to the airport at 11:30. We put our luggage in the car and headed to the airport. We took our boarding tickets and boarded the airplane. The trip from Phoenix was 1h and 30mn to Houston International Airport. We directly went to eat some Asian noodles before waiting what we thought was 30 min till our plane left. Unfortunately, our plane had some unknown delays in New Orleans. We waited 2 hours charging our iPads and iPhones while our plane arrived. Five hours later, we were safe in Baltimore at a local time of 3:20 A.M. Good Night. Day 2

Aujourd'hui nous nous sommes r√©veill√©s √† midi. Avec le d√©calage, il n'√©tait que 9am en Arizona. Apr√®s ont est all√© √† une petite ville √† c√īt√© de la m√®re qui s'appel√© Havre de Gr√Ęce. Ont √† march√© un peu sur la promenade et nous avons aussi jou√© dans un parc. On est rentr√©s √† la maison pour se pr√©parer pour le jeu de softball de Emily. Elle a gagn√© 7-4 et apr√®s on est all√©s se coucher.IMG_7460IMG_7462

Day 3:

Today we started off with a small toast and some jelly for breakfast and then we were headed strait for the City of Baltimore. My brother in law Ruin, brought us to a street where we walked a little bit to a small coffee shop underneath the Four Seasons Hotel. I caught up on some sports while my mom charged her phone and looked at what time our tour was. We were going to visit Oriole Park at Camden Yards. This is the official baseball park for the Baltimore Orioles. So we headed towards the large warehouse. Camden yards is a very unique stadium. It has a normal ballpark but the cool part is that they reused an old warehouse and converted it to some offices and shops. This also serves as a homerun deflector. Any baseball that hits it will just bounce right off. We visited some party suites and the press box and we even visited the home dugout. After that it was dinner time so we went to eat some chicken which Nicole prepared and she is a very good cook. ūüćóūüćó. Yummy. We then went to sleep.saca

Day 4:

Aujourd'hui on a commencé notre journée par avoir un petit déjeuner de gauffres et de sirop d'érable. Après on a fait un voyage de 1h pour aller à un village Amish. Les Amish sont des personnes qui ont quitté l'église Anglaise pour déménager aux Etats-Unis. Aux Etats-Unis ils ont continué une vie très simple et sans haute technologie alors on a visite un village Amish et dégusté un repas traditionnel au restaurant. Ensuite on est allé à l'enseigne des chocolat Hershey. On a suivi un tour pour voir comment le chocolat était fabriqué. Ils nous ont donné quelques échantillons et après nous sommes rentrés à la maison. Bonne Nuit:)

Day 5:

Today we started off by eating some toast and some fruit. Today we were leaving but I wanted to spend a little more time with Emily, Xavy and Izzy so we stayed home until about 3:00pm when we left to go to the Smithsonian National Air and Space museum in Washington D.C. They had a space shuttle and we even got some space ice cream at the end. We then left to go to Iceland. In our plane there was a USB plug but you had to pay for your dinner. Knowing that we might not have a dinner in the airplane, we had already taken a sandwich at the airport. We then slept on our red eye plane as we knew that it would be a short night. Good Night.IMG_7517

Day 6:

Aujourd'hui nous sommes arrivés à Reyjavik environ 8:00am. On a pris notre voiture de location et après on a pris la route pour 1:30h vers Reykjavik. Nous sommes arrivés et il y avait encore quelque heures avant de pouvoir rentrer dans l'hotel alors nous avons dormi 3 heures dans la voiture pour attendre. On s'est installés avant d'aller dans le centre de Reykjavik. On à visité le centre ville, mangé une soupe, et fini notre journée avec une crêpe au Nutella. Bonne Nuit.IMG_7541IMG_7535IMG_7551

Day 7:

Today we woke up at 8:30am to get some waffles and start our 2hr road trip to a small town in the Northwest of the island called Borganes. In the city center, we visited a small museum called the Settlement Center. One exhibition was about Egil Saga and another was about the first Viking settlers. In between both exhibitions, we ate at the restaurant which had only locally grown fresh food. We then headed East to visit one of the most beautiful waterfalls on the whole island: ...We took some pictures and left pretty quickly because it was pouring. We then returned to Reykjavik where it was midnight and experienced a rare midnight sunset in Iceland. Good Night!IMG_7640IMG_7565

Day 8:

Aujourd'hui on s'est r√©veill√© √† 11:30 nous avons mang√© √† un petit caf√© Icelandais pour le lunch. Puis nous sommes all√©s au bureau de tourisme pour planifier notre journ√©e du lendemain. Apr√®s on est all√© au Blue Lagoon. Le Blue Laggon est une piscine naturelle g√©o thermale √† un peu pr√®s 39¬įC. Elle se trouve dans un champ de lave. L'eau est bonne pour la peau mais pas pour les cheveux! On est apr√®s alle se coucher. Bonne Nuit!IMG_7664IMG_7658IMG_7685IMG_7670IMG_7669

Day 9:

Today we woke up at 9:30 and headed towards Thingvellir National park. This park is important for geology because that's where the continental divide is and for history because that is where the first parliament in all of Europe was started. Then we went to Geyser National Park where the 2nd largest geyser in the world erupts very 6-7 minutes (the 1st one is Old Faithful). On our way to our next stop, Gullfos, we saw a lot of sheep and horses on the side of the road. In Gollfos we took pictures which I will put in next and walked on a small trail to an other viewpoint. And there was our second to last day in Iceland. This tour is called The Golden Circle. Good Night!IMG_7783

Day 10

Today we woke up at about 10:30 to start our last day in Iceland. First we went to the public library where there was an photography exhibition by Ragnar who took some pictures about climate change in Iceland. Then we went to a Saga Museum but unfortunately it looked like the same one we had visited a couple days ago in Borganes so we just ate an ice cream and headed for a hotel lobby who had the World Cup on. Then we went to a vegetarian restaurant called Glow. There they served a numerous amount of salads and chicken wraps. We had a cucumber salad and ate chicken wrap to finish our last day in Iceland.IMG_7715.JPG

Day 11:

Today we woke up at 4:00am to go to the airport. We got onto the airplane and 5 hours later we were in Switzerland. I was excited because my grandparents were expecting us and together we drove to Thann, France to eat some soup and go to sleep.

Taipei Volunteering with INTEL

Taiwan 2016

This blog is in French. I will try to alternate between both languages from now on

Ce blog est en Francais. Je vais essayer d'alterner entre le francais et l'anglais.

Notre premier weekend a Taiwan. Aux Etats-Unis nos weekends √©taient toujours tr√®s occup√©s.¬† Arriv√©s dans une ville o√Ļ nous ne connaissions personne avec un weekend de libre, nous avons trouv√© une opportunit√© de faire du volontariat avec la compagnie de mon Papa. Ma famille et quelques autres personnes sont all√©es en montagne dans une r√©serve naturelle qui faisait partie d‚Äôune ONG pour aider √† enlever des plantes nuisiblea. Alors nous avons commenc√© par manger un 'rice ball', une boule de riz avec un peu de saumon ou de poulet au milieu. La route pour y aller √©tait un peu tortueuse mais quand nous sommes arriv√©s √ßa valait le coup. La vue dans les montagnes √©tait spectaculaire √† cause de la brume et du soleil, incroyable. Enfin, nous avons enfil√© des super grosses bottes qui montaient jusqu‚Äô√† la taille pour que l‚Äôeau ne rentre pas. Nous sommes all√©s dans des petits bassins¬†d‚Äôeau boueuse ou le monsieur cultivait des plantes qu‚Äôil protegait. Notre job √©tait d‚Äôenlever des petites plantes qui envahissaient ses cultures. Ensuite nous avons visit√© une rivi√®re glaciale mais comme nous avions encore nos bottes il ne faisait pas froid! Quand nous avons fini, un bus est venu nous chercher et nous sommes repartis pour la ville de Taipei. Dans le bus nous avons rencontr√© une jeune fille qui travaille pour une ONG qui prot√®ge les tortue de mers. Elle s‚Äôappeler Shi-lin et elle nous a montre un tr√©s beau temple bouddhiste qui s'apelle Xingtian!

aaaaaaaaaaaaaNotre groupe

aaaa.PNGJe suis tres content!

Japan 2013

Read all about my Japan trip here! Day 1 : Arriving in Tokyo , Narita Airport

Today we arrived in Tokyo, Japan. After a 13 hour flight, we took a 1 hour bus from Narita International Airport to the Imperial Palace in Tokyo. Since it was only 4 pm,we decided to take a walk in downtown Tokyo. We found a restaurant called Muji where we could have a great view on a street where only women stood there waiting for an actrice to come by. Surprisingly we found out that the women never cheered or clapped for the actrices. The way to show their respect was by standing up. In the restaurant, we had a choice of 2 regular dishes, like chicken and sweet potatoes, with a choice of 2 salads. After dinner, we came back to our hotel to have a good night sleep and to limit any jet lag.

ww The bus lady bows to the bus as we are leaving the station!

car Traffic info is tough to figure out!

popo View of Tokyo Ginza from our hotel room

Day 2

Today was a walk-a-thon! First, since I woke up at 4 AM because of jet lag, we went jogging around the Imperial Palace, the real one where the emperor still lives.. We did get yelled at by a very stern policeman because in a certain area we weren't allowed to run. After that we came back to the hotel, took a shower, and then prepared to eat at a nearby restaurant actually in the underground part of our hotel. They are known for their French toast which was quite good. My mom then went to the bathroom and came out with a nice lady who could speak a little French. She then offered to give my mom a ticket to the Japanese theater Takarasuka because she had to visit her mom on the seashore of Japan about 2 hours from Tokyo. During intermission , my parents decided to switch places so my dad could watch the second half of the show.  We then took the metro from Ginza to Asakusa.  In Asakusa we visited one of the most famous temples/shrines. Senjo-ji is also the oldest one in Japan. Since it is in Tokyo, it is heavily visited every day. After that an other nice lady showed us a good luck tradition next to the temple and it turn out I would be lucky in the future...we will see! mama Mayumi and my mom

Traditional Japanese food

Day 3

Today we started off with a nice jog around the park.Twice running and once walking. We then called our Jananese friend and she said to meet at 12:00pm in our hotel. She brought us to Roppongi  Hills where we ate at a restaurant where only members could go. I took an all Italian lunch.  Spaghetti, bread, and sorbet.  After a tasty meal, we went to an Art museum, it was a nice architectural building. My mom and I then went to our hotel to meet my dad and find a restaurant. Our restaurant choice was one that my mom had seen the night before. sssss

This is a view of the park we ran around this morning

Day 4

This morning we did not wake early enough to go running so we went to eat with Papa.  All Japanese restaurants are only open starting at 10 or 11. Once you delete all those restaurants there are only European or American places. 1. Aux Bacanales or  2. Cafe Salvador  3. Starbucks. We waited a little longer this time and found the same restaurant we ate the first day: Remm. My dad then went to work and we went to work too. We started finding sweets everywhere. We tried a rice pudding snack, a green tea ice cream, a Belgium waffle, and a caramel bread!  In Ginza we also found a nice ceramic holder to hold your chopsticks and a nice little lunchbox good for a little rice cake and a seaweed container at the bottom. We then found my mom's beloved tea house, Chia Ginza. At night we chose a small traditional soba noodle place. After our dinner we stumbled on a futsal stadium and watched the game. j This is the outfit that I wore after we came back from our long day walking. This is called a Yukata.

Day 4 Today was nice, another rainy day.  In the morning we asked the concierge to help us find a museum.  She suggested two museums:  Museum of technology and innovation, and the museum of natural science. But instead we went to visit our new hotel with dad. We then walked through a new neighborhood and discovered another area of Tokyo where a lot of embassies are located.  We saw the Nigerian and the United States embassy. On the way back we stopped at a coffee shop and were amazed that such a wonderful aquarium stood before our eyes.  A difference between our two hotels was that in our new one called Okura, all the female staff were dressed in a Kimono.

m This is a picture of a temple in the neighbourhood around our new hotel.

Day 5 Today we started off by eating a nice smoothie (yuzu and citrus) and pretzel at Cafe Salvador.  We then did some shopping at Muji store where I made a wood block print book for Father's Day. After we met our friend Mayumi at Okura hotel were we met a German man who was riding his motorcycle from Berlin to Tokyo. We invited him to eat with us at a restaurant that Mayumi knew. I took teriyaki and my mom took a Sukiyaki. For dessert, I took a yuzu sorbet and mom took a green tea ice cream. After that Mayumi took us to her friend where we had a great view of Tokyo. We had to leave early to pick up Yann. At night we ate at a Korean Barbecue. a,a.PNG Yann and I really enjoyed the Korean barbecue.

Day 6: Meiji-Jingu and Imperial garden

Today we met Kan (dad's colleague ) at Laduree where we had to taste a French macaroon. We then went to a Japanese garden where we saw the difference between a Japanese and a western style garden.The differences that I saw was that in a Japanese garden there are a lot of medium size trees whereas in a western garden there are big and small trees. Also in a Japanese garden there are bridges and manicured bushes and trees and not as much in a western style garden. After that we went to the Tokyo bay where we had a beautiful view. Upon our return we ate a nice Japanese dinner at a beautiful restaurant that Kan knew. I loved the Shrimp roll and the Homemade ginger ale. 333

This is the garden that Kan showed us.

xoxo This is a traditional Japanese wedding that Kan showed us at a temple

Day 7 Today we woke up and took a nice breakfast at Okura Hotel. We had a beautiful buffet of all kinds of fruits and meats western and Japanese.  My favorite dish was the grapefruit juice.  We then took the metro to Asakusa where we took a ferry on the Sumida river to the main city streets of Asakusa, a very touristic part of Tokyo. Then we made Yann visit our highlights when we went there a week ago. We left Asakusa in a rush to catch our train to go to Hiroshima from Tokyo Station. There we took a quick stop at the market to fill up our belly's during our 5 hour train ride.

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This is the picture of our breakfast at Okura hotel

Day 8 This morning we woke up for our first day in Hiroshima. We started off by finding a free volunteer that worked for an organization to prevent a nuclear attack from happening again. Then we went to the museum where we found a tour guide that explained things for the first half of the museum but we had to stop because we had trouble understanding her. One of my most moving quotes I saw there was ¬ęI saw a butterfly and it landed.¬† I took of my cap to catch it and then...the bomb was dropped. ¬Ľ After that we took a train to Myagyma and saw a beautiful temple.

dd This is the view of Hiroshima from our hotel room.

zz This is a picture of where the bomb exploded nearly 300 feet in the air.

Vancouver This is a picture of us and the volunteer in front of the only building that resisted the nuclear bombing.

Day 9 Nara

Today we arrived in Nara the city of many deer.  We arrived with the Shinkansen which took us 2 hours and 30 minutes from Hiroshima.  We went to our hotel and dropped off our luggage while we rented bikes there for the whole day. We first went to the 2nd tallest pagoda in Japan which was surpassed by the one in Kyoto by a couple centimeters. Then we rode our bikes down a nice alley to a gate that led to the Great Buddha. Standing at 100 feet and weighs ....... tons, this great Buddha was found in the forests of Japan. We then had an idea to ride our bikes to  another temple which I thought was too far away...6 miles!  When we were 1 mile away, we decided to turn around because it was getting dark. We then ate at a soba place next to our hotel where we met a French family traveling around the world with thier little boy whom I found adorable. JJJ

Picture of Japanese school kids in Nara

Day 10 Kyoto 1 Today we arrived in Kyoto at the train station after a one hour train ride from Nara then Osaka. We took a bus from the station and then walked uphill to our guesthouse. Then it started to rain and we had no specific place to go to so we decided to go to the bamboo forest. Thickly populated by bamboo, this was so beautiful that my picture won the Loic elections for my new wallpaper. It was pouring so I got a couple drops of water in my picture, also to make maters worse, my shoes were so drenched in water that we had put newspaper in our shoes to absorb the water. When my mom and I put the newspaper in our shoes, yann and dad were relaxing in the onsen. For our dinner I rather not talk about it.

rr Picture of temple in kyoto

Day 11 Kyoto 2 Today we woke up at 6 in the morning to see our French friends we met in a train about 2 days ago.Together we visited a temple called Kiomizu which is very known so we went before all the crowds came including hordes of children ages 7-15.  We then went to a cafe to eat a French toast and an orange juice. After our breakfast we went back to the temple to do some good luck path including a pitch black tunnel where we had to find our way to the sacred stone. You had to touch the stone to make your wish come true. The other one was the one where you had to walk in-between two stones blindfolded in order to have a good, nice marriage. We then found a pottery place where you make a pot on a pottery wheel and they glaze and send it to your house. I had been wanting to do this for a long time so my wish came true. Then we walked for a long time and our day was over!  !

Pot.PNG Pottery

Maing pots in kyoto with yann

Day 12

Today we woke up early to make a train that went to Toyota City. This city is where all Toyota buildings and factories are located. We had to get there at 9 so we had time to visit the museum for an hour and then be on time for the start of the tour. On the 30 minute bus from the museum to the factory, our tour guide explained to us that in the plant we were going to see, there would be the  Aquarius, the IQ, and the Corala in production. After that we took the train to Hacone where we took a 40 minute bus ride to our hotel where we had futons and a 12 inch tv !! aaaaaaaa Toyota mueseum

Day 13 Hacone Today we took a tour in Hacone. First we took the bus to the cable car which went on a 10% slope. After the cable car we took the Hacone rope way which took us to a place where you can put an egg in the water and it will boil. Then we took an other rope way to a pirate boat and the pirates boat would drive you to the other side of the lake where we took a bus to our hotel. Then Shingcansenn. aa.PNG

this is a picture of yann talking insence and purifying his body..and mind

Day 14 Today we started off by meeting our friends,Claire and Cosima in the main lobby of our hotel. The day before, mom had found an architectural tour that had looked interesting so we decided to eat at a coffee place called Cafe Salvador that is nearby the train station to go to Omote-Sando  to start the tour. At cafe Salvador we ordered a coffee, a pretzel, and a smoothie...My favorite. After we took the metro to Omote-Sando a neighborhood of Tokyo. Then we took a walk to see famous brand stores who hired major Architects to build a nice and attractive building. My favorite was the Tod building because it was made out of steel shaped into tree like forms. Then we ate at a sushi restaurant where you could pick the sushi off the sushi carousel and then the day was over.

Day 15

Today we started off by going to Ginza for some shopping for our friends like you. Then mom really wanted to go to the Edo Tokyo museum which tells you about the history of Tokyo if you listen but I listened to Yann's Jokes which where pretty funny. Then we met dad to eat qq