Donnerstag, 26. Oktober 2017

Chicago - our last two days in the States

After the amazing time we had in the first two days, we spent another wonderful day and a half in Chicago. On Thursday, we began at 9.30 in the morning by touring the Museum of Science and Industry, where we first saw a very interesting movie on engineering in the 'Giant Dome Theatre'. This is basically like a normal cinema, although the canvas is shaped in a concave waoy, this lets you see the movie with your whole field of view - it's a truly exciting experience. After about half an hour of free time, we headed to the coal mine, where we got an idea of how coal was won back in the day. This left us with a good hour to grab lunch from the restaurant and have a small look around this huge building, before we left for the amazing and strongly recommended Chicago Crime Tour. The bus took us along Streeterville on the trail of the likes of George Streeter, John Dillinger, the Chicago Black Sox or the infamous Al 'Scarface' Capone.
After 3.45 pm we were headed for Michigan Avenue to go for the last really large shopping round. We were all (still impressed with the Mall of America in Minneapolis) evermore impressed to see such a thriving line of stores and restaurants, all lined with the vibrance of a mega city. Packed with bags from the shops, we went to a pub next to our hotel, where we had a very nice evening, that set a fitting end to our trip, though it left us all with a sense of melancholy at leaving this beautiful city and the feeling that we had only scratched it's surface.
On Friday, we got up early and then left our hotel for good and got on the bus. Our last big event was the Chicago Lake & River Tour. We boarded the ship near the base of the monumental Wrigley Building. Leaving the Chicago harbor towards Lake Michigan, we went along Chicagos fabulous Navy Pier and right through the Chicago Harbour Lock. It regulates the amount of water coming out of the lake and flowing down Chicago River since 1938, the five minutes we spent in its chamber were a nice opportunity to have a look at the cities glorious skyline. Thanks to our guide, we got a lot of information on Chicagos most prominent buildings such as the Willis Tower or the Lake Point Tower. We also used the opportunity to get some snapshots of the whole group in front of Chicago.
After the end of the tour we went to Navy Pier one last time, enjoyed a beautiful view of Chicago and said farewell to this wonderful city. This left us with a long and also kind of depressive bus ride to Chicagos O'Hare international airport, where we boarded our plane home. 

United for the last time at Bremen international airport, tired, exhausted and also a bit sad that a brilliant four weeks had to come to an end so soon, we quickly engaged in a group hug at the baggage claim and gave a last cheer:

                                                        'Here's to GAPP 2k17!'

Sonntag, 22. Oktober 2017

Our trip to Chicago (part 1)

Tuesday morning was a really sad day for all of us, because it was our last morning with our hostfamilies. Our bus left at 7am- at least that was the plan, but saying "Goodbye" to them was harder, than it seemed at first and so it was very sad for all of us, in St. Ansgar as well as in Charles City. At least we will see them again in summer...
After that we had another 8 hours of bus driving before we arrived in Chicago, Illinois. We checked in  at our hotel for the next days, the "Comfort Suites Chicago" and brought in our lugage, we drove downtown to Willis Tower, Chicago`s highest building. It took us 60 seconds to get to the top, were we took some amazing photos of Chicago`s  skyline. We also had the opportunity to walk on a glassfloor hundreds of meters above the ground and to take some more photos.
Back at our hotel we bought ourselves food for the next day, because we had a lot to do:
First we went on a tour through chicagos old town and learned about the German`s history in Chicago. We also visited a church that was built by german immigrants and looked like a european church.
Then we visited  the Chicago Art Institute,  which had many interesting pieces like a room on medival armor. It was really big but a tour gave us an overview of the most interesting pieces. Next to the Art Intstitute there was Millenium Park with sights like "The Bean" and  a great view on the skyline.
The last location we visited was Navy Peer, a place named after its use in the past, which nowadays serves as home for a little Ferris wheel, a few shops and the Shakespear Theater, our next target:
At 7pm we visited a performance of shakespears "The taming  of the shrew", set in the 1990s wemon rights protests ( suffrage movement). It lasted about 3 hours, but it was very entertaining, so we were happy to visit it.
So the first two days in Chicago passed by in next to no time-At least we felt so!

Samstag, 21. Oktober 2017

Time to say Goodbye😭❤️

After our long bus trip back to St.Ansgar and Charles City, everyone was picked up by his hosts and went home. Julian, his host Carter and I had a great supper and played some pool games and went to bed later. On the next day, my host mom, host brother, Julian, Carter and I watched the Iowa State football game against Kansas where we spontaneously met Jella and Julia with their host from St.Ansgar. It was a very rainy day but even though, ISU won 49-0 which seemed pretty easy. Our day ended with a trampoline park which is called sky zone where we spent our last energy of the day.
On Sunday, me and my family did nothing special. I began to pack my things and in the evening we had a thanksgiving dinner where everyone of us Germans and their families were invited. It was pretty sad because we had to say some of our best moments in front of them, which was very emotional especially for Amelie. This dinner ended with the chicken dance and a video of our trips which was maxed by Sebastian. The last thing on this day was a typical American halloween thing: Pumpkin Carving!
On our last day, Monday, the Charles City students were splittet into groups and visited the local primary schools. I was in a group with Louis and Svenja and we were allowed to go to the catholic primary school which is untypically till 6th grade. It was very different and we had to talk a lot about Germany, especially the Autobahn and Money.
Sadly Tuesday was our day to say goodbye. Everyone didn’t want to leave but we had to. After a ton of tears, hand wavings and hugs we entered the bus to Chicagoooo!

Sonntag, 15. Oktober 2017

Our adventure in South Dakota continues! 😍

Hello again! Let me tell you more about our trip to beautiful South Dakota…
On Wednesday morning we ate self-cooked breakfast including bacon, toast and scrambled eggs and were visited by some deer in our garden before we left for the Jewel Cave National Monument near Custer. The Jewel Cave is the third longest cave in the world (it has more than 290 km of mapped passageways!) and is located in the Black Hills. We were able to learn a lot about the cave’s history and formation before we went on a guided tour through a part of the cave. Even though we had to climb more than 700 steps of staircases it was worth it because of the amazing and unique sight we experienced.
Afterwards we drove to Custer, a small town nearby, to get some lunch and continued our journey to the Crazy Horse Memorial. It’s a monument that is supposed to show the Oglala Lakota Indian leader Crazy Horse riding a horse but so far only Crazy Horse’s head is finished because the works are expensive and the responsible persons are refusing to receive federal or state funding out of respect for the Indians. But even the head is gigantic, it’s about 27m high, and I can’t imagine how big the entire monument will be when it’s finished.

Our next destination was the famous Mount Rushmore National Memorial or simply the Mount Rushmore. For those who don’t know this memorial, it’s a sculpture of the heads of 4 U.S. presidents carved into a Mountain. There we had the chance to take lots of pictures in front of Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt and Lincoln which was really fun.

Then we started the way back to the lodge but our bus driver Jo was so nice and drove us a bit through the National Park we’re staying at (Custer State National Park) so we were able to see the beautiful landscape and lots of different animals before we arrived ‘home’.
For dinner we made a simple but delicious meal out of chicken and salad along with garlic bread. The rest of the evening we enjoyed our last night at the wonderful lodge while playing games and just talking about our experiences so far.

The next morning started with a similar breakfast to the one from yesterday but a bit later because we just had to leave at 9am. Most of us were really sad because the days at the lodge passed by so quickly and our trip to South Dakota was slowly coming to an end. After packing all our things we left the lodge and started the long drive to the Devils Tower National Monument in Wyoming, an igneous rock.  A lot of us were surprised by the sheer size of the Devils Tower because it’s huge. A few of us went on a hike around the Devils Tower but the majority of our group stayed at one spot along the trail to take some pictures in front of this gigantic rock. 

Afterwards we headed to a city called Hulett where we ate late lunch in a western style bar and were able to try some delicious Bison burgers. Sadly this was the last thing planned for our South Dakota adventure and so we started the way back to Saint Ansgar and Charles City. After stopping at a motel in Wall for the night we continued the journey and were welcomed by our host families at the High Schools in Saint Ansgar and Charles City in the late afternoon and spent the rest of the day with them.
Overall I really enjoyed our trip to South Dakota and I’m very happy that I got to experience the beautiful nature and various sights there. 😍
- Svenja 

Bisons in the Custer State National Park

At the Crazy Horse Memorial
Mount Rushmore

Devils Tower

The western style bar in Hulett where we ate lunch

Samstag, 14. Oktober 2017

Spending an amazing time in South Dakota

Hey guys, here we are again!
It is hard to believe that more than half of our time in the US is over. We have seen a lot of that wonderful country. But unfortunately time passes by so fast. Early on Monday morning we set of to one of the  most exciting trips: We went to South Dakota! I for my part can say that in advance I really looked forward to these days.
After an eight hour bus ride we finally arrived safely Wall which was our first stop. Wall is a delightful, small town with its famous drug stores and lovely shops. For dinner most of us went to a restaurant in the manner of country furnishing. All of us spent a great evening. There were just one funny incident, more or less: The waitress debited the total amount just of Jette’s credit card so that she paid for all of us. But we solved the problem 😀. At the end of the day we all sank wearily into bed.
The next day we had to get up early. After breakfast in a motel we started out to Badlands National Park which was an amazing adventure. The forces of erosion that created the landscape of the present-day Badlands are incredible. Added to that they are offering a range of activities like driving with the bus the badlands loop road and stopping at overlooks. Of course, we took some souvenir photos of the cross-section with its amazing cultural and natural history. Prairie dogs and pronghorn antelope are just some examples for animals which are native in the Badlands. After that we went for lunch to Rapid City, a neighbouring town. Some of us ate burgers, others enjoyed delicious ice cream and yet others passed their time in the Memorial Park.
In the evening we finally arrived in our wonderful, comfortable lodge which is placed in Custer State Park. There we cooked spaghetti, played games and just had a social get-together. So far, we are spending a great time in South Dakota😍!
We will soon let you know more about our trip!
Yours, Hannah!

Memorial Park in Rapid City
Badlands National Park

Ice cream shop in Rapid City


On Saturday the 7th the whole group met up in cedar falls to watch the UNI-homecoming game against West Illinois.

After a bit of shopping and a lunch at a mall we drove to the dome. The weather was stormy but after running into the stadium everybody was just exited to witness the great atmosphere.

The homecoming started with a show by the UNI-marchingband, that formed a tunnel after some songs and variating formations for the UNI-athletes.

The home team had a bad start in the first quarter with west Illinois having the lead.

After the two following quarters being relatively balanced UNI fought back and lead the game 29-18 in the last fifty seconds. Everybody was just cheering and clapping, but I guess that was the mistake because west Illinois scored a touchdown in the last Eleven seconds. The game ended at 29-38.

For us germans it was an astonishing experience although ,,we” lost, because most of us never saw something similar to this event.

Even when you do not know the rules it is more than worth it to be a part of such a great game.

It was very cool to see how the players still stood on the field to take pictures with many people and to talk to the people who just payed money to see you playing.

Also I think everybody enjoyed the unity behind the University of northern iowa.

It is crazy to see the difference to Germany because normally you do not fill stadiums for a division I team and study at a college at the same time.

Freitag, 13. Oktober 2017

The UNI-Homegame
On Saturday the 7th our Gapp group drove to the UNI-Homegame. The UNI team played against the WIU team. Everyone was really excited and the atmosphere was awesome. The UNI Marching Band started the game with good music and an impressive choreography. None of us really knew about the football rules but it was still funny. For every touchdown of the UNI some American soldiers made pushups on the field. In the first two quarters the UNI team was close behind the WIU score. Then from the 3rd to the middle of the 4th quarter the UNI team made serveral touchdowns and became the leader of the game. The atmosphere was unbelieveable and the UNI's kept on going to win. Only 11 seconds left to win the game for the UNI but the WIU team didn't give up and made a touchdown in the last 6 seconds. It was clear for everybody that the UNI team couldn't make a touchdown in 6 seconds. A bad ending for such a great football game the UNI college team lost the game against the WIU team.