The night before I had all my luggage packed and went to bed early but I was so excited for the trip that I couldn’t sleep until 2 a.m. The next morning I had the Easter meal with my host family and then left the house to go to school at 5 p.m. We departed at 6 p.m. It was the longest bus ride ever in my life. It took us like a day to get there.
Finally we arrived to The Big Apple at about 4 p.m the next day. We stayed at Wellington Hotel on 7th Avenue. We had a walk together in Central Park before going for a dinner at the famous Ellen’s Stardust restaurant where all the staff were performers who were working their way to Broadway. So it was kind of cool because you can eat and listen to people singing at the same time. After dinner, we walked to The Empire State Building to view New York from 1200 feet above the ground. That’s all for day 1. Everyone was tired after a long bus ride and a long walk. I just fell right into sleep when we got back to the hotel.
Next morning, somebody got up early at 5 to go to the Today Show but I didn’t make it because I was too tired. But after that we went to St Pattrick’s Cathedral for a tour. It was a very big and beautiful place. We walked to the 9/11 Memorial. The tour at the memorial was really amazing. I know about the 9/11 attacks through media and the Internet but having the chance to see all the pictures, the audios of the victims, the pieces of the building was just really heart touching. It was an experience of a lifetime. In the evening we went to Madison Square Garden, one of the world’s most famous arenas to see a playoff game in the NIT tournament. There we met Jimmer Fredette, a point guard played for the Westchester Knicks in NBA D-League. It was a very fun night.
My favorite day of the trip was Wednesday. We took the ferry to the Statue of Liberty at 9 a.m. I was a little disappointed because it was smaller than I expected but it was still a must-see place in New York. I almost got left behind as I spent more time in the souvenir shop than I expected. I bought a Vietnamese flag for my host family in the Immigration Museum. In the afternoon, we spent 2 hours in Chinatown, Little Italy and Greenwich Village for shopping and eating. It was quite a cool experience trying to bargain for our purchases. In the evening we experienced the amazingness of the famous Broadway play “Aladdin.” I was not a big fan of plays and musicals, but I gotta say this play was totally on another level, especially the stage crew. I just admired the way the stage crew worked smoothly together between every scene and how the lighting worked. After the play we had a buffet at John’s Pizza and that was all for New York. We headed back to the hotel and prepared ourselves for DC.
We stayed at an inn in Arlington. There weren’t many entertainment in DC like New York. We mainly spent our time touring all the historical landmarks such as the Gettysburg battlefield, Iwo Ima Memorial, WW2 Memorial, Arlington Cemetery... I’m not very big on history but one of my most favorite places I visited in this trip was the Holocaust Museum. We actually met Henry Greenbaum, a Polish survivor from the infamous Auschwitz camp and listened to him talking about all the horrible things that the Nazi did there. We’re all glad that the war was over, aren’t we?
On the very first day in DC I had one of the most dangerous but also funny experience in my life. We had 2 hours of free time traveling in Georgetown. I walked to Georgetown University just for some pictures then I opened Google Maps in my phone and guess what I found? The White House. And at that moment I had this crazy idea in my mind: “Why don’t I just walk 2 miles alone in the middle of Washington D.C to see the White House for a few seconds then walk 2 miles back and hopefully I’ll make it back in one and a half hour to meet up with everyone? Sounds like a good idea!” It was not a good idea at all. But somehow I made it back in time! And even earlier than everybody else. I told one of the teachers and she just totally freaked out. It was such a funny story that I will tell my family and friends when I go back home. What’s not funny about it is I didn’t have time to eat at all so I was starving for the rest of the day.
The senior trip was definitely my favorite thing during my first year abroad. I had a blast with my classmates and enjoyed every single thing we did on that trip.