Tuesday, November 26, 2013


Staying in Charleston and Summerville was a life changing experience for me. First of all, I stayed in a stranger's home for three weeks. This was a scary thought at first, both for my family and me. However, things were easy after the first few days. 

I know I became more independent from this trip. Every morning, I got myself up and made my own lunch. I got ready separately from my host family each morning. I also thought through problems on my own more. My mom told me that she's noticed I don't seem as attached to my home anymore, and that I get everything done on my own. I think she's partially happy that she doesn't have to help me with many things anymore, but at the same time I think she's upset too. Her little baby is growing up! 

With school, this experience made me appreciate Maumee Valley so much more. I loved Pinewood, but the classes didn't challenge me nearly as much as MV does. Also, I noticed more cliques in my host school. There were many more rules there. I'm grateful that MV goes on the trust system so much more. A few times in my first days, I would get up and go to the restroom without asking, like here, but the teachers informed me that I should ask. 

Having a younger sister was a new and strange experience too. She was so excited to be around me all the time and would ask me to tell her stories and play with her a lot. Since I'm the youngest child in my family, I had to think about what is and isn't appropriate to discuss with or around a 9 year old. Throughout the trip, she asked me about some topics that I didn't know how her parents would want me to explain. She asked me about drugs and alcohol once because she heard someone talking about it. Since I didn't know what to say, I told her we could all talk about it when her mother got home. I didn't want to expose her to something that her parents didn't want to expose.

The culture was a little different too. People spoke a little differently and some people said that Midwestern people had accents too. They had more chicken places I noticed, and everyone loved grits. I hate them. I dislike the texture. There were many less vegetarians too. There were more conservative people in the south and some people made fun of northerns, saying. They thought we all did drugs. 

All in all, I loved it. I made so many friends there and want to go back in future. This trip made me mature more and my mom said she sees me more as a 'woman' than ever, which I'm not sure is a good or bad thing. I really miss my friends though. I'm glad I went to South Carolina. 

Monday, November 25, 2013


On Wednesday, I gave a speech to the entire school at Pinewood! It made me a little nervous standing in front of everyone, people I didn't know, but I think I did really well. Madison, the girl I spoke with, introduced the network and told everyone that I was from it. 

After that, I introduced myself to the school, telling them I was from the network. I told them I was from Toledo and that networking is a great option to all the students. Here's a general outline of my speech:

"If you do the Network of Complementary Schools Program, you will make so many lifelong friends and memories. It will be hard to leave, but hopefully some of my friends I've made will be able to come to Toledo. I go to a school called Maumee Valley in Northwest Ohio. I'm here for a Winterim program where we don't have traditional schooling for the month of November. Instead, we spend the time learning about things we usually wouldn't get the opportunity to. For example, three of my friends went to Africa to study the native tribes there. They live with them for three weeks, almost like what I'm doing here. I hope you consider the Network, and if any of you are interested, I strongly encourage you to speak to Mrs. Girgan about it."

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Speech Tomorrow!

Tomorrow, I will be making a speech with a girl named Madison about Network of Complementary Schools! I'm very nervous because I'll have to go up in from of the entire upper school and I don't know some of them. I don't think I'll mess up TOO bad tomorrow though..

Today, Mrs. Girgan told me I can have a Pinewood Panthers t-shirt before I leave! I'll have to go pick it out tomorrow.

After choir today, Mr. Brice had meeting so I played on my iPad with Alexa. We were trying out different music apps and trying to play different songs.

After dinner, Mr. Brice had a church meeting so Mrs. Brice, Alexa, and I all played clue together. I had played before but not recently so they had to teach me how to play all over again! I won the first game, and Mrs. Brice won the second.

Today was a pretty good day, but I got upset when some people back home accused me of not wanting to come back. It was very hard to explain to them, especially if they'd never been in the same situation before. I DO miss home. I miss my dog, my family, and the laughs and good times with my friends. However, I know that I will never see some of these people ever again. Even if I come back to Pinewood next year, or even this spring, some students won't be here. My friends who are also exchange students from Chile are leaving the same day I am. I won't be able to come back to Pinewood and see them again. I'll probably never go to Chile to see them. What about my new friends who are seniors? If I come back next year, they will have graduated and moved on with their life, probably going to college or off on their own adventures.

I'm not afraid of never seeing Pinewood again, I'm afraid that all my pleasant memories will be left here. There is no time like now, and seeing three weeks go by so fast really makes me understand the saying "time flies when you're having fun."

Leaving will be bittersweet.

¡Señora Girgan es muy simpática!

On Monday, I got my algebra test back, and learned that I did pretty well! That made me happy because now when I come home, I'll already know some of what we are learning!

In Spanish class, Mrs. Girgan gave me one of the extra powder puff shirts and said she wished I could have played. It was very kind of her and I will treasure that shirt forever! I was thinking of what I could do that would make it more memorable and I thought of asking all my friends here to sign their name on the back! It would make the shirt mean that much more to me! I'll have to dig around in my bag to see if I brought any sharpies or fabric markers...


When I got home, I made dinner for my host family! I told Mr. and Mrs. Brice that I would make my family's eggplant pizza recipe. It's pretty much peeling and cutting an eggplant, and making it the crust of a pizza. I was worried that it wouldn't turn out how it does at home, but I was pleasantly surprised that it turned out well. However, it tasted like there was a spice missing that we use at home, but I couldn't remember what it was. 

Alexa lost a tooth! It had started to get loose when I first got here, but it finally came out last night! Then, she put it in a big plastic bag. While I was cooking, I thought it was an empty bag and threw it away. Later, Alexa wondered where it was and thankfully we didnt throw it away! I felt terrible abut it!

Before bedtime, I braided Alexa's hair into two pigtail-like braids, and tried teaching her mom. It went pretty well, and this morning she decided to keep the braids in for school! Here is what they looked like:

I will upload them tonight from the computer!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Exploring and Shopping in Charleston!

Today, we spent our entire afternoon in Charleston! 

First, we went to the park and learned about the history of Charleston. Alexa and Mr. Brice were climbing on different canons and cannonballs. 

Mr. Brice and Alexa look like they're having a heart to heart..

I love my little host sissy! She was pretending to be a dog.

My host family.

Mrs. Brice told me to take a photo with a Citadel.

Mr. Brice tried on a cowboy hat and is looking very Southern!

We went to a shopping area where the slaves used to buy groceries for their masters and their families! It was so unique to think that a few hundred years ago, there were slaves here! I bought a few presents for my friends and family too!

Partyin' on Saturday Night!

After the plantation visit Saturday morning, I went to the neighborhood block picnic with my host family. I got to meet all of our neighbors and talked to a girl named Taylor that lived on the block for over an hour. It was fun to know who everyone was. 

After this, Mrs. Brice kindly took me to go ice skating with Jennifer and Caroline! 

Our ice skates

Caroline got to hold a "sugar bear"

Taking photos with Jennifer!

After ice skating, we went to the mall and got something to eat. When I asked for no meat in my food, the woman was very nice and gave me a discount! After this, we went to a spa Caroline goes to and I got my first ever manicure! 

I chose a royal blue type color. The woman had me soak my hands in very hot water first, then she cleaned them and took off all the dead skin surrounding the nails. After painting them, I had to sit under the dryer for awhile. It was fun and nice to get pampered for awhile!

After this, we took Jennifer and Caroline home. When we got home, I went to Anna's house and we played pool and watched Austin Powers in the theater in her house!

All in all, it was a wonderful day and a great way to spend my last Saturday in Sumerville. 

Middleton Place

Saturday was a very busy day for us! In the morning, Mrs. Brice took me to Middleton Rice Plantation in Summerville. The property was huge! I learned a lot of history on the tour. First, I learned that the plantation had been given as a dowry. I thought that this must have been a pretty good dowry! 


One of the first things I noticed inside the place were the gates. If you look closely, you can see a chain with a weight on it. When you opened the gate, you didn't have to worry about closing it because there was a closing mechanism. It was just a weight that closed the gate for you! I realize it's not really that's significant to the entire Middleton Place, but I thought that was really unique. 

This was a parasite that grew with the trees. I don't recall the name, but I thought it was beautiful and almost looked like a willow tree.
A view from what used to be the house of the river. It was so beautiful!
After some New Yorkers burned the main house down during the civil war, the roof and everything inside was practically in shambles. However, the walls were still intact. Then, there was an earthquake. This is all that was left of the main house.
Another photo of the beautiful estate
Some of these trees were probably over 300 years old!
My host mom was snapping shots too.
Taking photos with my host mom!

These two photos were of the sundial. Can you tell it was 11:59 when this was taken?

There were many gardens at Middleton Place. We could have spent hours just exploring them!

The cat at the stables!

I got to talk to a man about wood carving. I'm holding on to an old wheel that when spun would create the ability to make a perfectly round piece of wood!
For some reason, there was a peacock on the grounds. 
Some of the food that would have been prepared and eaten.
These men were making leather! What he's holding in the picture is a deer hide. 
The man at this station was making homemade molasses, which would require 8-10 hours of boiling. 

This horse was absolutely giant!
All in all, I'm very happy we went to Middleton Place. I got to learn a lot about the history of South Carolina.