Sunday, March 31, 2013

That Time I Was In Five Different Countries within a Week or What I did Over My Spring Break

 During Spring Break, it is normally the dream of students and teachers alike to relax and do NOTHING. For around forty schools from across the globe, this was not necessarily the case this year. On Saturday, March 23, teachers from international schools from countries all over Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Americas gathered at Black Forest Academy (BFA) in Kandern, Germany for the International Christian Educator's Conference to worship God together, to learn to be better teachers, to exchange ideas with schools like the ones where we teach, and to learn how to work with the amazing TCKs we all have. ICEC (pronounced I-kek, said letter by letter I-C-E-C, or called ICE-C--like a rapper) is a conference held by the Association of Christian School International (ACSI) to help international school teachers. (We like the letters--CISP attended ACSI's ICEC at BFA.)
 ICEC was AMAZING! One of the key note speakers was a man named John Dickson from Australia. He was an phenomenal speaker who was passionate about history, music (he used to be in a rock band), and God. He's also an author, so you should check him out on Amazon. Another keynote speaker from the University of Leeds, shared about C.S. Lewis's views on teaching and read us part of The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. There were other sessions ranging from topics on teaching Third Culture Kids, using Pinterest in the classroom, and starting a Bilingual school to packing in a carry-on for thirty days (very useful for those of us whom travel a lot).

 One of my favorite parts was meeting teachers from other schools. And one of my favorite parts of that was the Excursion Day we had on Monday afternoon. We had the chance to visit Basel, Switzerland, Lucerne, Switzerland, or Alsace, France. Since I'd been to France, I decided to go to Lucerne, Switzerland (along with about 100 other people). It was cold and snowy--but a very beautiful city!
The Chapel Bridge
Mark Twain called this Stone Lion "The Saddest Rock in the World"

Quaint Building and Streets
The City Wall
With two of my fellow CISP teachers
 After ICEC ended, my roommates and I had decided we wanted to go someplace and relax. We had flown to Basel, and it was cheapest to fly back to Prague on Easter Sunday, so we searched for cheap tickets someplace else. This is how we ended flying to Nice, France on Wednesday afternoon.

 I knew basically nothing about Nice--other than it was part of the French Riviera, once had a castle that has since disappeared, and is located along the Mediterranean Sea. The hostel where we stayed was cheap BUT clean and located in the Old City. We were minutes from transit and the sea, so it was a great location. Sadly, it rained on Thursday (however, that was an improvement on the snow we had been getting in Germany), but Friday was beautiful and sunny. Adventure Buddy and I had ventured on a photo taking tour on Thursday, but on Friday we ended up going back to some of the same places to see what they looked like in the sun. We also took the time to take off our shoes and take some photos of ourselved wading in the sea.

The Sea
Sunny Day :)
Me and the Sea
Looking at the Sea
Rocky Beach--Not Exactly the "I'm Going to Lay-Out Here Kind"
Tentatively Entering the Water

 Our main goal for visiting Nice was to relax; however, I also had a secondary goal--to visit Monaco. I'd read a biography of Princess Grace (Grace Kelly) when I was in middle school, and when I realized the country she was princess of was smaller than my grandparent's farm, I decided that one day I must visit. Monaco is only about a 45 minute bus ride from Nice, so on Friday morning (before the photo taking venture) we set off to visit the world's second smallest country (I've been to the smallest--The Vatican), The Principality of Monaco. We got there in time to buy tickets for a hop on-hop off bus tour (thought, really, we could have walked--the country is less than 500 acres) and to catch a ride to the Prince's Palace for the changing of the guard. After watching the pomp of the event (and pondering whether they do it because people watch or people watch because they do it), we explored a bit of the area around the castle. One of my favorite places was the cathedral. It was here that Grace Kelly married Prince Rainier and here that they both were buried. For me the "Fascinated-With-Royalty" Person that I am, this was one of my favorite parts. (We had also seen the famous Hotel de Paris and Grand Casino Monte Carlo.) We caught our hop on-hop off bus and rode around (and under--many of the roads are tunnels, because land is so precious here) the ENTIRE (and I mean that literally) country. I looked at the map later and realized the tour took you from one end of the country to the other. 
View from the Palace
The Prince's Palace
The Changing of the Guards

The Cathedral
Princess Grace's Grave
 Saturday saw us flying back to Germany and spending Saturday relaxing at a friend's flat in Kandern (as well as learning a fun German card game--and I hate most games, so saying a game is fun means something!). This morning we flew back home to Prague (after missing our exit and taking an accidental detour into Switzerland), rested and relaxed and ready to jump into the rest of the school year!
Ready to start teaching again! Yay!
 In case you were wondering, the five countries I was in during the past week were Germany, Switzerland, France, Monaco, and the Czech Republic.


1 comment:

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