Trip Start Oct 22, 2010
Trip End Dec 06, 2010

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Where I stayed
Rebecca's Apartment

Flag of Switzerland  , Zürich,
Thursday, November 4, 2010

Ah...where to begin?

    Today was 'nature day' at my SIS school, which meant that we were going to walk some lovely park trails with the students all day long! :)   I was assigned the kindergarten group, which is by far my favorite group.   We left in two groups and finally made it to the Winderness park, which was about 30 minutes from the school by bus.   Once we arrived, the kids played on the naturalistic playground and used the bathroom in pairs.   We then took off on our hour and a half trek through the woods.  So....30 kids aged 4-7 hiking through the woods for a hour and a half with no food, water, or bathroom breaks?.....this was going to be a very interesting trip!   Within 5 minutes, the student whose hand I was holding stopped, sat down and told me she couldn't go on because she was too tired, hungry, and thirsty.   I prodded her along and even gave her a piggyback ride for awhile.   I eventually handed her off to the other teacher, who somehow got her to run up to the rest of the group.   She and many others complained for the rest of the way, but we kept going and going through the beautiful woods.  

    Just as I thought the kids were going to drop and collapse in the middle of the path, we came upon a large grassy green field.   This was to be our resting point.   We hiked through the tall, wet grass and with each step I could feel the chunky dirt give way a bit to the pressure of my foot.   I was very glad that I wore hiking boots today!   We went up the grassy hill and looked out over the field below us.   The kids took off from here, throwing their jackets aside and rolling down the muddy hill.   So much for being tired.... We talked and let the kids run up and down the hill until they were nice and muddy and tired.   Boy were their parents going to hate us!   We gathered up everyone and took a group picture before hiking back down the hill and to our camp.   The fourth graders had built up a fire while we were gone and the kids were now all roasting sausages (hotdogs) and marshmallows over the open flame.   The older kids used pocket knives to carve points onto sticks and we all roasted things over the fire.   I enjoyed a nice crispy one!   The kids enjoyed their lunches and then had playtime for about 2 hours.   The older kids went by grades to different guided activities, such as firemaking, stick and wood carving, and animal sighting.   I had to stay with the youngest ones, so I am unsure how these went...  Finally, we lined up the kids and had them empty their pockets of the pounds of sticks and rocks and leaves.   One little boy fell behind and rejoined us ready to load up into the van, complete with a 5 foot stick carefully zipped into his tiny backpack.   It looked like a flag running behind him!   I laughed so hard I could barely remove the stick from his pack.   We had made it there and back with no injuries, no lost kids, and plenty of mud on our feet....great day!!

    The kids left for home and so did I- I had big plans for tonight- the Rabeliechtliumzuge!   This was what we had carved turnips for the night before!    Rebecca drove me to her school and we had a nice chicken curry sandwich for dinner.   I met her kids and her colleagues, and then we joined the parade of kids down the street.   The neighborhood had turned off their street lamps and house lights so the street was very dark.   The kids had carved hundreds of turnips and instead of carrying them, they were artistically fastened to 'parade floats' that the children rolled down the street like wagons.   Some of the floats were very large and took a few kids to control.   At the front of the parade was the school's marching band, who heralded our coming to the crowds lining the streets.   I held my little carved turnip by its strings and walked alongside the sixth grade class.   This was such an amazing cultural experience and it was so much fun to see all the beautiful lanterns and beaming kids!   Once we made it around the block (about an hour) we all circled up on the blacktop behind the school.   The band played a few holiday songs and the kids all sang along.   Then the kids made their way to the back tables, where each received a traditional sausage (again with the sausages!), a slice of bread or a bun, and hot orange punch, which I rather enjoyed!   Rebecca and I talked and helped to clean up at the end of the parade.   We then followed a few other teachers to a bar for drinks.   Here, I finally had the opportunity to treat Rebecca to her drink!   We chatted away into the night, and then headed back home for some much needed rest. 
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