Thursday, August 16, 2007

Sayonara (but not really)

Tears and laughter at the airport as we bade the group "Sayonara"!
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The AGU2007 team, back at the Quality Inn after accompanying the group to the airport. It's hard to believe it is over!

But not over completely, because I am looking forward to meeting you in cyberspace! Here's how to stay connected with your AGU in America friends, teachers, mentors, and predecessors:

1. Join our Yahoo Group. If you don't yet have an account with Yahoo, you will have to create one (sorry). Don't forget to write down your username and password! You can choose whether to receive posts as emails (recommended) or to check the website from time to time. Once you join the group (click on "Join This Group" and wait to be approved as a member), you can post messages or respond to others' messages. Check the Calendar for upcoming birthdays and AGU chats at Tapped In. You can upload photos and documents, too! (Remember that my tips on using Blogger are already in the Files section of the YG.)

2. Come to my office at Tapped In to chat with me and other AGU in America friends. When I set a date for a chat, I will post a message to the YG, post it to the YG calendar, send a reminder one day in advance to the YG, and post a note in NinaTL_ofc. The only excuse for not being there is if you have to go to work! Remember: to get to my office, click on the Online tab, select my name or anyone who is in NinaTL_ofc, and click on the open door at the bottom. If you have any problems, there is usually a helpdesk volunteer in Reception who can help you. Don't forget to detach the chat screen and enlarge the type! Our first chat is scheduled for (in Japan) 11 a.m. September 29. (That's 10 pm September 28 in the Washington area.)

3. Keep posting to your blog! After you get home and have had a chance to rest up, I hope that you will post some reflections about your experience in the United States--what you have learned (about the country, the people, and perhaps about yourself...), and what you think about it all. After that, you can use your blog as a kind of online diary to share your experiences at home in Japan. It's a great way to practice writing and thinking in English! Reading the blogs of others is good for improving your reading, too. You can subscribe to your favorite blogs at Bloglines or another aggregator. Don't forget to leave a comment! Most bloggers enjoy getting feedback for their posts.

This is my last post. Thanks to all of you for reading and commenting on this blog. It will always remind me of the wonderful days we spent with AGU in America 2007!

Thank you!

Before I end this blog, I want to thank the many people who helped me to plan, coordinate and implement AGU in America this year:

*Marsha Sprague and Linda Sahin, MEI Director and Associate Director, for their support
*Shirley Thompson, a wonderful teacher and a dear friend, for her patience and creativity
*Ji Won Moon, Sophia Burton, and Laura Jacob, our three fabulous, energetic and uncomplaining mentors, for everything!
*Kim Kwok, MEI Administrative Coordinator, for helping me in more ways than I can count
*Esteban Garcia, without whom my final slideshow would not have been created, for assisting us in the Multimedia Center
*Dr. Marie Hallion, our guest speaker on the history of U.S. Diplomacy, for doing so much more than her wonderful presentation
*Jim Shirlen and Rex Potts of The Washington Post, for showing us around the printing plant
*Khalim Piankhi and Madeline LaCore of Channel 9, for showing us around the studio, and J.C. Hayward, for graciously allowing us to take about 30 photographs with her!
*Hiroko Miyakawa, Mariko Russell, Ichiro Toda, and Tsuchiya Takahashi of the Inter-American Development Bank, for making our visit there so memorable
*Amy Wasserstrom and Ken Shimada of the Gordon W. Prange Collection at McKeldin Library, for telling us all about the collection--twice
*Jane Welsh and the wonderful tour guide of the College Park Aviation Museum, for making that activity so special
*Tony Chan, for assisting us with the technology in BPS0283
*Chiles and Tony, our bus drivers, for their patience and good driving
*Shania Lin and Sang Shin, our unofficial mentors, for enriching this experience for the participants
*Christoforos Liakos and Nedret Oztan, for making the cookout such a success
*Dennis Oliver, Berta Leiva, and Hiromi Sato, for reading and commenting on the blogs
*Sasha Sirk, Teresa Almeida d'Eca, Dennis Oliver, Hiromi Sato, and Yuiko Hayakawa for participating in the chats at Tapped In
*Christoforos and Vicki Liakos, for keeping the home fires burning for the past 2 weeks
*the Evanoff family, for their enthusiasm and support
*and finally, the participants, whose pleasure and appreciation made it all worthwhile!

If I have forgotten anybody, I apologize! Thank you all for your help and support. I couldn't have done it without you!

Leaving College Park

We met in the lobby of the Quality Inn for the last time, to check out. Everyone boarded the big black Terrapin bus, and we set out for Dulles International Airport. The drive took almost 1 1/2 hours because we were going during the morning rush hour!
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Dinner at Yi Jo

We all met at the Quality Inn at 7:30 and drove to a Korean restaurant on Route One, Yi Jo. Shania and Sang, our "unofficial mentors" were there as well. Our group took up 4 tables! We enjoyed wonderful Korean dishes and had a really good time. After dropping off the kids at the QI, I drove home, arriving at 11:00, and went straight to bed! But I heard that some of them stayed up until the wee hours.
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The Last Day

Today was the last full day of the program. The students had classes as usual in the morning (although four of them overslept and missed my class!) and in the afternoon, we had our farewell reception in the Nanticoke Room of Stamp Union. Marsha, Shirley, the three mentors, Richard, and I all said "a few words", Ji Won and I showed our slideshows of the pictures we had taken suring these two weeks, we presented the students with certificates of participation, and we enjoyed snacks and cold drinks and took (as usual!) lots of pictures. Everyone started getting weepy at the thought that the program was ending.... (more to come tomorrow)

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Tuesday, August 14, 2007


Class met on eight days in the Multimedia Center of the Maryland English Institute (MEI). Students created blogs at In their posts, they wrote about what they saw, what they did, and what they thought about it all. They learned how to upload pictures to their blogs and how to create photo albums in Bubbleshare. They learned how to leave comments on others' blogs and how to add hot links to their posts and to their blog's sidebar. They learned how to edit their posts to correct their mistakes. In so doing, they practiced reading and writing in English.

I hope when they are back in Japan, they will keep posting to these blogs so that we will know how they are doing!

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Adams Morgan

Our last field trip was in the mostly Latino (Spanish-speaking) neighborhood of Adams Morgan, in Washington, D.C. We took the metro to Columbia Heights and walked down 16th Street and Columbia Road to 18th Street. We saw a few of the neighborhood's famous murals (wall art), heard many people speaking Spanish, and saw lots of Latino and African stores and businesses. Some of us bought flavored ices from a street vendor, and others had coffee at Tryst, a coffee shop next to the famous Madam's Organ mural (Adams Morgan/Madam's Organ--get it?). We had an hour to explore the neighborhood, and then we met back at Tryst and walked down 18th Street to U Street and back to 14th, where we found the U Street-African American Civil War Memorial metro station. This part of DC was devastated by riots following the assassination of the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968, and has been redeveloped fairly recently.

All of the students looked exhausted, so I suggested they they might prefer to return to College Park rather than staying in DC for dinner; but they all refused my offer and went off with the mentors to see the White House while Richard and I made our way back to College Park, after stopping off to see the Civil War Memorial, which was at the other entrance to the metro station! I am sorry the group missed it, and will include my photos of it in the slideshow.

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