Lucy Gray’s Reflections&

ADE Institute 2006
Explore. Create. Share December 2005
It all started on a December afternoon, a Friday, I think. I sat in my kitchen listening to the news via a conference call and I knew I had to go. I knew I had to be a part of this possibly once in a lifetime opportunity. I danced around my kitchen, I called my husband at work, I chatted with ADE friends. To me, there was no other possible reaction to the news that the 2006 Apple Distinguished Educator Institute would be held overseas. I felt strongly that this could be a truly powerful professional development experience. Why would I want to leave my young family for so long and go traipsing off to Europe to help create a global awareness curriculum? Based on my first institute experience, I knew that amazing relationships were built and ideas were exchanged during Apple’s ADE summer professional development event and these experiences could only be enhanced by a longer immersive period in Europe. It sounded adventurous to me and as I neared my fortieth birthday, I suddenly longed for an experience that would test my boundaries and capabilities. And, I firmly believed that my own children and students would benefit from my experiences if I led by example.
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In 1989, I did my student teaching while participating in an off campus program sponsored by a consortium of colleges called The Associated Colleges of the Midwest’s Urban Education program. I took a course called Dimensions in Multiculturalism and I distinctly remember being exposed to concepts of globalism and social justice for the first time. The program directors, Peggy Mueller and Marilyn Turkovich, seemed ahead of the curve, predicting the emerging significance of a global society. This program was one of the illuminating experiences of my life, yet I haven’t always practiced what I learned. By revisiting global education in the context of this Apple project, I hoped to become more of an activist teacher. Personal reasons aside, I also realized that the global education content developed could have amazing relevancy in this day and age. American education could be enhanced by a curriculum that helped children see beyond our borders and that emphasized the development of critical thinking skills. The fact that Apple felt the necessity to do something good with its power was compelling as well. The bottom line for me was this was a fabulous opportunity to be part of something truly innovative.

Spring 2006
From the onset, I was eager to prepare for this trip. I bookmarked websites, bought travel books and consulted friends and family. I decided to extend my trip another week by traveling with two ADEs I did not personally know. I felt that if I was going to travel all the way to Europe, I wanted to see as much as possible. I also did a couple of podcasted interviews with people at my school who have experience with global education. In hindsight, I felt that I could have done more beforehand, but nothing could truly prepare me for this trip other than the actual experience.

Friday, July 21 - Saturday, July 22
Before the Institute, I had traveled a fair amount within the U.S., Caribbean, and Mexico, but only once to Europe. On the way to Germany for this excursion, I was surprised to be packed like a sardine into the plane. I enviously eyed the business class group with their reclining seats and more importantly, their ability to plug in their laptops. During an iChat conversation earlier in the week with ADE Larry Anderson, I had learned all about the
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perks of business class while Larry was en route to Belgium. While I couldn’t recharge my laptop battery on my economy class flight, I could pay to connect to the internet, and I couldn’t resist the temptation to do so. Once online, I was pleasantly surprised to find a fellow ADE on line as well and on a plane to Germany as well. We wittily compared notes regarding the in-flight entertainment which was the same on both planes. I also took time to write an entry for my blog. The simple acts of instant messaging and blogging at 35,000 feet was nirvana for the nerd in me. Two other things impressed me about my flight to Europe, the first being that the airline food was not bad on Lufthansa and I liked how they occasionally projected our route, estimated flight times and altitude in the cabin monitors. Flying into Berlin, I was first struck by the amount of water I saw from above. There seemed to be many lakes in the area surrounding the city. Arriving at the hotel located in the former east German side of the city, I immediately recognized the area from the movie, The Bourne Supremacy, which I’ve only watched about a gazillion times as it’s shown about every other week on cable television. Very soon after our arrival, we set out on a walking tour to the Brandenburg Gate with Melanie, our supremely knowledgeable tour guide from EF Education. Her own life story was fascinating in itself as she was born in East Berlin to activist parents and eventually, her family was allowed to move to West Berlin. Members of my curriculum team recorded her narrative and hopefully, it will be part of our final product. Later that day, we met with our project teams and a received a group trip orientation. The curriculum will focus on an essential question based on Wiggin’s and McTighe’s Understanding By Design model. Our question is: What is a border? and we had divided into several subgroups prior to our trip . Four themes related to the essential question were subsequently developed: Use of Natural Resources, Peace, Conflict and Security, Societal Change, and Quality of Human LIfe. Two special area groups related to primary grades and higher education were formed. Also, prior to the institute, we brainstormed many ideas related to these themes in our online ADE community. I chose to work on the Quality of Human Life strand and specifically, on the middle school portion of this curriculum.

Sunday, July 23

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The next day, July 23, we started out with a morning bus tour of Berlin. I found that bus tours were really helpful in getting oriented to a new city. We visited several places including Checkpoint Charlie and the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe . I was surprised and unnerved the most was the notion of the Berlin Wall. I previously had been basically clueless to the fact that Berlin had been an island within East Germany and became divided into four quarters post World War II. This wall was constructed overnight, taking its citizens by surprise and dividing families. We had a group dinner that evening at a Turkish restaurant and it was superb. I had suggested this particular cuisine because I had read in a guide book that Berlin had a large Turkish population. Most of the meals we had while touring Europe were outstanding in general. I was astonished by the freshness and quality of food wherever we went. There was little processed food in general, and I saw very few obese people. Europeans seem to live a more healthy, calm and active lifestyle than most Americans.

Monday, July 24
In the morning, we had some free time to explore the city and some members of my work group and I set out for the Pergamon museum which unfortunately turned out to be closed. Instead, we hopped on a boat for another tour of the city via the Spree River.

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In the afternoon, we visited the Jewish Museum which was very striking with its grey metal sheath and slashes of windows. We met with the director the museum who was very clear in pointing out that the museum was about German Jewish history spanning two thousand years as opposed to a museum about the Holocaust. We toured the museum according to themes that interested us, and I chose nationalism. I was impressed with the overall exhibition design and could have spent much more time there. Afterwards, a group of us decided to head to a bier-garden visited earlier in the day by ADE Karen Percak. We followed her for what seemed like miles, and just when we thought we might turn back, we discovered the most special place. This bier-garden was hidden among the trees in a central park area of Berlin called the Tiergarten. Picnic tables surrounded a small lake where people could row small boats. Strings of bulbed lights stretched out across this area, and there was a concession that sold beer, wine, pasta, margherita pizza, and strawberries and cream.. This area was not a tourist trap; I felt conspicuous with a camera dangling from my neck. I think we all felt that we had stumbled upon something special that only locals visited. Our meal there was one of the more memorable moments of the trip. I relished the atmosphere, the companionship of ADEs and the victuals. Later on in the week when I sought some peace and quiet after traveling with our large group, I returned there just with my trip roommate, Meredith, and it provided a comforting atmosphere for us to dissect life and our trip thus far. Our trip was not just a set of tourist destinations, but an intense experience of interacting and collaborating with other educational tech professionals passionate about work and life. Every once in awhile, I felt the need to step back and make sense of everything because of this intensity.

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Tuesday, July 25
On July 25, we trekked to Potsdam via bus and then by boat. We visited Cecilienhof, a mansion where Stalin and Truman met after World War II as well as Frederick the Great’s palace, Sanssouci. ADEs Carol Anne McGuire and Anne Reardon very thoughtfully bought me a pressed penny here as I had told them about my family’s quirky habit of collecting these coins.

Wednesday, July 26
On Wednesday, I had a truly authentic experience. ADE Kathy Shirley and I did our laundry at a German laundromat/Internet café. We had trouble figuring out the device that controlled all machines and dispensed detergent, but a sympathetic patron helped us out. It was another example of the graciousness we found among the Europeans. The internet access was free and even better than in our hotel. I generally found that internet access and good bandwidth were not as readily available as in the United States. This is yet another thing that I completely take for granted! We returned to the hotel just in time for lunch with a panel of locals. Later on the afternoon, we toured the Story of Berlin Museum. One of the EF people told us beforehand that the museum had run out of funding, and hence, it might appear somewhat incomplete. This was far from reality. The museum told a detailed and comprehensive story about the history of the city and the overall design was really well done. We capped off this visit by a tour of an underground bunker that was built during the cold war and still can be used as an atomic bomb shelter. The whole concept of this bunker was eerie and disturbing and far removed from an American mindset. We ended our visit with a quick cocktail party in the bunker.

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Thursday, July 27
We left Berlin via bus and stopped in Dresden en route to Prague. It was scorchingly hot outside, making for a very uncomfortable walking tour. We had a leisurely lunch and then made our way to the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen where we saw many works by Dutch masters. We arrived in Prague around dinner time and convened shortly after for a traditional Czech dinner in the cellar of a restaurant. On the way home we stopped in Old Town Square for a beer and to watch the astrological clock. A crowd assembled to watch the clock turn 11PM and then 12PM. We couldn’t discern any noticeable action. It turns out that the clock does not do it’s special movements after 9PM!

Friday, July 28
We were bused up to Prague Castle, the current headquarters of the Czech Republic government and we also toured St. Vitus Cathedral. One factoid I learned was that the Rolling Stones played a concert here a few years ago (scroll down here for a blurb on this) and paid for special lighting to be installed. We walked down the Golden Lane, stopped for refreshments and then walked down a hill through the New Town section of Prague and over the Charles Bridge into Old Town section. Our hotels were located in this quarter. Later on, our work groups met again. We accomplished a great deal towards our strand of the curriculum, but again, it extremely hot, even inside the hotel with its weak air conditioning. Air conditioning is not as powerful nor as prevalent as it is in the United States.

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That night, a group of us went to a restaurant called the Blue Duck for dinner. It had been highly recommended by friends of friends, and I was somewhat adventurous tasting rabbit, goose liver and venison.

Saturday, July 29
We toured the Museum of Communism which more closely resembled my expectations for the Story of Berlin Museum. It was more home grown than other museums we had toured, but still packed with information. By the end of this trip, I felt like I had a better understanding and timeline in my head for nationalism and communism in Germany and the Czech Republic respectively. Many of my traveling companions were particularly affected by a movie within this museum depicting the final days of communism. There was such a contrast between the Prague of 20 years ago with the Prague that we experienced. It was fascinating to get a glimpse of how rapid change has come to much of Eastern Europe. A panel of local people spoke to us at lunch. The panel including an older woman who works for the Fulbright Foundation, a former au pair who worked in the U.S, and a woman who was currently working for an NGO. Lunch was traditional and delicious and the building where we had lunch looked recently restored. It had fabulous mosaics on the wall. That night, Development Executive Helen Hoffenberg treated the central region ADEs to dinner at the most fabulous and elegant Czech restaurant, the name of which escapes me. One of the bonuses of this extended institute was the opportunity to spend quality time with people. We are all so busy in our everyday lives so this trip afforded us the time to relax, talk shop and generally bond. My own life keeps going at a very fast pace, and during this trip, it struck

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me that I need to recharge my batteries more often. My favorite part of the evening was when I asked everyone to talk about a “magic moment” they experienced on the trip. My roommate, Meredith, coined this term and we often referred to those moments when we felt suspended in time and place during our trip. There were many, many magic moments in Europe for me!

Sunday, July 30
Our last day was a busy one. We toured the Jewish Quarter and museum in Prague which included a synagogue inscribed with the names of Czech Jews killed during the Holocaust. It was an astonishing and powerful sight. The tour also included the Old Jewish Cemetery where layers of people were buried and a Spanish style synagogue that was incredibly beautiful. Helen Hoffenberg arranged for interested people to tour Terezin, a Czech town that served as a Jewish transition camp during World War II. We visited two museums. The first had a detailed history of Jews and World War II and we also viewed a good film that explained Terzin’s history. The second museum had a replica of a typical barracks from that time as well as examples of art, music and writing created by the Jews held at Terezin. Terezin was used by the Nazis to deceive the Red Cross about what was really going on at concentration and transition camps. None of the original barracks exist today because of a typhoid breakout at the end of World War II. The part of our tour that left me the coldest was a visit to the crematorium. Terezin is still a town, and people live there, but it felt like a ghost town. We celebrated the end of the institute with a cocktail party, dinner and a keynote speech by Dr. Joan LaRovere of the Virtue Foundation. Toasts were made and a video edited by ADE Ross Kallen brought many laughs. Memories were cemented. We walked to the Charles Bridge and back one last time. I’m not sure why I felt drawn to bridges on this trip; maybe bridges are a metaphor for the institute. I know that I found solace, beauty and a sense of place when standing on the
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various bridges we encountered on our trip.

Monday, July 31 - Friday, August 4
I extended my European trip a week and visited Italy and France. It was great to have this time to decompress from the group experience. ADEs Valerie Becker, Kathryn Smith and I left Prague early Monday morning to start our post-institute adventures. We flew to Munich and then on to Pisa without any problems. Our airline of choice was Condor, and we were pleased with the ease of travel. Once in Pisa, we quickly found the bus line that took visitors to Florence and we were at our hotel by noon or so. The hotel, fortunately, was ready for us, but I don’t know if we were ready for it after our nice digs in Prague. While the location of our Florence hotel was ideal (near the Duomo), the accommodations were rather spartan. The place grew on me, though, because connecting to the internet was reasonable and we had AIR CONDITIONING! I also relished having my own personal space as we had our own rooms, and I spent a fair amount of time decompressing from the institute. I did do the requisite tourist things such as visiting Michelangelo’s David, the Uffizi and the Ponte Vecchio. Our first night there we saw a newly married and very handsome couple posing for pictures on the bridge, and again, we were continually drawn back to this place. Another night on the way to dinner, we saw the sunset from the bridge while a three piece band played lovely music. Valerie and I went twice to an area across the Arno where locals were gathering to hear jazz. While we didn’t hear any music, we enjoyed the view from various areas on this hill, culminating in a breathtaking view from the Palazzo Michelangelo.

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On our last evening, we had a celebratory dinner at Sabatini, a restaurant that had been a favorite of my mother in law. ADE Steve Wagenseller was in Florence, too, for a worldwide Esperanto conference, so he joined us as well. Afterwards, Valerie and I went down to the Ponte Vecchio again; it seemed natural to return to the bridge before closing this chapter of our trip.

Friday, August 4 - Tuesday, August 8

While traveling to Paris, we encountered our first and only travel glitch. We had booked our flights on Easy Jet, which apparently has a total weight limit for all pieces of checked baggage. I was over my limit and I quickly whipped out an extra bag and repacked some items in it. I put the bags on the conveyor belt and I was still over the limit; it didn’t matter that I had spread the weight between two bags. I had trouble understanding the ticket agent and I thought he said that I would be billed 70 euro per kilo, and I was 4 kilos over. Valerie persuaded me to carry the second bag on the plane, even though I had two carryon pieces already and miraculously, her plan worked. We arrived in Paris around noon. The best surprise of the trip was in our Paris hotel. Recommended by a colleague at Lab, this hotel was FABULOUS and just what we needed. Small, elegant and intimate, I felt we had stumbled upon a Parisian gem. Its left bank location across the Seine from the Louvre was ideal. Everyone escapes Paris in August, but I didn’t feel like this was a disadvantage to us. While many shops and restaurants were closed, I liked the uncrowded feeling of the city. After a delicious omelet at a neighborhood café, we took a bus tour that first afternoon. Admittedly, I was completely exhausted, even

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nodding off during the tour. I did manage to stay awake for the truly important parts and managed to get somewhat oriented to the city. That night, we dined at a café called Les Deux Maggots, once known as a hangout for Jean Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir. Valerie and I walked over to the Louvre to see its famous pyramid at night, and while exploring the Richelieu wing passageway, we found two large paned windows looking into hallway entrances to the Louvre. Large marble statues filled the cavernous space, and it was quite a sight. Simultaneously, a lone violinist began playing and people gathered to listen. I whipped out my new iPod and Belkin TuneTalk to capture the magic. Later, I turned this into a podcast accompanied by some of my favorite European photos. Our second day in Paris was spent checking out a shopping district. We had dinner at the oldest restaurant in Paris, and then visited the Eiffel Tower. While visiting the Louvre the previous night, we had surprisingly witnessed the Eiffel Tower lit up with sparkly lights so we then had the opportunity to see this phenomenon up close. I had never known that the Tower did this, and it was amazing. I didn’t actually end up going up the Eiffel Tower until our last night as we arrived too late on our second evening. Our third day was well spent visiting Monet’s home in Giverny and Versailles Palace. We took an overpriced bus tour to the outskirts of Paris. Giverny ended up being our favorite. Monet’s gardens and ponds were gorgeous. His inspiration was crystal clear. Versailles, on the other hand, was crowded and we had to strain to hear our tour guide most of the time. We did have a lovely lunch with our tour mates and two ladies in our group turned out to be foreign language teachers from Canada. We impressed them with our impromptu demonstrations of the many classroom uses of iPods. That is being an ADE for you...never missing an opportunity to advise, author and advocate for Apple.

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Monday was our last day and we had planned to visit the Louvre and the Musée de Orsay. We also wanted to visit Monet’s Water Lilies at the Musée de l’Orangerie. Unfortunately, the Orsay is closed on Mondays so we missed Impressionist works. The entrance line the Orangerie was too long. The Louvre was amazing and I especially loved the design of underground entrance beneath the Pyramid. I spent my time viewing the three must sees: the Mona Lisa, the Venus de Milo and the Winged Victory of Samothrace . I also concentrated on European paintings. I was impressed with the vast size of many works and also surprised that photography was allowed in many parts of the Louvre. Most museums I visited in Europe prohibited visitors from taking pictures or video. We had dinner at another local café and headed back to the Eiffel Tower where we caught a night boat tour. The highlight of this tour was cruising by the Latin Quarter and watching couples tangoing on the banks of the Seine. There was much that we didn’t see in Paris, but I know I will return one day. The evening was capped off by a solo visit to the second floor of the Eiffel Tour. The top floor was closed for the night by the time our boat tour returned to the area. On our last morning, I ran over to a nearby store to take some pictures of a store. Upon arrival in Paris, I had received an instant message from fellow ed techie and Portland principal, Tim Lauer. He had just returned from a trip to Europe himself and he pointed me to this NPR podcast about an Parisian art supply store where Picasso once shopped. It turned out that Sennelier was about two blocks away from our hotel, but closed for most of August. I took pictures of the exterior, however, to show Tim. My flight home was relatively uneventful, although a cold I developed in Florence continued to plague me. I flew first to Frankfurt and found the gate for my flight home to Chicago in the next terminal. The gate was the last one in the terminal, and strangely, it was cordoned off. I had to show my boarding pass and passport again in addition to putting my bags through another x-ray machine. I was then patted down and a metal detection device was waved over me. In hindsight, I realized these extra precautions were due to the terrorist investigation that came to light two days later. It is a sobering reality that we are living in a world threatened more often by violence. I have to admit that this was in the back of my mind throughout my European travels. I had thought this summer had been strangely absent of any major terrorist episode, so I suppose recent events were not a total surprise. Promoting awareness and understanding through global education initiatives is even more imperative these days, and it’s going to take a miracle to overcome the hate that seems pervasive in this world.

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Post Institute Random Thoughts
• In a post-institute discussion, ADE Joe Morelock said, “Costco will never look the same” in response to my slight feeling of disgust regarding American life. It seemed that Europeans did very well with much less than the average American. I am grateful for all the progress and wealth shown by our country and I fully understand why some people think it’s the greatest country in the world. However, I think the U.S is overrun by a sense of materialism and self-centeredness that truly concerns me. Do we really need gigantic SUVs, suburban subdivisions where every house is the same, a plethora of electronic devices at our whim? Where has American individuality gone? What about taking care of other people on this planet? • European life is calm, noted ADE Lucas Van de Paer, in another post-institute conversation. I appreciated how Europeans generally biked everywhere, lingered at cafés, took afternoon breaks, and enjoyed good food. I have been in such a mad rush juggling life’s responsibilities that it was very refreshing for me to take time to smell the roses. • I expected to learn more about the Holocaust on this trip and I certainly did. I was astonished at the conditions that allowed Hitler to rise to power. I was amazed at the level of organization and planning as well as with the speed that events occurred. While I previously had a general knowledge of the Holocaust, I have realized that I need to explore this topic further. I am simply stunned that humans can behave in this manner. Maybe I am naive, but I don’t know if I will ever understand what motivates others to be deliberately and unusually cruel and unjust. • While there are some places and activities that I missed, I don’t have any regrets. On vacations, I usually plan as much as possible in order to experience as much as possible, almost to the point of creating a rather frenetic schedule. On this trip, I learned to relax and contemplate more. • I gained a sense of independence by learning to navigate and stumble my way through unfamiliar territory. Making post-institute travel arrangements and executing that plan afterwards was a huge boost to my confidence. I did have small episodes where I felt rather ridiculous, such as when I waited outside a bathroom at the Jewish Museum, thinking it was locked. The door was not locked; I thought I had to pull the door rather than push. Another time, my roommate ADE Meredith Melragon made me order a beer myself just so I could get over my apprehension of mispronouncing its name. Meredith generally set a great example for me of how to live life fearlessly.

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• Speaking of language, I was surprised by the number of Europeans fluent in English, particularly in Germany. I felt very uncomfortable trying out German and Czech phrases, but in France, I felt much more comfortable with the language as I took the French classes for about five years. French was actually one of my strong points in school; I wish I had kept up with it. • I also came home from Europe with a renewed interest in travel. I also feel strongly that my children to should visit Europe and other places whenever our family can afford it. Many parents often don’t want to take their children to certain places until their children are old enough to remember the trip. I don’t think any kind of experiential learning is wasted on the young; travel can strengthen attitudes and build confidence. I want my children to grow up to embrace the world. ADE Audrey Van Alystne and her family are veteran house swappers and this sounds like a viable option for my family. • As this institute was longer and even more of an intense experience than last year’s institute, I had the opportunity to strengthen already established ADE friendships as well develop new relationships. It’s difficult to describe the power of gathering a like minded group of people, passionate about their life’s work, but it was intoxicating. I probably stayed up too late too often on this trip, relishing conversations and shared experiences, but it was well worth it. • I’m very happy with the curriculum group to which I am assigned. We generally seem to be on the same page regarding our vision for the Quality of Human Life strand, and I particularly appreciated how DE Helen Hoffenberg and ADE Tina Barrios kept us on track whenever we were in danger of derailing. I’m looking forward to continued work with this group and am optimistic that we will produce a thoughtful portion of this global awareness curriculum. We have decided upon using walls as a metaphor for a border and our theme will be something related to what lies beyond walls. • As far as EF Tours was concerned, I thought that the company did an outstanding job leading us on this trip. The tour guides, Melanie and Alex, really knew their stuff and were able to multitask very well. I now have a better sense of what is involved in taking a group on tour, and it’s no small feat. I’d like to lead an iStory tour one day with kids from my school as we already have several travel programs in place, even a few with EF. It’s a natural progression to add the technology piece. Adult acquaintances who have since heard me describe my summer travels are intrigued by the iStory concept as well. I’d like to even lead a group of teachers abroad in much the same way we experienced Berlin and Prague. I was also very surprised at the scope of EF as a company; they are not just about student travel.

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• I also thought it was interesting that EF and Apple chose Berlin and Prague for us to visit. I don’t think many ADEs were truly prepared to be intrigued by these cities. I know that as a novice European traveller, I would have initially preferred to visit more standard tourist spots, but in hindsight, I am so glad that we visited Germany and the Czech Republic. The rich history of and the rapid transformation of these cities were fascinating and gave me perspective on societal change. • If I have to summarize how I feel about my experiences this summer, I would say that I am grateful. I have gratitude towards my husband for keeping our household running smoothly, towards my children for not falling apart without me, and to my workplace and the ADE program which both continue to support me and my endeavors in so many ways. I am thankful for living in the United States, too, and for having this incredible opportunity to experience other cultures. I always dreamed of traveling to Europe and I am now simply amazed that I have done so.

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