from Celina-Marie Kuehne:
On the 1st day, we all met at the airport in the morning and had 2 hours to eat breakfast and get to know each other. At first, I thought I would not know anyone, but after the people that I went through the security with (2 of them were my roommates) and I checked in with our teachers, we wanted to walk around the airport. On our way, I saw my classmate from my English and US history class, and we immediately became friends. After that, we went to get a coffee and stayed together till we were ready to get on the airplane. But before we went to the aircraft, we met with our group leader. There we were supposed to find a group name, and in my case, the last name of my group leader was Ms. Haenchen, and I know that if you take her name and translate it from German to English, her name would be Chicken and my group liked that so we called our group “the Chicken’s”…
After we landed, we all met back up and headed to the bus, which we took to the Sandia Park Tramway, which was so beautiful and cool! If you didn’t know (I didn’t before), Sandia Mountain reaches a 10,378-foot ridge and 11,000 square miles of panoramic views. To get there, you’ll have to take a 15-minute streetcar ride! It’s really cool because while you’re riding up there, you can look around and enjoy the amazing view. There was a plane crash a long time ago, and you can see the parts of the plane among the rocks. It was very impressive. We did a 2-hour hike to the highest point of the mountain; it was a lot of work and tiring. After the hike, we returned to the bus and went to a traditional indigenous dinner with food, dances, and music. This was so cool and interesting to see. Afterward, we went to a museum about the native culture, which was also very interesting. When we were done with the museum, we returned to the hotel and relaxed or did homework or final preparations.
On our second day, we all met in the lobby at 6:30 am for breakfast. Then it was off to the bus for our first adventure on the bucket list: rafting down the Rio Grande with local guides, which was really cool and interesting! They told us a lot about their culture, traditions, beliefs, tribes, and history. (During the rafting we saw a lot of different animals like ducks, and geese and at the end of the rafting we even saw a snake which we weren’t sure if it could be a rattlesnake but I think it was a water snake…. but no matter what kind of snake, it was still cool to see it). Afterward, we had a traditional native lunch where we got to see a small portion of the food they eat on their feast day. It was very delicious. They also told us more about the food and their traditions, which was very interesting.
The next thing on the plan was to go to the Bradbury Science Museum where we saw the Atomic bomb, that was really interesting. This Museum is the chief public facility of Los Alamos National Laboratory. This museum has many cool and interesting things to see, feel, hear, and try, but my favorite things were the magnets.
The last adventure of the day was a mother hike which was also fun but tiring. It was a hike up a mountain with ladders. I only went to the first one because I wouldn’t say I liked the height, but I was told it was fun. You were able to go into caves with houses from native people and see some of the ways they lived.
On the way back, we stopped at a gas station so everyone could buy some snacks. My friend and I wanted sour gummy worms as we had on the plane, so my friend bought us some (she also bought us ice cream, chocolate-covered pretzels, and gummy frogs).
On our 3rd day, we started with a 30-minute hike through these cool Pueblo ruins and saw an amazing traditional building and some spiritual and religious places of the natives!
After that, we took a long bus ride to Santa Fe, but on the way there, the bus driver probably took the wrong route because we were told it was a 30-minute ride. So we ended up taking the long route, which I think was fun because we all listened to music and had a bus concert between us and the teachers (so fun), but also because we saw some beautiful cities (when our tour guide told us we were going through the city of Golden and I looked out the window, and the houses seemed “familiar,” I knew it was driving the roads to Madrid. So just for fun, I looked it up, and it was on the way. I immediately called my parents, and they thought it was fantastic. I asked the tour guide if we could make a quick stop because my parents wanted the poster on the poster, but they wouldn’t let me (so sad).
After we arrived in Santa Fe, we got to go shopping in small groups, which was fun. My friend and I went to small local stores (we only bought things from local and native stores), and because my friend had bought us the candy the day before, I took her out to lunch, and we went to an excellent Mexican restaurant. After that, we had some time to store before we all got back together and got ready for the last item on the program (my highlight of the trip) MEOW WOLF! It was so cool and unique, and there is something for everyone, no matter what age you are! It’s an active art museum with a story behind it and a mystery to solve. It was a great experience, and I got to know my friends and classmates through all the activities!
On the 4th day, we all met for breakfast at 8:30, and then we went straight to the bus. When my friend and I were sitting, our teachers called us to come back out, and we didn’t know why, so we went out and they told us, “You were so nice and shared your tables with the bus driver,” so they wanted us to give the bus driver the tip they collected before the ride! It was so nice of them to allow us to do that, even though we had a little heart attack when they called us out.
After all, we drove back to the airport to fly back home, which was a little sad, but I was happy to see my parents again!