Sunday, April 05, 2009

Germans, Phantom, Shrimp and Casio Keyboards.... only in New York!

Matt's school has an exchange program with a school in Germany (near Cologne). The American students went to visit them during the February break, and the German students are here in the US now. Among other things, such as going to classes and hanging out with students, they have been doing a lot of travel so that they could see as much as possible while they are here.

Yesterday was no exception. Matt was asked to chaperone the trip at the last minute and was luckily invited to have me come along as a "guest" chaperone as well. So we headed into the city for the day with 20 American students, 20 German students, 3 German teachers, the President (of the school) and his wife, and a partridge in a pear tree. ;)

Our first stop was Grant's Tomb. I hadn't been there in years! We weren't there long, but it was nice to see again. I wish we had been able to take the students to Riverside Church, which is right across the street. It is a beautiful place, and I've been in the belltower!! Unfortunately, people are no longer allowed in the Carillon. So sad.

Our next stop was to the USS Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum. Again, I was there when I was very young, but it has been completely refurbished, even leaving New York Harbor in order to do so! We were there for only about an hour, but it has whetted our appetites to return, and so we will!

After that, we went into Times Square, where the kids were allowed to wander a little bit in order to see the sights and have a quick lunch before a matinee. Teachers all ended up eating at Bubba Gump Shrimp Company on a very tight schedule. It was a fun experience-type of place, and the food was pretty good, too. We sat by the window and were able to see the goings on in times square, which is always entertaining!!

After lunch, we all met the students in front of the Majestic Theater... to catch a matinee of The Phantom Of The Opera. It's not a personal favorite, but still - I take theater experiences when I can get them. The story is a bit creepy in my book, but I suppose that it's a "classic Broadway experience" for German students.

Once the show was over, we headed down to Chinatown for some quick shopping, then walked over to Little Italy (which is right around the corner, for those of you not as familiar with NYC) to eat in a place called Puglia Restaurant on Hester Street. It was amazingly crowded with other large groups but we feasted and sang along with Jorge, the resident musician. He is such a lounge lizard with a dinky Casio Keyboard... but it's all in good fun! Matt, Jens (one of the German teachers) and the school's president all got up on chairs and danced!

This is not our group, but it's a hint of what he gets people to do with his "Napkin Song" (which you can get on iTunes if you're interested!!)

Once our meal was finished, we all headed back to the bus and home again. It was a very full day, and I was appreciative of the opportunity to tag along. It was fun to play tourist for the day!

George in Italy

When I worked at the bank (during what seems like a lifetime ago!) I became a really big fan of "Where's George?" a website devoted to tagging and tracking currency. I saw lots of "Georges" come through the bank and would input them into the system as I got them, often exchanging bills that I had for those so that I could send them back into circulation myself.

It's not often that you get an email that informs you of another person inputting your bill.... but I got one this weekend. Take a look and see where it's been! I must say that I'm a bit jealous of Mr. Jackson (it was a twenty, of course!)

Where did George go?