So my trip finally begins to Germany. Can't believe this is happening. I've waited for so long and worked so hard for this opportunity. Will definitely miss my wife. I woke up super early to arrive on time for my plane. I was half awake and tried to get as much sleep in as possible when I could. I figured it was going to be a long day, trip. Was this going to be enjoyable? Was I going to mess something up? Was I going to lose something? I had backed as light as possible per the recommendations and took the smaller of our two suitcases and a packed to the brim, heavy backpack. On my way through security, I whizzed though and arrived right when boarding started. There wasn't much wiggle room, but luckily I didn't have to wait a long time prior. The hotel was very nice and it felt great to sit in my room and relax after traveling all day. Looking out my window in downtown DC was hinting at the new experiences I would see in a whole new country. Using Facebook, the TOP group made plans to convene in the lobby. I was one of the first. The impact of social media was ever present as it was like we already had a little background on each other. After sharing brief pleasantries, we headed to the Goethe Institute, only a couple of blocks away. The Goethe Institute was welcoming with drinks and refreshments. Instantly I could see that TOP was going to put forth considerable effort in making everyone happy just by looking at the nice spread of food and drinks. Walking upstairs we were greeted by Jenny and Wood. For Jenny, it was like we already had a long relationship due to all her correspondence with me. The chairs were laid out in front of a large projector screen saying, “You are now leaving the American Sector”. Strewn across the chairs were folders and our name tags. It seemed like every detail was well thought out. Slowly the rest of the group got together and it definitely was an eclectic group with varying backgrounds, ages, experiences, and personalities. We completed an ice breaker activity that humorously you could see the teachers who had to get each question completed. Everyone was very pleasant. Wood and Jenny went through an overview of the program and gave us some brief information. We finished with an outstanding Lebanese dinner, and headed back to our hotel rooms. It was a successful start to the journey that will lie ahead.
About Matthew Cottone
Experience the World! This is my creed I bring to my classroom and my life. I'm a World Studies teacher at Van Hoosen Middle School and I have a passion for learning and experiencing the world.