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I was nominated to People to People Student Ambassador Program and felt that it was an honor. After being one of 160 students interviewed, I was accepted to participate as a member of the People to People Student Ambassador Program.  I traveled this summer to Austria, France, Italy, Hungary, Lichenstein, and Switzerland, and when going on a salt mine tour, we stepped from Austria into Germany-underground.

 The objective of the P2P program is to promote international understanding while building leadership skills among America's youth. The 20 day experience includes meetings with government officials and interaction with other students my age. The educational activities include a visit to Vatican City and see Michelangelo’s paintings in the Sistine Chapel in Italy, go into Vienna’s famous concert halls and experience the music of Mozart and Strauss in Austria, and even see the Mona Lisa and other famous paintings at the Louvre Museum in France. I also raced down a mountainside on an alpine bobsled in Austria and then visited a salt mine there, before heading to Innsbruck, Austria and made my own famous Austrian Apfelstrudel!

I took over 900 photos... this site has just a few of those that I have put up.

Italy  France  Austria  Switzerland  Hungary  Home  The Flight

Candid Pictures of the Delegates

 Newspaper Article

Heading to Rome, Italy!

 

Emails from parents, leaders and Mariann:

Did anyone hear if the bus made it on  time to the airport?  Just curious...

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No, but I wish I knew.  They are suppose to fly out at  7pm.  So I would assume they did.  Does anyone  know?

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Yes just heard that they are on the plane and heading out.  Everyone has been fed and happy.  NO tears have been seen. the phone tree is running down the line now and you should be getting a call.

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Wed, 21 Jun 2006 11:16:36 EST5EDT

Hello all,
As soon as we got to Rome we called.  I hope you got notice we arrived.  We are in a beautiful hotel on top of a mountain.  there is no telephone for us to us or internet.  The students really want to get in touch with you.  Today we are shopping and we told them now is the time to find a phone or Internet.
Our tour started yesterday with a guided tour of the Coliseum by an archeologist.  He was fascinating!  Then we went to the Roman Forum with him and he told us so much!!!
Our meals were spectacular!  Rigatoni, Chicken, Brochetta, Fancy pudding, Ice Cream filled pastry with chocolate sauce!!!!! Today fries with salad and chicken leg.  Yum!
We were at the Vatican this morning and it is unbelievable!  So big.  so much to see.  We met with the Priest that holds mass for the congregations of Vatican City!  He is a wonderful speaker.  He told us so much.  The students were so tired they nodded off and then apologized to him.  He took it very well.  He compared life in the Vatican with being an ambassador.  He showed us
how important it is to learn about and respect other cultures.
I just want you to know all my expectation of the group are a reality!  These students are the finest group of young people we have worked with!  So much fun yet so focused on learning and enjoying!
Chow!
Christy

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Everyone is well and everyone is getting along well.  They are starting to be able to call but with 31 students and most of the time one phone at a restaurant, it is very hard.  Perhaps tonight we will be able to all call.  We are having beautiful weather!!!!  Pisa is unbelievable...    There is a
collection of buildings here.  They have been able to enjoy pizza and a combination of fries with chicken.  All in all we love the Gelato (ice cream) the best.  Or maybe it is the Tiramisu!!!  We were at Voltere today.  This was the most lovely place, we all fell in love with it!!!!
The alabaster factory was quaint and we spent time with the owner and his family has had it opened since 1922.  A simply fabulous experience for us all
Ciao  (Chow)
Christy

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Hey,
I finally got to the internet, unfortunately, my phone card does not work and neither does my credit card.
I did have money in there and I have only spent maybe 20.00....What happened to everything else? But I guess I cannot call you, either. The credit card won't let me take out any money at all...
Rome was OK, the Sistine Chapel and the Coliseum were amazing. Right now we are in Volterra, Italy and will be for a couple days. It's gorgeous here...
Having a lot of fun, though not eating a whole lot. All the food is incredibly nasty...
Anyway, I love you guys lots and I'll see you in 15 days.
Love,
Mariann

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Believe it or not, I actually got a phone call at 11:40 our time (5:40 their time). Gabrielle was calling from a pay phone and said they are in Pisa. The hotel they are staying at has phone service and she plans on calling again later. She said that not only did the students fall asleep at the Vatican, but the teachers did also. They woke up when someone began to snore. lol She said they are having fun, not really homesick yet. It was good to finally get a call and hear her voice. I hope the rest of you get a call soon. Phyllis (Gabrielle's mom)

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I got a call from Chelsea about the same time. Her phone card didn't work either. She talked for
4 minutes using Gaby's. Gaby's mom, I owe you some money for time used.
She said everything is so beautiful. She was hoping the food would be more spectacular but it was
still ok. She sounded so excited - I am so happy for them all.
Rhonda - Chelsea's mom

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I just got off the phone from Nick and he seems to be having a wonderful time. I gave him the information for the MCI cards and he is going to pass the information onto everybody else. He first called me collect and then I called him back at the hotel. He said the hotels have been okay except for the fact that their air conditioners don't seem to work very well. Their hotel last night did have air but it is very hot in their room tonight. They had just come in from the beach when I talked to him. He said that Florence and Venice were beautiful but he couldn't believe all of the graffiti in Rome. He also said that everything was extremely expensive so hopefully they will be careful with their money. Everything seems to be going quite well except for the phones so I guess we can all calm down for a while. I don't know about the rest of you, but I have been somewhat nervous just waiting on a phone call. If I hear anything else, I will e-mail everyone.
Teresa  (Nick's Mom)

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We've finally heard from Jeremy on Thursday (actually Friday at 2:30 am) and then have had 3 calls since then (he has a cell phone that we added international calling to for one month). Says they're all having a great time even though they're pretty tired by the end of the day. He said he thinks the food is fantastic. He's taken lots of pictures and bought some souvenirs. Said he'd probably not call again for a few days as they're really busy (he only called while they were riding in the bus and not doing anything).
As for communications, I personally also prefer e-mail as I check it several times a day for work.

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6/25/06

We are at the most beautiful beach!!! Everyone is enjoying it so much!!!! We are staying at this hotel for another night if you would like to call this
hotel direct check the site and call about 5-6 tonight your time!!!
We have seem Murano Glass. It is breathtaking!!!!
All are healthy and excited about all that we are seeing. We do wish that it was cooler!!! Our lunch today was lasagna and our favorite gelato!!! Lemon. We will miss this when we return home. Tonight the most fabulous pizza in all
of Italy will be our fare.
We all miss each of you!
They are writing in their journals so you will get details later!!!!
Christy

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Mariann called at 5 am. They are in Venice and have already ridden on the gondola. Beautiful city.

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6/25/06  I just got off the phone with Gabi a little while ago. She said they are staying up late tonight so they will sleep on the bus tomorrow during the 5 hour drive. When they get to Austria tomorrow, they are going to eat lunch at the mid evil castle and then go to their tour bus driver's house for dinner. His wife is going to cook for all of them tomorrow evening. Gabrielle is having a ball. Going on and on about the scenery and the buildings. She also said "Mom, there are pigeons everywhere. God are they nasty." She said that everything over there is so dirty and smells. Wanted to know if anyone over there had ever heard of deodorant. I had to explain the culture to her. Now, everyone has been saying how their children are complimenting and praising the food, of course, it has to be my daughter who is complaining about the food. She said most of the kids didn't really like the food, but they would be kind and say how good it was. Her exact words were "Mom, it all tastes so funny and different." About the only thing she really likes is the ice cream. Sorry to pop some of you parents bubble, but some of the kids are just being nice. What can we expect, it is all new to them. Well, I talked to her for about half an hour, so there was a lot discussed, but this was the gist of it. I won't be talking to her again until the 30th. As you hear from your children, please keep us updated as to how they are doing and feeling. Thank you. Phyllis

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I echo this. Holly has not been eating much at all. Today was the first day that she had three meals because she disliked the food. The pizza was thin taco shell with three drops of tomato paste and three pieces of cheese. There is very little water and no tea. Seems that all they have to drink at any meal is coke, sprite or orange soda. The meals are preplanned and they have no choice in what they would like to order or get. The tours are long and hot. She was saying that the guides do not use a microphone and everyone does not get to hear everything. Everyone is getting along great and working together. Had her bad day of home sickness yesterday, had a dream last night that she was home at a picnic and having a great time and woke up and was back in Europe. I should also say that when Holly gets tired that nothing goes right and everything is terrible. She also states having a hard time getting use to the time change. Will have a better idea after week more when she has adjusted to the time over there.

Carl

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We finally got to talk to Ashley tonight, after about 30 minutes of trying to get through. LOL She is soooo tired. She said she got totally lost in Rome. She claims she walked 4 miles out of her way and then had to walk that far back. Who really knows. LOL She too is not crazy about some of the food and is very very tired of chicken and fries. She did love the spaghetti and lasagna.
She particularly loved Volterra. She said it was the most beautiful place. In fact she said is she ever had to live in Italy that was the place she would choose. She didn't want to get off the phone although she is not all that home sick. She also told me that their bus driver speaks about 4 words of English but they all like him a lot. She said that in Venice they rode a gondola. She thought the driver looked like her grandpa (my dad) and told him he looked like her papaw. He wanted to know what a papaw was?? She thought that was very funny. (My dad got a kick out of it too!) Well I had better quit

Jodie
PS We also got an email for her sent from a cyber cafe and she said she had mailed a postcard to us from the Vatican.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Andrew doesn’t have an e-mail on the list either. (All the p2p leaders are on this list, too. So we may want to take them off, too.)
Thanks to all the parents for sharing their personal updates. Andrew said the Alabaster factory was really neat! I hope they have a great time with their home stays. To me, that seems like one of the most interesting parts for the trip. A real way to experience a foreign culture.
The kids will all (hopefully) see that differences is what makes the world so interesting. Why would we want to travel if everyone was like us?
-- Dyann

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Satira said that she bought a Coke today and it was like 3 plus Euros but she was so thirsty. I told her the suggestion about the grocery store that we received earlier, but she said the ones in the store were hot. She said the Coke price seemed silly since the 3-scoop ice cream cone was only 2 plus Euros. I told her to be sure to drink (no matter the cost) so she wouldn't get dehydrated. I forgot to ask but I wonder if water is not easy to find on the street since at home she prefers water to soft drinks.

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I spoke with Erin last night. She is not homesick at all. She also said that she has been on Italy time since she arrived. She told me about becoming lost in Rome also with 2 others (maybe Ashley was one of them) They finally took a taxi back to where they needed to be (which they were not supposed to do she said) She loved the Alabaster place. Hates the food except for the ice cream. States she will probably have lost weight by the time she gets home--which she does not need to do. She loves the whole experience though!

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My daughter said they had a wonderful time at the castle today. She and a few others were "tortured". Also, she said a couple of guys were given "costumes" to provide entertainment. Pictures were taken so I hope we get to see them when they return.
Thanks for doing this!


We just got a call from Andrew and he said he only had 12 minutes (from Austria) on a $20 Sprint card I sent with him. $1.66 per minute.... What a rate! He said all the cheap rates listed on the card are for calling FROM the US.
He said the country is really beautiful. He likes it better than Italy. The bus driver (Hans) drove them past his house and then his wife prepared them a meal in what Andrew called a barn. He said the hotel is very nice. And that the pizza last night was AWESOME.
That’s about all $20 got us! ;-) We got cut off short. I guess I will get more minutes added to that card anyway since that is the only means I have for him to call.
Does anyone know how much the collect calls are per minute?
-- Dyann

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I talked to William and he said they all were having a good time. He said that he was excited but a little nervous about his home stay. He said the food wasn't really that bad. Thanks for the emails. Sharon Benda

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Satira ordered a card online through Pingo.com. (I don't think you actually get a card, just a code.) You can recharge it online as needed. I just looked at her call history. For Italy, it was $1.39 for 16 minutes and today from Austria, it was $2.21 for 26 minutes. It looks like there's an extra charge per minute if they use a pay phone instead of the hotel phone in some countries.

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Like I said, my daughter's the one that found this so I know nothing else besides what I see on her call history and what the website says the rates are. I'm not making a commission and can't be held accountable for the site, but if you want to check it out, I thought I'd share.

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I signed up for this and faxed the information to Andrew at the hotel. The nice thing about this is that I can use the account to call him from here, too. Thanks for the information, mother of Satira. What IS your name?

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Hello Everyone,
I tried to read a few emails. I should have made a parent list....sorry!
We had the most fabulous day yesterday. We have arrived in Austria. It is cooler here. Our bus driver Hans, which all the students love, was able to allow us to enjoy his family. We are now in his hometown and saw his home. The wife and daughter both work for P2P. The daughter took us on a farm tour with a grist mill and the mother cooked for us. The daughter also taught us three dances. Everyone thought it was fun. We laughed and danced to the music of an accordion. The dinner was a mix of egg, polenta, meat and cheese. The mother, Doris, also made some wonderful cinnamon bread for dessert.
Hans, the bus driver took us to his favorite swimming place. It was breathtaking!!! We are the only group that will experience this pleasure since it was a treat from Hans . He loves your children!!! Carinthia was nestled in the mountains of Austria and this pond which was fed by a well was clean enough to drink. They are so proud of their water here is the purest of Europe! There were tall pines all around. A small platform in the middle was the favorite place of the students.
They really enjoyed this! As did I!!!!
Our hotel is art deco. I mean it is a mix of glass and color put together in a very artsy way!! It is very fancy.
We have been told of the homestays. They are so excited to meet their family. We are all looking forward to it!
Christy

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Hi Everyone.

Andrew called today from his Austrian family stay. (with his new Pingo.com calling card!) He said they are very nice and that most of the kids were “placed” in homes with no other p2p kids with them AND that most of the kids are staying with families in Hungary.
He said the family he is with is very nice and they have three boys (like us) and a dog and a Playstation 2. HA! They had already had dinner and the family was watching “football” when he called.
He is going to school with one of the boys tomorrow.
-- Dyann

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Hello all,
We got an email from Chelsea. She is with her homestay family. She says they are extremely nice
but the 17 year old daughter is the only one that can speak English. She is having a great time!
Rhonda

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Wed, 28 Jun 2006 08:02:58 EST5EDT

Hello Everyone,
We have just enjoyed the medieval dinner. We were divided into groups and had great fun playing horseshoes, cracking walnuts after they were sent through a maze, and playing Robin Hood with a bow and arrow. Mr. Minter was the high scorer for the games. Then they gave us head gear, laurels for girls and floppy medieval hats for boys. We sat by candlelight in a castle to enjoy chicken legs, ribs, baked potatoes and salad. The entertainment was a fire breather, dancing. Even Jason and Joseph dressed up like belly dancers to add
to the fun. Chris was put on a punishment rack and was turned upside down. We had a story teller and singing. We laughed and laughed. It was special!!
Almost every student was looking forward to the homestays. They will be getting together as a group for some activities. I walked with Kelsie and
Samantha for our service project. We talked about how much fun we were having! Mysh, Mariann, David and Nick really stepped up to the plate for the service project. Very impressive. (picking up trash around a lake in a National Park)

 All the students are a pleasure to be around. We are impressing all of Europe with our good manners. We even got a compliment from a leader from the Texas group that is traveling the same program but in an opposite direction!!
The weather here is amazing. It is a bit hot but excellent for taking pictures!!!
Christy

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Wed, 28 Jun 2006 09:35:48 -0700 (PDT)
Hey, Mom.
Right now I am using my family's computer...I am not in Austria as we thought, but instead I am in Hungary...I have Chris with me, so I am not alone. They are very nice...I am with a girl named Adel, but they know very, very little English.
Everything is going well, I suppose, but I can't wait to be back with my delegation, and especially HOME.
I'll see you next Saturday. :)
Love you,
Mariann

Thu, 29 Jun 2006 08:50:00 -0700 (PDT)
Hey,
This is my last night with my Hungarian family.... So this will be my last email.
My phone card just keeps telling me to hang up...But it also asks for an expiration date, which I do not have. Though Martin told me that it most likely is not international, unless we fix it that way? Not sure. I hate doing collect, since its so expensive, so unless I figure out my phone card, no phone calls to you or Michael. :(
Unfortunately, I have only one stamp on my passport, which is to Italy. Even though I've been to two other countries...
So far, its slightly cooler here, but when we were in Austria and Italy, it was around 100 degrees...So of course, we were out there practically running in the sun. I have a tan mark in the shape of a watch now. No to mention sunburns to the point where I look like a tomato. Waaa.
I was able to predict the weather a day ahead of time. Go me. I looked at a cloud and told Chris that the cloud held a lot of power, so we were going to get a large storm soon. And about 14 hours later, we did. It was so strong that large trees had fallen and billboards had been torn down. Not to mention lots of stick lightning and tons of rain. Maybe I should be a meteorologist, after all. :D The storm looked like it could have produced a tornado-the clouds above us were churning and the sky was a yellowish color. Awesome.
I need to go now. Love you lots. I'll see if I can call on Saturday.
Lots of love,
Mariann


I just now saw this. I had so much junk in my inbox, I didn't see it until now. Yay, maybe it'll work! Ill try it once I'm back with my delegation. Also, my Hungarian family gave me presents to give to you guys. Which is good, because I wasn't able to shop for any souvenirs while in Hungary. :( Plus the money is not in Euros here...They're very odd.
This keyboard is odd, too. I cant find a lot of the keys and the Y is where the Z should be, while the Z is where the Y is supposed to be. Hehe...
Also, I should have brought a water bottle. :( But I hope to get one while in Austria, perhaps. The water here is beyond nasty...If you order water, it comes carbonated. Its awful!!! And the more you drink, the thirstier you get. Really bites.
I am having some fun, so don't worry.
I can't figure out how to change my watch time...So its still in American time, so every time I look at it, I have to add 6 hours to it. But its fun to know what time it is in the U.S. all the time.
How are my animals doing? And the baby skunk? You also need to go to McDonalds so I know what's up there. :D
Also, do I have to go to Peru? Traveling isn't as fun as I thought it would be. :( Too lonely. I know I still have to go, but I'm not going to turn into a world traveler next year. I'm gonna stay home!!! )
I love you lots and miss you. See you soon!
Love,
Me.

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6/29/06

David sent me a short email saying he was with his homestay family in Pamhagen, Austria. He said everything is OK, and he likes the place. He said every one in the village knows each other. He played soccer with some of the local boys and went swimming in a lake and lots of other things that he'll tell me about later. It was good to get the email!!!! Ralena

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6/30/06

Hello all...
I've been keeping up with the messages, but try not to spend much time on the net. (we only have one phone line) I STILL haven't heard from Mallory & I don't want to take the chance that I'll miss her call. I've been checking my box late at night. Thanks to all for taking the time to edit the mailing list...& for updates on calls from your kids-I still keep hoping!
If anyone can remember to think of it when you get a call, ask if they will give Mallory a message...CALL HOME!!!! I would really love to know how all is with her-& just hear her voice! We tried to call her at one of the hotels, the desk clerk couldn't get the call to transfer. We are sending a fax to the hotel in Vienna with a message asking her to call, so she should get that when they arrive.
Keep the messages coming...at least I can hear news from other kids & Christy!
Thanks again to all-

Terry

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Nick called from his home stay using the father's cell phone. He said the father offered the cell phone to him so Nick only talked a few minutes but did say he was having fun. He went to school with one of the kids but it was what they called a free day so there were no teachers in that class. They all went to a pool afterwards and Nick said the girls were really pretty there. If this trip does anything I think it will make him have a little more confidence around the girls. He also said the mother offered to wash his clothes and of course he agreed to that!! He said he was also eating a lot of good food so that's one worry off my mind. I'll let everyone know when I hear from him again. Teresa

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Hey! I finally heard from Mallory...unfortunately her dad was still at work & missed her call. She's had the same problem I've heard from many of you. The Phone card I purchased for her was to be used for international calls from the US! I didn't catch that in any of the instructions! I had also sent her an AT&T calling card-only 30 minutes-that I had on hand. The 30 minutes at International rates got us 4 minutes! So very little was said!
She did explain the calling card trouble, mentioned that her Visa Buxx card was running low( I told her Dad not to worry, I knew that she would most certainly call when she needed $$$) & that she was having a GREAT time! Her host family was in Hungary, they had a huge home, horses & two lap dogs. They rode horses (which she LOVES to do) & she said the girl that was her age was great! That was about all that we got in, after I told her I was soooo happy to hear from her & she gave me the instructions on the back of the AT&T phone card for adding minutes. I sent that one as a back up & never expected to re-fill it, I thought I would just refill the other one!
Thanks to all who passed the message to your kids, I didn't get the chance to ask if she was being BOMBARDED with "phone home" messages...she was calling from Christy's phone 'cause the one in her room wasn't working! She said she hasn't had the best of luck with phones!
Thanx again to all...I'm happy as a lark, & so excited for all our children! Terry

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I spoke with Gabrielle tonight. She said she is now bored. Mozart? Go figure. Plus in the last 2 days she has had her first wisdom tooth break through, so she isn't feeling the best. Her home stay was great. She stayed in Hungary with a fabulous family. They did all sorts of things. Even went to the mall (they have a 16 yr. old daughter). She said the food in Hungary was the best so far. The parents could speak very little English, but they tried. They would say "good morning" and small things like that. Their daughter translated what she could. Unfortunately for the entire hour she was on the phone, I only got 10 minutes of it. Her boyfriend was here and got the other 50, so he knows more than I do. I do know that she is now getting very homesick. Hopefully, the next few days will be more interesting and she will quit being so bored. Phyllis

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Satira said she enjoyed her homestay in Hungary. She said it seemed like if you liked it, you really liked it and if you didn't...

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Hey everyone, I spoke with Erin this evening. She is doing well. I told her to tell Mallory to call home. Her home stay went fairly well. She did not go to any of the parties that were available. Her home stay was fairly uneventful. She also was given a gift by her home stay family. There were 3 girls, ages 16 (who spoke some English and who taught Erin some German and Hungarian words/phrases), age 12 and age 4. She said the four year old "kept giving me kisses". The parents did not speak English. When Erin did not understand something, they would "get a big book, look through it and start pointing". They did take her out to eat dinner last night. She had pizza--which she said was "very good". The mother also offered to wash her clothes, which she jumped at. She said she was soooo glad to see the rest of the group today because "I could understand them". (Sounds like home stay slightly stressful). She also said they met the concentration camp survivor today. He spoke German and used an interpreter to communicate with them. They will visit the concentration camp tomorrow. That's all for now. Lisa

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Hi Everyone,
WE talked to William, he and Nick were rooming together. He said that his homestay visit was good, but he was glad it was over. The parents were very nice and so were the two boys one 17 and I didn't ask the age of the other one. He said there was a big school party and know one told him that they were all allowed to drink. He made the boy call his Mom to come get them. He said the boy was very rude to his Mom, but not to him. They gave him gifts and the Dad wanted Will to come back and stay with them. The Mom insisted on doing his laundry. Sharon

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------My husband just talked to Samantha (I was on my way home from work). She is having a bit of a culture shock. She said the mother at the homestay was hilarious. There was 8 living in the house, including the 16 year old girl, in a home that was smaller than our (@1800 square feet). I'm not sure where she slept and I'm not sure which country she was in. The whole family smoked which gave her a headache. One of the nights she was there was an end of the year school party which the host student attended, Samantha was invited but opted not to go. (The legal age for smoking and drinking is 16 there and the host student told her that there would definitely be alcohol involved at the party.) She said her and Kelsie were getting along really well and will get to room together at the next hotel. Has anyone else heard about anymore homestays?
Melanie

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July 1
We heard from Mariann this morning. She called to wish her Dad a Happy Birthday.
They went to the concert last night and she enjoyed it, but forgot her camera - although there were a lot of people taking pictures and videos.
They have met up with a lot of delegations from other states. The delegation from Florida were ill from what they ate and couldn't attend the concert.... Mariann was wondering if they would get sick as they ate in the same place...
Her homestay family gave she and Chris a bottle of liquor as a gift! Of course her dad said if she could bring it home it would be fun to show people... They did get to Budapest to walk around with their family. She said it was awkward not being able to speak any English - I am not even sure if the daughter spoke any either.
She said they are on their heading on a 5 hour bus ride, but she couldn't remember where.
It was good to hear her voice. I had finally gotten information to her on how to use her card, and now she can't find the card! Ahh, life on the road for a world traveler!
I am really excited for her experiences...
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I just heard from David. He had a good time at his home stay family. He went to the end of school year party where drinking and smoking was legal........loved some of the new foods he's tried......... ate a cherry off a tree,& pears. Says they party over there every week-end, he thought that was cool, (I do Not ...of course). He's rooming with Chris and Jason and likes that. Room check is around 10:30pm, earlier that I thought. He doesn't really miss us....trip is too much fun.....doesn't even miss laying around on the couch watching TV and playing games. Now that's cool! He's looking forward to more of the trip!!!! Ralena

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We never even thought about traveling to Cincy...no, I think Mallory would prefer the bus ride home.
I should let you all know that now that she has figured out how to use the phone cards properly, she has been calling regularly! She has phoned every day to fill us in on her adventures...& says she is having a GREAT time!
She enjoyed her Host Family stay...she said that Gabby was also at the same home with her...she mentioned that she couldn't get her camera to work while there, so I might ask Gabby's mom to let me know if she got any pic's while there & maybe I can pay for copies.?? The visit to the Concentration Camp was upsetting for her, but I expected that. Mallory is very sensative to things like that...as most people would be. I think that the excursion the next day on the bobsleds & wooden slides may have brought her back into her "fun" mode, & she also loved the Castle with the trick fountains. She mentioned that the 5 hour drive today was long, but she enjoyed making apple strudel...& is bringing home the recipe so we can attempt to make it.
All in all-sounds like she's doing great! I'm happy for all of them!
Keep me posted on the stories coming from your kids...I love to hear them all! Terry

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I got to talk to Chelsea today! She is having such a good time. She has mixed emotions - she misses home but is really enjoying herself there! I told her to think of this as her trial run before she heads off for college in August in Illinois! She had a great story about her homestay family - she loved them. They took her out for pizza and it was served with a very runny egg on it. Luckily, she got a piece with no egg.  She showed them how we Americans cut our pizza in triangles and eat with our fingers - they thought that was the funniest thing they had ever seen! They always have the pizza served whole and eat
it with forks and knives. She is having so much fun with all the other kids. She and Gabby sounded like they were having a great time in the hotel room. I am glad they are all doing so well, but I can't wait until they get home! Rhonda

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I think I should have let Mariann take her cell phone regardless of the rules. Our phone line was hit by lightening yesterday in the storms (not an unusual occurrence for us) and is still out. We were told it would be fixed by 7:30 tonight, but with more storms coming through either they won't get to it, or the line could get hit again...   
Please keep the emails coming if you hear from your kids!    
Marcy

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Keep the e-mails coming. Please. No outed phone lines here, just a son who doesn’t call. Haven’t heard from Andrew since Thursday... Oh, well. At least I know he is safe and having fun.
I would not know a whole lot about what they are doing if it weren’t for all of you! Thanks! ;-) -- Dyann

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July 5, 2006

I spoke with Gabi yesterday. She is miserable. Mother nature, a wisdom tooth coming in, and allergies acting up so bad that the sinus drainage is upsetting her stomach (she went off and left her Alavert D and has had to borrow weaker medications that aren't really helping her much, but are helping some. I owe Chelsea's mom some allergy med.) I am praying that her allergies get better so she can enjoy her last days on her trip. I helped her pack as much as she would let me, but my baby girl thinks she is all grown up and doesn't want the advice of her mother. Maybe she will learn to listen next time she packs for a trip and let me help more. Did anyone else have a similar experience with their children when getting ready for the trip, or will all of your children listen? I think she is a little homesick and is missing us, but not as much as she is missing her boyfriend. Young love, go figure. She is really enjoying her roommates though and the comradery with the entire group. Keep in touch. Phyllis

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Samantha doesn't have the option but to listen to me when I pull the I am the mom and you don't have an option, but she was so nervous about the trip she would have packed anything. She does have some Dayquil and Nightquil if Gabi wants to try them I'm sure she will share. Samantha is just the opposite. In the beginning she was completely miserable and now laughing and having a great time. Have no idea what changed, but am I glad. I think I have an ulcer after that first week. Melanie

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July 6, 2006

David did listen some after midnight the night he was packing.....and an hour before we had to leave when we discovered his suitcase was too large and had to repack in a smaller one!!! Ralena

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Hey everyone: I spoke with Erin this evening. She is doing well.
Especially since I reloaded her travel card. She sounded more rested this evening. When she gets tired she can be very cranky. She is looking forward to tomorrow and the things planned. Especially the shopping at Hard Rock Cafe. Can you believe she has not even bought herself a souvenir yet? She told me a little about going to the salt mine a couple days ago (I think) and how Austria looks similar to West Virginia (more so than Switzerland). The bus trip today was too long but she loves the coach driver, Hans. I found out today that even though she lost her phone card the 2nd day of the trip that it can still be used because I had written the numbers down before she left. She will try to use it tomorrow. Won't be much longer now before we see them all. I hope everyone is aware that I have invited you to spend the afternoon here at my house, August 5--anytime after 1200 noon. I have a 15 by 30, four foot deep pool and will probably have volleyball set up. I am not sure how everyone will fit in the pool but it should make for an interesting day. All you will need to do is bring a covered dish (or two). I hope it will make for a nice reunion for our
children. I will send an email to everyone with directions at a later date. Lisa

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Lisa, thanks for the invite. This is the first I have heard of it. Sounds like a lot of fun. Is this just for the kids traveling, or can we bring the rest of our children also? I have 3 other children, and it would be hard to get a babysitter for an entire evening. By the way, where do you live? We live in Mt. Hope near Beckley. Phyllis (Gabi's mother)

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Gabi's Sweet 16
As you can see, I went back to an earlier e-mail list for this so the kids will receive it also and took Gabi's e-mail address off. Gabrielle turns 16 on July 21. We are having a sweet 16 for her and I would like to invite all her traveling buddies and their families. It will be held at the Dry Hill / Prosperity Community Center near Beckley on Friday July 21 any time after 5 PM. She has requested a DJ and light show to start at 7 and Go until midnight. There should be plenty of food for everyone. Her theme is Mardi Gras, so it looks like a good time. Directions are fairly easy, follow I-77 to the North Beckley exit (Rt. 19N). Take exit and go to first exit @ Crossroads Mall. At bottom of ramp make right. Go to 2nd light and make a right. Follow until the Y intersection and make a right. Community Center is a couple of miles up on the right. I will drive it later and give exact mileage directions. I think she would really enjoy and be surprised to see everyone there (well, actually, any of you). I hope you can make it. Better directions will follow later.

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Chelsea's allergy medicine is an antihistamine only. Gabi may need to find someone with some Sudafed or other decongestant. Gabi can use all she needs - no problem. We know about allergies! Poor girl I hope she's not too miserable! Rhonda

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I sent some allergy medicines with Andrew, too. She can ask him.
-- Dyann
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I know how you felt... Andrew hadn’t called us since LAST Thursday. A week! And he said, “Mom, why are you telling everyone I haven’t called?” Ha!
-- Dyann
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Andrew finally called, too. He is having such a great time, but the call was very short (others waiting to use the phone) and he said he would see us Saturday, so I have about $23 credit on the Pingo account. Oh, I guess I will find someone to call with it! ;-)
Andrew seemed to really enjoy the hard rock café. He also was disappointed with the Mona Lisa. When I saw it in 1979, I felt the same way!
See you all on Saturday in the parking lot!
-- Dyann

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David called home this morning around 6am and got the answering machine and left a message... didn't hear the phone ring! He was not happy no one answered and let us know that! Then told us he was at the Louvre and had bought some great gifts. I think he just wanted to share the experience with us.....oh well...MY BAD...as kids say!! I did call back this eve, but it was around midnight and he was asleep so we
didn't talk, except he said he'd be home in a couple of days and wanted
to go back to sleep... !! Hope he was able to!!! I've enjoyed reading
all the emails everyone has sent about conversations with their kids.
Seems the girls call/talk more often, although my daughters didn't when they were in Paris and Spain last summer. They were only gone for 10 days and I called them once.
Ralena

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 July 7
Satira gave us a wakeup call at 5:02 a.m. this morning. She said she just wanted to be able to say she was calling from the Eiffel Tower. She sounded like it was great. I can't wait until tomorrow night! I'll probably drive her crazy with all of my questions about the trip.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Nick also called us at 5:15 this morning.  He seems to be having a wonderful time.  I think  he liked Austria and Switzerland the best but said that Paris was also great.  I told him to call us from Cincinnati on his cell phone to let us know what time they will be arriving in Charleston.  I assume whoever gets the first call will start the phone tree.  Teresa Stone 

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July
7
A message for ALL parents........I received a call from Christy a few minutes ago. She would like all parents that are picking up their kids tomorrow night, to tentively plan on being at the parking lot (same as drop off) at 9:15pm. She said they plan to arrive in Charleston between 9:15pm and 9:30pm. This is tentative so you can make plans. When they arrive in Cincy and leave, she will call me at that time to give me a more definitive time for meeting. At that time I will activate the phone tree so everyone will have a more definitive time of arrival. So, plan to be there at 9:15pm for now. She only wanted me to send an email this evening to hopefully give everyone an idea of times. I will not be at my email any more this evening or tomorrow. If you have any questions, please feel free to call me at home or my cell, but that is all the info I have for now. Let's pray for safe traveling...........Barb

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July 7
Today's the day! I can't believe it's been 20 days! The first week seemed to crawl...maybe because I didn't hear from Mallory & wondered if she was having a good time...but once she started calling (about everyday once she mastered the phone card) & I could tell how excited she was-time began to fly!
Mallory called me early from the Louvre on Thursday, didn't mention that she was disapointed with anything she was seeing. Heard from her yesterday, kept it short because of the line, but sounded like she was having fun joking with the others even then! She was thrilled with the Eiffel Tower, & all other sites she has seen in Paris, but I have to be honest...she was most excited about SHOPPING! She said even though she didn't buy a lot, she just enjoyed seeing it all! That's my daughter the shopping queen! She doesn't have to buy to be happy-it's the thrill of the "quest"!
Can't wait to see them all tonight! Thanks to all for your updates & info!
We'll keep in touch, Terry

Subject: Re: P2P flight departure...

Hello Everyone, I've been on here trying to track the flight and having no luck. However I did find info from a couple sites
. (flightarrivals.com and www.adp.fr <http://www.adp.fr/> which is Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris) ............that say their flight, Delta 43, took off from Paris (CDG airport) @ 2:17pm. with est. arrival in Cini. @ 5:02pm. So if this info is correct they will be arriving a little later than expected. But guess we won't find out until Christy call from Cini. this eve. Later..........Ralena

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Hey guys, where is the phone call? The flight landed at 4:43. Has anyone heard anything? Is the phone tree working? Phyllis -

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Nick Stone’s mother called me at 6:15 and said Nick called from his cell phone and they were waiting on the bus.
Customs was a bit of a hold up.
-- Dyann

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I just got a phone call from Gabi on Chelsea's cell phone. They left the airport about 1/2 hour ago and are on their way. She doesn't know if they are going to stop and eat or not. So it looks like it may be 11:00 or midnight before they get in. Phyllis

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