Summer 2016 New Market Lexington Exchange
The amount of joy and excitement that came when Sarah called saying they were doing the Lexington Newmarket exchange was insurmountable. As a little back story, one of my older brothers had participated in the exchange and we had many house guests that were from Newmarket. You heard nothing but great things and kind souls come from the quaint little town North East to London. This is a blog for what all happened after the phone call and the eye opening trip that made all 6 participants teary eyed to leave.
Leading up to or June 24th departure, Lexington Sister Cities held meetings to make all participants feel welcomed, informed, and knowledgeable about what this trip would include. At these meetings we got to know each other, about Newmarket and matched with our counter parts. They try to match with you someone you are most similar to, including age and gender. Sometimes they can’t match you exactly but it will always be to the best of their abilities. My exchange student was named Lily and she was the greatest exchange student I could have ever imagined. We got along so well and I miss her so dearly. As for anyone who is debating applying for any of the Lexington Sister Cities trips but may be hesitant due to lack of international traveling I would say APPLY!! Do it!! Sister Cities prepares you so well and you are with a chaperone and great kids every step of the way; that’s why they do these meetings and applications are open to everyone.
|The group ready to leave at the airport.|
Upon our arrival in London we were greeted by the always cheerful Mr.Fisher (wearing an Ale-8-One t shirt). After a quick hour and half drive to Newmarket and a quick power nap during the drive we were ready to conquer the next ten days! In Newmarket we met the families with big smiles and bigger hugs. We had had contact with our families before this so in the beginning it wasn’t so awkward like you knew nothing about them or what life was like there. My personal experience with my host family was better than I could have ever imagined. And to speak for the rest of the group all the families were so hospitable, kind, and inviting.
The first weekend in Newmarket we had all to our host families and the adventures of a local family.
Saturday June 25th- The beautiful city of Ely! I'm just going to let pics talk for itself. Breathe taking. We went in buildings older than America. It was great learning the history and being able to walk through the actual place compared to reading it out of a textbook.
Sunday June 26th – LONDON!! Because when you think England, just admit it you think of London, Big Ben and the Queen! So no meeting the royals for me but I can check off seeing Big Ben, Parliament, Tower Bridge, Buckingham Palace - all the things when you think England you envision off my bucket list. The best part of it is, London wasn’t even my favorite thing from England. There is so much more to England than just London and that’s the great part about this exchange. I didn’t just stay in a hotel in England. I saw and did what locals did, I experienced and saw so much more than just what anyone can see when they book a flight to London and do what thousands of tourists do every year.
Monday June 27th- No one likes Mondays, especially when their school Mondays; but for that gloomy Monday morning I was pretty excited to get in school. 8 am we headed out for school - Lily, Owen and Larry uniforms on and little American me completely sticking out in my pink to their Blue suits. School in England is similar and different to American school. Same time frame, same core classes; different time frame for classes which included them having a twenty minute break ( lunch being a separate time from break). It makes every American want to go to Newmarket Academy for a little while, or at least adopt that policy in America.
Tuesday June 28th- While our exchange students were in school and we didn’t waist all day sitting in classrooms doing assignments that had no bearing on our grades in American - we travel the country! First stop Cambridge. Cathedrals, Museums, Beautiful colleges, and punting! No one fell in!! Very impressive task.
|This is punting - it's harder than it looks!|
Wednesday June 29th- Bury St. Edmunds. Walks in historic parks, Museums, shopping, local markets, and NANDOS! The Americans were pretty excited to try Nandos, excited is an understatement.
Thursday June 30th- Fish and Chips seaside with a little ice cream, all in great company and great weather. You can’t beat that.
Friday July 1st- Newmarket is a horse town, so it would be a sin not to learn about the horses and live in Newmarket. Fun fact: horses get the right away and on some streets there is a lane just for horses! We learned all about Sheikh Mohammed of Dubai and his farm in Newmarket. We visited the British Racing School and saw how horses play such an important part to Newmarket. It really brings the town together and makes it so special.
Saturday and Sunday time with the family. I LOVE family time. My best memory is of the trip is a spontaneous game of baseball where we had the father’s god son (visiting from France who only spoke French) the three Milbank kids, and I use sweatshirts as bases had a ball, glove, and bat. It was something so simple that brought the five of us together. We had three different countries, three accents, two languages, and all different ages laughing and having a good time over something so simple. Makes the world seem so small.
I am so happy to share my adventure with you and with my utmost sincerity I hope you look into the Lexington Sister Cities programs and all their awesome work. Thank you to everyone who made this exchange possible!