I hope this proves an interesting read for you all - I'm going to try and make each post quite different so hopefully you'll like it. :)
This week is all about my American Adventure. In my second year of University I decided that I wanted to spend my summer doing something a bit more interesting so I googled summer trips away and stumbled upon the CCUSA website. Now I'm sure most of you have heard of people spending their summer as a camp counsellor on an American kids camp, but I didn't want to do that. What I found on the CCUSA website is that they also offered a program called WEUSA whereby you could work in a seriously wide variety of jobs and live like a citizen of the USA- this sounded completely awesome! So I applied - and after a really lengthy process of forms, visa applications and more forms I was told I'd be working as a Front Gate Photographer at Cedar Point Amusement Park in Sandusky, Ohio.
Through the program I got in touch with a girl called Charlotte who'd been given the same job as me, we got talking and booked our flight together for the 8th June 2011. This made the whole experience so much less scary, and luckily for me Charlotte was the loveliest person ever and is now one of my very best friends.
The town of Sandusky itself, is pretty much non-descript but us English folk, and all the other friends we made from around the world made it fun. That's what I really loved about working at the amusement park - meeting people from countries I'd never even thought about before and learning about their culture. A lovely girl called Elena from Macedonia worked with us on the front gate and while we were there she taught us quite a few lovely Macedonian phrases. Te Sakam = I love you. :)
While we were there we went on two trips to Chicago, Illinois. Which I have to say is now one of my favourite cities in the world. It holds such brilliant memories for me, and is also just so damn cool. I'd love to live there one day, I love everything about it. The Bean and the Sears Tower being particular highlights.
I also went to a football game in Cleveland, Ohio which was...an experience. I'm not sure what I expected from the match, but the actual game is so damn boring! Constant stop/starts, nothing like our football. But, the atmosphere was really cool and I'm so glad I experienced it.
We lived in dormitories whilst we were there, sharing an 'apartment' with 16 other girls. This was such a brilliant way to get to know people, and in particular we made really good friends with Kasey and Sam both from Michigan. Michigan is a state that to be honest I'd never really heard much about, aside from Detroit being a scary place to be. This is another reason why I loved 'living' in America so much, seeing the states that aren't a tourist hot spot and really feeling like you've experienced America. Me and Charlotte went to stay with Sam for a few days towards the end of the summer, she lives in Grand Rapids in a lovely house with a veranda and rocking chair outside. My idea of the typical American house was completely realised. We had a wonderful few days and went on a road trip to Mackinac Island which was just amazing. Also had the best fudge in the world from there.
Another highlight where I feel like we experienced the 'real' America happened completely by chance. On one of our first weeks in America we were shopping in Target when a lovely lady called Donna approached us after hearing our English accents, she said that she always welcomed her home to foreigners working at the point and invited us over to dinner. She could tell we were a little wary, so gave us her number and left it at that. On any usual day I would neverr go to a strangers house for dinner (opening of a horror film or what?!), but we were in America, feeling impulsive and she'd seemed so lovely, so we did! And it was the best idea ever. Donna and her husband Dave were the loveliest of people and cooked us such a lovely meal. They had so many interesting stories, and introduced us to a younger friend called GinaMarie who then took us on shopping trips and invited us to her home for a bonfire in the woods. Its given such great memories from simply taking a chance. :)
By the 10th September, my contract had finished at the park and I was ready to start a new mini adventure with my sister. She flew out to Ohio and met me at the park before we moved on to Niagara Falls, New York City, Washington D.C before ending at Harry Potter World in Orlando.
Niagara Falls was breathtaking as expected. You can't imagine the thundering noise of the water and the constant moisture in the air until you're there. Its definitely something I think everyone should see in their lifetime. Whilst we were there we popped over to Canada as well which was really exciting!
New York was amazing on all types of levels. We went to the top of the Rockefeller Centre, walked through Central Park, saw two shows on Broadway, pretended to be cultured folk in art galleries and museums and ate beyond yummy things at the Magnolia Bakery. We stayed on Long Island, at 21st Street Queensbridge, which was really handy and meant we had to get the Metro which was fun! Although, so confusing. Our tube is wayyy better.
Our final stop was Washington D.C. which was such a beautiful city and then Harry Potter World where we nearly died from the heat. It was magical though and completely surpassed my expectations. We ate chocolate frogs, drank butterbeer and tried on robes - it was amazing.
So there we have it, 3 months and two weeks and I returned home to London - very tanned, very tired but ultimately revelling in what an amazing summer I'd had. Whilst I was out there I wrote a blog diary, so if you're interested you can check it out HERE.
I hope you found this little flashback into my life interesting - have any of you done this sort of thing aswell?
P.S. I realise I am now posting this on Saturday (defeating the object of Flashback Friday), but I was really busy and as its only 12:18 I think I'm allowed ;)