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V. A. Beaver, Writer Logo; Links to Home Page

GSE 2009 Photo Gallery Page

I went on a Group Study Exchange sponsored by Rotary District 7170 and more specifically by the Dryden Rotary Club of New York, USA from September 19 to October 17, 2009. A group of four non-Rotarians and one Rotarian, the team leader, toured Northeast England for four weeks. We stayed in Rotarians' homes and one hotel for a total of eight different places of residence and an average stay of three days each. Every day featured one to five activities consisting of cultural, social, or vocational visits. Below is the photo gallery of images I amassed during the whirlwind adventure.

We flew from Syracuse, NY to Detroit, Michigan, and on to Amsterdam, Netherlands, which took us to Newcastle, England. Total transit for me was 21 hours from home to final airport. The rest of the team had a similar length. From there, I stayed with hosts in Cramlington, Chester-le-Street, Hartlepool, Saltburn-by-the-Sea, Nidd Hall Hotel in Harrogate - the furthest point south that we went before making our way back north, Barnard Castle, South Shields, and finally Corbridge. During that time alone or with the team, I gave presentations at 10-15 Rotary clubs (I lost count), met multiple mayors, deputy mayors, and councilmen, visited eight churches/abbeys/cathedrals, saw visited four castles (three on the inside, too), attended the proceedings on a rape case in Middlesbrough Crown Court with a journalist (got to sit in the press box), toured Teesdale Mercury (a town newspaper), rode along with one of their reporters doing her first radio interviews with the local radio station, took in the essence of Whitby Abbey, climbed the steps to the top of Souter Lighthouse, walked through three villages for a 4.5 mile fundraiser across cow pastures, woods, fences, horse ranches, and more...with a borrowed dog, and had countless conversations about what in the world role-playing games are and what it means to write for them, wrote an article for District 1030's magazine, was invited to write two more for other entities, as well as talked about politics, religion, and several other topics that were probably advisable to avoid, but hey, I challenge anyone to avoid those on a study exchange when your hosts ask the questions! And then we made the same airport excursion as getting there, but in reverse...and at 4 a.m. thanks to our amazingly gracious final hosts. It takes some special people to be willing to get up at 2 or 3 in the morning for travelers who were strangers at the time of agreement!

And now for some photos...more to come as time permits.

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My Husband and Me at the Airport

Waiting is one of the hardest things...waiting to leave, waiting for the trip to be over, and waiting to come back to the ones you love.

 

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