Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Explosions In The Sky

Today was highlighted by the opportunity we got to spend time with Brown session I. After breakfast in the hotel restaurant, everyone in our cohort went to the lobby and met up with Emily, Nick, Kelly, David, Tayler, and Ying-An from Brown I. I was happy to see Emily and Nick, who I know from school, and I also enjoyed meeting and befriending everyone else. After chatting for a bit and hearing about life at Brown from the Session I kids, we headed over to the Plimouth Plantation.

We arrived about 45 minutes later, around 11:00, and toured the site. Plimouth Plantation is a historical site and essentially a re-creation of the homes and lifestyles of the two main groups of people who lived around here in the 1600's; English settlers and the Wampanoag people. I was interested to hear about both of these perspectives and how they compared and contrasted with each other. I especially enjoyed learning about the Wampanoag, because I think it's amazing how well they utilized the natural resources that were around them to survive and thrive as a people and culture (although once the English settlers arrived, their way of life changed completely). We talked to several different Native Americans who told us about the lives of their ancestors, including a 16-year-old girl. She talked to us about the role women played in the lives of the Native Americans. One interesting fact she told us was about how women chose their husbands - they went through a special ritual to propose that involved doing a "blanket dance," and the man would either accept or decline the woman's offer of marriage. After learning about the Wampanoag, we walked around the re-created English settlers' village. In this village, several people were doing role-play by acting as 15th century settlers. We had the opportunity to talk with them and learn about their lives in the 1600's.

One of the Native American men was making a canoe by
burning a fire inside of a log in order to dry it out and
seal the wood.

After Plimouth Plantation, we drove a short ways to visit Plymouth Rock and the Mayflower II, which is a re-creation of the Mayflower. I was sad that we couldn't actually touch Plymouth Rock, because it would be cool to touch something that the first English settlers in the Americas also touched (supposedly - although this is actually debated nowadays). The Mayflower II was fun to learn about, and we encountered more role-players who told us about life on the ship. Apparently when the original Mayflower came across the ocean, it was carrying 133 people! It amazed me that so many people could fit on the ship. All of these significant pieces of history were really fun and interesting to learn about, and it's fitting that we got to see all of this on the United States' Day of Independence.

In the afternoon, a mixture of some Brown I and Brown II kids all went to the movies to see The Amazing Spider-Man. This was a fun activity and the movie turned out to be really good. We were running slightly late for the fireworks show when we got out of the theater, so we drove straight to the park from the movies, scarfing down pizza as we went.

When we arrived at the park at 9:00 PM, it was already crowded with people. We found a comfortable spot in the grass to sit down, and watched some distant fireworks for a while, wondering if we had really come all this way to watch sparks in the distance. However, at 9:30 PM, there were several streaks of light and deep booms right in front of us on the water that signified the start of the real fireworks show. The fireworks were beautiful and mesmerizing - I am so glad that I got to be part of the East Coast's celebration of the Fourth of July.

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