I was so tired when I woke up this morning; probably the after-effect of so much stress and study yesterday. Still, I had to drag my butt out of bed because today was another field trip. This time, I’d be taking foreign exchange students plus host families to the Tech Museum of San Jose.
As was the case on Tuesday, we took public transportation. I felt like an old pro at this public transportation thing, which is funny because up until Tuesday, I hadn’t taken public transportation anywhere in California for 10 years (Though my heavy use of public transportation in Europe, NYC and DC helped considerably). Because I was a sudden pro at all this, the Vice Principal who accompanied us (super nice gal!) asked me lead the group to and from the Tech Museum. Maybe she shouldn’t have. The two of us were having such a nice conversation on the Light-rail that I lost sight of where we were. We were supposed to get off at “Convention Center,” I looked up at one point, saw the word “Center” on the sign, and we got off. It turned out to be “Civic Center,” about two miles from our destination. Fortunately, there was another tram only 10 minutes later and we still arrived at the museum precisely at 10AM when it opened.
To start things off, the Tech Museum had all the 10AM groups participate in the “world’s largest earthquake drill” (on 10/18 at 10:18AM). All schools in California and many in the US, and some in the rest of the world participated at the same time. The announcer said that 9.3 million people (students mostly) would be participating in California alone. At precisely 10:18, we all huddled under tables, cheered, and then went to the museum. To me, it seemed like a waste of 20 minutes (of our two hour stay), but it definitely was a unique experience, and it was sort of exciting to be a part of something so big.
My group of eight headed downstairs to the “Earthquake” exhibit so the kids could experience what an earthquake felt like. For some reason, they weren’t impressed with the 45 second 8.7 magnitude Tokyo quake that we simulated. I’ll tell you though, having been through the Loma Prieta quake in 1989 (6.9 for 15 seconds), they would have been really impressed (if not dead) had this “Tokyo” quake happened here… maybe at 10:18.
From that point on, we marched through all the exhibits for the next hour and a half. I tried to show them my area of expertise, semiconductors, but the exhibit was more conceptual than visual, so they didn’t care. Nor did they particularly care that we were in “Silicon Valley;” whatever was inside their technology was “magic” as far as they are concerned, and it didn’t concern them so long as their technology worked.
From what I understand, two students had made a special trip to see the Googleplex (and Stanford), but the other 20 foreign exchange students just wanted to hang out with each other, shop and eat. This is so different from last year’s group, which was definitely college-focused and fairly aware of our Bay’s unique place in the world.
Lunch at Mezcal was amazing. Most (including me) had two plates of food at the buffet they had set up just for us. After that, we made it back to school, walked home, and then our two foreign exchange kids went back to school to see the carnival and hang out with their friends. I went to my evening classes dragging a bit, hoping there would be coffee when I got there (there was… and cake!).