We left Chennai on May 1st, to have the experience of a lifetime. It’s very rare that students get such an opportunity and we take this opportunity to thank our school Chettinad Vidyashram. On May 1st, we left from Chennai to Dubai and as the group was split into two a connecting flight to NYC and Dallas was taken.
We reached Orlando the same night. On 3rd of May we woke up early, had breakfast and proceeded towards Kennedy Space Centre. As soon as we reached there we got T-shirts and we were divided into 8 groups. We were accompanied by instructors, and the activities for the day began. They trained us on activites of the astronauts in space like the T-chair, microgravity wall, Anti- Gravity Ball. We even saw what space food looks like, they thought us space science which is important for the welfare of the astronaut, they took us into an orbitor and told us how it works and how the astronauts spend their time in space. We had interactive classes as well. We built paper rockets and launched them using the air pressure technique. We experienced the feeling of travelling by a rocket from earth to space by a working model inside the centre. We also had quiz sessions with the astronauts. The following evening we went to Wal-mart for shopping experiences, then we went back to our hotel.
On 4th of May, morning we woke up early and left for the camp again, they told us about the MPCV ( Multi Purpose crew vehicle) which is used on the moon, and they asked us to form groups of 4-8 and make our own MPCV with balloons, cups, straws, tape, cotton, a zip lock bag and an egg. We had to make it in such a way that when we drop it from 25-feet above the ground the egg remains safe, So all of us put in our own individual ideas and worked together, the time given to us was only 20 minutes. After this we went to the Kennedy space centre’s visitors complex. We saw an actual sized rocket, it was Massive! What we see in videos is very small compared to this, we saw a movie at lunch and visited the museum which had speacialsed gadgets used in space, log books, and we also saw moon rocks. We witnessed an actual rocket launch, there was so much of excitement and tension among all of us, then in the evening we went to Florida Mall, It was amazing, the girls enjoyed themselves mostly because they shopped a lot! , and after that we went back to our hotel. On the 5th of may, we went to Disney Land, we were all extremely excited, we had an amazing time! We went on so many rides, by far the best ride was Space Mountain which everyone loved, it was a rollercoaster ride everyone enjoyed, we spent the entire day there.
The next day 6th of May, we went back to camp and we saw the hall of fame, and we went to have a formal lunch with two astronauts namely Susan Kilrain and Wendy Lawrence, they shared with us their experiences in space some of us even asked questions which they happily answered. We took pictures with them and we even got an autograph, after that we saw an I-max Movie based on the astronauts life in space. Later on we had a small graduation ceremony where we were given certificates and little souvenirs, we had a great experience and thanked them for it. Towards the evening we went to Downtown Disney, did shopping and later on went back to our hotels.
On 7th May, we went to Universal Studios, where we had so much fun! The rides had such amazing graphics on them you wouldn’t mind going a second time. We met many characters like the Simpsons, Spongebob Squarepants, Scooby-Doo, Shrek etc. We enjoyed a lot in Florida, it was pleasant, neither too hot nor too cold.
On the 8th of May, early morning at around 5 am we left for the airport to catch our flight to New York City, When we landed all of us were extremely excited since we were in the Business capital of the world. New York is one heck of a fast paced city!, we had lunch and after that we proceeded for a tour of the city, we saw Central Park, The Harbour, Times Square, basically Manhattan in all its beauty. We saw so many hundreds of skyscrapers, it was so fascinating! And towards the evening we proceeded towards Empire State Building. We went on the 86th floor, and saw the beautifully lit New York City in all its glory, it was a breath-taking view, even though all of us were freezing, it was worth it! Then it was back to the hotel for us.
On the 9th of May, we left for Washington DC, we first went to the Air and Space Museum then we were invited to the Indian embassy for lunch, it was such an honour!. We proceeded for a city tour, we saw the parliament, the white house, Lincoln memorial, after the tour we went to the station, we went from DC to NYC in Amtrak, great experience, the trains are really fast. Then we went back to our hotel, had dinner and went to bed.
On the 10th of May, we packed our luggage since we were leaving for Toronto the same evening, we went to the statue of liberty, we took a ferry to Ellis Island and then proceeded towards the statue, it was massive! It was really amazing!, then we went back to tour the city, we went to madam Tussaudes, the wax museum was really cool we all got to take pictures with various famous personalities like, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Julia Roberts, Jonas Brothers, Justin Bieber, Barack Obama, Mahatma Gandhi, Michael Jackson, Etc. even though we didn’t have enough time to see all the statues, we did have fun. Then later on we proceeded for quick lunch and we moved towards the airport to catch our flight to Toronto. We reached Toronto late night, and we were all extremely tired so we went to bed soon.
On 11th May, morning we went to York University, we took a tour of three faculties of the many namely the robotics, health and the Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, it was all great! We learnt about the mars rover, we even danced for the health faculty and played a fun quiz with them, some of us may go back in the future. After touring the University we went to CN tower and we got to see enthralling view from a glass floor. On the 12th of May, we went to Canada’s main attraction the Niagara Falls. It was so beautiful!, then on the 13th of May, we went to a Chocolate factory, it was nice seeing how everyone’s favourite food is made!, and the following evening we went to Sringeri Convention Centre and the CVians did a little cultural show for them, which everyone enjoyed.
On the 14th of May, was our last in Canada so in the morning we went to the Canadian Parliament, we saw a live session, it was informative; then towards the evening we went to the airport to board our flight back home, It definitely was one of the most memorable trips of our lives that none of us will ever forget.
Natasha Mehra XI-H
Manish Balakrishnan IX-G