Omi-Sensei’s visit allowed me to see New England with fresh eyes, and remember why I love this area so much. Her journey ended with a trip to Maine to see one of the other American teachers from our ESD program, Josh-Sensei (“sensei” means “teacher” in Japanese). We were welcomed with a few versions of Tofu-San from Japan, and a stuffed moose which Josh had given Omi from Maine.
Josh lives in a very old farmhouse, built before the American Revolution. He and his wife first showed us around their beautiful house, barn, garden, and fields.
Their house has been renovated many times, but some rooms still have the original floors, which were made from huge old trees. At the time the house was built, the King of England laid claim to all big old pine trees so that he could have them used for the masts of ships. Since this house was made with these “mast pines,” whoever built these floors was probably protesting against the king! They are really beautiful floors to see today.
After visiting with Josh’s family a bit, we set out to explore. First we visited one of the world’s most commonly photographed lighthouses:
Most of the Maine coast is rocky, like this, but we drove to a sandy beach to body surf a bit before dinner.
We ate dinner at a lobster/clam shack that was super yummy.
And then headed to L.L. Bean for some late night shopping. This L.L. Bean is the world headquarters, open 24 hours a day, and it has way more than just the basics. There’s a lot to see, such as these stuffed moose who got their antlers stuck together and died because they couldn’t get unstuck.
The next morning we woke up early to sample some more local food — peaches and maple syrup from Josh’s trees. Yum!
After that, we headed out to go sailing in Casco Bay. From the boat, we saw a few seals, and lots of sea birds.
But we didn’t stop there. We headed next to the Maine Wildlife Center to see some real life animals. All of the animals there are local to Maine, and they’ve been injured or can’t live in the wild for some reason.
We had a blast seeing lots of different animals, and learning about the local ecosystem. I had no idea how long the wingspan of the bald eagle is. Can you see the red label all the way on the right? If Omi were an eagle, her wing would be that long!
My favorite animals included a bear (who was sleeping when we arrived, but did give us a little nod), an albino raccoon, a red-tailed hawk (our school’s mascot), and… real live moose!
The moose kept walking up and down the edge of the fence for us. They were either a) as curious about us as we were about them, or b) showing off their antlers in a fashion show of sorts. Either way, it was really fun to see!
We ended with ice cream, with real maple syrup and wild Maine blueberries. These are not pictured because we gobbled them up too fast! It’s amazing that we had any room left because of all the wild blackberries we ate at the wildlife park.
Now when Omi-Sensei looks at her stuffed moose from Maine, she can tell her students about the real ones she saw. And before she left the United States, I sent her off with a stuffed red-tailed hawk to show her students too.
Thank you Josh-Sensei, for hosting us, and Omi-Sensei, for inspiring all of these adventures. It’s been 2 years since our ESD program, but everything we learned is still so close in our hearts. I wish the other American and Japanese teachers could have joined us too. Next time!
~Sara-Sensei (soon to be called Ms. Krakauer again when school starts back up)