For the first time in about nine months, I went back to the front of the classroom. No, I didn’t revert to my old middle school principal self, but Ann and I did spend a day working with all of the ninth grade Language Arts students at our town’s high school. It was an interesting experience signing in as a visitor when I’d had a key to the place just a few months ago.

Signing in, Crete High School, Crete Nebraska

Steve signs into the school, this time as a visitor.

A local teacher, Rachel Haider, contacted us about a month ago and asked if we’d be willing to be guest presenters as part of the freshmen class’ unit on journeys. Students are working toward a final unit essay question that asks when the journey is more important than the destination.

Crete High School question, Crete, Nebraska

The question of the day.

She felt that because we’ve taken a good number of trips we’d bring a unique perspective to the class. The fact that the students knew us might help make it a bit more real for them. We were happy to help.

We met with Ms. Haider, and the other 9th grade Language Arts teacher, Trent Framke. We decided that we’d choose some blog posts and students would pre-read at least one of them, write a 6-10 sentence summary of it, and then answer some questions like, “What was more important, the journey or the destination? Why?” “What did the Tegets learn on this journey?” and “What advice for your life can you draw from this blog post?” We’d then have this as a basis for our class discussions.

Completed Assignment, Crete High School, Crete, Nebraska

A student’s completed assignment for our class discussion.

In case you’re curious, we chose six posts: “Five Things we learned judging the National Indian Taco Championships in Pawhuska,” “Music for the soul,” “A great pit stop for midwest travelers,” “Following our hearts to St. Kitts,” “Nebraska’s Nicest #1 — Innkeeper Jeanne Goetzinger,” and “Leaving I-80 for a better view.” We picked these because we felt they had a nice mix of local, state, national and international travel. We also hoped that every student might find something of interest somewhere in that mix of topics. Finally, we hoped that each post was unique enough that answers to the teachers’ questions wouldn’t necessarily be the same.

Crete High School class, Crete, Nebraska

Steve and Ann pose for a picture with students who are mastering the English language.

Well, let me just say that I’d forgotten how long a school day can be when you are presenting and re-presenting material seven times with three minutes of break sprinting to the bathroom in between. Still, we had a wonderful day connecting with students, hearing their take on our articles, and answering their questions about our travels as well as journeys in general. And let me just say that I was impressed by the effort I saw from some of my former students on this assignment.

Crete High School commons, Crete, Nebraska

The commons of Crete High School.

At the end of the day, we knew that we’d made a difference when one student found us in the hall and said that he hoped to travel one day. And we knew that students understood the importance of travel when they told us of the lessons they’d gleaned from our articles, lessons like, “you can find a little happiness anywhere,” and, “It’s important to get to know new people in your life because they can take you somewhere beautiful.”

  • One of our favorite stops on our hosted food tour of @visitkansascityks was the @403club. Sure, they offer a great selection of locally crafted and larger production domestic beers. But they also have pinball machines. In fact, they even have a pinball league.⁣
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We spent about an hour in this fun spot, sipping, playing, and enjoying the relaxed atmosphere. It will definitely be on our list of places to go again, someday. Beer and pinball are a pretty good mix.
  • On our visit to Italy, we visited the Prosecco region. While we toured a number of wineries, we actually stayed at an inn run by the Roccat winery. ⁣
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Prosecco is a sparkling wine, and people often see it as intergangeable with champagne. This isn't the case at all. Champagne is made from the Chardonnay grape, while Prosecco comes from Glara. Because of this, the two wines are completely different.⁣
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We enjoyed a tasting at Roccat, where they served us glasses of crisp, clear, delicious wine alongside some crunchy breadsticks that were just the right thing to enjoy with the wine.⁣
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If you ever have the opportunity to go to Italy, make sure you include time to head to Valdobbiandene and try some Prosecco.
  • Located in @clearlakeiowa, the historic Surf Ballroom has hosted some of the biggest names in music. It was on this stage that Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and JP "The Big Bopper" Richardson performed their final show on February 3, 1959. After the concert, they boarded a plane for their next town on their tour. That plane crashed shortly after takeoff, and the date has been remembered ever since as "the day the music died."⁣
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@traveliowa
  • Set in Millennium Park in Chicago is one of the city's most iconic art installations. It's a giant, shiny bean which reflects everything in sight. It's fun to walk around (and under) the bean and see how the shape distorts what it reflects.⁣
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Folks come from all over to see this art installation and take it in. Children love running around it and gazing into it, not realizing they are learning about convex and concave shapes. ⁣
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Standing here you'll hear a multitude of languages and see people from all walks of life there to enjoy the art. And that's why we love public art so much--it brings people together.
  • On our cruise from Italy to Greece, we made a stop in Mykonos. There, we had the chance to take part in a Greek cooking class in a woman's home learning from her.⁣
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We spent an afternoon with lessons about Greek cuisine, and how they waste nothing, not even excess juice from a cucumber. We also saw how to make incredible dishes like this spanakopita, or spinach pie. Sitting in her dining room, enjoying the light, flaky crust and delicious filling is an experience we won't soon forget. ⁣
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While traveling, we try to find opportunities to experience local culture. It's amazing how similar people in the world really are if you just take some time to see what life is like.
  • Do you remember that song from "The Music Man" about trouble? You know the one about the kids in the knickerbockers, shirt-tail young ones, peekin' in the pool hall window after school. ⁣
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Well, we got to peek in a replica of that pool hall on a recent visit to The Music Man Square on our hosted to Mason City, Iowa. It's the town where "The Music Man" creator Meredith Willson was born and raised and his legacy lives on. ⁣
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Before you go see @thehughjackman and @suttonlenore in this Broadway favorite, consider a visit to the real River City.⁣
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Click on the link in our bio to see our latest blog post about why fans of "The Music Man" need to visit Mason City, Iowa. ⁣
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@themusicmanbway
  • When we heard that there was a community garden in Clear Lake, Iowa, we figured we'd stop and check it out. We've seen small town community gardens before, and were expecting a few flower patches, some paving stones, and maybe a bench or two. After all, it was built and is maintained by volunteers in a small Iowa town. ⁣
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What we found, though, was simply astounding! First, the entire garden had been designed beautifully; a small stream even meandered through the gardens, pausing in small lily-filled pools before continuing on its path. But the flowers took the cake. So many varieties, each more beautiful than the last. And the entire space had been planned out to take advantage of the spring, summer, and autumn species. ⁣
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if you enjoy gardens, put the Central Gardens of North Iowa on your list of places to visit.
  • Calmar, Iowa, near Decorah, is home to Pivo Brewery and Blepta Studios. There you'll find high quality craft beers, in a relaxed, fun environment. Upstairs from the taproom are the studios, where you can try your hand at art while sipping your beer.

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