View slideshow Europe tour ends with London 2012 Olympics
Siebert gains cultural experience, memories with friend
History teacher Jordana Siebert traveled throughout Europe which included watching events at the London 2012 Olympics, July 18-Aug. 7. Siebert rides bikes throughout Amsterdam, Netherlands, where biking is more popular than cars.
The Olympics is a special time that forms a unity throughout the world. It is a time where countries put aside their cultural differences to honor the greatest athletes of their time. History teacher, Jordana Siebert is one of many lucky people who travelled to London to watch the 30th annual 2012 Summer Olympics.
Siebert journeyed with her best friend, whom she has known since fifth grade, Whitney Milliken to Europe, July 18-Aug. 7. Although it was Siebert's first time at the Olympics, it was not her first time watching them.
"The Olympics were amazing" Siebert said. "I had always wanted to go to the Olympics. My best friend, who I went with, was a gymnast growing up, so when we found out the Olympics were going to be in London we were serious about going. When Whitney and I lived together in college we even had an Opening Ceremonies Party at our apartment."
Siebert recalls her first Olympic event as a very special moment. Feeling pride for the US, Siebert was surprised to feel emotional, especially since she favors world hisotry over US history.
"I absolutely felt pride for the US," Siebert said. "Though I am such a world history buff, it was an amazing feeling to be there and hold up the American flag and cheer on our country. My first event was such a surreal moment. I could not believe that I was there, and when you see a US olympian you are just so proud. You know that they have worked their whole life to reach this point, and you get to witness it."
Even though Siebert saw seven different events, six out of seven of them being finals, not seeing the US basketball team was very dissapointing. She tried to get tickets but, because of its popularity, they were sold out.
"I saw seven different events while in London," Siebert said. "Men's and women's Trampoline Gymnastics Finals, women's Diving Finals, men's Ring and Vault Finals, women's Uneven Bars Finals, and men's Beach Volleyball Semi-Finals. It was incredible being able to watch them but I wish I could have seen the US basketball team."
The men's Beach Volleyball Semi-Final was the most exhilarating for her because it brought out her competitive side. Siebert also appreciated the gymnastics she saw, but she appreciated the excitement on the volleyball court.
"I loved watching beach volleyball," Siebert said. "Gymnastics was amazing, but there was something about seeing a competitive game, in which it wasn't a performance but more about rivalry. The crowd was cheering for every play and there was such a sense of excitement in the stadium, rather than at gymnastics where it was silent while the gymnasts performed."
"Other then the events, the environment of being surrounded by people from so many different countries was the best part of the Olympics. Everyone was friends, its like anyone you ran into was your long lost cousin. It was just so great to experience so many different cultures and how each individual was so proud of their country." --Jordana Siebert, history teacher
Not only did Siebert visit London but she also travelled to many places throughout Europe. Starting in Greece, she explored many different countries, monuments and restaraunts.
"We started in Greece," Siebert said. "We were in Athens for a day and then went to the Greek island Santorini for four days; Venice, Italy, for two days; Paris, France, for three days; Amsterdam, Netherlands, for three days; Ireland for three days and finally London, England, for five days."
Although Siebert has a love for each place she visited, she did have a favorite. Embracing the culture, cuisine and carefree lifestyle of Greece she thoroughly enjoyed her time in Santorini.
"I loved Santorini," Siebert said. "The Greek people are so kind and welcoming. They never want you to leave the restaurant. They want you to stay, eat, relax and enjoy life forever. The beach was amazing. The whole culture was completely relaxed and simple. I could have stayed there all summer."
As a history teacher seeing the many different historical monuments was quite an experience for Siebert. Knowing what went on at the monuments and what they represented, touring around to the different establishments became one of the most exciting moments.
"We went to the Parthenon and Acropolis in Athens," Siebert said. "We also went to the Louvre in Paris. While we were in Amsterdam we went to the Anne Frank House. We travelled the countryside in Ireland and saw many monuments and toured the Dublin castle."
While visiting the Anne Frank House, Siebert pondered over her moments there and the emotions they brought out. The house was her favorite historical place she visited so, Siebert remained content throughout her trip knowing she got to visit one of the places she was most looking forward to.
"The Anne Frank House was my favorite historical site," Siebert said. "It was an extremely emotional experience. It was actually one of the things on the trip that I am so blessed to have done. Just to be in the place where Anne Frank had wrote all her thoughts was surreal. She was a girl of extreme depth and wise beyond her years. I cannot even imagine what the reality of living in that house was truly like."
While touring Europe, history teacher Jordana Siebert was able to watch seven Olympic events, July 18-Aug. 7. She enjoyed watching beach volleyball as well as gymnastics, where six of the seven were finals.
Food was the major culture shock for Siebert while she was overseas. Loving, and sometimes disliking. the variety of dishes she got to try, Siebert began to crave the food she eats on a regular basis.
"I loved the food in Greece," Siebert said. "Also in Italy the food was amazing. We found a little bakery tucked away in Venice and they had the most mouth-watering macaroons. We went back multiple times to keep experiencing the delectable desserts. I loved everything there. And there was so much bread everywhere."
Though she liked the foods in Italy and Greece, later on the trip, she had a hard time adapting to the cultures' cuisines.
"On the rest of the trip the food was hard for me to get on board with. Once we got to Ireland and London all I wanted to eat was Casa Carona, Broilers, Me-n-Ed's, and Japanese Kitchen. That's what I missed most about home on the second half of the trip."
Hoping to get another chance to go to the Olympics, Siebert plans on taking a different approach next time. Instead of going as a guest she has decided to go as a volunteer.
"I would love to go to the Olympics again," Siebert said. "However, I might work at it next time. The Olympics are completely ran by volunteers but they get all the Olympic get-ups. Every volunteer got backpacks, Adidas shoes that said "London 2012" on them, jackets, shirts, hats; everything. Plus the best part is they got to watch every event that they were working, for free."
Describing it as "the trip of a lifetime" Siebert could not have been more thrilled with her experience. Although she loved to participate in the cheering of the US she also loved the interaction with people from all over the world.
"Other then the events, the environment of being surrounded by people from so many different countries was the best part of the Olympics," Siebert said. "Everyone was friends, its like anyone you ran into was your long lost cousin. It was just so great to experience so many different cultures and how each individual was so proud of their country."
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