Exchange Wk31 to Wk34 – Buffets, Easter and Hockey

From the 13th of March to the 9th of April I got up to lots around Pennsylvania. Here are some of the highlights!

🍟 USA’s Biggest Buffet 🍰

On the 18th of March a group from Church drove to Shady Maple, the largest buffet in the entire US! It took over an hour to get to this fine establishment, which is situated in the rural country town Lancaster – a city known for its Amish population. It is hard to describe in words the shear size of this smorgasbord. The building itself was warehouse sized, and there were dozens upon dozens of all-you-can-eat stations. There were Icee (slushy) machines for those who needed something sugary to aide their digestion of plates full of food. The desert bar contained a myriad of different slices of cakes, as well as multiple different mousses and puddings. After eating, we head to the gift shop underneath the eating area, which was packed with so many different trinkets and souvenirs. It was unlike anything I’d seen before, with so many rotating display stands packed together. Shady Maple was very cool, and is worth a visit if you have access to transport.

✝️ Easter ✝️

In preparation for Easter, James, Corry and I were placing some flyers near the high-rise elevators to let students know about the Easter Sunday service at our Church RCC. I’m sharing some of these photos now because this epitomises one of my favourite things about my time here on exchange – the relationships. I don’t have to be going to some brand new place, or doing some touristy thing to enjoy my time here. In fact, it’s the moments where I am just doing little things with my friends which are truly special, and have a very special place in my memory. In some of these photos, we were starting to get creative in how we displayed the flyers so that they would be drawn to peoples attention 🤣

On Easter Sunday I had a really special day spending time with my RCC Church family as we celebrated the resurrection of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. After the Church service, members of the congregation shared in a delicious potluck style feast! I loved spending time with my Church family, a family with whom I feel loved and safe. After eating, the kids and adults played a game of wiffle ball, which is essentially a smaller (and less dangerous) version of baseball. It was lots of fun!

🏒 Philadelphia Flyers ⛸

I had the pleasure of going to two different Philadelphia Flyers ice-hockey games with my friends. If you recall from my post from when I went to Boston, I had the pleasure of watching the Boston Bruins vs Buffalo Sabres. Funnily enough, the first game I watched on the 1st of April was against the Sabres, and the second game I watched on the 9th of April was against the Bruins. Sadly, the Flyers lost each of those games… Here are some photos with my friends:

On the game on the 1st of April, they played an April fools joke on the audience. As a bit of context, on the 26th of March there was a spill of contaminants into the Delaware River (read here for more info) which affects the portable water. As a result, all people in Philadelphia received public safety alerts to our phones recommending us to use bottled water:

As an aside, when I went to the supermarkets, I felt like I was in COVID times again as all the water had been bought up, just like toilet paper! Anyway, the reason I bring this story up is that at the Flyers game, the Flyers mascot named Gritty played a prank where he was a water tester, and would try four different glasses of water. The first three were fine, but on the fourth, he pretended to collapse before holding up an April fools sign.

It was just a fun way of bringing some humour to a less than ideal situation.

During the Bruins game on the 9th of April, it was dollar ice cream night. This meant that you could get soft serve ice cream for only one dollar. That’s right – one dollar! It was a bargain, and added some extra fun to the afternoon!

⭐️ Other Highlights ⭐️

  • Dinners with friends.
  • Senior drinks and seniors game night.
  • Study sessions with friends. Note: I know this sounds weird being a highlight, but studying with friends is a form of spending time with them, something which is precious to me.
  • Visiting my friends farm.
  • Freshmen and Friends movie night where we watched the King of Egypt.
  • Lunches with Church Pastor and College Minister.
  • Church college group dinner – we ate the nicest brisket!
  • Escape room made by a Penn club.
  • Free Ben and Jerry’s ice cream day.
  • Penn baseball game.
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