Monday, December 14, 2009

A little over a month...

Time is ticking down actually a lot faster than I expected.  Only about a month and ten days till I leave... well hopefully. There has been some Visa mishaps but it all seems to be working out, but if worst comes to worst I will leave a month later than planned (and that will be the absolute worst!) Anyways, a lot of NZ (pronounced N Zed there) stuff has been happening since my last post. About three months ago my host mom informed me that my host brother said another American attends the high school that I will be attending when I arrive. "Probably from one of the Carolinas," she said. Well since then about two months ago I made a thread on an AFS discussion board on facebook seeing if anyone else would be going to NZ the same time as me. Six girls from Finland said they would be going, a guy from Argentina, and one girl from Latvia. I thought that was pretty cool, but then later I got a message from a girl that said she lives in the city I will be moving to, but that she is currently on an exchange in Argentina with AFS. So we became friends on FB blah blah blah. And then last week (a point is coming to this story I swear) I got a random girl to friend request me on FB with a message that said that she was also from Invercargill (my host city) and heard from another girl that I was moving there. Turns out both of these girls are in Argentina and they both are from my host city and are friends. She then goes on to say that her family in Invercargill is hosting an American kid also and he goes to Southland Boys High School. That is the same school I am going to, and that is the same kid my host mom was talking about from three months ago. That story may sound COMPLETELY pointless and stupid and boring, but I just thought how completely crazy it is that I became friends with someone from a girl that had been messaged by another girl who are both in different countries from seeing a thread on some sight from an American (me) that had heard about this other American kid randomly from my host mom's 13 year old son.  The point is, the internet is crazy to me and as much as I don't really like it or want to use it, it has helped me connect to people from all over the world (to me that whole American kid thing was like a big circle and I just could not believe I came in contact with him through a girl in Argentina) and helped my exchange progress into something I would like it to be. One of the girls from Argentina gave me the name of a girl in Invercargill that participates in a running club, and I have now contacted her and have received info all about that. This will surely help my running and definitely make my experience a whole lot better since I think that sports can really help in socializing and also just help because I love to run and it will make me happier.

So now I know a few people from NZ, so I won't be completely friendless when I arrive lol. Hopefully making friends won't be too hard and hopefully this running club will help with this. The first day of school will definitely be hard for me, I am not shy at all but when it comes to knowing no one in a certain place, its hard for me to make the first move to talk to someone.  I also don't really want to worry about anything though because that will get me nowhere, so I am just trying to think of ways to make the experience awesome. Like when I do my running club, I don't want to just do it just for fun, I want to really compete hard. I got the school record at my high school here for 5k and I would for sure like to try and win a few races and maybe beat some fast kiwis (what new zealanders call themselves). I love to compete and I love a competitive atmosphere. And talking about running, most host sister signed me up for the Motatapu marathon 
look it up at
This is not just a regular marathon, its more like survival. The race directors are still unsure of letting me run the race because they dont normally let under 20 year olds do it. I have to have my coach send a letter of recommendation and also have to have a list of races and times I have run and wether they were on road or off road. It feels like applying to another college which I am already so sick of lol. The course runs through the beautiful southern region of NZ on a piece of property Shania Twain bought a while ago. This land is only open to the public once a year for this marathon and bike race. You have to run through rivers and across some crazy terrain. This is not a go for a fast time race, but more of a just try and finish it. I gotta say I am pretty nervous for it, but I have never been more excited for a race in my whole life!  

As you can see by the pics above, this race is no joke but the scenery is completely amazing!!

Sunday, November 22, 2009


So, it is finally settled. I am 100%, absolutely, positively, most definitely for sure going to New Zealand for five months of my life!!! The process of getting my parents approval, hours in the guidance office, classes online over the summer, applying, waiting, interviews, applying again,  and waiting again, have finally paid off. Its happening! I have received confirmation that I am indeed going to Middle Earth and that I will be living with the Ryan family in Invercargill (The most southern city in the country).  The Ryan's are friends with one of my good friend's parents.
Sharri Ryan (mom) did an AFS exchange to the US when she was in high school and stayed with my friend's dad. They became great friends and since then he has visited them in NZ and has even taken his family to visit. It may seem as if I will be living with some friends there, but I still know very little about them besides that they are very kind, very outdoorsy, and very fun. They seem completely awesome and I have contacted them some via the all amazing and universal Facebook and e-mail (which happens to not work three quarters of the time). The family consists of Sharri (mom), Pip (dad), Emma (sister), Libby (sister), and Liam (son). Emma lives in Auckland, and Libby goes to university in Dunedin. So its going to be me, mom, dad, and 13 year Liam, who also will be going to my same school.  I will be attending Southland Boys High School, which will be a HUGE transition for me because I will be going from a coed class of 560 to an all guys class of I think less than 100, maybe even a lot less. But not to fear, because there is also a Southland Girls High School there, which I assume is close by. My host sisters attended there and Libby assures me that they are always hanging out together at parties and such. They play a lot of rugby there and I'll try not to embarrass myself. I'm not exactly jacked of my mind or anything (high school cross country runner here) but I do try to get a little swoll at the gym every now and then. Another huge adjustment will be the fact that I am from Florida where our temperature in winter will most likely be the summer temperatures of the place I will be living.  Invercargill is not that far away from Antarctica if you look at a world map. When I use the words transitions and adjustments, I definitely don't mean those in the negative sense at all though. I love experiencing new ways of life, culture, etc. I also am VERY excited to be living where it actually snows! My friend tells me that they go skiing very often! I also got an e-mail from my host mom saying that they plan on going scuba diving in the north someplace over Easter, and that my host sister has signed me up for a marathon. My exchange is already starting to look completely amazing and I am still 2 months from leaving. O, I will be gone from January 25 through July 7. I will update this as much as I can throughout my experience and hopefully will be able to post lost of pictures and videos. Also, my goal is that eventually my blog can make it on to the famous AFS USA blog home page. That is where I read all of the other AFSers cool blogs, and maybe mine might be as good to possibly get on there. I'll keep my fingers crossed but I seriously doubt my writing skills on this one, but whatever

The pictures above are first of NZ with the most southern part highlighted being Southland the region I am going to live in with Invercargill being on the coast just north of the little island, second of my host city, third is the Milford Sound which is in Southland, and fourth of my school.