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.