Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Saturday, June 26, 2010
My eyes are closed and liam is not even looking at the camera but I still loves this family picture. Too bad Emma and Libby could not be there to make it in this one. This was taken on top of Bald hill in the Longwoods.
Kayla and I in our "flash" Chevy before the Ball.
All Blacks Test Match Versus Wales at Carisbrook's last game.
Cape Reinga, the very northern tip of New Zealand. This is one of the most sacred places for the Maori people.
Crazy sand formation in Naseby, Central Otago.
Milford Sound with Kayla.
Routeburn Track in Fiordland National Park with my Mates Nika and Ingrid.
Mount Cook, the tallest mountain in New Zealand. Too bad you cant quite see it behind the cloud, should have taken the picture the day before. Gutted
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
US student praises variety of sports in NZBy BRENDON EGAN - The Southland Times
United States exchange student Trenor Wilkins reckons high schools back home should take a leaf out of New Zealand's book when it comes to sport.
In the US, students were encouraged to stick to their preferred sport and concentrated solely on it, Wilkins said. The Tampa, Florida native – who has been on exchange at Southland Boys' High School since January – admitted New Zealand had been a breath of fresh air with the way it allowed students to try their hand at a multitude of sports.
"In the States, you specialise and become really good at it. You practise every single day. Here, they don't practise every day. Everyone is really naturally good at a lot of sports. It's so cool that everyone does a lot of sport."
Wilkins' chosen sport is cross- country running and the 17-year-old has made his mark in it since arriving in New Zealand. He won the over-16 cross-country title at Southland Boys', then backed that up with a second-place finish at the recent Southland cross-country championships in Te Anau.
Wilkins led after 2km of the 6km distance, but was overtaken by precocious Gore High School talent Aaron Barclay, who won the race by 13sec from the American in a time of 21min 4sec.
While in Southland, Wilkins has tried his hand at a variety of sports. He took up mountainbiking in New Zealand and has competed in the Motatapu, Moonshine and WindFarm Classic events.
The youngster has also dabbled in water polo, underwater hockey, represented the Southland Boys' High first XI football team, and even lined up on the wing for the school's under-18 blue rugby side.
Coming from the gridiron-mad United States, Wilkins confessed it had been an interesting experience playing rugby.
"I didn't even know the rules," he laughed.
"I played a game and almost got a try against James Hargest.
"It was an easy open try and I just missed it."
Wilkins heads back home next month where he will begin his first year at college at the University of Florida.
He hoped to break into the university's cross-country team and said that would involve beating people who were already on the team in a race to gain their spot.
"They have a walk-on race.
"It's pretty hard to walk on (to the team). If I work hard all summer, I can do it."
The 60kg whippet admitted he would love to do the London Marathon and also had a few other running goals he wanted to tick off his list.
I got this article off the Southland Times website and there was even a picture of me and Kayla in the actual newspaper to go along with it.
US pair praise Southland schools' ballBy JARED MORGAN - The Southland Times
Southland does it better.
That's the verdict from two United States high school students transplanted at last night's combined Southland Boys' and Southland Girls' high schools ball.
The praise came from Trenor Wilkins and Kayla Kennedy, a pair weaned on the traditional high school prom, an institution as American as mom and apple pie.
The Tampa, Florida, natives who are seniors at HB Plant High School, joined about 400 other southern beaus and belles at the secret garden-themed ball held at Stadium Southland in Invercargill.
Trenor, who has been in Invercargill since January on a student exchange, said the Kiwi-version had impressed him. "I would say this is way better," he said.
His and "good mate" Kayla's ball experience included being driven to the big event in a Chevrolet, the paparazzi treatment from a crowd of envious younger girls at the stadium's entrance, walking a red carpet and being paraded in front of pride-swelled parents, he said.
"Back home we show up, have a dance and go home." Kayla, who arrived in New Zealand on holiday on Thursday, agreed.
"It's definitely a lot more formal – it's nice." For Trenor, last night's ball stood in for his own senior prom, which he missed while on his exchange, which finishes next month.
"I'm here until July 5, which I'm also pretty bummed about – I miss Fourth of July (American Independence Day) celebrations." For both, last night's ball comes close to the end of their schooling.
A series of photos of ball couples will loaded on our website, www.southlandtimes.co.nz, in the coming days.
We want to see your snaps, too.
Send your ball pictures to firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll put them in our online gallery.
Make sure you include the names of everyone in the photo caption details.
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
There are practices for the Ball every Tuesday and Thursday for an hour and a half. We have to learn 14 dances for it! Insane I think. Our first practice was a little bit of an awkward fest I have to say. It is a joint Ball with Southland Boys High School and Southland Girls High school, but I have found that Boys High guys and Girls High girls dont often hang out. The guys at my school usually hang out with the girls at the public coed school Hargest. Anyways, when we were all in the hall getting ready to start it was clear that the guys sit with the guys and same goes with the girls. The lady teaching us to dance did the ever so popular "how bout lets make it really awkward so it won't be so awkward" bit. So she made every guy offer a right hand to a random girl and ask to dance. Not so bad except for the fact that everyone is really bad at dancing. The girls would catch on quicker however and then you would hear shrieks from girls whose feet who got stepped on, guys tripping all over the place, and even the occasional girl stepping inn a small whole at the bottom of someones jeens and getting it caught and then falling all over the place with her foot caught in the guys pants (I was this guy by the way). Really fun ae? Well actually it really was fun and by the time everyone got the dances down everyone got really comfortable with each other and was having a ton of fun.
Another thing that surprised me about Kiwis is how intense they take duck shooting. Everyone talks about it and everyone does it. Well mostly just the guys in the family, but just about every family has a guy doing it. Opening weekend for duck hunting is known to usually just be a piss up for mates so me and Liam were not going to be out there our the first day with my host dad. Duck season had an opeing weekend last weekend and this is what I came to find when me and Liam came out on Sunday:^^^^ pictures above
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Near the peak at a waterfall fed lake
on the way to the first hut
Treacherous part on the way to the peak
Group shot of us ready to take on the track
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Fun in the hut with everyone
Stewart Island Chain Link, linking it to the rest of New Zealand (The whole Blue Light group)
On the vomit voyage back to the main land
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Manuela and Iida on the train to Welly
Beach in Paraparaumu
Bungy ball sling shot thing in the middle of the city
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Bay of Islands
Hole in the Rock
Aotearoa means New Zealand in the Maori language, and that is what I saw over the Easter Holidays. Literally, I almost saw all of New Zeleand.
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Ok I have not written in here in awhile (with good reason) but a TON of stuff has happened so I am going to try and get through 2 today.
A few weeks ago I had been awarded with a part in a short play because I was sitting closest to my drama teacher at the time when the other guy managed to not show up. So anyway, BAM I am in a competition called Sheila Win. Our play was taken out of Hamlet and we did a modern interpretation of it, wearing actual gear worn in WW2. I played the messanger and had a couple of lines to memorize and we had about zero practices before the actual competion. I should also mention that the winners of the competion win a free trip to Christchurch for five days for a bigger Shakespeare competition. Shakespeare is really not my thing at all but I really wanted to win this trip because my school won last year and they had a blast there. So with our gear all set and our lines memorized we went to the show at Center Stage in Invercargill. It was actually very nerve wracking because our play was meant to be serious and I am not the most serious guy, and it wasn't until we got right on stage that I realized how many fighting scenes we had...
The play started off good, and then my part came on. How stupid I must have looked up there! I completely forget sometimes that I have a different accent then other people and that not everyone knows I am from America. First line: "Gracious my Lord, I should report that which I say I saw." Confused faces in the crowd I'm sure thinking to themselves "what the hell kinda accent is this guy trying to put on???" Well anyways I am then strangled by the main character and shoved to the ground on stage. Then another guy comes out and the main charater strangles him to death. then another guy comes out and they fight again, pause, then again, pause, and then that guy kills the main character. The play is only 11 minutes long and as you can see the last five minutes were a constant barely-rehearsed fighting scene. Bound to look stupid on stage with high school kids trying to be serious and constantly fighting. I also forgot to mention that at the end I was a scavenger and had to take all the gear off the dead main character including his shirt (that happened to be a tight long sleeve one that took at least 20 awkward seconds to rip off) I believe that our very serious take on the play somehow came out looking somewhere between funny, awkward, and bleak. Well thats over with and needless to say we did not win. However, another team from our school did, so thats good. They were 3 guys that were also in our play but did another funny one on there own that was very impressive. I do have to say though, that all in all it was a very good time and I am SO glad I did it. I mean come on, how random to do this in New Zealand. Who knows maybe I will still be able to go to Wellington anyways with those guys as, I dont know, stage manager?
I am trying to remember other stuff I did before the play, but it was mostly sports practices and getting more acquainted with New Zealand and the people here. I can honestly say I feel more like I live here now than a tourist. Especially in Invercargill, it just feels like home, and since I have been doing sports, getting involved in school, doing lame shakespeare things, doing school production, and other stuff, people here see me more than just a random exchange student. This makes me very happy as this is the exact thing I would like to achieve.
Sunday, March 28, 2010
I made the first 11 soccer team which was pretty cool and I did another thing that was definitely less exciting. Over the weekend I needed a ride home after a water polo game and my ride asked me if I wanted to help him and a few other people make cheese rolls for a fundraiser. Cheese rolls are a south NZ treat that is similar to a grilled to cheese but you make them before hand, sell them, and then the owner cooks them. Pretty much just bread with a soupy cheese mixture on top then rolled into a little log. So anyways, I assume I am going to someone's house to make about 60 to 100 rolls and then all of a sudden we pull up in my school's parking lot. I ask what are we doing here to a response that we are making cheese rolls. We walk into the catering room and.... I see crate upon crate upon crate of bread stacked high and wide along all the walls. Turns out we had to make 48,000 CHEESE ROLLS! No joke! It was to help raise money for their history class to go to Vietnam. I am not even going to Vietnam! We arrived at nine and the first few hours were kinda fun because it was so random and we were just listening to music but when the clock hit one o'clock I hit the cheese roll making wall. I became a zombie making roll after cheese roll. We ended up making them until 3 in the morning! what a great friday night! I cant even look at another cheese roll.
Week of school went well and then on Thursday after school I got picked up by my afs support coordinator to stay the night in Edendale before our very long drive up to Christchurch on Friday morning. T-vo (Paraguay) lives in my city and came up with us and Mia (Norway) lives at my support coordinator's house. So USA, Paraguay, Norway, and NZ all got in a truck Friday morning and set out on a freakin long journey to afs gateway camp. We left at around ten and got to Chtch (Christchurch) at eight. We took around turn close to camp and ended up taking the craziest road to get there with many cliffs, sharp turns, and bikers all the way up. Upon arriving I found a lot of my friends that I had made in Auckland when I first got here. The majority was South American kids which is fine with me because I love to practice my Spanish and they are the most out going people of all the international kids.m The camp was at Living Springs, a camp site on a bay outside of the city. It was very beautiful. First night all the kids just got re-acquainted with each other and talked unitl late at night when every one was just so tired they had to go to bed. The next day we did a lot of pointless classes that we had already done in our home country, when we first arrived in Auckland, and now were doing yet again. So that was pretty lame but after the classes were over we had our free time. We jumped on trampolines, took pictures, swam in the indoor pool, and talked about our lives in NZ. Everyone is loving this country and no one seemed to have any major problems and if not then no problems at all. Already the semester students are complaining that they do not want to go home and the six months is not long enough. I felt a little inferior to all the other kids because they all had improved their english to much and were becoming fluent AND also had their first language. So I tried as best I could to mix with the hispanic students so that I may improve my spanish. I think I did pretty well and had major crack ups along the whole way with my mispronunciations. We also had a "party" that lasted until 3 in the morning with pretty much every one just sitting down on the floor and talking to each other. I find it very interesting how easy it is to make friends with people that you barely even know just because we all share the commonality of being in a different country. Hopefully with these new friends I made I can make use of it in the future and go and stay with them so I can see the rest of NZ. I might be able to go to the north island and stay with my Bolivian friend Manuela over the holidays and just go around and explore the island I do not live on.
The camp was definitely a great experience for me minus the 18 hours worth of driving I had in 3 days. This holiday coming up is also going to be such an experience. I am going to the Bay of Islands to go scuba diving, Stewart Island for a 3 day hike( nz's third island), Routeburn track for another 3 day hike, and possibly many other little trips on the north island. We have holidays in school after every quater or term and they are all pretty long. Should be a nice break from the routine of school and my best chance to experience everything NZ has to offer.
Sunday, March 14, 2010
View from our vacation home.
The start of the Motatapu right outside of Shania Twain's land. Some people flew helicopters to the start, it was pretty insane