Tuesday, May 4, 2010


I am constantly surprised by Kiwis. Its hard to describe the situations I am meaning when they surprise me because the are not always clear cut. But here is one kind of example: my first week of school everyone just stared at me and no one said a single word to even prove that I existed. When I thought that everyone at school were really cold people that were extremely hard to talk to, I showed up next week to find that people I had never even seen before were saying hello to me in the hallways. You definitely can't go by first impressions in this country. Some people that I thought I would never be friends with are people I like most at school now. There are heaps more examples that I have seen but are just hard to describe in typing, but I can honestly say that I am surprised almost everyday by people here, in a good way that is.

One thing that surprised me was how much more legit their Ball is compared to our Prom. This cant account for every Prom across the US but it definitely counts for mine. Prom at my school is considered really lame and no one really goes to it and everyone just looks forward to the after party. The Ball here is completely different. It is seen as one of the biggest nights of their whole time at school. Some people even get there dates up to 6 or 7 months in advance. Ball dancing practice started a couple weeks ago and goes all the way up to when the ball starts 5 weeks from now in June. We have to learn 14 dances! Its ridiculous! It is a very formal affair and all the guys have to wear white gloves and everything. Everyone meets at a friends house before for drinks and then has a rented or borrowed nice car come to pick them up to take them to dinner and then later to the ball. Then comes the ball, which has a lot of hand shaking and rehearsed dances. Then there is an hour between the Ball and After Ball. The After Ball is also very different. Its not like an after party like prom where you go to someone's house for a party but not everyone goes to the same place. Here there is an actual hall booked where everyone from the Ball goes to for a more relaxed atmosphere and dancing. Everyone stays there very late into the night and then taken home by a ride or picked up by parents that volunteer. Everyone is already really excited about it and discussing their plans for the evening.

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

How to be Skux Delux

The title really has nothing to do with this post but skux is the word of the year at Boys High and I thought I may as well put it into a title.

This will just be a catch up the my goings on since the holidays.

I know I have said it feels like home here in earlier posts but I have to say that life has hit a normality here, and not in a bad boring way, but in a I-have-a-handle-on-New-Zealand-and-school-and-home-and-social-life-and-athletic-life sort of way. Over holidays I traveled to the north island and Stewart Island and was a tourist, but when I got to my HOME, I was not a tourist any more. Invercargill is not a tourist destination and there are very few foreigners and when you speak the language you tend to fit right in with sometimes the occasional person asking where you are from. I do not notice the accents anymore, not at all... literally, they are just not there. Accents in general with me are all kind of a blur now. What with American TV shows all the time, American commercials with kiwi voice overs, kiwi tv shows, kiwi commercials, tons of UK influence on TV, and the region I live in is also very Scottish. I hear different accents all the time and I am not even aware most of the time. Like when I was on the Stewart Island in the hut, one of my mates said I should go over and talk with the American girl in the corner because we had our mother nations in common. I gave a bewildered look and asked how he had known, to his reply that her accent was so strong. I had been talking to her about the island less than 5 minutes earlier and never even noticed that she was not a kiwi.

Man, I am so ADD I was not even meaning to write about this. Anyways, what I am trying to say is that I do not notice my accent anymore and I often forget I even have one. So in this way when I feel like I no longer have an accent, when I dont feel like a tourist in Invercargill, when I am involved with school, playing sports, and hanging out with people on the weekend, I just feel like I belong. Like I have hit my stride to be actually LIVING here and no longer on a "foreign exchange."

So my normal life goes like this right now:

Mondays: soccer practice
Tuesdays: Rugby practice, Ball Practice (I will get to this later but its like prom and we have to learn 14 dances.), Production Practice (will also get to this later)
Wednesday: soccer game
Thursday: rugby practice, Ball practice, Production practice
Saturday: Rugby game
Sunday: Production practice, and this is also the day we do a massive house clean up

Things happening since I last wrote... I won the school Round the Park race. It was a complete debacle though. It was around the very large park right beside the school and had like 2 people directing people along the 2.4k course for juniors and 4k course for seniors. I was leading the senior race and just following the juniors who started before us. Well, these juniors turn in early at a spot that is unmarked for seniors but that I promptly turn into. turns out...WRONG! I was told this by a fat little junior who was so puffed that all he could get out was just that, "wrong!" And I  had to back track to second place and catch up and pass before I made my turn behind the school to the finish line. Right before i crossed the line a mate from my class said "Oi Trenor! you went the wrong way you were supposed to go in front of the school not BEHIND!" I looked behind me terrified that I would not see second place who probably had gone the right way and that my chances of going the southland cross country champs would disappear ( but even more worrisome, my free day off school would be gone as well). However, the second place guy did follow me the wrong way, and the third place, and fourth, and everyone else. I lead the whole freakin race the wrong way. The people putting on the race were all pissy but I was like "its not my fault no one was there to direct me which way to go!" and they were all "your a senior you should know this" and I was all "well yea thats true and shizz except for the fact that I am a foreign exchange student and have never seen this course and did not anticipate the follies that would befall me whilst running this poorly run race event."  except thats not really how it happened. It was more like they were really pissy and grumbling behind my back that I messed up the whole senior race and I stood in the background looking all around thinking "where the flip was the place I made the second wrong turn???" But it still really wasnt my fault, seriously, how was I supposed to know? Anyways I was still counted as the winner and am going to Southland Cross Country Champs in Te Anau in a week.

The next day I did a 9k race around the same park with all the Invercargill club teams and came in 2nd which I was very delighted with

I have been cast as Hortensio in Kiss Me Kate, my high school's production. I have to sing Tom Dick or Harry with two other chaps to one of the female main characters. I think we have to do a dance but I have also heard rumors that our dance was cut out. I will not be a happy camper if this is so because it will make the song look stupid if we are all just standing there trying to sing the song seriously. I just want to joke around and do lame dance moves on stage to make it more fun. AND it also turns out that in my solo for the song I have to hit this one really long and really high note at the end of my line saying "marry me". I can see it now: Marry Meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee(((CRACK!!!!)))) ---- in front of the whole audience on the night of the show which will also include half the school. Do you know what my school does to a guy when his voice cracks?? Everyone stands up (if in the sitting position. If already standing, the position is maintained, but maybe just a step forward is taken for emphasis) and points to the horrified boy and yells "SQUEAKER! SQUEAKERRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!" -- I would go back to America right then and there...

I will get to the Ball on my next post along with duck shooting and orienteering, this one is long enough for now.