August 7, 2005

Everything is going great here in New Zealand.  I am living with Peggy and Graham Love, and there two kids Sara, 15 and Daniel, 18.  My host family is wonderful and we're getting along great.  I'm starting my third week of school here and it's going well.  I'm taking six subjects (math, English, French, tourism, dance, and outdoor recreation).  School is quite different here than in the U.S. All the students take 6 classes, but you only have 5 a day.  So I have a different schedule every day, I haven't memorized it yet so I have to carry it every where with me.  School starts at 8:40 in the morning, and goes till 3:20 except for Wednesdays and Fridays we only have 4 classes so we end at 2:20.  I joined the school soccer team which is a lot of fun.  We have practice every Tuesday and a game every Wednesday.  So far we've had two games and won both of them.  Also, I play in a hockey league on Monday nights and am hoping to join the rowing club during the summer which is right across the street from my house on the Avonside river.  The food here is quite different than what I'm used too.  I get yelled at a lot because they call there cookies biscuits and when I ask for a cookie they look at me funny.  They also eat a lot of  mince meat pies and fish and chips (YUM).  I've learned to pack lunch though, because the school food isn't too great.  The one thing I've been enjoying most about my time here is how everything is so laid back.  The people are really relaxed and don't live hectic lives like I'm used too.  I love it because I never feel rushed to get somewhere and I'm not stressed out about getting all of my activities in.  Everyone is just so calm here, it's nice. 

August 15, 2005

This weekend my family and I drove up to the mountains near Arthur's pass to Kidson Hut.  We also brought some friends, Sara from Quebec, Jakob from Germany, and Andy from Switzerland.  It's a small hut with no electricity, there is only a stove and fireplace.  It was only about a two hour drive there.  It was dark on the way there, so we didn't see much.  But, when we woke up in the morning Sara and I ran outside to see the mountains.  The view was beautiful and you could see for miles.  The ground was wet by us because of rain, but the tops of all the mountains were filled with snow.  After breakfast we packed up all of our gear and started our trek up Mt. Wolfshed.  The trail up to mountain was really wet and slippery from the rain that night so the climb was very hard.  We climbed for about an hour and a half and had finally made it out of the tree line.  The ground had about an inch of snow, so we built a snowman.  We decided to start our way down, because it started to rain again.  We had only taken a few steps when I fell and slid about 10 feet down the trail.  I scraped my arm on a rock, but other than that I was ok.  It was scary climbing the rest of the way down because all of us were slipping every couple steps, but after about another hour we finally made it back to the hut.  I was very relieved, but the climb was fun.  The next day we all helped Graham paint the bunk room.  We got a lot done but there is still heaps of work to finish.  I'm sure we will be visiting the hut again soon!

September 6, 2005

I just got back from spending a couple days in Kaikoura and a week in Nelson.  I was in Kaikoura for 3 days with my tourism class.  We stayed at a backpackers hostel called Dusky Lodge, right downtown in Kaikoura.  It's a very small town that was built around all the tourism in the area.  Most people travel to Kaikoura because it's great for whale watching and surfing.  We went whale watching Thursday morning but didn't have much luck.  We saw heaps of dolphins but no whales.  We were on a small boat, so about half of the students got sick and threw up sometime throughout the trip.  Thankfully I didn't get motion sickness.  When I got back to Christchurch I had to do all my laundry and pack again because I left Sunday morning for Nelson for a soccer tournament.  The tournament was really fun and we took 4th place. We played 2 games a day all week long so everyone was really tired.  Linwood doesn't have a very strong sports background and has never even got into the top half of the tournament before.  Our team wasn't even expected to get into the top 8 and we ended up taking 4th so we were all really happy.  But, now I'm back in Christchurch and back at school.  I only have 3 weeks left of school then summer holiday.  The weather is warming up and summer is on it's way.  I'm real excited for the warm weather so I can make my way down to the beach!

September 18, 2005

This weekend was really fun!  Friday night Sarah and I went to a party at our friend Phillip's house.  He goes to Papanui High School with the rest of the guys I hang out with.  The party was really fun and I met a lot of new people.  Saturday the weather was REALLY nice so we sat outside and tanned for awhile.  Stacy and Nicky came over in the afternoon and we all went to the beach.  I was really excited because the beach is only a short drive from my house, and we saw a seal!  I went in the water for awhile but it was really cold, the guys went all the way in (they must be crazy).  Afterwards we went back to our house and watched a movie.  Then, after tea we all went over to Darrell's house and hung out.  Everyone brought there suits and went in the hot tub.  I was too warm, so I played in the sprinkler!  It was a lot of fun.  Sunday morning our friend Tab came over.  Me, Sara, Tab, James, and Darrell all went skating together at Alpine Ice centre.  We were all so tired from the weekend that we just crashed on the couch for the rest of the night and watched movies.

October 2, 2005

I just got back from Kidson House.  I went there with my host parents, Sara, Darrell (Sara's boyfriend), and Jakob.  We took the bikes up with us and went mountain biking.  It was my first time so I was a bit scared.  We went through some trails in the woods and down some hills.  Sara and I found some puddles to go threw and got ourselves soaked with mud, but it was fun.  We also came across some sheep up in the mountains.  I thought it was cool because I don't see sheep a lot, but no one else was very fascinated.  After we got back from biking we helped paint the bunkroom.  We were all happy because we finally finished all of the painting that needs to be done for awhile.  We are going back soon to celebrate being done with the work.  After we ate tea, Darrell and I tried to start a fire outside.  It didn't really work all that well, so Graham had to come out and do it for us.  So, we all sat around the fire keeping warm and roasting marshmallows!

October, 18 2005

I've started school at Rangi Ruru now.  I really like my new school a lot.  I've already made heaps of friends and my classes are going very well.  I'm taking Maths, Chemistry, English, Dance, Christian Living, and P.E.  I've also joined the rowing team because it's very popular at school and I thought it would be fun to try out a new sport.  Rowing is going pretty well.  It's extremely hard since I have never done it before, but it's a good work out.  I've been biking to school, which takes me about 40 min. then after school all of the rowers bike to the rowing club to practice.  We practice 4 days a week which is heaps, because most kiwi sports only practice once or twice a week. 

October 24, 2005

It's the end of a long weekend for me because we didn't have school today because of Labour Day.  My weekend was very busy though.  Friday night I went to a NZ movie called the Fastest Indian which some mates.  Then all Saturday I spent the night at my mate Emma's birthday party.  It was heaps of fun because it was just a bunch of girls from Rangi so I got to know everyone from school really well (check out the pictures from the party).  Then Sunday was my sister's birthday party.  Some family and friends just came over for a barbeque.  After her party was over all of us went over to a mate's place because he was having a party too.  Then Monday, we celebrated Sara's birthday at her Dad's with family and friends.  So, I'm very exhausted from all of the excitement and I need to get up for school in the morning.  Cheers!

October 27, 2005

The weather is getting nicer everyday!  Today it was 23 degrees Celsius!  After school Jamie, Mel, and I went to Sumner beach.  It was so nice!  The weather was really hot and we laid out and got a tan and waded in the ocean.  We also went across the street to the dairy to get an ice block (nz term for a popsicle).  Yesterday after school I played indoor soccer with our school team.  We won 5-2 against Girl's High.  It was a lot of fun and I scored 3 goals.  Afterwards I met up with my sister, Sara, in town.  We got Chinese food and ran some errands, then went home.

November 11, 2005

School is now officially over for the year.  We have summer break till the end of January.  I'm going to go to school for the next few weeks though and do some community service.  I'm going to help out with the intermediate school dance festival and other sorts of things.  We ended school on Thursday because Friday was the Canterbury Anniversary.  Last night Sarah, Tine, and Jamie came over and we hung out and watched a movie.  Then I spent the night at Jamie's.  The weekend is going to be pretty boring though because all of my friends are studying really hard for exams coming up.  The summer will be a lot better when exams are over.  Even though I'm not taking exams, it still sucks because everyone is really stressed out and studying really hard.  The exams here are a lot different than the ones we take in the states.  The real serious students here study for about 4 hours or more a day for weeks on end getting ready for their exams, and they need to pass the exams in order to get enough credits and to get into a good university.

November 20, 2005

Last night I spent the night at my friend Jamie's.  No one wanted to go out because of exams and all, so Jamie, Harriette, and I stayed at Jamie's and had a girl's movie night.  It was a lot of fun. This afternoon I had to be in town at 1 o'clock and meet all of the other AFS students for the Santa Parade.  We walked alongside one of the original World War 1 ambulances (it broke down a few times but it made it).  It was quite fun because we were walking behind one of the music floats so we sang and danced the whole way.  We had a big sign that said AFS Intercultural Program and everyone had there face painted with the flag of there country on it.  The parade took almost 2 hours and it was so hot.  It was weird being in a Santa Parade when it's summer.  There were so many people downtown watching the parade, they estimated about 108,000 people were there.  I was very tired and happy to go home and take a nap after the parade.  I will get to see all of the students again next week because we have an AFS camp!

November 29, 2005

AFS Camp was so much fun! Friday night when we got there we played some games and I won two key chains and a shit glass. We also got our yearbooks so we went around the room looking at them and having people sign them.  We didn't have a set bed time so we ended up staying awake till 5 a.m. We talked and danced and just had a good time.  We were all really tired the next morning but we had to get up for orientation.  We talked about how our year was going so far and shared experiences.  I was sad, because I had to leave camp early though.  Saturday night I went with my host family to there grandparents house for thanksgiving dinner.  We had some chicken and stuffing, but also some avocado and mussels.  It was a very interesting meal for me.  It was a lot of fun though because I got to meet the rest of there family!

December 7, 2005

On Monday Sara and I went to the beach because it was really nice outside.  We stopped and got ice cream at the pier, then walked along the beach as the tide brushed against our ankles.  It was lovely!  There hasn't been much else going on.  Sara and I have been in town the last couple of days trying to get Christmas presents for everyone.  Yesterday I had hockey, then I went to Claire's house because she had a barbeque with all of the AFS students.  It was nice getting together with everyone again.  We have all been hanging out heaps lately because some of the students leave in less than a month.  I'm leaving to go tramping in Abel Tasman on Friday.  I'm really excited because I've never been tramping before.  I'm not really sure what to expect, but I'm sure it will be fun!

December 14, 2005

I just got home from my tramp in Abel Tasman.  I had such a good time and I'm really glad I went.  The first night we got there we set up our tents, hung out on the beach, and ate fish and chips.  We were all tired from the six hour drive there and wanted to rest up for the days ahead.  The next morning we woke up, packed up our tents and got ready to tramp.  We walked a whole 4 hours the first day but it was a fairly easy walk and we took a nice long break on the beach half way.  The second day was a bit harder.  We only walked about 3 and a half hours (we took a short cut through the estuary because it was low tide) but there was lots of steep hills and everyone's shoulders were tired from our packs.  After setting up camp and eating wonderful camp food (although we missed out on the wonderful instant pudding because ours didn't set) we tried to go to sleep.  The third day of tramping was by far the hardest.  We walked for about 6 hours all together and it seemed like we walked up hill the whole time.  We didn't take any breaks until we got to the random cafe along the way.  We all took a break, got a bite to eat, and set out walking again.  It took Jamie, Anne Marie, and I a lot longer than everyone else because we took our time and had some fun while crossing the Estuary.  We collected shellfish and tried to catch a crab (but it kept going back into its hole).  And for the rest of the walk they tried to teach me the New Zealand national anthem in Maori (I only remember the first two lines though).  We were so happy when we finally made it to camp because we were exhausted from walking.  We set up camp, had our camp talent quest, and tried to sleep.  The next morning we packed up all our stuff and caught the water taxi back to the start of the tramp, where we jumped in the vans and headed back to Christchurch.  It was an awesome experience, but my feet are swollen and I have so many sand fly bites it looks like I have measles. 

December 27, 2005

Christmas was quite different for me this year.  It was weird celebrating Christmas during the middle of summer.  Christmas Eve my family went to Bop and Mal's (grandparents) for tea and exchanged gifts with them.  Afterwards I met up with my mate Sarah and we went to the cathedral for the church service.  The service was lovely, and there were so many people that if you didn't have a reserved seat you had to stand.  But, Sarah lives with the mayor so we got front row seats. On Christmas Day Daniel and Sara were at there dad's house, so I spent the day with my Liaison family.  We basically just ate food all day and played a few games.  I celebrated Christmas with my host family on boxing day.  We opened gifts in the morning and had a Christmas brunch, then later in the afternoon some friends and family came over for tea.  It was a really nice day so we ate outside and Sarah taught me some songs on the guitar.  After celebrating Christmas for three days in a row, I'm pretty sure I won't be eating turkey and stuffing anytime soon.

December 30, 2005

Last night I spent the night with Sara at her dad's house.  Her dad and step mom are gone somewhere so we watched the dog.  We rented movies and fell asleep on the couch after eating pizza and popcorn.  It was very fun.  This morning we came home to discover that Daniel was mugged last night.  Him and a friend were walking home from town real late and a car pulled over, 4 boys and a girl got out and beat them and took there cell phones and wallets off them.  The police found the girl and one of the boys and there being held in jail right now for robbery and assault.  Daniel was pretty shaken up but he's not badly hurt, only a few bruises. 

January 3, 2006

Happy New Year!  I spent new year's eve in Greymouth with Peggy and Graham.  We were there visiting Graham's parents.  We spent the night on the town (not that there is very much of it in Greymouth) and Graham walked around in a kilt playing the bagpipes.  It was quite interesting and he got lots of attention.  We met some people from Christchurch and went to a few pubs, but after the clock hit midnight we went "first footing".  It's an old tradition of Scotland (Greymouth is a Scottish settlement) what happens is everyone who can play the bagpipes goes around town after midnight and plays outside your door and you are supposed to invite them in for a drink and give them a Christmas cake.  I was pretty tired and fell asleep in the truck though.  The next morning Graham was sleeping all day, so Peggy, Graham's Mum, and I drove north to Punakaiki where the famous Pancake rocks are.  It's just a big heap of rocks that have been eaten away by the ocean, so now they look like a stack of pancakes.  Interesting eh?

January 7, 2006

Today Sara and I went to Ferry Mead and went on the Gondola.  It goes way up the mountains and you can see all of Christchurch.  When you get to the top there's also a Cafe and little museum where I learned the history of Christchurch.  On Thursday we went to QEII, the indoor pool near New Brighton.  It was raining so we couldn't go to the beach, so we went to QEII and went down the Hydro slides and swam in the wave pool.  It was a lot of fun, and sort of reminded me of Wisconsin Dells!

January 22, 2006

I just got home from Lake Brunner on the west coast.  I went there for the weekend with Sara, her dad, her step mom, and two younger step sisters.  We stayed at a campground across the street from the lake.  The view of the lake was awesome, the lake is right in front of the mountains.  During the day we went fishing, tubing, and laid on the beach.  Sara's dad gave me quite a good beating on the tube the first day, I fell off a few times and now I'm really sore.  It was a lot of fun though.  The fishing was fun too, although it was quite different than the fishing I'm used too.  We fished for brown trout.  All we had to do was let the line out behind the boat with just a hook, no bait, and once the line was out far enough you just set the pole in one of the stands and wait.  I hooked a trout once but as I was reeling in it jumped way out of the water and the hook ripped out of it's mouth.  I was bummed because it was a pretty nice fish.  At night we took a walk down the trail and they showed we some glow worms.  There these small worms in the dirt that glow real bright to attract insects that they eat.  Its really weird looking because they're just like small speckles of light in the dirt.  We came home today late in the afternoon.  Although I had fun I'm real glad to be home because I'm extremely sun burnt and I'm looking forward to sleeping in my own bed (The camp cots we slept on weren't too comfortable!)

January 25, 2006

Today Sarah, Tine, and I went into town to watch the World Buskers Festival.  It's a huge Festival that's held in Christchurch every year.  Buskers from all over the world perform in the town centre and its really cool.  Today, we saw a guy named Mario that did juggling acts and things like that, a French guy who did tricks on a bicycle, and lots of human statues.

January 29, 2006

Tine's host mother invited me to go on a day tramp with her walking group, so this morning they picked me up and we drove to Lyttleton where we caught the ferry over to Diamond Harbour.  The track was really nice, it followed along the beach so there was an awesome view.  The walk took us about 4 hours, but we were walking really slow.  We stopped halfway and sat to have our bagged lunches.  At the end of the track there was a little beach, so Tine and I decided to go for a swim.  After our swim we walked up the hill to a small cafe where we got something to drink and laid in the sun to dry our clothes.  After we were dry we caught the Ferry back to Lyttleton and then drove home.  When I got home I was so tired I just showered and went to sleep.

February 1, 2006

Today was my first day back at school. It felt really weird to be wearing my uniform again and also because I'm now a senior.  I met Jaime at her house and we walked to school from there. School didn't start till 10:15 and we got lectured by our form teachers all morning, had chapel, then it was lunch.  During lunch time we hosted a barbeque for the year 9 girls.  After Lunch (5th period) I had study, so I didn't have to stay at school.  So I caught the 1 o'clock bus to Sarah's house.  She had a bunch of mates over and cooked a meal from Quebec and shared it with us.  After we ate we watched a movie and then went home.

February 12, 2006

School is going really well.  My classes are quite difficult though.  I'm taking Math, Chemistry, Geography, English, and Classics.  I joined indoor soccer again so we have a game every Wednesday.  Then I teach hockey every Tuesday, so I've been fairly busy.  I spent the weekend with Harriette because one of her mates had a party so we went together.  It was really fun and I met a lot of people. 

February 24, 2006

I had a very busy week... we had swimming sports for school at QEII on Monday.  Since my clan is Glamis I had to dress up in all red.  The whole school dressed up in clan colours and then had a huge swimming competition at the pool.  I swam in the clan crocodile and did clan point swimming.  It was an interesting experience  haha.  Wednesday was Paca's birthday so I went out for tea with his family and some mates.  We ate at the Speight's Ale House on Bealey Ave, then we played pool with some people.  He really liked the gift that I made him too!  On Thursday my host family took me out to eat for my birthday.  We went to Burger Wisconsin which is a random fast food place in New Zealand.  I was very disappointed that the workers didn't even know what Wisconsin was. 

February 28, 2006

I just got home from an AFS weekend in Akaroa.  It was heaps of fun and we got to "bond" with the new students.  We have new students from Germany, France, Quebec, Denmark, Malaysia, Costa Rica, and Guatemala.  We hung out at the beach, went swimming, and played some touch.  It was mine and Brian's birthday on Saturday so we had a mini party which was a lot of fun.  Everyone started to open up to each other more and we all just had a good time!

March 5, 2006

I just got home from the Hokitika Wild Foods Festival.  I had such a good time.  I went with my friends Shareen and Lara and we stayed with there friend Romy who lives in Hokitika.  We got there Friday night and just went into town to have some fun.  The festival started Saturday morning...we got there around 10 and had some wild berry waffles which were delicious.  We walked around for a bit talked to some people then went back to the food tents to try some food.  Romy and Lara took worm shots which were absolutely disgusting.  Then Lara decided we should all try mountain oysters, which are just another name for goat testicles.  I bit into mine and immediately spit it out.  I just couldn't bring myself to eat it.  After that we were all ready to leave, so we hung out at the beach for a bit and waited for the parties to start that night!

March 26, 2006

Last night was so much fun!  Shareen got me tickets to go to edgefest with her and it was such a blast.  As soon as we got there Goodnight Nurse was playing and we both got lost in the moshpit.  After Shareen had finally found the shoe she lost we made our way to the front.  It took lots of pushing and shoving but by the time The Living End started to play we were right in front of the band.  The music was great but my ears are still ringing.  After POD and Elemeno P played it was clearing out so we decided to leave.  We ran into a few more Rangi girls on our way out who all said they had seen us on the big screen numerous times. It was such a great concert and I'll never forget it!

April 6, 2006

Today was my first hockey game for the winter season!  There are a few 17 year olds on my team but most of the team ages from 25-40 years old, and I'm the only girl in the league.  Fortunately though, Ice hockey is not a popular sport here so the contact hockey isn't very rough.  My team isn't very good so we lost by 2 goals.  It was a lot of fun though and I went out with some mates from my team afterwards!

April 24, 2006

Its School holidays YAY! We have three weeks off between the first and second term. Last week I went to the Marlborough Sounds with Peggy and Sara to visit Peggy's mum.   She lives in the bush in the middle of nowhere on some very windy road up a hill.  I was so car sick by the time we got there.  The first day her neighbours took us out on there boat and we took a little picnic in Jacob's Bay, then fished for a bit.  We didn't catch anything though, only small blue cod.  We Also spent a day in Picton.  We had to drop off Daniel and Jen's family because they were starting a week long tramp.  After dropping them at the pier we went through some shops, ate some lunch, then they took me through the aquarium.  We were the only people in the place that were over 10 years old, but it was exciting for me because I've never seen starfish or seahorses before.  The rest of the holidays we spent relaxing in the sun, going for a paddle in the kayaks and crazy enough we even went for a swim.  Its good to be back in Christchurch though and hanging out with my mates again.

May 13, 2006

Last night I went to the Crusader's Game with Clement and Andy!  They played Brumbies for Australia in Jade Stadium.  It was a really good game and the Crusader's won 33-3.  We all got really into it and painted our faces and everything.  After the game I met up with some mates and BK haha and then went home because I had to be up in the morning to teach Kiwi Skate!