Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Working...of a different sort

As you know, I really wanted to do something in my summer here that was purposeful. But as my internship experience fell through I have something else to really put my energy into and that is my health and fitness.

My dad back in Australia is really into exercising and eating well and before I left for the US he said to me, "Don't come back fat!". I pretty much laughed it off as I highly doubted I would gain weight as I'm pretty fussy with my food anyway and I don't like lots of condiments/grease/sugar/etc. If anything I thought I'd lose weight! How naive I was. A big change when I arrived in the US was that I wasn't used to having so much control over the amount I ate. My host parents encouraged me to eat more and didn't tell me to stop eating certain foods(like my mum would "That's enough now.") and I pretty much took full advantage of that. I became addicted to tortilla chips and at my old host family's house we didn't have a lot of pantry space so the extra-large packet of chips would be left out on the counter and I would just keep snacking at them way beyond the point where I became full. I'd almost lost sight of what 'being full' even meant. And then I was invited to various parties/gatherings which is not something I normally would do in Australia so I'd have free reign of waaaaay too much food- tortilla chips galore! Then as things started to go downhill with my old host family, my foreign exchange sister, Hannah and I would be left at home on the weekends we would pig out and spend our days eating food and watching Desperate Housewives. I think I really suffered from emotional eating at that point. Of course, when I went to New York with the exchange students I wasn't depressed or anything; I was eager to take full advantage of the delicious food NYC had to offer! Such as the amazing Hale and Hearty Soups stores which sold delectable deli sandwiches and salads and of course plenty of amazing healthy soups. [Such a brilliant idea for New York where a soup is just what one needs in the cold weather!] I even went to my first Indian restaurant(since being in the US, I mean) there as well as an Italian restaurant which I thought was amazing but the Italian exchange student didn't think it was anything fancy, go figure!

Anyway, where was I? Oh, right. So basically I'd gained 20 pounds in the US. It sounds so much more when it's in pounds than in kilos. Moving to a new host family really gave me a fresh look at things and an opportunity to start afresh. I love america's teen magazine, Seventeen and recently they came out with a new exclusively health and fitness issue. I knew I needed to change up my exercise routine as I was just doing strength exercises and I just wasn't seeing many results. So as I have lots of free time this summer I've taken up their 4 week 'Best Beach Body' plan. This is my third week on the plan and it is really working for me. I'm feeling fitter and I can no longer do my 'pregnant stomach'. Actually my stomach is looking lovely and flat at the moment, if I may say so. Basically a typical workout according to the plan starts with 5 mins of skipping. Then I do one of the cardio dance moves for one whole song. I alternate with my own dance moves because it is very tiring doing two side-lunges, a spin and then a squat; continuously for a whole song. You're supposed to do 6 songs in total but doing three is plenty enough for me. I would like to at least work up to four but if I'm sweaty and red in the face after three I think I'm good. Next is usually a strength workout for a different area of the body. There are different ones for butt, legs, arms and abs. Then as a cool down I do some of the yoga moves in the magazine, which are hard! I've definitely become more flexible now though.  I do this in the morning, usually after breakfast as the workout is so much harder on an empty stomach and then in the evening I got for a 'speed-walk' round the block a couple times. I've been trying to do a jog around the park nearby too but I keep getting shin splints which makes it difficult.

Of course, food is a big part of my new body overhaul so I'll let you know what I'm up to in that regard in an upcoming post.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Internship [part 3]

I was equally as nervous on day 2 as I was on day 1, so much so that I just wanted to run away and not turn up but my hostbrother dropped me off and there was no way I was turning back. Shaking in my boots I asked for Arturo at the newdesk and soon enough he came through and told me I could watch whilst one of the newsreaders, Katie Marzullo, did the 'Pound Puppy' segment. I watched as Katie held a little Jack Russel puppy and ran through the whole segment first time without a single mistake. As soon as she was done she rushed off to her next engagement. I stayed behind and spoke to the women from the dog shelter who'd brought the pup. I was telling her how I had a Jack Russel myself but that she didn't look like "Milo" who was white with brown and black patches but instead is tan with white socks on her feet. The shelter worker told me that was exactly how Milo's brothers and sisters looked too but they didn't pick them for the segment as it was thought they wouldn't 'sell' as well. That's kind of sad really as they're all puppies and are no doubt adorable but I guess the world revolves around aesthetics and there's no escaping that.

I spent the rest of the time working the teleprompter and I was feeling pretty comfortable with it considering it was only my second time working it but then my worst nightmare happened...the teleprompter screen kept rolling backwards and as much as I tried to turn it the other way it was just doing its own thing. I felt sick to my stomach as I thought it was something I was doing wrong and would be in huge trouble as this was being aired live and could haven potentially been a major embarrassment for the news station. Luckily one of the newsroom operators told me it was just a technical issue and not caused by my rookie teleprompter skills. At this point Arturo was doing the news segment and he just had to ad-lib which I was super impressed with. I'm sure many people assume that being a news reader isn't difficult as you're just spoon fed everything like a robot but these anchors know exactly what they're saying and are capable of speaking without the teleprompter if the need arises. I even discovered that at times the newsreaders will diverge from the script and use their own lines so the segment appears more authentic.

Thinking the technical errors were over I started to relax again but then someone shouted that old scripts were coming up on the teleprompter which the newsanchor was reading off of. To make matters worse the footage on  the screen was from a current story so all of a sudden the technical operators deleted all of the scripts from the teleprompter which completely confused the newsanchor who was mid-way through a sentence. Thankfully they put on some pre-recorded footage for a couple minutes while they transferred the new scripts to the teleprompter. Live television may be fun to watch but for the people behind the scenes it's hard work, stressful and involves a lot of risk as so much can go wrong and every mistake is broadcast to thousands of tv sets in the community.

When it was time for me to go home I went to collect my things from the desk where Tom worked and I found a big poster rolled up with a post-it note attached reading "Welcome to America - This is for you!". It turned out to be a promo poster for some new tv show(some drama about dinosaurs that I'm quite sure never made it past the first season). I couldn't have been more grateful and was extremely grateful that my existence there was even acknowledged.

I was due to come back the following week and I had every intention but didn't have any transport from my host family so I had to get there on foot. It turned out to be a very long walk and I wasn't really sure where I was going, I just had to go off memory from when we'd driven to the news station so I kept walking along this street and there was no news station in sight but all these buildings I didn't recognise at all and there weren't even proper paths to walk on any more. I started to get scared too as it didn't seem like the safest part of town and I kept seeing all these creepy men. It was getting super close to the time I had to be there at so I decided to head back thinking I must have completely got the roads mixed up. I knew then though I wouldn't be returning, they wouldn't want someone who didn't show up and I didn't have Arturo's number to call him and apologise. They needed someone they could rely on and I knew I couldn't walk back in there again knowing I'd let people down as they would have been assuming I was coming in to work the teleprompter for them.

Secretly I was glad to have an excuse not to go back there again. On the bright side I was extremely grateful to have had the two day experience and thinking about it I would have been really nervous if I had to go back each week as there weren't that many people to talk to me as everyone seemed too busy so awkwardness would have been aplenty. I really hate awkwardness. Another reason I was glad it ended so soon was that I didn't really want to have to walk such a long distance on my own in the unsavoury part of the city, two days a week.

 Had I done the internship at a later stage in my life I think things would have gone better- I would have been more confident in my self and not been so afraid of making mistakes and upsetting people. I knew I probably upset Arturo as he went out of his way to get me the internship and then I bailed on him. I did try to make amends by sending an email of apology but it never received a reply....

 You live and you learn.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Internship [part 2]

I was so nervous to begin my little interning experience at the local news station. I was greeted by the news anchor Arturo Santiago who showed me the broadcasting room where he said I would later use the teleprompter(you know, the little box the news anchors read their scripts off). I was quickly shown how to use this little dial that makes the words keep moving forward(or backwards if you go too fast!) and then told I wouldn't be needed until 5pm when the first evening news show started. I had organised with Arturo to come in every Thursday and Friday during summer at 4pm. I wondered what I would do until 5pm and wandered round til I found the main newsroom but I couldn't find Arturo at first and I just stood there super awkwardly whilst everyone else took phone calls, discussed news stories and worked at their computers. Luckily I found Arturo who said I could just sit at the assignment desk with this young guy, Tom. The assignment desk was a raised 'work station' at the back of the room and is where they had all these police radios. Tom was super friendly to me, even though he looked really stressed out. He received the breaking news first and was to assign new stories to different people at the studio. He took phone calls, listened to the radios(which were constantly rabbiting on; half the time I could barely understand what was said although I did catch an alert of a possible suicide attempt which was rather intriguing), alerted everyone else in the room of breaking news updates and wrote articles for KCOY's website. He was telling me you basically have to be A.D.D. to do his job which was very true. You have to be able to divide your focus between various tasks, something I didn't envy. I just sat next to him for most of the time whilst reading the latest articles on the website and he asked me various questions about my exchange in the US. He told me he was from Philadelphia and that the people over there are really friendly but he didn't want to move back there as vacationing there made it that much more special. I wanted to ask him more about why he moved to California but he was in the middle of writing articles and such. I mean I wanted to be more social but I didn't want to disturb him either. Then at 5pm, it was the first evening news show of the night and Arturo was like 'Are you ready, Shivi?' and told me to go back to the broadcasting room. I didn't really think I would be using the teleprompter as I was barely shown how to use it but that's exactly what they wanted me to do. My heart was beating so fast. I mean, it was live television and the teleprompter is what the anchors rely on. At the beginning it was really hard to control it but after a while I got used to each anchor's speed at which they speak. Each time it was a commercial break I had to stretch my hand and roll my eyes as I had to be so focused and still during the half hour which went by so quickly. Then in my break before the next show I went back up to the assignment desk and this blonde-haired girl came up to me and asked if I was interning. Turns out she's a foreign exchange student too but on a college program and she's from Germany. She even knew one of the German exchange student from my group too! She was so friendly and was telling me that she's interning 6 days a week during the summer and this was her second week at KCOY. I told her I was doing the teleprompting and I think she was a tad jealous as she said she'd never got to do it before so she came and watched me for the 6pm show. I found out I was to do 3 shows each day so I finished up at 7:30pm. I felt really empowered by the end of the day as I really had to come out of my shell and interact with all these adults. I was telling my host sister that during my last year of high school back in Australia I didn't have many opportunities for meeting new people or speaking to adults so I was really proud I was able to cope.

I'll let you know how the second and last day of my internship went in my next post; Internship [part 3].

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Internship [part 1]

Let me tell you about an event in my life recently that has passed much sooner than I had hoped.

I wanted to do something this summer that was some form of work, that would get me out of the house. Ideally I wanted to get a job to earn some extra cash but because of my visa I can't do any paid work. I can do 'cash-in-hand' jobs such as babysitting but it's pretty unlikely to find work in that area. Believe me I tried, I stuck up flyers all around where my old host family lived and nothing came of it.

I was reading online about how many ex-seniors do summer internships in their summer break before starting college to get some extra experience to help them with college and getting jobs later on in life. Usually with internships you work for free or sometimes you may get paid a very small wage. So I thought that would be perfect to do in my summer holidays as I needed some sort of work I could do because I didn't want to feel purposeless or bored. Plus I thought it would be great to experience a real work environment as when I got back to Australia I'm going to have to apply for a part-time job.

My previous host sister actually works as a news anchor on the local morning news show as part of the KCOY news station and my old host mom had suggested maybe I could  do an internship there during the summer and although we talked to my host sister about it nothing ever came of it. Then after moving to my current host family and when I revisited the idea of interning I decided that just because I no longer had a contact within the company didn't mean I couldn't try to look into it myself. So I found the KCOY website and sent a message to one of the contact emails listed on the site. Honestly, I doubted I would get a response but I did. I had a reply from the evening news anchor! We arranged a meeting where he told me I would be job shadowing. Basically it's just a simpler version of an internship. Apparently I had missed the deadline to apply for internships so I was fortunate that they were still trying to accommodate me. I think perhaps with an internship there you would have been paid. The news anchor, Arturo told me that I would be helping with various things such as editing, writing news articles, working the cameras and the teleprompter.

I'll let you know how it all went down once I started working there in my next post- Internship [part 2].

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Den.

One of the things I miss about being with my previous host family is my bedroom there. It was pretty close to my 'ideal' bedroom. I had a double bed, a beautiful wood chest of drawers with pastel-coloured knobs and a pale golden-yellow wall to die for. I would have liked more storage though as my room started to pile up with junk every now and then but when it was tidy, it was a gem and I'd decorated the walls with these butterfly decals and momentos I'd collected from my time in the US. It had so much warmth and character to it. Enjoy.

News article on school track team

My first pennant! I love it to death!

My wardrobe, rubbish bin, recycling bin, mickey hat and statue of liberty head accessory

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Acquiring A Sister

Several weeks back I said 'adios' to my dear friend and exchange sister, Hannah Mathis. She's from Austria(something that always confused people during introductions being that I'm from a very similarly named country) and was a fellow exchange student I lived with for 6 months with my old host family. She was honestly my rock. People always thought we were sisters. We are, just not biologically. Hannah was a very intelligent individual and her english was pretty good right from the start but it improved in leaps and bounds during the course of her half-year stay. Overall we were pretty different people. Hannah is sophisticated, trendy, polite and caring. I'm more....rough around the edges. She's a year younger than me but probably more mature. She put up with all my craziness(like listening to my numerous rants and watching me pose in front of all the mirrors in our house) and my lazy/messy-ness.

But we were very similar at the same time too- we loved all things girly like makeup and fashion. Shared a love of cooking and food and we both thoroughly enjoyed our Desperate Housewives & Keeping Up With The Kardashians marathons. Towards the end of the six months she spent in the US we started to finish each other's sentences and even laughed at the same time. 

The sign I made Hannah for the airport
Finally the day came that Hannah was to go back to Austria and I wondered what school would be like without her by my side and what home life would be without someone in the same situation as me, to chat to. I felt really happy for Hannah as I knew she was ready to go home and excited for life back in Austria. I was kind of jealous to be honest as I, myself felt ready to go back too. I didn't cry when she walked out of the tiny little airport to hop on the plane. I'll admit I did get a tad teary the next day when I saw her room void of all her belongings and replaced with children's games and toys(as the room was previously intended for my hostmom's granddaughters). 

Although we're no longer in the same country, we're still tied together. We're sisters now and forever. And I've told Hannah that she's coming to my wedding- there's no way she's getting rid of me!

Hannah's farewell card

Friday, July 8, 2011

4th of July Weekend


Myself, my host sister, host mother and her boyfriend went to a wedding of a family friends'. I realised it was my first actual wedding(I once went to a vow renewal ceremony) that I've attended. My host mom was quite suprised when they get invited to at least two a year. It was a very traditional ceremony held in a catholic church with a very bold colour pallet of hot pink with the secondary colour being bright lime green. Not what I would choose but I was told it represented the bride perfectly- a very loud and out there woman, full of life. I was absolutely ravenous at the reception waiting for the food to arrive and dove right into the bread basket. Even though I'm not a dessert fan I was fond of the chocolate cake(not the icing or fillings though) and so my host sister, Tiffany and I went round and nabbed a couple more plates of cake from those who had vacated to the dance floor. Stuffed to the brim, Tiffany and I later went and danced off some of our calories and as per grad nite I really went crazy by the end of the night, most obvious when they put on the slow songs....I kid you not. 


I didn't eat a single meal at home. We had breakfast at this award-winning American diner/cafe. The breakfast menu items such as 'biscuits and gravy' as well as 'pork ribs and eggs' scared me into ordering a lunch item- a chicken/pesto/sun-dried tomato wrap. We went to the beach later on in the day which was so so foggy!


My older host brother, Edi likes to make weird faces

My hostmom, Diana and her boyfriend, Jesse

It really was a team effort to get all the food ready for 4th of July as there were eight of us all up that went. My host mom's boyfriend loaded up the esky, my host mom sliced up the salad items and everyone loaded stuff into the cards including tables and more than eight chairs(I think we had 11....). We went up to a little beach shopping strip where people hiring bikes that were all decked out in 4th of July gear. USA flags were everywhere. It was very different to Australia day. People are so proud of their country here. Even though we ended up being way too far away from the actual fireworks that night and the water at the beach was so cold is made my feet numb I think everyone could agree it was a brilliant day spent with close family and friends.

Those are some brave men, the water was so cold my feet were numb!


Thursday, July 7, 2011

Gone Hiking.

Just before I changed host families I was invited to go on a hike by some friends from school. It's quite refreshing  for a group of teenagers to suggest such a thing but then again I didn't go with your average group of teen gang-bangers. I went with my wonderful exchange buddies, Hannah(the Austrian) and Ngan(the Vietnam) plus four other students from my school who all got numerous cords, badges, awards,etc at senior honors night and were all valedictorians and whatnot.

If you're up in the Central Coast of CA, perhaps you've heard of Point Sal? Anyway, I hadn't- but we hiked it. I really had no idea what I was in for, especially since I'd never been hiking before. Nevertheless I equipped myself with aerosol sunscreen and sunnies and managed to barely get sunburnt. My ears and eyelids(?!) were a tad red but I was pleased since I was the palest kid and the others got redder.

The two guys in our group were seasoned hiking pros and led the way. Of course our first obstacle was a ginormous hill which left my legs aching(akin to the feeling one gets when doing lunges). Luckily that was the most difficult part. The walk itself was very fun. I can imagine the same hike with a group of typical adults would have been much less amusing. There was much laughter and silliness. Pranks, swordfights with sticks as well as harmonica playing distracted us all from the hours of walking we endured that day.

Unlike in Australia when you are fairly unlikely to spot animals on a walk, I actually saw many on this American hike: Eagles, crabs, snakes, insects, lizards, rabbits, mice, cows and seagulls. We headed for a secluded beach as our stopping point but had to go off-trail to get to it and my heart stopped when I caught a glimpse of a thick, fat snake in the grassy surroundings. I urged everyone to keep moving forward as quickly as possible. I could breathe again once we got towards the ocean but only momentarily as we then had to embark down a steep cliff-face in order to get to the actual beach.  I could just imagine myself slipping down the crumbing cliff but somehow I made it(very slowly I might add).

" Where's the next step?! "
We were all ravenous by the time we got to the beach which was definitely not your average tourist beach as there were literally hundreds of thousands of white insects jumping about in the sand underneath our feet. You basically had to just block it out unless you wanted to faint from squirming. Lunch was lovely though; there were tomato/pesto/avacado sandwiches, parmesan-garlic puff pastry rounds, bananas, raisins, flaxseed chips, strawberries and mandarins.

Although the water was freezing, our friend Tommy decided to brave the waves. We kicked around a hacky sack(which had the Australian flag printed on it), threw my boomerang(with much more success than last time) and made bracelets out of seaweed with a unique braid that Ngan taught us all. And we buried the guys in the sand-obviously.

Trying to avoid the water as the tide came back in

The walk home was much harder(and definitely felt longer) than the initail hike to the beach and my heart was pounding as we walked past the 'snake territory' as well as climbing back up the beach cliff but much to my delight we were able to celebrate our hard efforts at a frozen yoghurt store afterwards.

The Point Sal hike was definitely a highlight from this year so far but I will never ever do it again.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Pearly Whites

Just walked to one of the nearby health food stores today to buy some hair dye. I was planning to get a new toothbrush from the pharmacy but actually saw some pretty nifty ones at the health food store, Lassens. I was flabbergasted(...well not exactly but isn't that just such a fabulous word?) when I saw a toothbrush made from old dollar bills! You can't get much more american than that- those green papery notes to represent a dollar coin are quite an oddity, especially since I'm used to $1 being in a gold coin form and plus aussie money is plastic. Americans here are amazed that you can't rip up Australian notes(we don't call them bills).

Dollar bills aside, the toothbrush is super eco-friendly as you can replace the head when it gets worn(one extra replacement head is included in the pack). Plus they're manufactured on low-energy machines in the US and the packaging uses vegetable inks and 100% recycled PET plastic.

The bristle heads looks really big too so I'm hoping it'll do a good job. Hopefully I'll also be getting a new tooth polish soon(from here). So I'll have to see whether they turn into a dynamic tooth-cleaning duo...

Check here for availability

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

What are your hobbies?

I hate that question. I've had a lot of people ask me it here in the US and I know they mean well but the whole point of this year is for me to try and 'find' myself, as cliche as that may sound. I don't know exactly what I'm passionate about just yet and what if I'm just the kind of person who potters around, flitting between hobbies. For example, I take photographs every now and then but I wouldn't classify it as my hobby.

When people ask me this question I stutter and stumble. In my downtime I watch a lot of television and go on the internet but it's almost embarrassing to call that a hobby. But the thing is, watching tv itself isn't really the 'hobby'. Same thing with the internet- they are both so diverse that people of polar opposite personalities could say their hobbies were watching tv and surfing the internet yet you wouldn't be able to distinguish the individuals in the slightest.

I don't want to lie to people either. I don't want to say I craft because really I'm only putting my toes in the ocean of craft and definitely not on a regular basis.

I like to switch things up and would like to take up new hobbies such as gardening, crocheting, surfing, volunteering and sewing but those things are not always possible when you're on exchange. Maybe if I had opportunities to do those things I would have a more exciting answer to the question but just because I don't doesn't mean I'm boring or have no interest in creating a more well-rounded life for myself.

A question I prefer much more on the other hand is: What are your interests?
Here would be my answer: being environmentally friendly, alternative food lifestyles(ie. veganism, raw food & organic), fashion, eco-aware beauty, organising, business, crafting, self-empowerment, nutrition, fitness, meditation, collecting, travel, writing, blogging, books/magazines, board games, outdoor activities, gadgets, music, disney, jonas brothers, the kardashians, america, live shows/concerts, volunteering, shopping, hanging out with friends, philosophy, growing my own fruits/vegetables, skyping, making music, old children's tv shows, home decor, vintage finds, thrift stores, photography, foreign languages, guys, playing with pets, bike-riding, children, animals, mental fitness, puzzles, dancing......and the list is ever-expanding.

So to answer the other question. No, I don't have hobbies. I have things that interest me and my life is ever-changing and I don't have the desire to dedicate my time to only a handful of 'hobbies'.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Beach Bum


I'm quite fond of the beach now, I must admit. I don't see myself becoming a beach junkie any time soon but I definitely see myself frequenting it more often and just lazing around there. To kick off my summer holidays I spent a couple days down there with two of my foreign exchange student besties- Hannah from Austria(whom I live with) and Ngan from Vietnam as I really needed to spend some quality time with both of them before they'd leave for their home countries. We went to Pismo Beach- a popular tourist attraction as they have lots of little stores selling cute beachy souveneirs such as shells and me and Ngan both bought these $4 canvas drawstring backpacks as I told her we needed to go jogging. I wanted to burn off the pizza her hostmom had fed us and running in the sand means more resistance which means more calories burnt. Of course, we got tired of that  very quickly. Our real mission however on that particular day was to send a message in a bottle. You see I have this little book called '101 to do before you're old and boring'. Whilst I have done many of the tasks I thought it would be a brilliant list to complete in America. I've run up an escalator the opposite way before but not in America. I've sang in front of an audience before but not in America. I've made a paper crane before but not in America. You get my point. So Ngan and I(on this particular day, Hannah was wandering around Hollywood- lucky thing!) ate frozen yogurt(my healthy weakness) at Pismo Yogurt which on my fro-yo scale is very, very close to Pinkberry. Whilst we munched(munched doesn't seem the right word for such a soft food....) on our healthy goodness we wrote our letters, slipped them in zip-lock bags and put them in plastic water bottles along with a shell. For someone whose second language is English, Ngan wrote hers really nicely- better than mine. I kept mine short and sweet but I'm sure if someone finds it they'd be quite pleased all the same:
Dear Stranger,
Congratz bro'! You found a message in a bottle! Please send an email stating who you are and where you found this to:
I'm Shivi, I'm from Australia and I'm 17 years old but I'm sending this from Pismo Beach, California! I'm an exchange student doing high school over here and loving it! The American high schools are epic- the cafeterias, yellow school buses and all-over school spirit are so awesome! I take drama, marketing and US history plus I used to do track and field- although I always came last! I just finished school for the year now and even though I'm a junior they let me participate in the senior graduation and wear a cap/gown! 
 Just so you know, Australians don't ride to school on kangaroos and we don't all surf- me included! I guess I should take some lessons here at Pismo!
I'd love a reply, Shivi xx
Wow. It seemed so much longer when I had it written out. Anyways, Ngan and I went out to the very end of the pier to, well, 'dump' our bottles. We didn't want to get in trouble for littering so we tried to do it very conspicuously although on my first try the wind blew my bottle backwards and hit some woman. It didn't dawn on us til then that the bottles could very easily just drift straight to shore. Sure enough as we walked back down the pier they floated along with us. Eventually we lost sight of them but for all I know I could get an email from someone in Pismo. Fingers crossed it gets to Vietnam or Australia. I think then we just lazed around on the warm sand, went on the swings, watched the kite surfers do their thing and attempted to throw my boomerang although I didn't really know the proper technique. It sort of came back to us but I think that was just because of the strong wind. 

I also spent a couple days down at the beach with Hannah too where we saw three guys in a line rubbing sunscreen into each other's backs-somewhat disturbing. I also attempted to throw my boomerang again as by then I had watched a tutorial on youtube but I embarrassed myself even more as it went straight down into the ground, meters from where I threw it. Ngan had a go herself and although I warned her about throwing it when there were beach-goers nearby she took her luck and almost clipped two groups of people. We also asked a couple to take a picture of the three of us and when they started talking I fell in love- they were British! Accents enthrall me nowadays, especially now that I realise how similar Britain is to Australia(the same cannot be said for the US and Britain though). Oh and we 'munched' on more fro-yo and some green beans and hummus we'd brought from home. Last but not least; it was a perfect windy day for kite-flying!

Ngan tried Vegemite on crackers for the first time
All in all it was quite wonderful and I am pleased to say I didn't get burnt(minus a small ring of red around my thighs where I obviously didn't put as much sunscreen) which was quiet an achievement considering I am so 'white'. I'm actually the palest exchange student in our group which is quite hilarious since I come from such a hot country and all the other students are from cold European nations. The Italian student, Tommy, told me that I was the whitest person he'd ever seen. I shall take that as a compliment. 

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Get Ready For Summer.

I'm going to be staying in America for the summer holidays which are much longer than Australian summer holidays and I'm going to be moving host families in less than a week so the few plans I did have are kind of up in the air now and I have no idea what my new host family will do over the course of the next three months. I'm sure you're wondering why I'm moving host families. I really can't get into too much detail as I know my hostmom may be reading this but they really didn't think about the consequences of having an exchange student in terms of money/time/thought/heart/energy. It is a big commitment and not everyone is suited to being a host family. I must admit it does anger me that now I have to move because of their poor judgement so I am trying my best to accept it.

So now I just have to get through summer. All the foreign exchange students are leaving now and the next wave won't be arriving til August(who so far all seem to be 2 years younger than me..) so I can't hang out with them and I haven't really made a lot of close friends at the school I was attending.

But in saying that I am going to make the best of this situation and shall chronicle all the fun things I get up to in this blog. It's going to be a summer like no other- that's for sure.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Graduation 2.0

It is now officially summer holidays in America which seems really weird as back in Australia it's winter and they're all still stuck in school. The last day of school went really well as I got to attend graduation with all the seniors along with the other two foreign exchange girls at the school. It felt much more like I was graduating(compared to my graduation in Australia) due to the whole cap and gown ensemble plus I got to wear a pin from doing choir for the semester and us three foriegn dudettes got to wear silver 'honors' cords for getting a good GPA which we were all very proud of. Before all the seniors gathered and got lined up in the gym we had time to spare to say farewell to our teachers.

Me, our drama teacher and Ngan
Our attempts at gang signs...
 I took a drama class this year with the vietnamese foreign exchange student, Ngan so we went into the class and said our final goodbyes to our teacher, Ms Calvert and our class. It was so nice to get such a warm welcome from everyone- we could tell the class had really enjoyed having us that year and that really made my day more than anything. All the seniors then lined up in pairs, with all the girls being given roses to carry with them. All the foreign exchange students got to line up near the front of the queue(<--- apparently some americans don't know what this word means....), there was only four of us though; Ngan paired up with the guy from Finland and I went with my exchange sister, Hannah(who's from Austria). As we walked over to the outdoor stadium, I was paranoid my cap was going to fall off- even though I'd anchored it down with various bobby pins. Just my luck it blew off as everyone was walking in the big long line. After I'd put it back on some guy further back was yelling "Someone lost their tassle! Someone's not gonna graduate!". I soon realised it was my tassle and ran back to grab it, holding onto my cap to make sure it didn't fly off a second time. It was somewhat embarrassing as everyone was laughing as I was running back to try and find my place again in the line.

The ceremony was amazing, people in the stands made signs to congratulate their kid and there were noise makers, confetti, streamers and even a condom someone had blown up. The seniors also snuck in beach balls and were hitting them around. Although whenever the wind carried one out of the seating area for the seniors the security guards would take them away but then 5 minutes later you'd see another one being hit around. My host mom said that when her daughter graduated there were all these blow up penises being bounced around and that the staff were madly trying to gather them all up- I would have killed to see that!


Then at the end of the ceremony all the seniors swapped their tassle from the right to the left side of their cap and threw them in their air. It really is like the movies. Although my cap didn't go very high when I threw it so I tried a second time to no avail but gosh darn it was amazing all the same! After the ceremony, we walked out onto the baseball field where everyone was greeted by their families and heaps of balloons. Lots of photos were taken. We took lots of mid-air photos but it seemed my feet were always on the ground in all of them!

I must admit, my second high school graduation definitely topped my first- it was a lot more entertaining.

Now I just have to tackle'll see what I mean in my forthcoming posts.