Sunday, 1 April 2012

My favorite movie

Although it doesn't feel like I've been here for nearly 3 months, I can definetly sense the distance of how far away I am sometimes. I had no idea just how many fun things do actually happen at NHS over the period of 1 term. Coffee houses, Norwell Idol, Mr.Norwell, The hypnotist, and ofcorse rent a senoir day. Im missing them all. Being away for so long makes Norwell seem like its not a real place, like its a movie and Im watching it each week via twitter and facebook. Its a very strange feeling to watch your life play out without you in it, if that makes any sense. I find myself talking about my friends as if there characters in a TV show and trying to figure out what is going to happen next, when really what happens next is I come home. PLOT TWIST!

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

A common misconception

Being the only American international student at an all Aussi school pretty much grants you celebrity status, but with great power comes great responsibility..and by that I mean that everyone and everything that can speak can and will ask you a questions about America. Even my exchange student friends have a million questions to ask me, I never knew how actually fascinated people were with my country. The idea that my ordinary day at school back home is so interesting to my friends here is pretty cool. The most common questions I've gotten are..
"Where in the states are you from?"
"Wheres Boston?"
"Have you ever been in a movie?"
"Have you been to Harry Potter world?"
"Have you been to Las Vegas, Los Angeles or New York?"
"Do you own a gun?"
"Is it just like Glee?"
"Do you call them Flip Flops?"
"Do you have (insert american tv show) in America?"
"How many celebrities have you seen"
everytime I say 'Im tired' someone will always go "Oh yea what time is it in America?"
And my personal favorite, "Do you speak english?"
 These were the questions I always got in about my first month of school but now me and my mates from school have the usual chill conversations. Although a lot of people here already have their own personal opinions about America, the majority cant get enough. It really made me think about where I live. The people here always complain about how no famous bands/artists ever come to Perth, which made me think back on just how many concerts are thrown each summer in Boston. The students here always ask "why did you choose Perth its so boring nothing ever happens here" which reminds me of people back home always asking the new kids "How did you find Norwell?" No matter where you live the grass always seems to be greener on the other side, and being away for so long has really made me appreciate Norwell. Not only because of my family and friends but because of everyone and everything that live there, I've really thought about it over these past few months and realized we live in a amazing town. I know a lot of you are probably talking about just how much you want to get out of 'Borwell' but trust me, once you leave you will miss it more than you think.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Moore River, The Pinacles and Wedge Island

A lot of the schools here in Australia go on camps and excursions. Excursions are like field trips basically and camps are literally going camping with a class from school. Its so cool. So last weekend my family and Laras friends from school and their families all went on a camp to Moore River. For those reading this and not knowing anything about Moore River (like I did) I highly suggest searching for it on Google Earth. Basically its a huge Sand bar and on one side is a fresh water river and on the other is the ocean and if you wade through the outskirts of the river you get to all the camp sites and the general store there. As soon as we got to our camp site we set up all the tents in a big circle. Me and Lara shared a tent. After that we all ate and just hung out around the fire. It was great! The next morning it was hot, like 35 degree hot (celsius ofcorse) so we all headed down to the beach. For me the beach was the high point of the weekend, I dont think I've ever swam in the ocean for a longer time. The waves were massive, the kind we only get once a summer in cape cod during hurricane season, freezing and in the pouring rain, so it was beyond amazing to be duckdiving under waves twice your height all day in the warm sun.

fresh water river on the left, ocean on the right

amazing waves!!!

 On the way home from the camp Dave and Sue decided to take a few detours to show me some more of the amazing places here in Aussi. First stop, The Pinicles. The Pinicles are like the Australian stone hinge. Where there located used to be big green forests but something happend to the forest hundreds of years ago and now all the trees are petrified stone settled on bright orange sand. We drove through all the paths to look at the rocks. It was 40 degrees and way to hot to leave the comfort of the air conditioning. Oh and more Aussi slang for you, air-con= air conditioning. Anyways, the Pinicles were so cool, nothing like I had ever seen before. So Australian!

roads through the Pinicles

more rocks/trees

what used to be a huge green forest

The next stop on our scenic journey was Wedge Island. I'd Google Earth this one too because it's honestly the coolest place I've ever been. Its this amazing beach off the coast of Wedge Island in literally the middle of nowhere. To get to it you need to drive through the fishing villages there. The houses in these small villages are all made by hand by whoever wants to live there in it. Once you navigate your way through the roads you drive onto these big hills of dunes. The hills eventually flatten out and then your there! Its the most amazing place. Crystal clear blue water and bright white sand that goes on for miles. At first I was a little apprehensive about getting in the water because everybody was staring and pointing at these dark patches in the water that looked like seaweed but were moving. At first I thought they were sharks and no way was I going in, but it turns out they were only stingrays and then I was definitely ready to swim. The water was so cool and refreshing on such a hot day, perfect beach weather! 

fishing villages

beautiful Wedge Island beaches

After finishing lunch at the beach we were all ready to go home and to bed after such a long weekend of traveling. But even the ride back home had plenty to see on it. Huge white dunes, heaps of cool plants and trees and miles and miles of straight ahead road.

the bush

caution: wildlife
watch out for kangaroos


Sailing and Rotto

One of my new-found favorite past times here is sailing! We go with family friends named Kevin and Michelle. They have a little boy named Jackson(5) and two girls, Evie(17) and Ally(14). They have the most amazing boat I have ever seen. Its a white catamaran called "Tomcattin'." About 2 weeks before I arrived in Australia Sue told my mum that during my first week I would be going on a boat trip with my family here and Michelle and Kevins family and that we were going to Rottnest Island. All I knew about Rottnest then was that it was 11 miles off shore from Perth, not much info but I was down for the boat trip! My jet lag was just about over by the time the trip rolled around so it was a perfect first welcoming to the Australian sailing life and I was so excited. When we got to the sailing club my first reaction was 'wow, google earth didn't do this place justice.' When you first get out of the car there you see to the left of you perfectly kept green grass that goes right up to the edge of the jetty and on your right and in front of you all you can see is boats, miles and miles of boats. But to get to the docks and boats you walk through the sailing club. The inside of the club is very flash, dark glass sliding doors that lead you into the marble floored entrance surrounded by framed photos of members of the club sailing in competitions and around the world, then the entrance leads you into the main room which is carpeted in dark blue like the ocean and is fully surrounded by glass windows looking out onto the harbor. Its very beautiful. As we started to walk down the docks to Kevins boat there was a lot to take in. First off, to put things into perspective for people reading this, the biggest boat in the north river would be one of the very smallest boats here. As you walk down the docks the boats get bigger and bigger each few feet and the names of the boats start to sound less like 'Sassy Too' and more like 'Nicola Xavier: Adventurer III'. But there are some exceptions to that rule, for instance the 'Zig Zag' is truly the biggest boat I have ever seen that wasn't a cruise ship. Kevins boat is at the very end of the dock. We all put our bags in our bedrooms (the boat has 4 bedrooms, a kitchen, 2 bathrooms, a living room and a deck off the back of the boat...saweet.) After that me and Lara went up to the front of the boat where there are 2 seats that go on either side of the two hulls of the boat. Its the most amazing view! I could honestly have stayed out there for hours watching my feet dangle over the turquoise water. After about 2 hours of sailing we arrived at Rottnest. It was hot, very very hot. 42 degrees celsius, which is 110 degrees in Fahrenheit. But perfect weather for Rottnest. We were all diving in and out of the crystal clear blue water all day until we were tired enough for bed. I also got to celebrate Australia day while on this trip! Its basically Australias 4th of July, my favorite holiday! We got to watch fireworks being set off in Perth from the roof of the boat, it was absolute paradise and so hard to leave such a beautiful place but I knew I would be back soon enough. And in fact I was! Me, my family here, and more family friends all went to Rottnest for the day. We spent the whole day swimming and fishing and just having a great time, and ofcorse, no one wanted to leave! But on the way back everyone seemed to find their own little nook of the boat and chill out til we got back. I fell asleep a little too easily atop the boat and woke up just in time to see 4 wild dolphins swim past the boat. That now makes 10 wild dolphins I have seen in Australia, which even thinking to myself is absolutely amazing.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Australian slang and all its wonder

Shortly after arriving here I realized there was a lot of slang!... and that is probably the worlds biggest understatement. Every object here seems to be a cognate, you can tell what they mean but there not using the words you use. Here are just some of the more common slang words:
Bathers=Bathing suit
Thongs=Flip flops
Sunny's=Sun glasses
Cheese toasty=Grilled cheese
Daggy=Nerdy looking
Rashy=Rash guard
Chips=French Fries
They also use a ton of phrases such as: "good on ya!" "g'day" and "blimey". Also everyone here has a nickname. The rule of thumb is that if your name is greater than 1 syllable its shortend to 1 syllable. So, Fiona=Fee and Lara=Lars. But if your name is only one syllable then it becomes more than 1 syllable. So, Eve=Evey and Sue=Suesy. Its confusing at first but I swear, it does kinda make sense. Its like learning a whole other language and I realized just how much slang we have from Boston too. The first time I said "Oh thats wicked sick!" I got some pretty strange looks but I'm sure I gave them the same look the first time I heard thongs instead of flip flops. But after living here for about my first month I would say ive got most of the lingo down and Im no longer at tourist status.

Monday, 6 February 2012

The two week mark

       Today marks 2 weeks that ive been in australia, but it only feels like its been a few days. Somtimes I realize just how far away I am from everything when things arent going great here and I dont have my close friends and family to rely on, but a majority of the time I get to take it all in and be like in australia!!! The short time I have already spent here has opened my eyes. I never realized just how big the world was. Sure you can look at a map and pick out places you would want to spend your next holiday but if you really think about it, the world is amazing. What seems like a few inches on a map can mean the difference between 90 degrees and 20 degrees, or whether you'll be tanning or skiing. Well in my case...definetly not skiing. But the thought of that blows my mind. Theres so many places you can go and each one is so different! After doing countless google searches and talking to other exchange/international students, I definetly want to see the world! I hope that this trip is only the begining of many exchanges i'll be doing in the future. Maybe a gap year before college or maybe a semester abroad while in college, maybe both! Whatever the case I want to travel and see the world from all its different perspectives.

Saturday, 4 February 2012

The Arrival

     I was so releaved to finally meet my family at the airport in Australia. Dave, Sue and Lara all came to come get me. While we were driving home I couldn't beleave what I was seeing. Partially because I was so tired after flying for 32 hours but mostly because of how beautiful everything was. The sun was just beginning to set and we drove by the river and the city. Everything radiated colour and the air was so warm. When we reached the house me and lara jumped right into the pool. But after we got out I got the full tour of the house. Everything was so new and modern. The views were amazing. It wasn't long after the tour that I finally fell asleep. But just seeing a small glimpse of the place I was coming into was amazing and being so far away from everything had never been a better feeling.
me and lara in the pool

one of the many views

part of the house

The worlds best airport story

 After saying my last goodbye's to my closest friends and family and finally starting/finishing packing, two things finally hit me. 1. That I was leaving for Australia tomorrow and I wouldn't see my home, my family or friends for the next three months and 2. that I was leaving all that behind to go on the trip of a lifetime. Having two completely different thoughts in my head at the same time was a mix of nerves and excitement I had never experienced but was ready to take on.

 The next morning me, my mum and my brother got to the airport around 10am and met my dad there. We said our final goodbyes and I made my way to the gate. I remember standing there with all the business men and women and feeling so young. The passengers started boarding and all you heard was the 'beep...beep...beep' of each passengers boarding pass as they got on the plane but when the attending took my ticket she scanned it for about 1 minute and nope, no beep. My heart sank. I was completely alone at the airport and had no idea what was going on. All I had been thinking about was what movies I was going to watch on the plane and what kind of food I would get, never not being able to get on my flight. I later found out that all my original tickets had become invalid because they were changed to another airline because of the snow storm that morning. My mum came back to fix the problem and call the travel agency. A quick side note to anyone reading this, NEVER use Travelocity, They don't know what there doing over there. But anyways, after my mum finally got in contact with them and they rebooked my flights everything seemed ok. We had to wait until five for my flight to Dallas so we spent the day roaming Logan airport. We went to my gate early to make sure everything was right with my flights. Unfortunetly we ended up waiting for about 50 minutes behind a family with what seemed like about 15 kids and there english was very, very poor. When we finally got up to the desk it was about 4:45 and I was already running late. I gave the lady at the desk my ticket and again, no beep. We told her what had happened early today and how I needed to get on this flight. "One second, I'll be right back" she said and took my ticket with her into a room behind the desks. About 5 minutes later she came sprinting back with another man who worked at the desks. "We need your passport and Visa!" they both said and so we gave it to them in a hurry. The woman printed out another set of boarding passes and told the attendant to rush us to security. The other man still had my passport and visa in the room and said he would catch up with us. Me, my mum and the attendant started running towards security when I heard a voice calling my name and turned around to see the man waving my passport and visa in his hands. "THANK YOU!" I said and just kept running. I got rushed through security and the man working there told us that my flight was finishing boarding and we needed to hurry. If me and the attendant were running before, we're absolutely, full out sprinting now. But in the midst of all this running we caught each others eye and just smiled and let out a laugh. This whole situation was something out of a movie. Running through the airport as the music builds and everything goes into slow motion, this is hollywood gold! I finally reached the gate just as they were about to close the doors. I gave them my ticket and hugged my mum goodbye one last time then ran onto the plane. "Are you fiona?" asked the man working on the plane. I said yes and then he yelled "She got on the plane!!!" followed by the passengers applauding and me giving out the loudest "yeeeaahhh buddy" of my life. About 37 hours later, I arrived in Australia! It was then realized that without all the craziness from the day before I wouldn't have such an awesome story to tell now and that its only adding onto the adventure I've just begun.