Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas Photos

Me playing Cricket for the first time with my (host) cousins.
My mum and I
Me with the Christmas ham
Our Family Christmas Tree
My Dad and I

Friday, December 19, 2008

Windy Wellington!

Kia Ora everyone! Been a long time since I have written a blog! My last trip has taken me to the bottom of the north island to the capital city in New Zealand, Wellington. It is known to be one of the places with the most wind in all of NZ and in the world. It was great weather for the most part. I got to go to the parliament building while I was there and do a tour around to see where the Prime Minister of NZ does a lot of stuff. We saw places such as where he entertains queens, kings, other prime ministers, and presidents. I also got to visit Te Papa museum which is the national museum for New Zealand. Nina and I were lucky enough to be there the week they opened up the new piece of it which is the part that holds the colossal squid. It weights in at a shocking 495kgs which equals 1091 pounds. It was found and frozen in Antarctica. It was something pretty cool to see. While in Wellington, I also got to meet up with my mates Jane and Alexis who flew over on the same plane as I did and who will fly back on the same plane with me. Jane is from New York State and Alexis is from Phoenix, Arizona. We had a great time hanging out! Nina and I had nothing to do one night so we decided to go to a football game (soccer) and watch that along with 2 other mates, 1 being from my exchange chapter. The 4 of us greatly enjoyed the game and it was nice to actually attend a NZ sporting event. Jane, Alexis, and I also managed to get to one of the many Burger Wisconsin's which are in Wellington and in other parts of the country. It is home of the best burgers in the world! The burgers were great so if you make it to NZ, go to a Burger Wisconsin!

Lastly, I would just like to send out a big thanks to everyone that has been keeping up with the New Zealand Adventure! I hope everyone has enjoyed my posts and has been coming back often to make sure I am still kick’n! I hope everyone has a very good holiday season and a Merry Christmas! This will however be the last blog I write. My journey is going to come to an end before I know it. However, the dates of my arrival are still undecided. (My parents don’t even know when I am coming home! haha). The next few things I am doing while still in NZ are having Christmas with family and then it will no doubt be New Years. Then I will spend my remaining extra weeks finishing off what I wanted to achieve while being here. I would like to send out a big thanks as well to some of the people who have made this trip possible for me and this much fun! The following people/places deserve great thanks- Ron and Geney Johnson, Steen Construction, Diane and Ken Hendricks along with ABC Supply Co., The Schwerke Family, Mark and Donna Steen, Hong Construction, the Colby's, my parents and other Pettis Family, and all the other people who donated to help make this trip as much fun as it has been. I will be posting Christmas photos on the blog but there will be no written information. Check back to see pictures!

Big thanks to Tom and Pat Morgan for hosting me too! Could not have been possible without them! They are great beyond belief!

Once again, THANK YOU and have a wonderful Christmas. See you all mid-late January! Cheers.

Josh Pettis

Pictures below include:

Me and Alexis and Burger Wisconsin
Me with mates at the footy game
Me and Felicity (the lady Nina and I stayed with)
The Parliament building
The Squid

Saturday, December 13, 2008



Hope everyone is doing well. As you all are probably aware, my brother Chris got married last weekend in Hahei just above the beach. It was a great wedding and we were blessed to have scorching hot weather. It was on Saturday and the weather was around 85-90 degrees. I got to meet several people that were either family or friends of the family. Because my mum Pat has most of her family living in Australia, I got to meet several of her side of the family which I enjoyed greatly. During the wedding, I was asked to video tape as much as I could and take photos of it as well. I managed to take lots of video and many pictures. I later put all the video into DVD’s to give to close friends and family to have as a gift.

My mum (in the states) has been asking me, “When are you writing a blog? When are you writing a blog? Have you written it yet? Yet?.” I figure I probably should write one now so you all know that I am doing fine (haha). I am currently in the countries capital, Wellington, on a small getaway trip. I will be sure to write another blog when I return back to my small town up north with many pictures and stories to share. I hope everyone is doing great! Check back late next week for a blog on my trip to Wellington. Cheers!

Picture 1- My Mum and I Dancing
Picture 2- My sister Shelly and I
Picture 3- Me and my sister-in-law Tracey and my brother Chris :)

Friday, November 21, 2008


Kia Ora! Hope I find everyone is doing fine! As you all know, I just came back from Christchurch a few days ago so I have been trying to sort through photos and things. I will start by saying Christchurch is a beautiful city with many things to offer almost anyone. It is a very English looking city with old buildings. It has around 370,000 people and public buses traveling every direction you can see!
Nina (Austrian) and I flew down to Christchurch Monday afternoon and arrived around 3p.m that day. The lady we were staying with (Barbara) picked us up there and showed us around the city. We then went back to her house and ordered pizza because Barbara had a dinner meeting in the city.
The next day I went into the city to hang out with some exchange students I had not seen since the first day in NZ and Nina took off to go on a horse trek all day. Meanwhile, I hung out with Aniely (Brazil) and Debora (Paraguay) and they showed me around the city. Aniely lives in Christchurch with her host family so it was nice having someone who knew the city showing you around! Later that day, the girls took me on the city tram and gondola ride which was very fun! After that, we did lots of shopping for souvenirs and had dinner. I left them to go home but I ran into a "slight" problem........ I managed to get on the wrong bus which took me ALL THE WAY to the coast which was 40 minutes out of the way. I was then dropped off at the last stop which was a good 1 hour and 20 minutes from where I was suppose to get dropped off! I managed to find the right bus eventually and make it back home. However, I had given Nina enough crap about getting on the wrong bus about 2 weeks ago so between her and Barbara laughing and texting people about my mistake, I never heard the end to the laughter!
The next day, Nina did another horse trek and I went back into the city to meet with more exchange students. I met up with Aniely and Debora again along with Felipe and Antonio (Chile) and Felipe (Costa Rica). The guys and I decided to go to an indoor wave pool with spas, sauna's, and swim lanes. It was quite fun! Then we went into the city and met with another bunch of AFS students and we all had dinner at La Porchetta (an Italian place). There were about 15 of us out to eat.
The last day, Nina and I went into the city and looked for last minute things to buy. Then we headed to the Antarctic Centre because it was a 5 minute walk from the airport. We also stopped to see the United States Antarctic Program Air Force Base which is in Christchurch. It takes supplies to Antarctica along with scientists and soldiers. We then did a ride at the Antarctic Centre which simulated what goes on in Antarctica along with the temperature. We were allowed to go into a room where the room was -18 degrees Celsius. I don't know that in F though.
After flying back to Auckland, I stayed the night at Nina's house in Hamilton. I then arrived back in my town on Friday afternoon. It was a long but great week away!
I know this post was late, BUT you have to be patient because I am not near the computer always and when I am, I am not always in a mood to type paragraphs full of information! Hope you enjoyed! Check back in a week or so and I might have more :)

Me, Charles, Felipe, Antonio, Felipe, Debora, Aniely

Me at the Bridge of Remembrance

Barbara and I

Nina and I on the plane

Me with the Arctic Mobile!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Heli Ride!

Gidday! I am again SORRY that I forgot to post this past week. Because school is coming to an end this Thursday, I will be posting a blog once every week or whenever I do something. I go to Christchurch next Monday (17th) so that is what I am looking forward to next!

Ok so, this weekend, my mate Nina (Austrian exchange student) came to stay at my house for the weekend. We went to Shakespeare Cliff which is a few kilometres down the road from my house. The history to that cliff was made by Captain Cook. Captain cook landed on "Cooks Beach" and saw the cliff next to it and thought it looked like Shakespeare nose, so he named it Shakespeare Cliff. I have a picture attached on the bottom of the view from the cliff. It’s amazing!

After going to Shakespeare’s Cliff, we walked to the ferry landing which was another kilometre or so. We got on the ferry and went across and had lunch at a Fish N' Chips place. We then started our walk to the Whitianga Airport which was a very long distance (maybe 3km or more?) When we got to the airport, we hung around for a hour or so and then boarded the helicopter. It was just us two so we got a private ride. The pilot, Karen, showed us lots of the islands and things around Whitianga. It was really a great ride. We were only in the air for about 15 minutes but then again, it costs a fortune to get a helicopter off the ground. After that, we got a ride back into town and went to the beach for a bit but however, it started to rain so we walked back to our bus stop. The rain stopped and we eventually walked back down to the beach for a bit and then went back to catch our bus from Whitianga back around to Hahei.

After getting back to Hahei, we went down to Hahei beach and walked along that and through the marine reserve. That was another good 1km walk. After that, we went back to the Cafe which my mum Pat owns and we had dinner there. We ate fast because it was close to 7p.m and we wanted to go to Cathedral Cove yet which is only a 1 hour walk from the Cafe. However, in NZ, when the sun starts to go down, you have about 5-10 minutes before its BLACK! The sun crashes down. We made it the cove and then started walking back to the cafe. It was pitch black and we only got lost 1 time by taking the wrong trail but soon got back on the right one :). We then headed back to the cafe and my mum picked us up there. That was my excitement for the weekend!!!

Hope you enjoyed the blog post this week! I will be writing one again after I return from Christchurch which will probably be the 20th of November. I believe that is a Thursday? Thanks!
Me in the heli

Nina and I with the heli
Cliff view-

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Over half way done!

Oi! I hope everyone is doing well. I apologize again for no blog last week! I was kind of busy and out of the house most of the time. Anyhow, last week was a weird week for me considering my mates and I had to get used to going to school again (haha). I did however enjoy last week a lot because we had to rush through one of our cooking units, which was "hot finger food" so that meant we got to cook everyday of the week except Friday. Then this past weekend I helped my host mum in her cafe for 3 days because on Monday of this week, we did not have school because it is the national Labour holiday. We were so busy in the cafe it wasn't even funny! It was nice to get busy and have something to do that keeps you on your toes. Besides school, there hasn’t been a lot new with me. I am however quite saddened because I know that my time left here in New Zealand is quite short so I am trying to get out and experience everything I can before coming home to the USA. My Austrian friend Nina and I leave to go to the South Island and visit Christchurch on the 17th of November so we are quite excited for that. We also have a trip booked to take a 9 hour train ride from Hamilton, which is located towards the top of the north island, and travel all the way down to Wellington which is at the bottom of the north island. It should be really fun because we should get to see much of what New Zealand has to offer. We will be taking that trip on the 10th of December and staying there for a week. Overall, nothing new is coming up that I know of but then again, things are always coming up for me to do, I am normally just unaware (haha).
At the bottom, I have attached a few pictures! Enjoy! Thanks for reading!

My new meals which I eat all the time and have adapted to love!

(includes corn silverside, califlower, broccoli, cooked cabbage, mashed spuds, and green beens)

Something tells me I am eatting better than my mates back in Osseo? haha.

My steak my mum gave me to cook
in cooking class (I ate it all, not a problem)

Me and my mum outside her cafe. (Luna Cafe)

Picture of me above Hahei beach

Friday, October 24, 2008


Sorry for the delay with the blog. Not lots of time to write this week due to the Labour Weekend in New Zealand. My town REALLY fills up and gets busy. I will write a blog post after the long weekend is over. Check back around Tuesday or Wed next week! Cheers!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

New Adventure!

Hello everyone! I am actually really excited to write in this blog this week because I have so much to tell! I will start by saying that overall, I had a pretty fun holiday break from school. It was nice to be able to go to the ocean everyday and have beautiful weather. I was also able to help my host mum in the café when she needed me (which keeps me on my toes!). I didn’t really get to see many of my mates over the holidays but I still enjoyed myself!
Ok! I will now break my news! On Sunday night, my host mum and dad took my host sister Shelly and her son Greg back to the airport. Meanwhile, I stayed back and helped finish some of the work in the café. After work, I went up to my host brother Chris’s house where I found him in terrible pain. He had been working on his retaining wall and been working with wire when the wire snapped back and hit his hand. His had now has mussels out of place and bones shattered (not good). However, he was still in a good mood and wanted to take the dog for a walk. So Chris, his fiancée Tracey, and I headed down to the beach to walk the dog. We got about halfway along the beach when I spotted some fins in the water. We got closer and we noticed there were about 8-10 dolphins in the water. We all sat there and stared at them and I told my host brother, “Man I wish I had shorts on so I could go swimming out there!” He then told me to just jump in there anyways. I thought about it for a minute and then stripped down into my boxers and ran out there! (Sorry I didn’t rate this blog PG or R haha). The dolphins were only 15-20 meters from shore so they were easily within swimming distance. I managed to get out far enough to them but they just kept swimming up and down the beach. Eventually, they decided to come towards me. Before I knew it, I had 4-6 dolphins swimming right around me! I was able to reach out and touch them! It was an amazing experience to actually swim with dolphins in the wild. However, because these dolphins aren’t trained to be around people, you cannot ride them like you can at Sea World (haha). It was still so amazing to be that close to them in the wild and be able to touch them.
Besides my dolphin encounter, I haven’t been up to a lot besides school. School started again on Monday and everything is back to normal. We only have about 4 ½ weeks of school left and then we are done. That will give me lots of time to travel and see more of New Zealand. I have attached some pictures of the dolphins and I at the bottom. However, they were taking by my brother with my camera phone so they aren’t as close but I hope you can still get the picture! Thanks for reading!

Almost got em'! Quite a ways out yet

All tired out from swimming (haha)

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Giant Jumbo Muffin!

Kia ora everyone! Sorry my blog is late this week! I just have not had a lot to write yet. Not too much going on lately besides the weather being rubbish. The first week of holiday break was really nice and sunny and now the second week has turned cloudy and windy! Oh well though. No school so why complain? (haha).
On Thursday night, I helped in the cafe and then later that night, my host mum came in with her night crew and chefs to practice some of the main dishes that will be served. The cafe won't open for nights until next Saturday so we got to try a bunch of main dishes which was nice. I was also able to learn a few things from the chefs as well. I was also able to meet my host sister for the first time this week as well. My host sister Shelly, who lives in Ashburton (south island), was up visiting with her son's Greg, Nick, and James. James lives in Hamilton which is only 2 hours from us. It was nice to get to know them. My host brother Chris is my mum's son. Shelly is my dad's daughter.
I suppose you all are wondering why I titled this blog "Giant Jumbo Muffin"? Well it is a funny story really (haha). It started with a text message I got from Nina one day. Nina is the Austrian girl in one of my past photos. She was joking about me being fat from all the food I eat and came up with the name "Jumbo Muffin." I told my host mum about it and she said "At the rate you’re going, you will be a GIANT jumbo muffin!" So the phrases went together and that’s how it came about. Kind of funny!
I also have tried to schedule another trip. In the middle of December, I am trying to get down to Wellington (the capital) to visit the city and sites there. I would be going there with an exchange student/students as well. We would take a plane down there and then possibly a train back. The train back would be a great idea I think because you would see so much of the north island. It would be about a 6-8 hour ride in a train across beautiful country. I love to travel so I will be doing lots of it while I am here I think.
Lastly, I was able to make it to my first movie in NZ. My mate Fraser and I went to see Hellboy 2 in the movie cinema a few days ago. It was quite nice to get out and do something different. Fraser's mum has also raised her hand to be my leason. My leason is someone that I will be able to contact if I have a problem arrise or need a place to stay if my host family has a family emergency. Fraser's mum's name is Robyn. It is nice having her as my leason because she works in Whitanga so Fraser and her both ride the ferry across in the morning with me and the other students.
As I mentioned, I don’t have a lot to post this week besides school starts again on Monday. I would just like to add before I conclude this post, I would like to thank the Ron and Gen Johnson for the package of lollies (candy) I got from them. It was great to get American candy and chips! My host family loved the chips as well! Thanks for that. I know there are things that I plan to write in my blog posts that I forget about so if I do forget something major, I will make sure to include it in my next blog post. And as a reminder, don’t hesitate to email me with anything! Thanks for reading and I will make the blog more interesting I hope next week! Cheers!

ps. The pictures below is of Norman and I at a bonfire beach gathering and then a picture with a bunch of my mates from school.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Living a dream!

Gidday mates! Sorry my post is late this week! I totally forgot about it! Anyhow, what has Josh been doing this past week? One of the projects I have been working on is helping my host dad dig post holes in the back paddock (field). The purpose was so that we could separate the 5 cows and 2 calves we have. I have also been helping my host mum in the café with a few things. I find it funny sometimes helping her with stuff because it always has to deal with electronics (haha). I help her with her laptop at least 2 times a day and for some reason, the printer never wants to cooperate. She really loves having me around to fix the stuff that she would just put away and give up on. As she always tells me, “I would just get frustrated and put it away because I don’t have the patience for it!” I have also been trying to just enjoy my time off and hang out with mates. When I go into my town (Hahei), I normally help my host mum for a few hours and then I make my way down towards the beach around noon. I am normally there laying on the beach for a few hours and then head back up to the café to help her clean up and head home around 4pm. We live about 10 minutes from the café so it’s not a long drive. Lastly, last night was my first night on the beach with a bonfire. It was nice being able to see all my mates from school there. I still find it funny being able to see the beach everyday if I want because it is so close. Back home the nearest ocean would be about a 2 ½ hour flight if I am correct?

Now for the big news! Me and a few mates that planned to go skydiving, cancelled the idea for the holidays. We are going to plan for later in the year because-
(1) It is going to be much warmer
(2) School will be out
(3) Transportation is easier for host parents and bus services run more frequently

I also am having a friend (that I met at the exchange camp) come stay with me in November for a weekend. We might possibly do the sky diving that weekend. Her name is Nina by the way. She is from Austria. (Yes it is a girl, surprise right?? haha). I believe her and I are also going to do the helicopter ride in Whitianga (the town where I go to school). I have always wanted to ride in a helicopter so it should be fun! Nina and I also chatted at the AFS exchange camp and it turns out that we both wanted to go to Christchurch in the south island, but we didn’t want to go alone so we decided to go there together. That should also be heaps of fun! AFS does a billeting system which is where they find a AFS coordinator or family who is willing to accept you for however many days you want to stay in an area. That is really helpful for us students!

Alright, so I just looked at what I have written and I see I have written quite a bit so I don’t want to keep blabbing. Anyhow, I have been receiving a few emails from people back home so it is nice keeping in touch! Again, if anyone has any questions don’t be afraid to email me. ( Hope all is well! Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A Little Time Off

Greetings to everyone! Not much new lately. This week we are currently having exams for classes. These exams are practice exams for the students in NZ because they will be taking their final exams in early December which tells them how many credits they will earn for the year. They are not graded on homework and projects like kids in the US are. I happened to only have 3 exams which are held Monday, Wed, and Friday. After this week, I will get 2 weeks off for "holiday break." I don't have a lot planned but I can say that my mates and I will be seeing a lot of the beach and long nights of fun! I am planning on going sky diving on the last week of break so that should be pretty fun. I also have some new news on a trip I am working on. Myself, and a exchange student from Austria are planning on visiting the south island of NZ and going to Christchurch. The city is a very popular place for tourists. We are hoping to head down there around Nov 17th which will be right when school is out here. I am also planning on visiting Wellington, New Zealand's capital city, in mid December. Lastly, I was told my chapter coordinator that our chapter group is trying to fit in some category 4 white water rafting towards December. (Category 1 being weak- 5 being very rough). Overall, I should be kept busy and have something to look forward to every month which is nice! Everything has been going good in school and with my host family. My host mum's cafe just opened last week for the first time since winter break. She is glad to have it open but business is slow until school is out and the town of Hahei fills up with tourists.
One thing I have done recently is went swimming with my mates Giorma and Norman. We decided to be very smart (haha) and go swimming at 5:30p.m one night when the water was freezing. We had heaps of fun but the water was soooooo cold. Giorma is from Italy but moved here when he was young. Norman is originally from Samoa and moved here about 3 months ago so it was basically right before I got here. I apologize for not having a lot to post but hopefully I will have heaps more next week! I have some pictures of my mates and me below! Enjoy!

Me and Giorma----------------------------------------- Norman and I

Me, Giorma, and Norman-------------------------------Mack and I

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Gateway Meeting! :)

Hello again! I just got back from my Exchange Student trip (Gateway Orientation) which was held at a camp towards the middle of the north island. It was a great camp overall. I got to meet people from over 10 different countries and learn about their culture along with the Maori Culture. It was also nice to see a few of the people that I flew to New Zealand with. One from Maine and one from Minnesota. The best part about it was doing the Capa Haka, which is the Maori war dance. It was performed for us and then later, the guys were taking outside to perform the dance. It was beyond fun! At the end of the camp on Sunday, we got the chance to do the Flying Fox which, for all who don’t know, is where you climb to the top of a platform and hook a snap onto your harness. Then from there, you jump and slide down a wire across meters of the ground until you stop. It was heaps of fun! A funny thing about the camp is that there were about 10 adults running the camp and 4 of those adults had done an exchange program in the USA. Out of those 4, there were 2 that definitely stuck out because they were placed close to where Osseo is located. One was placed in Duluth, Minn. and one was placed in RACINE, Wisconsin. We had a good long talk and they had both have seen their host parents over 5 times since they had went back to New Zealand.
Overall, the camp was very fun because you don’t just learn about yourself, and the Maori Culture but you also learn to understand other countries and best of all, MEET NEW FRIENDS. After this past weekend at camp, I am certain that I have made friendships that will last a lifetime.
Besides this camp, there has been nothing really knew with me besides I am studying for exams which are next week. Then after exams, hopefully I will be able to go and see more of New Zealand and get to hang out with mates more! Here are some new pictures for you! Enjoy!
The Austrian Girls and I---- Me riding the flying fox!
Group stacking----- Riding the wheel for 10 meters ------My Chapter Leader Irene!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Special Occasion Dinner

Kia Ora,

Last Friday, we had our Special Occasion Dinner. It was a dinner put on by our Year 12 Hospitality and Catering class. There was 13 students in the class that helped participate to make it all possible. Each student chose 1 person to invite to the event but at last minute, some people cancelled. I had started out by inviting Mr. Collins, my NZ History teacher but when spots opened due to cancelations, I was also able to invite both of my host parents which was really nice. Two people who got automatic invitations were Mr. John Wright and his wife Jan.
Overall, this was definitely not a first year cooking assignment. We did everything to make this happen (e.g. budget, invitation list, meals, prep plan, production plan, service plan, and then certain rolls people would play.) I was elected to be the Executive Chef for the night. Our mains served that evening were Beef Stroganoff, Apricot Chicken, and Vegetarian Lasagna. In all, it was a 5 course meal served to the guests for a small cost of $15. After the meal was finished, my catering teacher, Mrs. Huntley Smith, gave a small speech and introduced Maile Comstock as the Restaurant Manager and myself as the Executive Chef. The most common comment after the meal was, “That was the best $15 I have ever spent.” Overall, my host parents were very satisfied and said all good things about it. I was also VERY pleased with the meal and I learned how to make very fancy dishes.
I don’t have many plans coming up for the next week ahead. I am going to my Gateway Orientation this coming weekend. It will take place about 3 hours south of where I am living in New Zealand. It is Lake Whakamaru. I am quite excited for it because I will get to see one of my mates that I flew over on the plane with from Minnesota. After the Gateway Orientation I have one more important thing to look forward too and that’s my vacation time off! Starting on September 22nd, I am given two weeks off for teachers to start preparing for final exams. This will be a time for my family to show me more of New Zealand and the good chance of getting to see New Zealand flying through the air (sky diving!). It has always been something that I have wanted to do!
Well I will keep in touch! Again, if you have any questions, feel free to send me an email. I respond quite fast. I have also inserted a few photos of my host family and myself, along with my host brother Chris, and his wife Tracey. There is also a picture at the dinner on Friday night.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Scallop Fest & Hot Water Beach!

Hello again! As you know, I worked at the local scallop fest this past week in Whitianga. I worked with my cooking and catering class from school. We made scallops in shells and cooked them over a grill. We put 3 scallops in each shell, added a touch of white wine, and a ½ teaspoon of garlic butter. These were a hot ticket! They weren’t as popular as the kebabs we made though. Some mates and I from school spent hours on the Friday before the festival wrapping the kebabs with bacon and scallops. We had a total of 40kgs of scallops set to be cooked on that Saturday. We started work at 8:30a.m and made sure everything was in set order. At 9:30, people started coming in flocks! I was selected to cook the scallops in shells with my Head Principal, John Wright. We were soooo busy. We were supposed to serve food until around 5:30p.m that night but we ran out of all 40kgs of scallops at 1:30p.m! We had people come up to us and say, “Got anymore kebabs?” and we just said no. They kept asking, “Well didn’t you make enough?” and we explained that last year we made 9kgs of scallops into kebabs and this year we did 23kgs and we still ran out of them! In the end, we ended up grossing over $5000 in food which was very good.
Then on Sunday, I got to hang out with one of my best mates from school, Fraser. Myself, Fraser, and Fraser’s mum went to Hot Water Beach which is a very popular spot in the north island. It is made from a fault in the earth and it warms up water under the ground. We dig holes in the beach and hot water comes through. It took me and Fraser quite a while to find an alright spot where we could tolerate the heat of the water. The first pool we sat in had BOILING water. My host mum said their kids used to boil eggs in the water. Overall, it was a very relaxing day J
Lastly, I forgot to mention all the fun I had the weekend before (haha). I got to go work at my host brother’s house. My host brother, Chris, is building a retaining wall to level out his yard. It was kind of wet but we managed. I have attached some pictures to show you what it was like! I hope you enjoyed this week’s blog post! I am scrambling for time some days so if you want more information, feel free to email me! Thanks!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Whitianga Scallop Festival!

Hello everyone! This coming weekend is going to be interesting for me hopefully. My Year 12 Cooking class has a tent every year at the local Scallop festival. We choose to donate our time and work to provide money in our class budget. I am hoping this is a great experience for me and I will get to try my fare share of scallops as well. The weather here has been great for the past week or so. The sun is very warm here compared to back home eventhough it can be sooo nice and sunny and then start pouring in a few minutes. New Zealand is one of the few places where you can experience 4 seasons in 1 day.
This past week, my host mum and I went into Hamilton, which is one of the major cities close to us in the north island. While she was at the dentist, I shopped around in the mall and bought a few things. I also had my FIRST fast food in 2 months there. I did however make a deal with my host dad that I would not eat McDonalds for 6 months and so far I have achieved it! I had KFC this week and it tasted good! Because I have not had fast food in awhile, it was not AS amazing as I thought it was going to be. I eat very healthy here with normally 4-5 peices of fruit a day and some kind of vegetable for dinner. I also drink LOADS of water because fizzy drinks (soda) are very dare (expensive) here!
Well thats all I got for you this week but I should have some good information next week after the festival is done! I am sorry that my posts have been late! It has been crazy with the death of a friend back home, the scallop festival this week, and trying to find some ME time to hang with friends and chill. Remember, if you have any specific questions, feel free to email me or give my mum your question and she will ask me to put the answer on the next blog. Take care and I will talk again with you soon! Chao!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Cooking Class Gets Interesting!

Kia Ora! As of last Friday, this journey to New Zealand has reached its one-month mark! It has gone so fast! Nothing is new here yet. Just going to school and doing homework. We have been doing some pretty interesting things in cooking class though. The cooking class (14 of us) have decided to put on a special occasion dinner for whoever we wanted to invite. I happened to invite Mr. Mark Collins who is my NZ History teacher. This dinner is set up to have the Year 12 cooking class in the spot light and to show what we can do. It will be a 5 course meal which will have us very busy. We do everything for it and when I say everything, I mean everything. We start out with the small things and then move on all the way down the track as if you are running a restaurant. Some of the things we have to figure out are the budget, how to set up, who's setting up, who's waiting on the guests, who's setting up the guest list, who's in charge of the invitations, who's in charge of the menus, who's running the kitchen, and who's cooking each part of the meal. The list goes on! So you are probably asking, "Josh, what is your job?" My job happens to be 1 out of the 2 Executive Chefs. Myself, and my mate Becca will be running the dinner for the night. It is a very important role because we must memorize the recipes for everything! It should be fun! The dinner is going to be on Sept. 5th 2008. I will keep you updated on how its going! Overall, not a lot to share at this time so I will just post some photos. AND yes, I promise to get a picture with my host parents. I have had many people ask about them. (My host parents are great!) Stay in touch, enjoy, and I'll make sure to post next week!

A view from my mate Giorma's House Then a closer view of the same picture

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Kia Ora (Hello in Maori)

Kia Ora everyone. I am finally seeing how important all of my posts are because I recieved many emails today wondering why I didn't post! I have been so busy with school! All is good here in New Zealand though. The weather is starting to shape up quite well around here finally! Once again, what have I been doing? Well this past weekend I was able to go golfing for the first time since I left the US. The golf course was very nice and was well kept. The weird thing is, here in NZ, they have many honesty boxes where the person golfing would just slip the money into an envelope and then into a locked metal box. This is very different to me considering I have never seen an honesty box in the USA. Of course there is people who take advantage of that and they don’t put their money into the box but there are way more honest people here than not honest. School is going good but it is keeping me busy throughout the week which is a good and a bad thing (haha).
Also, this past weekend I went to a local concert which was held at school. It was a group of community members and high school students who put together many different songs and performed them. The neat thing is, the group was directed by two gentlemen who flew to NZ from the USA. One was from NY and one was from Pennsylvania. I enjoyed the concert a lot and I enjoyed many of the songs they performed because I have sung a few of them with the Osseo- Fairchild Choir back home.
Every Wednesday at school, the students go to the gym for an assembly. Here, we learn about how the past weeks sports turned out and any future events that are going to happen throughout the week. We also get to see some kind of cultural thing. I have gotten to see many different kinds of clothes and I have also got to see the Haka which is a Maori dance. It is probably THE coolest thing I have seen in all my life. This dance is done to stand up for their fears. It involves loud yelling, chanting, and feet stomping. Also during the assembly, the headmaster and the deputy principal discuss and issues that need to be addressed such students not wearing their uniforms or the gym being left dirty after lunch.
I also forgot to mention in the last post about the first basketball game I went to. It was a Friday night and the Varsity guys were almost done with the game. There was 1min 30sec left. Our team (Mercury Bay0 was winning by 15 or so points. One of the opposing players got angered by one of our players and he threw a punch. This caused both teams to CLEAR THE BENCHES. Punches and kicks were flying everywhere. Some of the parents even started attacking the opposing parents. Finally, after the officials and administration stopped the fighting, the game was just called off. It was VERY intense (haha). I had told Coach Jeff Stoik about this and all he had to say was, “I guess the Osseo Fairchild Fans aren't so bad after all” (haha).

A few key things that I find very different so far:
· Students don’t get a hot lunch of an account like back home; they bring their own or buy something from the Tuck Shop/Food Barn.
· Going outside to go from class to class.
· Sports are taken very seriously.

If you want to contact me, you may do so with the following:
House Phone: 64 07 866 3303
Josh Pettis
161 Purangi Road
Rd1 Whitianga 3591 NZ

Monday, August 4, 2008

~Something New~

Gidday Mates! Well I do have more exciting news for you this week. We actually did not have school last Wednesday when I made the last weeks post. The roads were so flooded from the storms that the buses just could not get through. So what did I do with no school? Me and three of my mates went to the ocean and went running and swimming in the huge waves. The waves were so mean (awesome) that they would knock you right back to where you started in a matter of seconds. Even though the water was only about 4 degrees Celsius (39F) it was still so much fun. You cannot swim in the ocean water that long this time of year or you can get sick really fast or get hypothermia to parts of your body. Overall, I had great fun that day because it was my second time EVER going to the ocean. The people here cannot believe it was only my second time but then I show them where I live and they understand it a little better (haha).
School is getting better everyday. I meet new people and experience new things constantly. My cooking class really keeps me interested. On Tuesday 5th August (that’s how they write the date here), we got to cook Spring Rolls which I have never had before. They consist of rice paper, your favorite veggies, and your choice of ground beef, chicken, or pork inside. They you deep fry them for 20 seconds and they will be golden brown and so good to eat.
The weather has decided to straighten up here finally which is really nice. It has been about 15C lately which is about (59F) and sunny but with the wind here it makes it feel very cool. However, it may also be nice and sunny and then pouring rain at any second. Compared to this cool rainy weather I have had, I heard Wisconsin has been having quite a bloody drought. I don’t think I would care for that much either (haha). Overall, I cant complain because it is very nice here and I am enjoying every minute of it.
Well I hope everything is going good for everyone and I will type again when I get a chance. I am starting to get busier all the time so I might skip a post next week but I will post as soon as I can. Here are some pictures of me and some mates. Thanks for reading! Keep checking back!
p.s The pictures are of some of my best mates here at Mercury Bay High School

Jessica and I

Ethan, Amy, and I

Giorma, Norman, and Myself