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