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!