Saturday, August 29, 2009

LOC-language oreintation camp

day 1- i got up around 7 and got myself all ready to head to the camp. when i got there, i met the students and went to sessions, for the first one all the YES kids went with Ketty and asked her any questions we had and told about our first week and it was really great. then they taught us traditional indonesian games, like a mancala type of thing and jacks and this one where two people hold a rope and you have to jump over it and they start at their knees, then go to their waist, then to their chest, then their chin, then their forehead, and then above their head. it was so hard! i couldn't do it once it got to the chest haha. we also did hop scotch and a game where everyone puts both their fists together and you go around in a circle saying a random number and people can either put up 1 thumb, 2 thumbs, or no thumbs, and if they make the number you called out then you can take a hand out and the last person with a hand in loses. it was really fun. everyone wanted to try fasting, even the kids who just got there, so during the times when we were supposed to eat everyone just hung out or had naps. we had an indonesian lesson and it was really funny to listen to the german kids saying their s's like z's and having to roll their r's. the whole day, everyone was staring at the clock, counting down the hours til 6, when we could eat. it felt so good! the first thing i ate was a banana that was in a little pouch of bread stuff and fried. it was incredible. there was a lady who came and gave a presentation to us about indonesian culture and earlier that day the new kids had made lists of their hopes and concerns and put them on the wall so she was looking at that and one person wrote toilets down on concerns and she started talking about how squatting on a toilet is healthier for you than sitting on one and she made some people come up and demonstrate how to squat was so hilarious! she was really great, i liked her session a lot. everyone was pretty tired that night so we went straight to sleep...
we got woken up at 3 to eat breakfast. for the meat eaters there was vegetables and cow liver that you were supposed to put on your rice, and it looked so gross. i was sitting at a table with josh and a couple of the volunteers and they were saying eating the liver was like fear factor and josh ate all of his even though when he chewed it it looked like he was going to throw up. so i was really full but then vivian started wondering if there were ways for the vegetarians to get more protein so they got us some oatmeal, which was rather flavorless, even after i put milk and 2 packets of sugar in it. then we went back to bed and i got up at like 7 to shower and waited for my roommates to wake up, but they didn't and i didn't know if i should wake them or not and i also didn't know when we were leaving for out field trip that day so i read a book on my bed until one of the volunteers came a-knocking and woke them up because the bus was there..oops. we got onto a bus that was swarming with mosquitoes. every couple seconds you could hear people clapping at them and some of the germans started a competition to see who could kill the most. omar kept smashing them against the window and it was really funny.we drove to taman mini, which is this huge park that has a specific little section for each part of indonesia and it shows what a traditional house is like and there's a small museum with cultural and historical stuff in it. we separated according to where we were going to so me and omar and jillian were in a group together and we went to the jakarta section, which was really cool. the traditional house was amazing! the museum we went to was small and dark and didn't have was pretty hot in there. there were a bunch of dioramas that showed all the history of the city of jakarta and they were so cool to look at. after we were done in jakarta we walked to the yogyakarta section and met up with about half the people there, then took then bus with everyone else to the bali section. it was so beautiful! we sat in an ampitheater sort of thing and the people who weren't fasting ate lunch and i had a bottle of water because my head was spinning. we all had to go up on the stage and say our names and where we were from and say one thing we hoped for this year and be filmed for a slideshow for the welcoming party. i was one of the last people to go mostly because i didn't want to go so i was trying to sneak by unnoticed but also because i had no idea what to say. i ended up saying that i hoped to learn about indonesian culture...just like everyone else. oh well. after that we went and took a bunch of pictures of our whole group at a small stage kind of thing outside the ampitheater. we didn't do as many as i think they wanted us to because the sun came out from behind the clouds and it got really hot. so we got on the bus and drove to an IMAX theater, still in the park, and watched a movie about indonesia. it was in bahasa, so no one could understand it, but it was still cool to watch. there was some really incredible scenery. i think it was all about the land and culture of indonesia. it was fun. and so cold in the theater! :) after that we went back to the guesthouse and had free time and some people went swimming and i was going to go too but i fell asleep instead. then we had sessions, one about bahasa and one about culture again. this time the guest was a guy and he had this powerpoint that illustrated the main parts of indonesian culture and we had to take the main ideas that are the values to every culture and write down what the values for our culture were that fit into the categories. it was kind of sad because all the american values were basically the total opposite of the indonesian values :( after that we ate dinner and they gave us this really delicious fruit and i think the english name is mangosteen and you smash it open with your hands like passionfruit but the skin is purple so it stains your hands when you open it and the fruit is wihe and wonderfully tart. omar said he felt like he was in the jungle when he ate it. then we had some more free time and me and omar and vivian and jillian went swimming. i didn't want to get in the water but then a volunteer and omar grabbed me and threw me in. it was really fun though. then two belgian girls joined us and that was a lot of fun too. after maybe an hour, we had to get out and get dressed for talent show practice. at first our plan was to do a skit about american independence history and make it really funny but then we decided we were just going to look really stupid if we did that so we were thinking about learning a little bit of the thriller dance but then decided it was too hard so we found a how-to video to learn the soulja boy dance. it was really fun and not hard to learn, which was nice. then we decided also to sing the national anthem and light sparklers. so we looked up the words and wrote them down to learn them. we practiced a couple times and then got bored and quit and went to bed.
again they woke us up at 3 to eat. no liver today though :) i got up at 7 again to shower, and woke my roommates up at 8. we went down for our first session, which was bahasa, where we learned to count, and then all the YES kids left for the US embassy. i was in a car with ketty and josh. we were almost there when ketty realized that she didn't have any id for the entrance to the embassy, which sort of looked like a mideval fortress, we talked to the other students and the only ones who had id on them were jillian and omar, so they got to go in while me and josh and vivian waited around outside while they figured everything out. finally we got to go in. we went through security and got visitor passes and met up with jillain and omar and we were led into this giant official-looking room where we were seated and met the ambassador and the guy in charge of our program and the guy in charge of security and a couple other people. the security guy was so weird, when he was talking he winked at vivian and kept telling us people here like to do 'snatch and grabs' or 'smash and grabs'. i don't know what the difference between the two is. and he told us to always vary our routes, because terrorists and regular creepers watch for foreigners who make the same routes everyday, like going the same way to the gym at 6 o'clock every morning or something like that. it was so scary. he told us all this freaky stuff and then he was like "but i don't mean to freak you out by this, i just want to give you precautions" and we introduced ourselves before he started talking and then he was looking at jillian and told her he knew salt lake had its rough parts because he'd been there and he told me he knew detroit could be dangerous and he was just sort of an idiot. then the guy in charge of our program talked and he said he knew india was an amazing country, then stopped and said he just got back from india so he mixed it up with indonesia. the ambassador did that too. he told us that he first studied abroad in indonesia a long time ago with a lady named anne. at this he stopped talking and looked at us like he expected us to say something. no one knew what to do. he kept saying her name and then got exasperated and said she was the mother of the president of the united states. i don't know why he couldn't have said that before. he never actually met the young barack but he knew his mother and step father. also they told us that obama has said he will come to indonesia in october but no one knows when for sure or if he even will come, but if he does there's a chance that we will get to meet him!! then we could get real pictures with him instead of just with a cardboard cut out of him like we did in dc. after that we drove back to camp, but it took a really long time because everyone was going home from work early so traffic was wretched. we got to camp about halfway through an indonesian lesson about days of the week and months, and then it was dinner time. wahoo! the dinner was always so good, they had fresh fruit and all kinds of treats and candies, it was wonderful. they tried to make it fancy by serving dinner outside but there were so many freaking mosquitoes everyone moved inside. after dinner they had a 'mini-olympics', where we were all in teams and we had to all do a race where we carried a spoon in our mouth with a marble in it and pass it off to our teammates and then we did a sack race and then that thing where there are boards with little straps on them and everyone gets on it and has to walk across the yard and pass it off to the rest of the team and then there was a contest to eat these giant crackers off a string and it was so funny to watch everyone trying to get it in their mouth and bite a piece off. half of the students went first, then after that the other half went. it was so hard to get a hold of the dumb cracker, but it was really fun. then all the boy students and all the boy volunteers did 2 rounds of tug-of-war with this giant rope and the bules (foreigners) won both times and then it was the girls turn, which we also won. it was so hard though! my hands were throbbing for a really long time after that. then they added up points and scores and my team tied for third place and then they gave us goodie bags full of candy and fruit and we all ran and got changed into swimming clothes and jumped or got pushed or thrown into the pool. little by little, all the volunteers and reluctant students were dragged to the water and dropped in. it was so great! omar was leading most of it with two of the german boys and my roommate, a german girl named katrin. some of the volunteers locked themselves in their room inside but were tempted out by martabak (this time with chocolate and peanuts) so we forced our way through the door and into their room and one by one brought them out. when we were bringing the last person, i was holding onto her foot and she was kicking and squriming and we were on wet tile and i fell right on my back. it was pretty funny, but i cut up my elbow. after everyone was in the pool, katrin was trying to throw omar in but she couldn't and they ended up throwing each other in. there was a big crowd of people around this belgian girl named lea and we and jillian and vivian saw them helping her up off the ground and she looked like she was drunk or something but it turns out she got electrocuted on something in the garden and she was really shaky. when we were getting out of the pool katrin asked omar if she could use his towel and he gave it to her and she started to whip him with it. he ran inside and she chased him and he got the towel from her so she was defending herself with a chair and then we ran up into our room and slammed the door but couldn't figure out how to lock it before omar was throwing himself against it, trying to force it open. he got in and they chased each other across the beds in our room and then out into the hall. a couple other people came up and we didn't know where they went until we heard a whip and katrin screaming in the hallway. omar ran out and hid behind a corner and katrin snuck around with a little broom made of twigs that they use to kill bugs and she hit him with it and then a volunteer came out of her room and made them stop. it was so hilarious though! everyone calmed down and went to bed after that though.
got up at 3 again to eat. i had like 4 pieces of bread and jam, i really wanted to be able to fast the whole day. we got up at 7 and got all ready and i packed my bags and all my things. then we got on a mosquito-free bus and went to the ministry of education. we had to wait in a really dark lobby for about 10 minutes, then took the elevator up to a huge business room. there were long tables with big swivel chairs set up so they went around the room like 2 rectangles, one smaller one inside a huge one. every couple of chairs, there was a microphone thing that you could push a button on and it would activate the speaker so the whole room could hear you talk. the people who were supposed to talk to us (don't remember who they were exactly) came and we all went around and used our microphones to introduce ourselves in bahasa. it was pretty fun. they talked to us briefly, then left. it was over a lot quicker than i though it was going to be. we all crowded up to the front of the room and took a bunch of pictures and then left. we drove to this fancy little hotel thing where i think they do a lot of parties like the welcoming party we were there for. on the way there we saw the ritz-carlton hotel. it was weird to see it, i mean there was nothing wrong with it it looked perfect but just thinking about the bombings there and then being there was weird. we got to drive through the huge main central part of jakarta, which was really cool. there are a ton of tall buildings here. its really a beautiful city. so at the hotel, we were taken to a small room with no ac to be our holding room. we sat in there for about an hour, talking to one of the volunteers, ika, about her business as a shoe designer. then me and vivian and jillian decided we should probably practice for the talent show and so we went to find omar and josh. we found them on the main floor, which was heavenly cold, sitting in a sushi restaurant. vivian then decided she was hungry and didn't want to fast anymore so she got some sushi and edamame. omar and me wanted to go across the street to the mcdonalds (which has 24-hour "mcdelivery" here) and play in the play place, but they wouldn't let us. so we sat in the restaurant for a while and then it was time to go practice for the talent show. we had to go first, and it was horribly embarrassing. we had only practiced a couple times on the national anthem and everyone started messing up and laughing so we stopped and went to go practice with ika, who is an amazing singer. finally we got all the words down and she helped us arrange it so it sounded a ton better and then we practiced and practiced and practiced until it was good. then we went over the dance a couple times and went to the full rehearsal again. they had a little story to go along with the talent show, about 3 travelers (3 of the volunteers) who were going to different countries to see how they celebrated their independence day. america was first, and omar and josh stood on either side of me and vivian and jillian holding sparklers and we all held a giant flag and sang and then we draped the flag over vivian's shoulders and put sunglasses on and started doing the soulja boy dance. it was really fun. after us, rahel the swiss girl showed how to make chocolate fondue and then she and the travelers did a traditional swiss dance. then the belgians sang a folk song and did a traditional dance, and shion the japanese boy did judo, and the germans did a really hilarious skit about the berlin wall. one of them had a giant trench coat and a fake rifle and was a russian, and on one side of the wall katrin and stefan were well-off germans eating and drinking water, and on the other side judith was a poor german who didn't have any food. it was so hilarious, they were great. after that it was done and we sat around talking and playing the guitar until it was dinner time. dinner was really good. i had rice and vegetables and watermelon, cantaloupe, and papaya and noodles and sambal and cake. it was amazing. then all the people started coming. we met vivian's host family and josh's host family and omar's host family, and then my family came, so i got to introduce all the students to them. then the talent show started. first they showed the videos of us from taman mini, saying what our hopes were for the year, and then someone gave a speech and then we all did our shows. it was a lot of fun. everything went really well. after each country did their show, they got a microphone and said who they were, where they were from, where they were staying, and something they liked about indonesia. i said i liked food. after all the students went, the volunteers surprised us by going up and singing and dancing. it was so amazing! they are all such good singers and dancers, it was just great. then we all went on the stage and took so many freaking pictures! but it was fun. we said goodbye to the other students and then left. i had an amazing time there though! i really hope i see some of the other students sometimes. it never ceases to surprise me how at every thing i've gone to for foreign exchange how easily you fall into conversation with kids you've never met in your life and how so suddenly you have new friends. its such a great thing. i really hope that we will be able to do a mid-year trip with all the students, so we can reconnect and hear how its been going for everyone. until then, facebook is just going to have to do.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

This week...and food!

i have a lot to say but first thing's first. below are pictures of some of the amazing stuff i've been eating lately:

the cake is called martabak manis. it is like a sweet cakey pancake and the crust on top is really buttery and then there's a layer of chocolate and then i don't think its the same in this picture but on the one we ate there was another layer of cake and then there is more cake with cheese on top. now i know it sounds weird to eat cheese on cake but let me tell you, it doesn't even taste like cheese and it is SO GOOD. if i could eat one thing for the rest of my life until i die it would be martabak manis.

next there is some fruit. the orange one is called markisa, or more commonly in the us passionfruit. you take the pod between your hands and smash it open and then pull the two halves apart and suck the little fruits out. SO DELICIOUS! i love it. then there is salak. you peel off the snake-y looking skin and bite into a fruit that tastes like an apple and a grape combined. inside the fruit there are 3 sections and each section has a large brown pit that i imagine would kill a bird if you threw it hard enough.

ok, so back to this week....
monday was independence day, which i already wrote about. on tuesday, i went to immigration with my liaison heidy and my "cousin" wendy. i can't even begin to describe how happy i was that i was going to miss school. we had to fill out 3 forms that were all more or less the same, but on the last one it asked for your face shape.. after we were all done filling out papers and taking pictures and waiting around we drove to a mall and met up with a bunch of the AFS volunteers and omar. it was really fun. we ate frozen yoghurt (i think this is my new favorite frozen treat) and walked around the mall for a bit. we went into the arcade and played games. this was a new experience for me because i never go into the mall arcades in utah. usually the only people who go there are creepers and stoners. in the arcade we did this bowling game, and we figured out if you throw the second ball right after the first you can hit all the pins you missed before the game realizes whats going on so you get a strike every time :) haha. after that, it was time to go home. i hadn't been home in like 6 or more hours so i guess it was high time. when we got home i ate dinner. i wanted to be adventurous so i loaded up my noodles with super hot sambal. my mouth, tongue, throat, and ears were on fire. i've never eaten anything that was so spicy i could feel it in my ears! it actually kind of feels good though, in such a strange way. after that i got all cleaned up and went to bed..
wednesday was my first real day of school, like where i actually have class. i had to cross the street between diandra and dieva's school by myself, which terrified me a little. the traffic is so insane its really rather treacherous to just cross the road. luckily there is a traffic cop who helps the desperados (like me) out. i met up with my friends and got to class alright. in class everyone started to freak out because there was a cockroach in the room scurrying around and it was nasty. the teacher calmed everyone down and they forgot about it pretty quick. after our first class was over, me and olive and fima and sendwi and vanya sat on the floor and they taught me some vocabulary (most of which i promptly forgot)and then they started playing clapping games and doing these traditional sundanese clap-dances. i call them clap dances for lack of a better word. they're really cool though and they tried to teach them to me but its so hard! after that we ate lunch and then we had math, which i actually sort of like, because it stimulates my mind. after sitting like a lump through almost every class it feels good to have something to do. after math we all sat outside and waited to get picked up. everyone came over to help me with my homework, and it was really fun. while sendwi was in the bathroom we went into my room and vanya got the idea to hide and i got the idea to hide in my closet. it was so hilarious and we were all laughing into our hands, especially when we heard her yelling for us. vanya peeked out the door and screamed-sendwi was in my room. hahahaha it was so funny. that night me and diandra watched memoirs of a geisha, which i really liked. i've heard a bunch of mixed reviews about it but i loved the book and really liked the movie. while we were watching wendy brought us martabak manis. mmmmmm so good!! that made the whole movie better actually.
thursday (today) i didn't have school. sweet! so i slept in and for breakfast ate a piece of sweet bread (all the bread here is sweet, its so good) with strawberry jam and one piece with their version of nutella, which is more peanut-y tasting, with chocolate sprinkles on top. it was incredibly good. there is a little lizard, a cicak, that lives in my room and i saw him this morning :) i got a call from home and dad told me i should name him pete, so now he is officially dubbed pete. he is the cutest lizard ever, about 5 inches long, and sort of grayish colored. so..i really didn't do much today. i chatted with vivian on facebook and we both agree that as soon as we're situated here we're going to take buses to visit each other. i can't wait for the day... i also can't wait for saturday morning, when we have another orientation, this time for a couple more days than last time and with the rest of the AFS kids. can't wait!!! its going to be so fun. :)

Sunday, August 16, 2009


so i'm here. it still feels so surreal to me. i still don't quite know how to handle it, but i like it. i'm gonna get some pictures soon and put them on here, so that should be fun. umm lets see...where to begin? the flight was long, that's the least i can say. we (all the kids going to malaysia and indonesia) flew from the washington dulles airport to london, which was actually kind of fun. i sat by my friends gina and lauren and we talked most of the time and it was really great. i like them both so much. then, we went through security in london again (the airport was so european, i loved it) and passed all the stores (they have a gucci in that airport :O)and waited at our gate for the flight to malyasia. malaysian airlines is probably the best airline in the world. they have surprisingly good airplane food and the flight attendants are so nice. it was hilarious, we had this one flight attendant was was totally gay and he wore like a bunch of makeup and his eyebrows were better than mine and i think he had a crush on omar because he took him upstairs to see where all the business class passengers sit and he wouldn't let any of us come. haha. so this flight was probably the worst one. 11 and 1/2 hours from london to kuala lumpur. ay! i watched x-men origins to help pass the time, and i liked it. i also had a bunch of naps. then we landed, dirty, majorly jet-lagged, and tired in kuala lumpur and said goodbye to all the malaysia people. i hope they have a great year! so then it was down to us 5, me, josh, jillian, vivian, and omar. we found our gate easily enough and that flight wasn't so bad, just 2 hours. it was so exciting to be in jakarta! the first thing we saw when we got off the plane was a giant sign that said 'WELCOME TO INDONESIA, DEATH PENALTY FOR DRUG TRAFFICKERS!' and there was a huge gun by it. it was so scary. for some reason it had me nervous that we were going to be killed, even though i know (or at least hope) that none of us are drug traffickers... we got out bags and checked them and then we saw another sign that read 'WELCOME AFS INDONESIA!' and there were like 6 volunteers holding it. i was so excited! we introduced ourselves, and then loaded into a bus with windows that were tinted purplish-blue and set off. it is so beautiful here. it really surprised me how many trees there were. they were just lining the freeway, it was so beautiful. indonesian traffic is crazy; there are cars, buses, other public transportation vehicles, motorcycles, and pedestrians all lined up and crossing every which way. and the steering wheel is on the opposite side. even if we were allowed to drive here, i don't think i would. i would probably die. we drove through north, central, and south jakarta and then arrived at out orientation camp site. it was at a really beautiful guest house. we ate some food and then some of us sat by the pool and talked for a bit, then we got to have showers (FINALLY! it felt incredible) and have a nap. right before we had nape i was in my room with jillian and vivian and i was taking off my jewelry when i heard jillian say "MOTHER. OF. CHRIST." and i looked where she was looking and saw the biggest spider i have ever seen in my life. it was at least 4 inches long. seriously, i felt paralyzed. it was so scary!! but luckily one of the volunteers was able to catch it and then i think omar stepped on it. there were a bunch of stray cats that wandered around the guest house and one of them had an eye patch to cover where an eye was missing. they all just hang out under cars and stuff and they made me so nervous because i though for sure they were gonna get crushed. we played a bunch of games, some outside, and i found out what its like to be in humid heat. i felt like i couldn't breathe! the water in the air just clings to you, making you sweat twice as much as normal. i'm already sort of starting to get used to it though. the best thing about humidity is how soft it makes your skin! so for our first orientation camp it was only 1 day because the YES students get here before the regular AFS kids, so this weekend we're going back for a 6 day orientation. i can't wait! weird as it seems, orientations are always so much fun. i really like all the kids and all the volunteers. so on friday night we drove to the bina antarbudaya office and waited for our host families to come. i wasn't nervous at all until i found out my family was coming last. and slowly, all my friends started to leave. it was slightly amusing to see how anxious they all looked just before they left. then i was drawing and talking with some of the volunteers and my family came. my heart skipped a beat. i started to freak out. i didn't know how to prepare myself for this at all, and now the time had come. the drive home was quiet and sort of awkward, no one really knew what to say. i got a tour of the house and then went to bed. since i got to my host family's house i have felt pretty homesick. i think part of it is just being in a house, i can't help but think of home and of my family. i really do miss them. you know they tell you that first comes the honeymoon stage, then the culture shock and homesickness. for me first came culture shock and homesickness. i'm still having a rough time with it, but day by day its getting better. i'm just trying to live it one day at a time, not worrying about tomorrow until it comes. its a lot to get used to but i know its going to be so worth it, if i can just make it through the rough parts, i know things can only start to go up. i have school 6 days a week. its crazy! i was so nervous on my first day! i got all my books and my principal told me basically i can do whatever i want here, as long as i focus on learning bahasa, which i'm trying with all my might to learn. he said if i want to i can go to class from 6:30 to 11, then go learn traditional dance from 11 til 2. he also told me that i can move from class to class to make more friends. the first day, there was a big assembly and the principal talked to the whole school out on the basketball court. my host parents were with me and he introduced us to the school. he gave me a microphone and had me say "nama saya flan, saya dari utah" and it was pretty embarrassing. i went and sat by my classmates and they all introduced themselves to me but i still couldn't remember any of their names. then we watched a school karaoke contest. all the kids were such good singers! it was a lot of fun. then my friends took me upstairs to our classroom. i am in 11th grade here, a year older than i should be, in the language track. school here has different tracks that you pick to study that determine your future. the main 2 are science and social, and within them are the smaller tracks. language is in the social track, i believe. i am also going to be studying mandarin and japanese this year! that's gonna be a mouthful for a while...but so cool in the end. you take your shoes off in class here, and either wear your socks or slippers. my friend sendwi let me copy her math work, and then after class was over my host mom came and picked me up. after school i unpacked and then decided to have a little nap. my host sister woke me up 5 hours later for dinner. and that was saturday. that night i met my host dad's family. they were all so nice! i eat so much here, it wouldn't surprise me if i've already gained like 5 pounds. on sunday, we went to meet my host mom's family. we went to her mom's house and when she came downstairs, she pinched my cheek and told me i was beautiful. :) i've never gotten my cheek pinched before, it was pretty funny. and they have this tradition in their family that at the beginning of ramadan they go pray at her father's grave so we went and did that. the cemeteries here are so different! there is is a dirt path that goes through the whole thing and a tiny little stone wall that blocks off the graves from the path. each grave is a rectangular mound of grass with a headstone at one end of it. on some of the graves a tree or other small plant was growing. an islam leader came and lead prayers and then we went back to the grandma's house to eat. we watched tv and played cards and ate and talked. it was a lot of fun. they let me use the computer so i got to check my email really fast and write to my mom. then we left, went home and had a short nap and then went to a big mall. its so asian, i love it :) first we went to just an electronics store so they could look at tv's, and then we moved on to this huge mall that had i think about 5 floors. they were all circular and escalators go through the center of the circles on each floor. it was really cool. there was a bakery there that smelled incredible. we looked in a couple stores and then ate. i got this frozen yoghurt that was so good! i've never had frozen yoghurt like this before, it was really tart and yoghurt-y and it had mangoes and kiwi on top. then we went to go see GI Joe. movie theater seats here are way nice, these ones were big coushiony red ones that looked more like airplane seats than movie theater seats. the movie started and it seemed pretty good but jet lag won over me and i fell asleep. i woke up right at the end, when there was like 45 minutes left, so i saw the major fight. it was a good movie, but i dunno, not so much my type. it was just so LOUD the whole time, like they tried (and failed) to make it gripping, non-stop action. it was fun though. when we got home, my family called and it was really great to talk to them. i miss them so much. today was independence day. at school, there was a flag ceremony and they sang the national anthem and the principal talked. after that, my friends took me upstairs to our class again and we close the door and blocked it with a chair and turned the fans on so we could cool down. they taught me some more simple phrases and then we went up to the third floor of the school and saw a bunch of kids come running on to the basketball court carrying flags. there were some firemen standing up on the third floor and after about 15 minutes, they turned on fire hoses and began to stray all the kids on the court. within seconds, everyone was drenched. it was so hilarious! then me and my friends walked around the school and met almost all of the teachers and bought some water in the cafeteria and saw a really cute tiny orange kitten that i wanted to hold so bad! after a little while, diandra and some of her friends came from their school across the street and got me and we met my host mom in her car and went home. we watched this korean movie that was so weird. it was called my mighty princess, and it was very entertaining but wow, very asian too. lots of karate. and that's pretty much it for now. tomorrow i'm going to the police with my liaison and then i think doing some other errands with her. that should be interesting. i'll put pictures up soon!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Im on my way!

so yesterday i left my friends house in what i certainly thought would be enough time to get all packed and ready, but apparently it wasn't. me and my mom stayed up till 2 in the morning getting everything together and making sure my bags weren't overweight. i ended up only getting about an hour and a half of sleep before i had to face the cold in my house and take a shower. luckily, there wasn't a long wait until my flight from salt lake to denver, but it was pretty rough saying goodbye to my family. i'm trying to just be excited and positive and happy, and for the most part it's working, but i really miss them. i think things will definitely get better once I get to dc. so the first flight went smoothly, and i got to take a little cat nap for some of it, and it felt wonderful. so now me and austin (a kid from Utah who's going to India) have about 2 hours to wait around in the airport before our plane to dc comes. im so excited! it all feels so surreal that this is really happening. it's like i've seen it coming the whole time, bit never actually thought it would happen. i can't wait!!!

Monday, August 3, 2009


its really just barely hitting me how much i have left to do before i go. today, for to conquer part of my long list of things i need to do, i got my braces off. it feels so incredible! i never knew how different it would feel to get them off. so that was fun. now i'm thoroughly deep cleaning my room, taking every drawer out of the dresser and desk and basically throwing everything in it away. its weird to see all the old notes and papers and clothes i haven't worn or looked at in months, if not years. i'm not having that much of a hard time throwing stuff away though, not feeling the sentimentality i expected to feel. mostly i think its because in my head i know that i'm never going to use that stuff ever again and i really don't need it anymore. letting go is turning out to be easier than i thought, but then again this is really just the tip of the iceberg. 6 more days!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

I leave in a week

and i couldn't be more excited! one week from today, i will be in dc at my gateway oreintation. it scares me a little bit that its coming up so fast! it really has a way of sneaking up on you and yanking the rug out from under your feet. its kind of exhilarating in an weird way. i've had a little contact with my host family too, which makes me even more excited. i have 2 sisters, one is named diandra and she's almost 14, and one is named dieva, and she's 10. i am so excited to meet them! i'm suddenly feeling all the stress of everything i need to get done before i leave, and its pretty overwhelming. oh well. its really a small price to pay to be getting so much more in return. i'm incredibly excited and nervous to go. i can't wait.