Thursday, 14 June 2012

Black Hills

Black Hills Trip
18th-20th of May

First up, Sorry it’s taken me so long to post anything.

Last month, the weekend that Summer Break started, the other Local IEC took myself, Tina, a Swedish guy named Carl and one former exchange student to the Black Hills in South Dakota.
    The night before we had picked Tina up and she stayed the night, then, bright and early on Friday morning, we left to go to Osmond, where the other IEC, Luella, lives. We met her former exchange student, Danielle, who was from New Zealand, and then set off to pick Carl up.
    Then, we began the long and tiring seven and a half hours to the Black Hills.
 We stopped a few times for gas/petrol and to sight see a place or two.There was also some nature drive, where there were donkeys who you could feed (Not sure if you were actually allowed to, but all the cars in front and behind us did) And also loads of wild buffalo. Further along, we went to an old building, forgot what it was for, but from there you could see Mt Rushmore, Crazy Horse Mountain and a few other landmarks from the area.
Wild Buffalo :D

Donkey feeding :P

Some old building, turned into a small lookout
That night, we went to Mt Rushmore! (The mountain with the four presidents faces carved into it) It was sooo much smaller than I imagined. Still awesome though. AT first, we watched a small documentary about how it came to be, then watched a Cadet talk about it and give a speech, with about five minutes left, it started to rain. -.-
    We took all our picture and waited for the guy to finished talking before we headed down to the gift shop. I bought a few little presents for my family, and the others bought a couple things too.

Mt Rushmore through some flag walk

Mt Rushmore
The next day, we went to a place called Harney Peak, which was an old fire lookout decades ago, and hiked up. But, instead of taking the shorter, easier way up, we took the freaking 11km walk, and it’s wouldn’t have been half bad, had it been a nice, flat, non-uphill walk, but it wasn’t, though, in spite of the aching muscles, rocky terrain and extremely hot sun, (which gave me the worst tan) there were some absolutely amazing views along the way, worth the walk actually.



View from another stage

View from the top!

All of us at the top
Going left to right: Luella (IEC), Kelly, (IEC also Luella's husbamd), Danielle (Past EF exchange student, Luella and Kelly's old exchange student), Carl (Swedish exchange guy), Tina (The other Aussie exchange who came) Myself, Sherri.

 That night, we went to Crazy Horse Mountain, and saw what’s been built so far. It wasn’t much, but still was pretty cool.
Our Horse RIding Tour Guide/Instructor

Everyone behind me

Small break to take a few pictures
 The morning we were going back, we went for a two-hour horse ride! It was super pretty riding through the fields and across some small streams, had to take a small detour towards the end because of two wild buffalo, but we all made it, with only one person falling off.
  Arrived back in Osmond pretty late, so Tina and I stayed the night there, then got up at about 8 or 9 for my host mum to pick us up, and drive to Sioux City so Tina’s host mum and brother could take her back to her place.

And holy mother of Christ, the last thing you want to be doing after hiking 11kms and then horse riding, is sitting in a car for two hours. I didn’t even want to move.

Chao x

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Awkward Moments.

So they’re bound to happen, like it or not. And some will be worse than others. Here’s a few that have happened to me in my four months here.
First day of school = Not knowing what the hell to do.
So it’s the first day of school and lunch time rolls around, having never had a cafeteria lunch before, I was completely clueless to what I had to do.
   I had a bit of luck with my host sister being in the same class as me the period before lunch, so she vaguely told me what I had to do before running off the joining the queue. I followed slowly behind and awkwardly tried to remember what she told me to do. Picking up my tray and just doing what the others were doing, I pretended to know what was happening with everything.
    Then, after doing that, I was faced with the big decision of where to sit. I didn’t know anyone and had no clue if I could sit wherever I liked, or if there was some kind of order. My host sister’s table was already full, and scared to just approach a random table, I went and sat by myself. For a bout five minutes I was there eating my lunch all on my lonesome, until my host came and got me and pulled up an extra seat.
    The next day I wasn’t so lucky.
The same thing happened where I awkwardly followed everyone’s lead at the cafeteria line, then I went and sat by myself, this time for the whole lunch. I could feel everyone’s eyes one me and feel them talking about me.
    Probably one of the most awkward days of my life.

First day of classes = Where in the world should I sit?
You get to your first class, softly knock on the door and quietly tell the teacher who you are, and while she beckons you in, you let your eyes wander around the class and see your new school peers, then, realise, you have no friends, and no where to sit. Is the empty seat in front of you for someone who was away? Or was it a free seat? This unluckily happened to me 8 times, one for each class period, and each time it just got more awkward.

For the love of sanity, please, do not say this if you mean the shoes you wear during summer, also known as flip flops. Please. Save yourself the stares and the raised eyebrows. Another recommendation, don’t tell people that ‘In Australia, there’s always thongs that people have left on the beach’.

Those things that you use when you’ve made a mistake in pencil? Yeah. They’re erasers. Not rubbers. I unfortunately learnt the hard way in Maths, when I asked if anyone had a rubber I could borrow…Confused by the weirded out looks, I asked again, making sure I was speaking clearly, then explained what I wanted. As one guy explained what a rubber was in America, I was praying that hell would open up and take me right there and then.

I'm sure everyone will have their own awkward moments, but they’re just the ones I could think of that has happened to me so far.

47 days until my dad comes over!! Fully pumped!!

Monday, 30 April 2012

Things I Miss Part 1


Just a quick blog here about things I miss.
Excluding the obvious (Friends, family, pets)
·         Vegemite.
·         Milo.
·         Tim Tams.
·         Mint Slices.
·         Arnott’s Biscuit Range.
·         Lamb.         
·         Nutri-Gran.
·         Weet-Bix.
·         Allen’s Lollies.
·         Cadbury.
·         Fresh fruit and vegetables.
·         Sausages.
·         ANZAC biscuits.
·         Lamingtons.
·         Meat Pies.
·         Sausage rolls.
Everything else:
·         School Uniforms – Yes. I miss them.
·         Laid back culture.
·         Swearing.
·         Weather.
·         Being tanned. – White as f*ck over here.
·         Accents.
·         My English class.
·         Camping.
·         Maccas run.
·         Shopping after school.
·         Trains.
·         Dinner time conversations with my family.
·         Internet on my phone.
·         Unlimited phone usage.
·         Tall Buildings.
·         Population.
·         Beach/Pool.
·         My school.
·         School peers & teachers.
·         Japanese.
·         Eating out.
·         Fashion.
·         People paying out our Prime Minister.
·         Aussie slang.
·         The scenery.
·         Parrots waking me up every morning.
·         The frog that croaks outside my window at night.
·         Traffic sounds.
·         Being able to sleep all day.
·         Road trips with the fambam.
·         My family’s craziness.

 I'm sure there's plenty of other things that I miss, that I just can’t think of now, but I’ll probably do another one in a month or so and see if anything changes J

I'm writing up about five other blog posts aswell – My First Few Weeks, Discovery Tour, Prom, What It’s Like To Be An Exchange Student and Awkward Moment’s I’ve had.

I’d like to think at least my Prom one will be done by the end of the week, but I can’t promise anything. We’ll see what happens.

 Until then J
Sherri x

Thursday, 12 April 2012

I'm sorry.

Sorry guys. I know I promised back in February that I’d be blogging every few days, but about a week after I posted that, everything started to go downhill at about 100km/ph.

So, I guess I owe you all an explanation, and I’ll start at the beginning.

10 Jan – I arrived in America, all happy and full of adrenaline for the next six months.

17 Jan – One week in and I'm feeling homesick, call up my friend in Kentucky and after, I'm feeling much better.

24 Jan – Two weeks, the ‘honeymoon’ period has ended and things are not how I thought they would be.

27 Jan – Tina’s house! It’s a rainbow in the storm that’s become my life!

1 Feb – I promise that I’ll be blogging more and that everything is calm.

But in actual fact, the last entry was pretty much a lie. I really hated my exchange, and I still am. I felt really uncomfortable with my host family. Our personalities didn’t merge at all. I was loud, outgoing, adventurous, individual, family orientated, crazy and occasionally stupid.

My host family was quiet, introvert, not exactly timid – but they weren’t adventurous, strict and extremely Christian. Now, I don’t have the slightest problem with people being extremely church revolved, not problem at all. But the other things bothered me. They didn’t have a family dinners, my host sister never called her mum ‘mum’, only ‘mother’ and referred to her as ‘mother’ too, and, to be honest, she was a complainer. My host dad was barely ever home, so I didn't see him much, but when I did see him, I got along great with him. My host mother was extremely strict and if you stepped out of line, you knew about it straight away.

So you can see I couldn’t be myself, I couldn’t relax or settle down properly, as they never really ‘welcomed’ me into the family.

10 Feb – One month in and I want to change families desperately. My host sister is having surgery to fix something in her nose so I stay with my IEC and her exchange student.

Now would have been the perfect time to tell her about everything, how I'm uncomfortable, alone and unrelaxed. But I don’t. I tell her exchange student from France.

    And the exchange student tells me that their past student felt the same way -.-

So I confine in the exchange student, tell her everything that’s going on and how I want to move. How my parents want me to move if I'm feeling like this and how I absolutely hate it here. She tells me that she agrees that this place isn’t the best and she would prefer to be somewhere else too. She says that I can always tell her things that are going wrong, and when I finally decide to tell my IEC she’ll be there for me.

17 Feb – I want to go home. Please.  Someone send me a one way ticket to Sydney.

But hey, Tina’s over! And Omaha tomorrow!

24 Feb – Still depressed here..

1 March – IEC’s house again, I planned on telling her, but I chickened out.

10 March – Told my IEC everything today.

Told her how much I hate it and how uncomfortable I am. How I wasn’t relaxed and that I felt so alone, that my host family didn't ever really feed me and that I wanted to go home or change families. She didn’t really do jack shit. Talked about it all with her husband – my other IEC – and then told me a few days later that we were having a meeting with my host mum about it all.

16 March – Meeting with host mum and IEC today.

She denied everything and shifted all the blame onto me so it looked like my fault that I was alone and uncomfortable and under fed. She didn’t take the slightest bit of blame.

17 March – My Dad’s birthday. I really wanted to be home and spend it with him.

19 March – DISCOVERY TOUR! One week away from all the shit in my life!!

26 March – Possibly the best week of my life. I loved everything about it!

This, I will do a full blog on, most probably be a extremely long post, but my Discovery Tour NEEDS to be written about. So far, it’s been the only time I’ve been happy while here.

   Got into some serious shit though, I met with the EF lady in charge of Nebraska while on tour, and told her everything, apparently she hadn’t been told about it at all…yeah. That’s right. She was completely oblivious to the fact I was unhappy. So she rings my IEC and my host mum, and when I get home, I'm in trouble because I told her and apparently didn't trust my IEC to tell the EF lady. I wanted to shoot someone.

1 April – Went to the capital for my host sister.

10 April – Three months of misery.

So I know it doesn’t sound all that bad, but it’s been horrible, somewhere in there I had another meeting with my host sister, host mum and IEC. The blame was shifted to me again, and my host mother even had the nerve to say the only way to fix it all was for me to go home early.

  Not once had EF tried to move me families, even though I’ve been asking and asking to move. I’ve told them so many times that I would be happier somewhere else, but it almost seems as if they want us to suffer. Is it just me, or does that seem wrong? That they are denying kids their happiness? Another Australian girl is even going home on Friday because EF did nothing to help her, she got so sick and tired of their crap, that she decided the best thing was to go back.

  The only thing keeping me here is knowing that I’d be failing myself if I left.

  So what happens now? Well I'm stuck here to summer holidays, then I'm off to Alabama and spending time with my cousin there until my family comes over from Australia. I'm hopefully also going to Kentucky and visiting my friend there.

  I hope you can all forgive me for not blogging the past two months, but I really haven’t been in the spirit, nor the mood to be writing out all the crap that’s happened. I’ll keep you updated on everything whenever I can. But for now, I'm going to go drown my sorrows in the homework that’s been piling up for the past two weeks.

One thing is for certain though, it has NOT been worth the 10K so far.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Bringing Everything Up To Speed

As you may already know, I’ve been in America for about two or three weeks now, and because everything has been so hectic with settling in, accustoming to the new culture and nameless other things, I haven’t had a chance to blog at all since I’ve been here. So now that everything is all good and un-busy I’ll be able to start blogging again! I’ll be hopefully posting every few days and I’ll type up what happened in the first few weeks in a document and post it as soon as I can. Sorry for being the worst blogger out.

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Merry Christmas/13 Days!!

First off, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Season’s Greetings, Happy Holidays to all you lovely people reading this, hope you all got some great gifts and are enjoying your holidays!

   I’m not sure what your religion or nationality is, but where I live, in Australia, the only thing that’s really big is Christmas. In my family, we always put up a artificial Christmas tree, the decorate it with tinsel, lights and assorted hanging decorations, e.g. baubles, glass teardrops etc. Then put the wrapped up presents under the tree. Also, we put lights up outside our house, (I’ll take pictures tonight of my house and the others in my street and post them tomorrow) and then, about one a week, or fortnightly, we’ll drive around my area and look at other peoples Christmas lights J

     Christmas Day, we’ll get up and do presents, perhaps have breakfast, but not usually, then at noon, we’ll have a massive lunch, (I’ll post a picture of my family’s typical lunch tomorrow aswell). We’ll crack Christmas bon bons, and then when we’re full and everything is cleaned up, we’ll either go for a swim in the pool in my back yard, or just sit and chat.

      We don’t have dinner as lunch is always massive, but if we’re hungry, we’ll just go cut some of the leftover Christmas meat or have a piece of fruit.

Onto Exchange!

So it’s only 13 days until I leave.

    Am I excited? Oh yeah.

Am I nervous? Hell yes.

   In fact, this time in thirteen days, I’ll be in the sky, heading to LA, all on my lonesome.

Actually, the more I think about it, the scarier it is. I won’t see my family or friends for six months, I won’t get to snuggle up with my pets for six months, I won’t see, or do a lot of things for six months actually. And it really is a scary thought. And who knows, something drastic might happen, and may never see my friends or family again.

    Like the chances of it happening is pretty slim, but the chance is still there, because who knows, you could die on exchange, or a family member may, or a friend could. You just never know. But moving on from the depressing stuff.

    I haven’t even started to pack yet. I haven’t even got my new suitcase yet.  


    That’s right.

Thirteen days and I don’t even have my suitcase.

    I know what I want to pack and all, and I have a vague idea of what I’ll take in my hand luggage, but I just haven’t got it yet. One of the girls I’m going with, is already packed and everything, and she’s going a week later than me. Talk about organized.

    I haven’t gotten my E-Ticket yet either, EF was supposed to send it to me in the mail about a week or two ago, but I haven’t received it yet. :/ Then, just to add to everything, the SIM Card EF gave me, won’t activate. But I suppose these are minor problems compared to all that’s wrong in the world, including the four kids who haven’t even gotten their families yet.

   Yes. Some kids don’t have a family yet and it’s less than three weeks for the majority of us. I feel so sorry for them, I really do. Everyone else has theirs, including some kids who are going in July/August, and they don’t. It really sucks for them.


That’s about all really. I’ll post the pictures tomorrow and I’m eve thinking of attempting the Vlog I promised a few months back...

Chao x

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Less Than One Month!!!

Less Than One Month!!!

As you can tell, I'm a tad excited ;) Yesterday it was exactly one month until I left for Nebraska!!
  I have all my flight details now, leaving Sydney Airport on the 10th Jan, then a lovely 20 hour flight to LA, chill there for a few hours, catch a plane to Minnesota, chill there for another few hours, then down to Iowa on another plane where I’ll meet my host family, and drive for another hour to my house! All together it’s like, 31 and a half hours of travel. -.-
   Hoping the plane has good movies and the airports have some alright shops. Also hoping that I’ll be travelling with someone, because at the moment, I'm not :/ Reeeeaaalllllyyyyy hoping I am, there's only so much time I can go without talking, and talking to myself may make me seem like a nutter.


So yesterday I had my final game of cricket, which, we won! Yay! (Absolutely smashed them :P) then all the teams had a picnic type thing, which was pretty cool, and mine and Claire’s going away party! Woo!
    There was about 25 of us at my house, talking, eating, drinking non-alcoholic stuff, dancing like idiots, taking hundreds of pictures, swimming, pushing each other into the pool, laughing like maniac’s and being our normal teenage selves.
    A few of my friends got me going away gifts which was really nice, all of them were amazing, and some hilarious cards aswell.
    My sister also made us a Pavlova, which, or those of you that don’t know what it is: It’s just loads of sugar, egg whites, cornflour and a bit of milk, all mixed up with electric beaters to make a really fluffy mixture. Then, you pop it on baking tray that’s lined with baking paper for a while, then when it’s ready take it out, and serve it with cream and fruit. It’s a but like a meringue. So Jess – My sister, decorated it freaking amazingly, one side was done with white, red, & blue fruits (Strawberry, Banana & Blueberry), for America, while the other side was Yellow and Green fruits, (Mango and Kiwi Fruit). Then the border of it was done in the opposite colours, so the Strawberry, Banana & Blueberry side had Mango and Kiwi Fruit on it, while the Mango and Kiwi Fruit side had the Strawberry, Banana and Blueberry on it!
    Late-ish we went for a Christmas light walk, because my street is amazing when it comes to putting up lights for Christmas. Like truly amazing. If I remember I’ll take a few pictures later this week of the houses at night and post them on here.
    At about 10 some people left, having to work the next day, lived further away than others, or parents wanted them home earlier than midnight. At about 11 some others left, just before we took more hot food out of the oven for the remaining girls.
    At about 11:45 myself, and another girl walked my friend home who lived at the bottom of the street, then went back to my house, where we attempted to watch a Lunar Eclipse through the clouds covering the moon.
    As you probably guessed, it wasn’t successful.
So after that, the remaining five or six girls and myself, were just chatting about different things, eating the pies and sausage rolls that weren’t quite gone yet, while some parents came and picked their kids up.
    By the end it was just Claire and I left, we helped clean up everything, not that there was a massive mess or anything, then went upstairs, made up the beds, talked for a bit and then fell asleep.
    In the morning we had a bottle of Creaming Soda for brekkie, (Healthy, I know :P ) and then decided to make Pancakes, and feeling inspired by two Youtubers we both watch, made Delia Smith pancakes.
    (On a side note, normal pancakes taste much better)
The first batch were only half a fail, not cooking them properly, still taste good, but didn’t have ‘Crispy edges’ like the recipe suggested they should have.
    So we made a second batch, dancing to Disney songs while we did, cooked them, and did some fabulous flipping, and that was that.

Completely off topic now.

But yes, less than a month until I'm in America for six months!! Woooo!!
   Going to miss everyone so much! Especially my family.

And now this is two and a bit pages long, so I’ll leave off here!

Cya x