Thursday, April 7, 2011

Somoa, Tramping, Dragon Boating and Aussie!

Hello everyone! I'm sure no one is surprised that I have again neglected my blog writing duties. So here comes another massively long post. I'll try and keep it interesting so you can actually read the whole thing! But first, I feel I should mention the earthquake in Christchurch. Although it pales in comparison to Japan, the devastation was heartbreaking to NZ. I'm fine though, I was actually in Samoa when the earthquake hit.

So Samoa. I went for 5 days with my counsellor Bob as he was going there on business. It was amazing! It was so so unlike anything, anywhere I'd ever seen before! Beautiful beaches (as you can see in the photo) but also absolute poverty in some places. The beach you can see in that photo is actually the one where the tsunami hit back in 2009. Most of the island lives in huts, with communal meeting houses. It is very bizarre seeing a little thatched roof hut with a sign on it that says "top up your mobile here!", but that's Samoa in a nut shell for you!

Typical Samoan scenery

Just after that I went on a tramping weekend with the students of 9910. We tramped Mount Ruapehu, which in winter time is a ski resort, and the Tongariro Crossing. Mt Ruapehu is a volcano, as are most things in NZ, which means there are absolutely no trees. There are big boulders and not much else, which makes tramping more like rock climbing. To be honest, I did not enjoy myself! But the Tongariro Crossing completely made up for Mt Ruapehu! It was a full day tramp and packed so many different types of scenery into one day- so beautiful!

About to die on Mt Ruapehu

Top of Mt Ruapehu (Lord of the Rings fans... Recognize anything in the background?)

Sulphur Lakes at the Tongariro Crossing

Since school has started back up I've been very busy! Between Peer Support, Stage Challenge (a dance show) and Dragon Boating, I haven't had a dull day! Just recently my Dragon Boating team competed in our first (and only) regatta. My school hasn't even made the finals since 1993 (the year we were all born) so were we ecstatic when we placed 3rd in the overall finals!

Looking pretty professional 

Hard to see, but we're wearing medals!

Most recently I was at the Gold Coast in Australia with my host parents. They have an apartment right on the beach at Surfers Paradise, known for nightlife, theme parks and shopping. We were so busy over the week, but by far the highlight for me was seeing all the weird animals Aussie has to offer! NZ doesn't have any native animals other than some birds and a couple bats, so it was SO cool to hold a koala and pet kangaroos!

Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast

Beyond excited! (They're really soft!)

Eating Emu, Crocodile and Kangaroo (so sad after just petting them!)

That's all for now! Coming up soon, I'll be moving to my final host family, going to Cape Reinga at the top of the North Island and Tahiti for District Conference with the other exchange students. So much to pack into my last few months... I can't believe it's almost time to go back to Canada!