Sunday, June 26, 2011

Host Family and DC Preparations

I feel as though a giant burden has been lifted from my shoulders, for I have a host family! And they're fantastic!

I've got a host mom that's very involved in AFS and the community, and my host dad is also a super-volunteer! I'll fit right in! I have two host sisters, one is older and one that's younger my just a few months, and we're going to get along swimmingly. I also have two younger brothers ages ten and two, I believe. There's a maid and a house and taekwondo lessons, I'm so excited, I've forgotten the details!

They've given me some information about the school, most importantly that the school year is longer and different, so I'll be around for just a semester to them. I don't know how well my credits will transfer, but at this point I'm warming up to the idea that I might be able to come back to school and not be rushed. I mean, if my credits transfer, I'll graduate with my class. That will be that, and I'll come home to all the stresses of a senior without the accomplishment of junior year. But if only some of my credits transfer, then I could take all the classes I never could! All the arts I've had to drop because of the honors program will be open to me! Maybe I'll audition for select choir. Either way, I'm sure the colleges will look past the fact that I've spent an irregular time in my high school and notice that the year abroad means so much more.

Speaking of colleges, I've been researching my top choices and looking at their study abroad programs. I'm so sure that I'll have a fantastic experience that I want this to be the deciding factor. Also, remarkable sociology programs for international/intercultural relations are few and far between here. Embassy work is looking like a better career every day!
Tidbit: I get to wear a uniform to school! Here's a picture:

Both of these are so cute! And turquoise looks fantastic with my skin tone! Not to be shallow, I can appreciate the values they stand for and a progressive mindset that's applicable to even such permanent things as school uniforms. Look, a jumper! :)

I have all my flight information and I love talking to my host family. I have a laptop and I'll be attaching a camera to it's top pretty soon. I hope to have success with Skype!

Also, I've started putting little sticky notes all around my house with the Malay word for the item on it. It's going pretty well, and thanks to Quizlet for having those awesome memorization games and lists of common words!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Travel Information and DC Orientation

The organization that sponsors me to study abroad in 30 days, YES AFS, has sent me my flight information for both the mandated pre-departure orientation and gateway orientation, and it really feels like this is happening now!

So, for the Pre-departure Orientation, all of us from YES are going to Washington, DC to see the Department of State that's running this whole scheme, and we get to meet some officials. I truly hope we get to meet Hillary Clinton, she's so amazing! Really, everything she's done is really inspirational for me, all her work being First Lady, running for office in 2008, and now being the Secretary of State! She's a busy lady that's really stuck to her convictions despite being a politician. Also, she never fails to look fabulous.

Now, for the actual departure. There's this great thing AFS is doing called the gateway orientation, and it's the few days before we leave country that they get us all in one place to give us one last briefing. This year, it's in Los Angeles, California! I've never been farther west than Illinois or Colorado, and I'm really looking forward to the trip to get to the orientation. They're shipping me from T.F.Green here in Rhode island to Cleaveland, Ohio, to LAX in LA, Cali, which is fantastic! I could have gotten a non-stop, but then I would have had to be at Boston at 8:30 in the morning, and the traffic makes that such an ordeal.

From LA, I'm going to be put up in a hotel for a few days until they're ready to let us leave. From LAX, I'm going to Hong Kong in China, which I am so very happy about, my excitement about just BEING there is just so high! From Hong Kong, I'm making my way on a non-stop to Kuala Lumpur, where I'll spend 10 months studying and absorbing the culture and making friends and bonding with my family!

It's so close now, I'm off country in 30 days! I've made such arrangements as planning a party that will suffice for my going-away and 16th birthday, which is a big deal here. Also, I've bought my baggage; now I've got a nice luggage set all to myself! And it matches! I've started shopping for the trip, mostly buying lighter clothes because it's so near the equator and never really gets below 70 degrees Fahrenheit. I've had my Capstone Project approved by the nice teacher in charge, and he says it might just be the best one ever! He'll personally be sitting in one at least on of the presentations. Plus, I'm getting my braces off in two days by order of the Orthodontist, who is very excited for me.

Speaking of other people being excited for me, I've been getting more tearful responses to me leaving than ever before. As seniors leave the school and we all prepare for finals, it's like everyone's getting ready to say goodbye. Everyone's reassuring one another that they'll see eachother next year, but I keep reminding those who promise that of their incorrectness. I will most likely be back for the last few weeks before school gets out next year, but I don't think I'll participate in classes. More likely, I'll come in sometimes to talk to my guidance counselor and various teachers, reassuring them of my safety and new found maturity.

My mother is telling everyone she meets about this opportunity for me, and we're getting about the same reaction; her and I. There's alot of confusion; "Why would you want to do that?" and stupid questions like "Won't you miss your family?", which we've come up with answers for. If YOU want answers, look at my first post, I outline it there pretty well.

Goodnight, Travel Well!