Monday, December 7, 2009

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Arriving in Turkey

Flying for ten and a half hours with a short three hour stop in Singapore for shopping before flying another thirteen and a half hours, I finally landed safely at Istanbul airport. It was 7:30 on Sunday morning, I was extremely excited to meet Aytuna and her family but also very, very tired from the long trip.

After having some breakfast at Aytuna's aunts apartment Aytuna and her father showed me the amazing sites of Istanbul. We visited places like the Galata Kulesi which from the top had an amazing view of the city and Bosporus, Yeni Cami an incredible Mosque in the middle of town and markets that sold the most amazing, delicious Turkish foods like breads, spices and turkish delight.

In the afternoon we travelled on a boat up the Bosporus where there were stunning buildings on the waters edge and some dolphins that played in the water beside us. After an hour and half on the water we returned to Aytuna's aunts for dinner and a quick sleep before catching a bus at one o'clock on the Monday morning to Canakkale where I will be living for the next six weeks.

We arrived at 7 in the morning and after a shower, breakfast and a look at my new home, we set off for school. I meet Aytuna's friends who thankfully can all speak english and are going to help me learn some turkish during my stay here. After school Aytuna, her friends and I went for a walk to the shops and cafe's where we had something to eat and drink and got to know each other a bit better.

At the moment it is freezing in Canakkale, about four degrees over night and not much warmer during the day so I am hoping that over the next few weeks it will get a bit warmer. Looking forward to school tomorrow as there are celebrations for 18 Mart.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

School in Canakkale

Anzac Cove
Canakkale City from my balcony.

Today was my first proper day at school without Aytuna there to help thankfully most of the day we did english so I was helping my class with pronunciation, I wasn't so good at religion or mathematics. I am looking forward to next week as some students from Australia are coming for a five week exchange. There are also two students from America on a one year program that go to my school, they are helping me communicate with others and are teaching me some turkish words, I can now count to five and say yes, thank you, enter, hello and I'm full.

Yesterday my mother and brother took me to the movies to see Veda it was a new experience as it was in turkish with no subtitles although it was a very good movie about the Turkish war and Ataturk.

My family have been taking me all around Canakkale introducing me to turkish cuisine it is divine I am especially enjoying the baklava and yesterday I had turkish pizza which was very different to home but tasted just as good. They eat a lot of wild rice here it looks like white and brown rice mixed together it's really yummy. I have also started drinking tea which I have never done in my life but it is so cold here that it's the only way I can stay warm.

Enjoy the pics I will be adding more soon of my travels.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Shannon in Denmark

Some photos from Shannon's AFS exchange in Denmark...

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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Sarah on Location, where all the action happens

I should probably explain why I havent updated as often as some of you would like. In Japan I am BUSY.

I have school monday-friday and i got out of having to go once a month on a saturday. Thats a nice break. But what keeps me busiest is Kendo. Here everything is taking seriously and there is a deep loyalty to ones club and much dedication to school work. I have no idea how these people do it. Its crazy. I begin my mornings with a 20 minute bike ride to Tochigi Girls. School starts at 8.30 and all i get is about 45 minutes for lunch time. No morning tea. No afternoon tea. At 3.30 school finishes and everyone cleans until 3.45. then at 4.00 kendo begins and I dont leave until 7.00. Kendo practice is everyday. Right now its supposed to be golden week holidays but not for the kendo team. I got two days (now 3 because im sick) of holidays, the rest i spent watching kendo games for 8 hours straight. If you havent got the point, the japanese way of life is busy and there is always something going on. This kind of makes me think how lazy I was in NZ, I would go home, watch tv go on the computer and thats just how i did things. Here everyone has something to do, all the time. My Host mum has work, dance practices and looking after the family. My host dad has work and some sword swinging sport. My host sister is crazy busy and i can go a few days without seeing here and my host brother still doesnt talk to me.

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Coquimbo/La Serena

On Thursday morning we all piled into the jeep and headed south for five hours to the cities of La Serena and Coquimbo, which are two cities about 15 minutes away from each other (except they're practically joined).... Day 1: We arrived in Coquimbo at about 2pm, just in time for lunch! We stayed with my host grandparents, the parents of my host dad. With them lived my host uncle, and my host aunt. My younger host sister told me that every time they come to Coquimbo, there are always home made empanadas waiting, and she was right! So we had lunch. Their apartment was on top of a hairdressing studio, and it was a big apartment. There was even a rooftop terrace!

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Monday, April 27, 2009

From the land of the long white cloud to the land of the rising sun

So yes! i have arrived safely here in japan and all is well....The first few days were spent at an orientation in Tokyo. It was awesome and i had a great time, Im glad i could talk with all the friends i made but had never met in 3D. I took lots of photos with my friends, but i hope to get a new camera before i go to DISNEYLAND NEXT WEEK! YES! I did say disneyland!

My AFS chapter here seem really nice and i have made friends with the other AFS student in Tochigi. So far we have had an arrival orientation, a (super easy) Japanese lesson, a tour around Utsunomiya and gone to a department store together. Yesterday at the department store i bought the book "One Litre of Tears" its all in Japanese and the Kanji is hard, but it is my goal that i want to be able to read it before i return to NZ.

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Monday, March 30, 2009

Not better or worse, just different

Being in a different country, with a different culture, one is bound to notice the things that are different from how they are at home. As an exchange student, I have learnt to notice these differences without passing judgement as to whether it is a good difference or a bad difference, it is, and will always be, just different.
So here are some of the different things about Chile:
-The meals - small breakfast, large lunch (eg, dinner in NZ), and a snack at about 9pm called Onces (Spanish for 11, although it's not eaten that late.
This is a special onces, some yummy pastries

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Thursday, March 5, 2009

Stories from AFS exchange students around the world.

"Wow I never knew how three months could go so fast, but here i am again writing to you about how my exchange is going in Denmark. Over the last few months i have noticed a real change in myself as i feel i am now fully emerged into my exchange. My life in Denmark just seems normal. The people, language, and atmosphere all seem natural to me now. I have also found myself becoming a lot more independent, balanced and confident in doing and trying different things. an exchange i think definitely pushes you to limits where it brings out qualities you never thought you had, which is a really good thing."
Chloe McKenzie in Denmark

"At the moment i am living for the weekends here. I have fortunately already been able to see lots of Quebec. I have stayed at a lake which was so much fun because i got to try water skiing and i got to enjoy the last sun of summer. I have also been to Quebec City which is so beautiful! It is really European and you can just feel the french culture in the air. I also went up north about 8 hours, the scenery was so beautiful. The autumn colours are so magnificent! All the trees are either coloured with red, yellow or orange leaves! In general the landscape here is very flat, which is different for me as in New Zealand i live on steep hill country. I find it funny when people call hills mountains. I'm always like "that's not a mountain that is only a hill"."
Rosalie Hodgson in Canada.

"The most important thing i have learnt was learning to love this place, with all my heart, the same way i love my country. To love every bit of it, from the wonderful and amazingly helpful, loving and caring family i got, to the incredible friends I've made, from my cozy house in the city centre to my enormous school on the Shore, from its beautiful beaches to its awe-inspiring pics. New Zealand is now my home and its going to be so hard, so hard, leaving it."
Camila in New Zealand.

"At this moment i have settled in perfectly and feel as though i have become a Tico (Costa Rican). Now I'm rather sad that I have to leave within 3 months, so I am trying to make the most of these last few months. I have been having the greatest year of my life here. I'm in love with the culture, food, people, school and almost everything! Things just seem to get better and better as you learn the language. There is absolutely nothing i would want to change from this exchange so far."
Regan Mathieson in Costa Rica.