Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Countdown Begins!

As of today I have 100 days left in the U.S.!! So 99 days until I say goodbye to all my friends and family for a year and head to NYC for my gateway orientation on September 5th.  Then after one night in NYC and roughly 22 hours of flying time (given none of my flights get delayed or there is a freak storm and i have to spend the night in the airport) I will arrive in Jakarta with the worst jet lag I've ever experienced. But none of that will matter because I'm going to be so excited and probably on an 'I'm in Indonesia, halfway around the world, gonna be here for 10 months, about to meet my host family, no turning back!!!' high and I'm sure the last thing on my mind will be the fact that I should be sleeping because at home its the middle of the night there.  Anyways, even though 100 days is still a long way away, the fact that I'm leaving has finally sunk in a little.  School ended about a week ago, and realizing that I will never be going back to school at Wheeler (my high school) made it all seem more real.

So on another note, I've had several AFS events recently and since some of the YES'ers are leaving at the end of June (so soon!) we've already been doing a lot of preparation.  In April I had an at home interview with an AFS volunteer who went to Malaysia when she was in high school (not with YES though)  so she could find out more about me to help place me with a host family and so I could ask her general questions. It was really laid back and it was mostly just questions about my personality, what I like to do, and how my family works.  Then a few weeks back I had my AFS per-departure orientation for the Georgia chapter.  I was the only YES kid there, but there were 2 kids for NSLI-Y (another department of state scholarship), and a few people who are paying to go abroad on a regular AFS exchange.  The PDO (pre-departure orientation) was also combined with the pre-return orientation for the exchange students from other countries who have been living in the Atlanta area this year.  I got to talk to some girls from Thailand, a girl from Turkey, and most importantly this guy Ari who is from Indonesia.  It was really interesting to hear their stories, and I learned some useful things about Indonesia, like the fact that in school if I'm talking to a guy I should probably stand at least 2 feet away from him at all times. Apparently school is strict but outside of school it doesn't matter. haha Not sure if this is an exaggeration, but I guess I'll find out! So at the orientation we had a bunch of  info sessions which were mainly about things that had already been gone over on a conference call or in Denver at the selection event. We also had a sex, drugs, and alcohol session (thought i was done with that after health this year!) which basically told us about everything that could get us kicked out of the program.  It wasn't all bad though because there was a hilarious story about a kid who had an affair with his host mom- I think I'll spare you the details. Oh also this is completely unrelated but i also learned that I like real coffee- like just plain coffee and some milk- at the orientation (i usually only like Starbucks frappuccinos but I was really tired so i tried it) or maybe they just had abnormally good coffee.

So here is me and everyone who is going on an exchange from the U.S. at the orientation.  They were all really cool and this one girl Brianna taught me/made me to try this circus lift/stunt thing which was a bit awkward because it involved me having to put my head between her legs for a second there. haha sorry i don't have a picture of that. Anyways here we are:

That's me, second to the right with the poofy hair, if you don't know.               

Alright so the last and most recent YES related thing I've done is my second conference call.  It was pretty much the same as the first, they told us a bunch of information that we had already read in emails, but this time we had a few articles to read as a homework assignment and we discussed them. I'm looking forward to the Indonesian only conference call, because right now we can't really ask most of our questions because there are like 6 different countries on the call. 
So I have to get back to doing work for my summer classes. I'm taking World Lit, Econ, and Government this summer since I'm not getting graduation credits next year while I'm gone :( But the good thing is I don't have to stress out about getting good grades in school as much while I'm there-trying to figure out what's going on will be hard enough! So that's gonna be most of my summer till mid-July , but I have a week long trip to Costa Rica in 2 days with my school's leadership club!!!!, and then the PDO in D.C. at the end of June, and probably a few trips to visit family. And then... INDONESIA!!!