Saturday, August 23, 2008

One Heck of a first day...

Well, I've made it! I'm finally here in New Zealand! But before I actually get into the interesting things like my family, you have to read about how I went through a giant sequence of orientations while in LA! But don't worry, it won't be too long, hehehe...

Anyway, the day after I made that long post I had to get up at 4:45 AM to take care of some annoying business known as flying to Los Angeles at 8:00 in the morning. On the way there I went through about half of a 60-pack of gum in my boredom. After getting in LA I heard from dad that there was another AFSer who was on my flight, but I had no idea she was there. I didn't meet any AFSers before I finally made my way to the Hacienda Hotel. Once there, I had to kill 4 hours since my flight came in at 10 and we had to meet at the hotel at 2. To add insult to injury, AFS didn't allow me to use the hotel pool, and I had to wait for at least 2 other people to arrive to even leave the hotel (in case of injury, one to call for help and one to run back to the hotel). But I eventually got some lunch, had some Starbucks (grande iced mocha 2x vanilla 1x peppermint ftw) and started the lengthy series of orientations. There were 19 people going to Japan for a semester, as well as 3 other New Zealand exchangees, 2 for a semester and 1 other for a year. There was also one person going to Hong Kong for a year, and a guy going to Tasmania for a community service semester. We sat in a room that we were told was on the second floor but ended up being on the first floor. So we sat through a bunch of orientations, had dinner...all that good stuff. The next day, we had a breakfast that gave an entire new meaning to "give us today our daily bread", as it was composed COMPLETELY of pastries and croissants. Afterwards, the Japan students left, leaving 6 people to eat lunch, spend an hour and 15 minutes finding the beach, only to be there for a half-hour and having to come back with all speed.


2 store visits for food later, we are in the airport. We've said goodbye to the AFS helper leading us through the orientations, and we find ourselves waiting for 2 hours to finally get onto the plane for our 14 hour flight to Auckland. While we wait, some snapshots are made just so I can show you guys the 4 of us waiting at LAX.














The left picture is Cory, who doesn't like being put in pictures, so his was a picture I took by
surprise. In the right picture, from left to right, is Adam, Sarah, and me. Cory and I are the ones going for a year, and Sarah and Adam are the semester students.


So we get onto our Qantas plane, and it is awesome! The plane had TV and movies on demand absolutely free, and the meals weren't half bad for an airplane. Throughout the flight, I just couldn't sleep, so I watched Family Guy and The Simpsons a lot. Skip forward about 14 hours...

I arrive in Auckland. I make my way through customs with the other 3 suprisingly fast. There we find an AFS volunteer waiting for us. I get myself an iced chocolate at a coffee shop, and after my 3 friends leave, I get a ride hired by the volunteer to my house in Hamilton. Now, it's 5:00 in the morning in Hamilton, and I have an entire day ahead of me. I meet the members of the Kelly family: Paul, the father; Rosemary, the mother; Deb, the 23-year-old daughter heading to America in 4 weeks; Cameron, the just-turned-21-year-old son; and Annalise, the 14-year-old daughter. Since it's Cameron's birthday, I help out a bit with cleaning up a few things, as well as slicing up a pumpkin with some difficulty. Cameron and I play Soul Calibur 4 on his Xbox 360 while we wait for his friends to arrive...



Fast-forward, everyone's here. After everyone arrives, me, Cameron, Paul, and cameron's friends all go to Hamilton Paintball to...well, play paintball. It's my first time, and I'm quite nervous. It turns out to be quite fun, however, as we go through like 6 different variations. My team wins by a few points, and surprisingly I'm left with no welts whatsoever, even though my left hand seemed to be struck by over half of the shots that hit me. Also I learn that I am way too trigger-happy, as at one point I go through 100 paintballs in about 3 minutes during a game on a speedball (designed for fast games) field. After the game, we all come back and clean ourselves up a bit before dinner. Dinner is roast lamb, potatoes, carrots, and garlic bread. Cameron's friends and I go through the potatoes and bread faster than a California wildfire, and we all talk about various things including the olympics, American politics, and things like that. Next up is the dessert. We have brandy snaps filled with whipped cream (They just taste sweet, not like brandy), neopolitan and strawberry ice cream, and marshmallows. I fill myself up, which turns out to be a bad idea since there was the cake left. It was a chocolate mud cake, and unfortunately I was too full and tired to have any. After that, I finally get the luxury of getting to sleep after having a GIANT day. But it was fun, and that's all that matters. Now, coming up is the new idea of going to school in New Zealand...







Thanks for reading! Oh yeah, and Will?

13 comments:

emily (bishop) said...

Woahhh, Andy got a haircut. Nice. =]
But anyways. That's a lot of "ASFers" and a lot of cool places they are going. It already sounds amazing....even before you got on your flight to New Zealand. Haha. The whole bread breakfast thing reminds me so much of China...but that's not the point. The flying thing also reminds me of China. I couldn't sleep on the plane AT ALL. I think I maybe slept 2 hours, and then just watched the crappy movies(YOU GOT MOVIES ON DEMAND!! Haha) they showed us...but still...gave me something to do. What kind of food did you get on the airplane that wasn't bad? Haha. I don't think some airplane food is half bad, but other food is horrible.
The family sounds like it is really cool. Well, at least Cameron sounds cool. You guys from what I read seem to be getting along pretty well. How was paintball...I've never played? It sounded like it was fun.

Jenn said...

dude, that sounds like a long ass day. i wouldn't be able to stay awake. and you STILL NEED TO POST YOUR ADDRESS!!

-jeanette

Mom said...

It was great to hear your voice, sweetie; thanks for calling! Congrats on making it through that long and tedious journey.

This update is fun and informative (I'm impressed by your writing -- seems like there could be an English credit or two in here??).

What a busy (and tasty) introduction to your NZ family -- sounds like a blast! Sounds like you and Cameron have a common language right off the bat -- the XBox :-P!

Can't wait to hear about school and more, honey. Take care!

Love, Mom

Will said...

Damnit I need something to object to on this one! Nice Conformity Cut by the way. How long does it take yo to post these things?

Andy Scherch said...

Let's see here... The address is 25 Kensington Place in Hamilton, the movies on demand were actually good (Iron Man for example), and Will, the "Conformity Cut" was for the purpose of not sticking out immediately, and also you already saw it at my going-away party. Oh, and it does take me a while to post these, since I have to upload the pictures, and that can take a while, as well as having to arrange them correctly. And finally, the airplane food wasn't too bad, I had seared salmon, a moderately dry brownie, some pretty good peppermint tea, a mushroom/herb fritatta, and, well...more tea. And mom, remember I'm the nintendo freak, just any video games I guess work.

Will said...

OBJECTION!!!

emily said...

haha, that food sounds better than what i had. and tea sounds good. i like tea sometimes.=]]
yeahh, i would expect the on demand movies to be better, and i'm glad they were.

i'm glad you're having a good time.

Andy Scherch said...

Will, you're forgetting that I'm talking about just how good the movie was from an UNBIASED perspective...

Kiersten Ehmann said...

Hey there andy I see you have been having fun; keep eating well... Can't think of much to say all of the sudden...

Have some fun for me, you have my blessings...

xoxoxoxo

Mom said...

Waiting to hear about school... kept thinking about your first day and wondering how it went.
Love,
Mom

j.scherch said...

so they aren't hXc+, right? :-P

family sounds cool. keep your facebook updated too.

- j

mom said...

What is hxc+(I'm afriad to ask :=)...)?! Looking forward to an update, sweetie. Heading to MI with Scott to see Grandpa and go to a wedding. Love you, Mom

Will Nichols said...

My Post...