Tuesday, May 15, 2012

This past weekend I had my pre-departure orientation for AFS which was in conjuction with the AFS in the US for the year's end-of-stay orientation. This was so awesome since instead of there just being 6 Americans there was around 30 kids from all over the world. I was so happy to meet everyone I did there and I even got to practice my Japanese :) Here's some pictures that I wish I could claim I took but all I did is take them off facebook.
 All the students at who were at the camp :)
 It was a camp which=a lake :) We sadly were not allowed to swim in it but I loved being near it nonetheless.
We made these candle on rice cracker creations and then set them afloat on the lake and it looked beautiful :) There was something symbolic about it but I can't remember exactly what was is, I believe it was started by a life-long AFS volunteer and is meant to be used as a tool of reflection.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

IPSE-"In Person Selection Event" in Denver, Colorado

As you can read in my post here: I was selected to as a Semi-Finalist for the YES Abroad Scholarship which equaled a free weekend trip to Denver just for an interview & group interviews. I was ecstatic-not only was I a semi-finalist for this scholarship that I wanted more than anything else I have ever wanted but  I was being shipped out to Denver for FREE! I had never been farther west in the U.S. than Minnesota (to visit family when I was 10) and Minnesota is pretty much exactly the same as Maine, terrain wise, except more flat. I was so excited to see the Rockies! I was also really excited to see Colorado-but that didn't happen. We were stuck inside for the whole weekend without being allowed outside! It was okay since there was soo many amazing people to talk to but let me tell you, boy did it feel good to go outside and breath fresh air again.
I have not flown very often due to the expense and was afraid I would not be able to go since to get to Denver is very expensive especially from Maine but that you State Department! I, along with 89 (well 88 since one girl couldn't come due to mono) other high schoolers were being flown to Denver for a weekend. This weekend turned out to be one of the best in my life :) I meet so many wonderful people. We ate all our meals with a group label by a letter. Ours was Group "C". Having an eating group was fun since it allowed us to extensively get to know a group of people we might not have got to know since there were 89 people there & it was only for 3ish days. Practically 2 for me since I was one of the last to get there and the first to leave!
The best part of the ISPE was the amazing people I met. I had some of the best conversations ever with people including the other awesome ladies going to Ghana with me. :)

Group C:

Group C consisted of Naveen, David (Indonesia), Ming Fen, Peter (Oman), Mary, Teresa (Malaysia), Cara (Oman through NLSI-Y), & Breanna

Mary & I were reppin' Maine but we flew out different airports so we didn't get to fly together :(

Murugi & I

Rya who is going to Turkey & Murugi

Pretty Much what we did the whole time we weren't having interviews, etc. Talking!

The first picture is as I was flying out of Portland I snapped a picture of Fort Williams Park Which is where the famous Portland Headlight* is. *The most photographed lighthouse in the world.

 I was flabbergasted by how flat Colorado was! Without seeing it, I am not sure I could have imagined how flat it was. This was pretty much all I saw of the Rockies & Denver. It was so odd to go all the way to the Rockies & then not touch then or sight-see or anything...