It’s Been Too Long

I’ve just been a little too involved with this exchange program to focus on schoolwork, adventures and keeping up with my family and I guess I forgot about the writing part of it all

Australia is treating me well.  I love it here… if I haven’t told you all before.

I finally got to ride a zip-line, which was fun.  It’s like those short ones on a school playground, only much larger and downhill… and through a path of trees.

My most recent adventure though was being a junior captain on a boat that set sail for nine days on the Great Barrier Reef.  I got to learn all that goes into captaining a boat out at sea and the nautical terms that go along with it.  I was also able to go snorkeling a few times and I got to cross off scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef off my bucket list.

snorkeling

Australia is definitely helping me grow as a person, but it’s also helping me cross off items on my bucket list… which is more important, right?  Haha.

But that’s a quick update for now.

Thanks for reading!

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Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

I guess we all know that song in either the literal sense or in the sense that you’ve broken up with someone before.  In my case, I now know both songs.

Two days ago my girlfriend and I broke up.  Since I have been in Australia for the past two months now, we haven’t been able to talk as much due to the time difference and our daily schedules.  We were finally able to spend a few hours talking over Skype and it had turned out we’d both been thinking the same thing for a while now – keeping this relationship alive would be too much work for us.

As juniors we have harder work to get done, especially considering we’re both in a few honors classes, SAT’s to prep for within the next year, plus our extracurricular activities.  It’s too much to ask of two 16-year olds in their first relationship to do all that, plus keep a relationship going.  I know we might be giving up too quickly on this, but the fact is we’re both young and I am only here for a year.  Who knows?  Maybe when I go back for senior year we’ll get back together.

I guess we’re both lucky that it was a mutual split, and it’s not like we’re not going to throw away our friendship.  So I’m grateful that we’ll keep our friendship and no matter what happens she won’t lose her place in my life.  I’m hoping I won’t lose my place in hers either.

And that, my friends, is why I’m writing to you all at 2am instead of sleeping.

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Why I Write

why i write

It’s actually been over a month since I’ve written a blog post, but it took some time for me to adjust to life here in Australia.  Changing time zones was a huge part of that, as well as getting back into my school routine and just soaking in all this new culture while being away from my family and friends.

Writing has become a part of me since starting this blog.  It’s something I tend to look forward to – writing up my next post.  My excitement exceeds that of a 5-year old in a candy store when I think of a new blog post that I find interesting to write.  But that’s not the exact reason I write.

I write on this blog because it’s a way for me to connect with everyone out there; whoever happens to stumble on my tiny space of the Internet and reads what I have to say.  I love getting comments that start discussions on a topic.  I even love it when others can relate to my personal posts.  So blogging is a way for me to connect with total strangers, and my family.  Especially now that I’m in Australia for the year, they need to know what’s going on in my life.

More importantly, I’m able to grow as a person.  By connecting with others I’m making new friends and learning to expand my knowledge and outlook on the world.

And that, is why I write.

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Destination: Australia

australia globe

So I have mentioned that I am going to be an exchange student this coming school year, and that I will be in Australia.  As the day I leave comes up this week, I can’t help but think how this is really going to affect my life in a number of ways.

For one, I’ll be on a completely different time schedule from my family and friends here in the USA.  It’s one thing when I visited Greece earlier this summer, but Australia is pretty much an entire day ahead compared to where my family and friends live.  When they’re sleeping, I’ll be awake and when they’re awake I’ll be asleep.  Am I looking forward to that?  Not so much.  But at least we’ll be able to communicate through emails and Facebook messaging… so it won’t be all bad.

A good aspect of going to Australia for a year is the culture change.  Not that I don’t like my country or anything, but I think it will be a good experience to learn about the society in another country.  Learning more about other countries is a good thing because we can better understand why these people have their certain customs and why they live the way they do, and it’s a good way to learn about ourselves.  The best way to do that is to experience their culture for a good amount of time, not through a textbook.

One other concern I have is my hearing issues, especially since Australians are known for their accents.  While I can hear with my hearing aids, it’s not always easy for me to pick up certain words when a person talking to me as a strong accent.  I guess I’m pretty lucky that two of my classmates going with me in this program are fluent in ASL, just in case I miss some important words in a conversation or class.

So while I’ll miss my friends and family here, I’m excited to meet new people and experience a new culture over the next year in Australia.

By the way, I leave tomorrow, so wish me luck!

I’ll be sure to update as soon as I’m settled into a good routine there.

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Visiting Greece

Well, I can check visiting Greece off my 17 Before 17 list!  So, as you probably figured, that is the reason I have not been active in a few weeks.

Visiting Greece was definitely not something I had planned to do so soon, but the opportunity came up when my sister, Sabrina, and her husband asked me if I wanted to join them.  My brother Sebastian also came along, as he had originally planned to go with them from the beginning.

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One great thing about visiting Greece, other than visiting the ruins and their beaches, is that my sister and brother can both speak some Greek.  Of course, we realize it’s not quite a popular language, but as I recently found out, we apparently have Greek in our blood that traces even further back than our connections to Scotland and England.  Our grandfather actually spoke Greek pretty well so my older siblings were able to pick up some of the Greek language.  This also explains why two of my siblings’ middle names are Apollo and Artemis (you know, other than the fact those are pretty kick-ass names).

So about our trip, I’d have to say one of my favorite spots that we visited was the archeological site Delphi Theatre.  Compared to other popular tourist sites I’ve been to in other countries, this one was just more interesting because the history goes back into the ancient times.  I also really enjoyed The Parthenon, which if you ever go to Greece, you cannot miss visiting this temple!

Visiting Greece was definitely as educational as it was a vacation, even though the first few days were rough due to the change in time zones.

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The Book Is Always Better

book is better than movie

The book is always better than the movie.

As an avid reader, I will argue this point any time, any day.

To me, it seems as though movies over the last 7+ years are going downhill (with a few exceptions).  As studios try harder and harder to sell blockbusters, there seems to be more and more fluff being produced instead.  Fluff movies are an awful waste of time.

And you know a fluff movie when you see one. Lately, they have included romantic comedies, terribly done sequels to romantic comedies, corny action movies, equally corny sequels to action movies, and over-dramatic heart-wrenchers.

Movies are over the top nowadays.  The budgets of movies are through the roof, and when these movies flop there is little return.  Everyone is hoping for an instant hit, yet the movies aren’t reaching the desired status.

Much of the problem lies in the sequels, which is an originality issue in itself.  Sure, sequels that follow a series are expected, but when it comes to sequels of a good, original movie (such as Lion King) a sequel isn’t needed, yet they still make them.

Then we have the movies that were made from books.  Which is actually wonderful because who doesn’t want to see their favorite book on the big screen?  It’s pretty interesting to see what someone else made of it.  Maybe the characters are exactly like you pictured them.  Maybe they’re completely different.  That in itself is a fun thing to see.

Creating a movie from a book is not necessarily a bad thing.  The problem arises when the only movies that are coming to theaters are adaptations of books.  The Hunger Games, Divergent, Twilight… need I say more?  Though two of books-turned-into-movies I mentioned were actually decent movies, there’s too much of a pattern going on here.

Additionally, a problem arises when an author writes a book with the direct intention to sell it to a studio and have it made into a film.  Where did the art of novel writing go?  It seems terrible to me that literature has been turned into a Hollywood business.

A novel tells a story with great detail.  Authors use words to paint pictures.  They have to spend their words carefully, creating histories, developing characters, and telling the plot.  Movies have the advantages of using images to convey all of this.  So, when people insist that movies are better than the books, it’s unfair.

Movies have all the advantages while authors work long and hard to produce the amazing stories that they craft.  For example, the Harry Potter books are an intricately created series of seven books with amazing character development and detail.

It’s ridiculous to imply that the movies are “better” than the books in any sense of the word.

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Volunteering

Well, I can officially check off one item on my 17 Before 17 list already!

Since I am staying in Massachusetts with one of my sisters for the summer, I decided to either get a part-time job or do some volunteer work during my time here.  After all, I need something to do during the day instead of sitting around playing videos games or reading… well, reading isn’t that bad, but you know what I mean.

Being an avid reader, I spend a lot of time going to bookstores and libraries and sometimes they can get a little messy, just as any store does.  Books will be in the wrong section or out of order and for a person like me, that’s very unnerving.  So I went to one of the local libraries in the area and asked about volunteer opportunities and guess what?  They have them!

So for the summer I will be working in a public library organizing the returned books and making sure things are in order a few days each week.

Because the job is not every day of the week, I still might try to get a part-time job so that I can make some extra spending money.  Of course, I’ll also be working on learning how to drive once I get my permit (which is also on my list).

We’ll see what happens.

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