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Australia, Ballarat, School, Sailing

School finished a week ago so now it is summer holidays for all student that have studied hard for a whole year and also for us exchange students. I have chosen new subjects for next year of school and a new one is going to be textiles. This is a class where we learn to design clothes, sew them and advertise them as a fashion brand. Textiles means a lot of hard work both inside and outside school so I will go to BHS for textiles classes a couple of Wednesdays during summer holidays. I am eager to start my project and Im also looking forward to the trips we are going to do to Melbourne to visit fashion designers in their studios. Besides textiles, I'll stick with my old subjects - math methods, math specialist, outdoor ed and english.

It is afternoon here in Ballarat right now and I recently came home from lunch with a french exchange student that I met in Cairns. Btw, I don't think I have posted pictures from Cairns so I better do that soon. Besides writing a blog post here, I'm trying to learn some sailing terms and names of the parts of sailing boat because I'm going down to the yatch club in an hour for sailing. That will be fun but I am a little bit nervous and the strong wind right now does not help calm down my nerves. They gave me a colour sheet to practice my words so I reckon I should go back to that now. See you!

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Australia, Ballarat, School, Friends, Rowing

Hey everyone, we are sitting in the living room the whole family right now (because thats were we have air-condition) watching X-factor Austrlia, the contestants are so good! Today was the warmest day so far, 32 degrees, and it was also the day for my first rowing race. We did not do race pace this time though, as half of the crew is new, but we did really good and I had so much fun. Rachael was standing on the side with her camera so I have some good photos to show you guys. We are the team in blue and I am the second person in the boat. Right now we are trying to decide what team colour we are going to have, its probably gonna be fluro pink for socks and ribbons in our hair. The 10th of December is when the next regatta is coming up and thats gonna be in Geelong so quite a long trip to get there, but I can't wait! I also have a video from us rowing today but I can't post it here so if anyone wants to see it its just to email me and I'll send it to you :)

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Australia, Ballarat, Melbourne, Friends, School, Rowing

Year 11 is over now and this week is exam week. I'm doing only one exam which is Maths Methods because that's the only subject I haven missed too much to be able to do the exam. Methods is probably like half of maths 2 to half of maths 3 in Sweden so that's only stuff i know from previously… although the other maths subject I'm doing is something to do a bit more work in. But I like that, it gives me at least one subject to work hard in (except from history though, but it's not the subject thats the challenge - it's the teacher's accent).

Compared to Sweden, I'm not really nervous for tests here, but the exam is taken so serious that it feels a bit scary. There are a lot of rules to follow - even for how much water you can bring into the exam, and our books are going to be thrown on the floor to check it's not falling apart. We'll see how it goes, some part of me is looking forward to it because it will be the only exam I'm writing though my whole year in Australia since I leave the country before year 12 exams.

Some pictures from rowing. Today was our last session before the race on Sunday. I'm looking forward to it!

Tomorrow we are expecting 30 degrees in Melbourne, but I'm going ice skating. It is soon time to say goodbye to one of my dearest friends here because she is going back to Tokyo. It hurts because I have no idea when - or even if - we will be able to meet each other again.

Tomorrow morning my rowing team has pilates so I better go to sleep now! Night nigh xx

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Australia, Ballarat, Host family, Blogging, Friends

My second blog post for Explorius is about my birthday that certainly was something different from previous ones. Such an odd mix of feelings that day, but probably the best birthday of my life so far…

http://www.explorius.se/Blogs/Australia/Alice-blogg/min-fodelsedag-utomlands

Fira min födelsedag utomlands



Ännu några veckor har passerat här i Australien och senaste helgen var inte bara Halloween utan även min födelsedag. Det har varit en unik erfarenhet att få fira min 18-årsdag i Australien och jag tänkte dela med mig av min upplevelse som medförde både ris och ros.

Hemlängtan & överraskning

För att vara helt ärlig så var dagen innan min födelsedag var den värsta dagen av hemlängtan jag hittills upplevt. Trots många försök att avleda mina tankar så återgick de alltid till det jag lämnat bakom mig i Sverige och det tyngde ned mig så mycket att jag beslöt mig för att gå och prata med en i personalen på min skola. Redan första dagen hade skolan introducerat mig för personal som finns som stöd för eleverna och här fick jag chans att prata ut och höra några uppmuntrande ord när hemlängtan var som värst. Samma dag bad de mig även komma tillbaka på lunchrasten med ett gäng kompisar från skolan för något hemligt skulle tydligen hända… Och efter regn kommer sannerligen solsken, för när jag återvände vid lunchen hade mina lärare och kompisar samlats för en liten överraskningsfest med tårta och ballonger för att fira min speciella dag. Denna upplevelse var en stor påminnelse om hur många fantastiska människor som finns där ute och att ett utbytesår erbjuder otroligt många chanser att få träffa dessa.

Mitt stora intresse för Halloween smittat av sig

Fortsättningsvis hade min värdfamilj erbjudit sig att anordna något för mig och mina vänner på själva födelsedagen, så vi beslöt oss för en ”Halloween barbie” på vår bakgård. En barbie är väldigt australiensiskt och är slang för barbecue men Halloween verkar generellt inte få så mycket uppmärksamhet här i Australien. Dock har mitt stora intresse för Halloween smittat av sig på vår gata, för trots att de vanligtvis inte gör något märkvärdigt runt Halloween, har nu åtminstone vartannat hus en pumpa och lite spöken i trädgården!



Gästerna anlände i skymningen på min födelsedag och det var vänner som jag träffat från alla möjliga olika håll under mina två månader i Australien. Halloweendekorationer var förberedda, partytältet var uppsatt, saccosäckar placerad runt brasan, grillspett och sallader var redo, en gigantisk tårta var bakad och ett gäng riktigt härliga människor dök upp, vad mer kan man begära för sin födelsedag? Jag har för mig att jag räknade till sex olika länder som gästerna kom från vilket verkligen var underhållande, särskilt när vi sent in på kvällen dansade olika klassiska danser från alla dessa länder och svenskarna fick bjuda på lite ”Små grodorna”.

Hade aldrig fått uppleva detta om jag inte åkt på utbytesår
Min födelsedagsupplevelse i Australien var precis som allt annat under utbytesåret – en berg- och dalbana med toppar och dalar. Men wow vad många sagolika upplevelser det bjudits på och tanken att jag aldrig skulle fått uppleva dessa om jag valt att inte åka som utbytesstudent skrämmer mig ärligt talat. Nu är det dock dags för mig att rikta fokus mot simning och rodd för ett litet tag lite, då det praktiskt taget har bjudits på tårta till frukost, lunch och middag den senaste veckan.

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Australia, Ballarat, Host family, Melbourne, School, Swimming

The past week has been hectic, but I have enjoyed it! Right now I'm sitting in my bed eating crazy japanese candy that I got from Mai on my birthday, the package looked really tempting but green chocolate with wasabi inside…. hm. There is a lot happening in school right now also, SACs (tests) in every subject within the following three days. If I was in school in Sweden right now I would say that I'm so stressed, but I'm not. In fact I feel like a real slacker. I mean, I study hard during lessons and do my homework, but nothing more than that. And this is very different from what I did in Swedish school. Moreover, I would say I focus more on learning the english languege through school, than learning the actual subjects, and my teachers are very understanding about that.


Japanese wasabi lollies: 4/10 ladybugs

And those points are more for the experience than the taste I would say!

The day after returning from Cairns we had an excursion to Melbourne where we went indoor rock climbing. I know that I am not totally allowed by Explorius to do that but they seem to be cool with it here in Australia. And how dangerous can it be if we do it in school? When having excursion we always have to wear our school uniform, and now when we went rock climbing we had our sports uniform, so I took a photo so you guys can get an idea of what it looks like. My shorts are actually the most comfortable ones I have ever had, so I might bring them home!

After this it has been a lot of preparations for the big day when I turned 18 and that is a whole other story that I have written a blog post about for Explorius. As soon as it is up on their website I will give you a link (and some more photos that I didn't want Explorius to post).

Apparently I eat a lot of carrots so Rachael came home with this 10 kg bag of them last week. Over all, the food is much more unhealthy here, but at least my host mum Rachael sees a point in eating better food. In school, pretty much all students bring a bar of chocolate or biscuits for recess (the break we have between period 2 and 3) and these large amounts of snacks australians have all the time have sort of scared me away from eating them. At home I'm for the most part involved in cooking tea and I enjoy this both because it gives me quality time with my host family and it gives me the opportunity to stop them (especially Ben) from putting pretty much the whole dinner plate in the deep fryer.

Today has been an eventful day. Partly because it is Wednesday and those are the days when we have all six subjects at the same day (plus two extra) so they manage to squeeze in eight lessons, lunch break and recess in six hours an 15 minutes. That's a pretty good job! I used to have challenging Thursdays in Sweden, but it has definitely changed to Wednesday now. Today during swimming my pinkie got dislocated because someone kicked it backwards when they were swimming breast stroke and I got a big shock when it happened. Later on today, school told us to go to a doctor to check if everything was alright with my finger so I have had a trip to the hospital today also. We don't really know how things are yet but hopefully we will know by tomorrow if an x-ray is necessary.

Tomorrow I'm going on another excursion to Melbourne. This time it is only exchange students from Ballarat High and we will spend a day in the city doing things our teachers think we will enjoy and should see of Melbourne. So I have no idea what is waiting for tomorrow's excursion, other than that I like the people I'm going with!

See you soon everyone! Xx Alice

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Australia, Hiking, Host family

A national park called the Grampians is located about two hours from where we live in Ballarat and since this is a perfect place to go hiking and camping we went there last weekend. Besides Rachael, Ben, Sienna and me we also brought two exchange student friends with us. Axel came from outside Ballarat and Tilde had to travel a long way from Geelong.

They came straight after school on Friday and got a guided tour in Ballarat before going to our place. I must say that I start to learn my way around Ballarat now. I was totally lost in the beginning though, because I thought all buildings looked exactly the same. 

Saturday was hiking, hiking and hiking. We went to a place called the Pinnacle that is famous for it's incredible view. This day was a loooooot of uphill walking and we all had sore muscles afterwards.

We started off with the Aboriginal culture center which is some sort of museum.

Look what Alice found - Wonderland has it's own car park!

Then we put up our tent - and I must say that camping is so much more fun here in Australia than I remember it to be from my old days in Scouterna.

Thereafter we did more hiking and this time we became a bit geographically misplaced (absolutely not lost hehe) so we had to walk back on the road. Ben and his friends also had some trouble out in the bush because they all got stuck in the mud at the same time while Four-wheel driving. But we all solved our problems before darkness came at least.

Rachael is such a good cook out in the bush, she makes the most advanced dishes. This time we had golden syrup dumplings for desert and everything was made over the camp fire.

The next day was rainy so we did not do much hiking except from walking to a waterfall. Breakfast is the best when camping I reckon and we had the mandatory eggs and bacon, yummy.

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Australia, Melbourne

Something I had on my bucket list for Australia was attending a Tanderrum. So after school one day, we rushed to the train station to travel to Federation Square in Melbourne where we watched the traditional ceremony Tanderrum. There were five Victorian aboriginal nations that gathered to allow safe passage and temporary access and use of land and resources by foreign people. I would certainly call it a new experience and I liked to see some of the old aboriginal culture. 

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Australia, Ballarat, Host family, School

As a lot of you already know, I started a new school called Ballarat High School when I came back from the holidays. This was my host mum's first choice of school for me from the beginning and the school I thought I would go to for a while, but BHS unfortunately stopped to enroll new students just before my arrival.

However, after going to BSC for a couple of weeks and when I made friends that go to BHS, I realised how much more the other school had to offer in terms of social life, school sports and subjects. Therefore, we went to BHS and talked to the principle and after an interview he offered me a place in his school.

It has been a week in my new school now and so far it has been great. The challenging part is that it is a huge school so it is easy to disappear in the large amount of other students, but at the same time I really enjoy having lots of different people that I can get to know and it feels more likely for me to find people I would like to hang out with here. In fact, I have already met some awesome people ;)

Another fun thing is that BHS is located near lake Wendouree and they have their completely own rowing club and boat shed by the lake. Today I went to their rowing session 6.30 am (early mornings again!!!) and talked about whether I could start rowing with them. You need to be four people in every boat and we are so far two persons that would like to create a new team, so fingers crossed that two more people will be interested in rowing soon. Anyway, I am probably going to some of their sessions from now on to start practising, because I have heaps of technique to learn. I have been rowing in the gym before, but what we practised today was way more difficult. I'm ready to take up the challenge though, and I look forward to learning something completely new!

​Some photos that does not have anything to do with what I have written about, but these are better than nothing I reckon. We have been baking cinnamon buns three times now and finally succeeded with tasty and fluffy buns! Since they don't have fresh yeast in Australia, we were a bit unsure about how to use the other type of yeast and they became doughy and hard the first two times. The second photo is a poster Emily made for me. I am Alice in the middle, Rachael is the White Queen, Emily is the rabbit, Will is the Hatter and Sienna is apparently the Cheshire cat. Very sweet of her!

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Australia, Melbourne

Right now I'm enjoying the sun in our garden while writing blog posts for Alice in wonderland and Explorius. It's starting to get warmer here in Ballarat and I need to start using sun screen because I have gotten freckles all over my face and burned my nose a little bit a few days ago. Everyone has been talking about the warm summer coming up and the unbearable heat, but I have had a hard time believing them since it felt like I lived in a fridge my first weeks in Australia. It was similar to Swedish weather but imagine to add heaps of rain and flooding. Oh well, now I can see the warm season coming because I'm struggling during school days to cool myself down in my warm school uniform. It will probably be more comfortable when I can start to wear the school's summer dress.

The two weeks of holidays have come to an end, and I have now done my first week in school. There have been some changes around school after the holidays because I changed from BSC to Ballarat High School. So far it feels good, but I might dedicate a whole new blog post to this topic.

During the Holidays I have been to Melbourne a lot. It is an easy trip to do considering it only takes just over an hour with train and you arrive in the central of Melbourne.

When doing the first trip there, I met Lollo and had a picnic in The botanical garden. It was such a lovely place, we have to go back when it's warmer! Thereafter we did not have any plan so we jumped on a random tram and ended up at Melbourne University where we walked around for a while. And omg such a huge campus it was, it felt like they had built their own city there!

Next trip to Melbourne consisted of a visit to Sea Life Melbourne Aquarium with some Swedish and German exchange students. We listened to an interesting speech about sharks and it felt good to hear (now when it is only two weeks until the trip to Cairns) that it is more likely for me to get killed by a cow, vending machine or an icicle than by a shark.

Look at these happy fishes/stingray!

Melbourne is btw wonderful after sunset and we had dinner at this restaurant.

The day after that a couple of exchange students as well as people from BSC went to the Royal Melbourne show together. There were rides, show bags, heaps of food and of course some face painting! ;)

Tim Tams are my favourite biscuits here and we found a Tim Tam pyjamas!

There is an interesting mixture of old buildings and brand new towers in city so it's nice to just take a walk in the city at look at everything. I also love that small cafés that can be found everywhere in alleys.

​That was everything I had to write about this time, but l will be back to tell you about Tanderrum and my new school, hopefully very soon!

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Australia, Ballarat, Host family, Blogging

My first blog post as a student reporter for Explorius has now been posted on their website. I wrote about the first couple of hours when I just had met my host family and the post is written in Swedish.

Here is a link for my page on Explorius.se:

http://www.explorius.se/Blogs/Australia/Alice-blogg?searchParameter=&isParameterSearch=False&pageNumber=0

Första timmarna med värdfamiljen

När det var dags för flygplanet att landa på Melbournes flygplats började mina händer skaka. Jag var nervös, förväntansfull och lycklig över att äntligen få träffa värdfamiljen som jag endast haft kontakt med på Facebook. Min första tid i värdfamiljen bestod av många nya intryck och upplevelser, därför tänkte jag ägna mitt första blogginlägg åt att berätta om mina erfarenheter från detta.

Första kulturchocken
Innan jag klev av flygplanet var jag lika spänd som ett barn är kvällen före julafton. Jag behövde egentligen lite tid att lugna ner mig innan jag skulle träffa värdfamiljen, men det fick vänta – för direkt efter avstigning av planet stod min värdmamma framför mig och väntade. Hon gav mig ett stort leende så fort vi såg varandra och därefter en stor kram. Efter hämtning av bagage begav vi oss ut för att vänta på min värdmammas pojkvän som kom med bil för att hämta upp oss. Och nu fick jag min första chock över att jag inte är på hemmaplan längre – för här kör bilarna på andra sidan av vägen, här finns endast nya ansikten och här används ett språk som jag behöver anstränga mig för att förstå.

Blyga värdsyskon & välkomstpresenter
Hemma i Ballarat mötte jag mina yngre värdsyskon William (6) och Emily (8) för första gången. De blev helt knäpptysta när de såg mig och därefter sprang de iväg och gömde sig. Senare under dagen smygtittade de fram bakom dörrposter och möbler då och då och fnissade när jag försökte prata med dem. Vi var alla blyga i början men efter några timmar var samtalen i full gång.

Framme i Ballarat fann jag även en kasse med presenter som värdfamiljen fixat, så som australiensiskt godis, husnycklar och busskort. Dessutom hade min 6-åringa värdbror hade gjort en plansch där det stod ”Welcome to your wonderland Alice” vilket var mycket gulligt. En till sak som gjorde mig på glatt humör och gjorde att jag kände gemenskap med familjen var att de gav de mig ett A (min initial) i present för att sätta upp på väggen bland alla andra familjemedlemmars bokstäver. Mitt A pryder nu ena väggen i köket tillsammans med 8 andra bokstäver.

Svår australiensk dialekt
En av de tidiga svårigheterna jag stötte på var att förstå min värdmammas pojkvän när han talade. Han har nämligen en riktigt grov och annorlunda australiensk dialekt så ibland förstår jag lika mycket av vad han säger som om han talade kinesiska. De första dagarna kändes det frustrerande och pinsamt att behöva säga ”Pardon” efter varannan mening men nu några veckor senare både förstår jag mer av vad han säger och jag har berättat hur svårt jag upplever det att förstå hans dialekt. Min värdmamma avslöjade att till och med hon har svårigheter att förstå honom ibland och nu har hans dialekt blivit ett internt skämt inom familjen. Det var en av alla gånger jag insett hur viktigt det är att vara öppen och berätta hur jag känner för min värdfamilj.

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