Sunday, 6 April 2008

On Thursday I went to a Step Show. It is a competition between the Sororities on campus. It was a mixture of dance and clapping and stomp. Each had a theme and they were all very impressive. A good friend of mine performed and I was very proud of her. They came in 3rd which was disappointing but at least they were placed.

Over the weekend I went to a friends house and we made smoothies and ate cake which was fun. Last night I went out with my friend from Russia and a friend from the Ukraine with her boyfriend. We went to Rockin' Rodeo. The first shock was that the band were good for once. Second shock was that the singer and bassist are from Ireland! They played the usual rock music but also played Proclaimer's '500 Miles'. I was so chuffed, danced like a mad woman and I am sure people were a little confused as most people in America will only know the song from Benny and June with Johnny Depp.
Was also thrilled that in the corner of the dance floor there was some old school dance off going on.

So this week I really have to get sorted with my studies and stop being so lazy. Just having so much work to do that I don't even know where to start. And I know I am going to have to start thinking about packing sooner or later with just 4 weeks of school left.

Next weekend will be the last GRSP weekend away with all the students. We have a district conference two weeks after but their are 3 districts in Georgia so it may be the last time I see some people. Should be fun but may be a little emotional too.

Sunday, 30 March 2008

Last weekend was my first American Easter. I stayed with my host family on Saturday and came back Sunday night.
Saturday was spent trying to find a suitable dress for their daughter so she could go to church on Sunday. We shopped till the evening and ended up meeting her friend to borrow one of her dresses.
Unfortunately we didn't go to Church on Sunday as their son was ill so we all stayed in the house. We ate Boston Butt for dinner and all the family came round. Then we watched the film Syriana.
I spent most of the day sketching for my costume design class.

This week at school I went to another play. The students performed Arms and the Man by Shaw which was very funny and performed well.

On Friday night I went to the Annual International Dinner. Students were asked to either cook a traditional meal or do some kind of performance. I realised that it is cheaper and less time consuming to perform a Burns poem instead of cook enough shortbread for the 200 guests. It was a nice evening. My room mate from Colombia sang a Shakira song in Spanish. Brazilian girls danced, there was an American Blue Grass band (with a Japanese guitarist) and also a fashion show with people in their national dress. It was wonderful to see all the different costumes. Also made me appreciate how manageable the kilt is to walk around comfortably in.

After the dinner there was a big house party which was fun. I made friends with some lovely people and we went out to Mellow Mushroom where a band were playing. We arrived to Hotel California so I was pleased. The last time I went there I heard Jack Johnston on the ukulele which was lovely but didn't really put me in a partying mood.
I went out with my new friend last night also. He is friends with the whole tennis team it seems. One of them is a lady from Manchester but she used to live in France so if I hadn't been told I would have thought she was French. Anyway they were lovely, we went to a Fraternity house but didn't stay too long as there wasn't a lot of people there.

Now I have the whole day to myself to do some work. I have finished my brass sculpture and now we are to do something in mixed media. We have far too many options that I am a little confused. We can work in glass or paper as well as metal, wood, stone, plaster, cement, almost anything really.

Sunday, 2 March 2008

I am just back in Valdosta from spending my weekend with my friend and her family who stay in Thomasville which is around 45 minutes from Valdosta.
Her family was invited to a wedding and I was asked if I would like to join them to experience an American wedding.

After my classes on Friday I drove to the house with my friend and we went to a restaurant in Thomasville called Mom and Dads. It is an Italian, family run restaurant and I was told they had the best lasagna (they have not had my dads). We then watched a little of 'Flight of the Conchords' which is a silly but very funny television show.
Saturday morning we woke up late and had some waffles in the new George Foreman Grill. Then we popped out to Belks (Georgia's answer to Debenhams) to see if we could find an outfit for my friends mother. With the wedding being outside it was important to look smart without freezing. So I ended up picking up a few bargains for myself and for some friends. After our shopping trip we rushed home to get ready and went to Gin Creek where the wedding was being held. It was almost in a field with a large lake around it. There were lots of little white chairs for the ceremony facing a wee wooden deck which was decorated with flowers and small trees.
Firstly the parents and grandparents were seated before the bridesmaids came down the aisle. The the best man, minister and groom. Then the bride arrived on a white horse and carriage (as you do) and the groom started crying which got everyone going-even me and I have never met these people.
It was a very traditional ceremony, the only thing I had not seen before was the pouring of two different kinds of sand to symbolize them coming together as one. Then a short walk away down 'lovers lane' the reception. It looked like a little house and had a chandelier and a few small round tables with pastel coloured mints. The food was fabulous. There was cheese and mash, pasta salad, green beans, pulled pork (it is good but sounds odd I know) and also grilled chicken.
It is common here to have a cake for the bride and the groom. The brides is the traditional teared cake and the grooms is usually more of a novelty cake. This one was a walnut cake with a duck sitting on top of it. I am not sure if the man works with ducks, shoots them possibly. Who knows.

It was a lovely wedding and I had a great time. The next morning we went to church and it turned out the ministers son works in Paisley, Scotland which was interesting. I have not been to Paisley before though so didn't have much to say but I have seen pictures and it does have a pretty high street. His son and wife are having a wonderful time and love it in Scotland which is nice to hear.

Saturday, 23 February 2008

So on Wednesday this week I saw the eclipse. It was amazing. A couple of friends and I went to Nevins Hall which is where astronomy class takes place. They had the telescopes on the roof pointing at Saturn, Mars, the moon, and also a shiny blue star.
So I stayed on the roof for a while and then went to the 'front lawn' which is just a grassy area outside one of the buildings.
After the eclipse I went to Mellow Mushroom which is a pizza place by day and party central by night. They had a nice wee band playing and so I did a little dancing but more sitting and listening. They played a lot of Jack Johnston. I like his music a lot but I think it is swaying music rather than dancing.

On Thursday I had class in the afternoon but my drawing class that evening was canceled so I went to a friends house. I brought her Caramel Wafers and she made me Hoe Cakes. It is a traditional Southern food. It is made from corn bread and water and lots of salt and in fried like a pancake type thing. So we snacked and watched Young Frankenstein.
I had dinner at another friends house to celebrate my birthday last week. There were a few girls there and we ate Mexican chicken and also birthday cake. It was a nice night.

Friday I had class and went to the gym during the day. There were room inspections in the afternoon which luckily we passed even though we don't have a bin in our kitchen as the nasty girl has stolen it and put it in her room. It is actually mine and bought for me by my host family so I am really annoyed but the girl won't back down and claims it is hers.
I ate dinner at the loop with one of the girls I saw the night before. We then went to her dorm and watched 'Green Street', 'Superstar', and the beginning of 'You, Me and Dupree' before we fell asleep. I was woken up in the night as my friend met somebody who had been in Paisley, Scotland for 6 months. I wanted to talk to them but as my friend was sleeping thought it would be a bit cruel. Also, I have never been to Paisley so wouldn't know what to say apart from 'alright mate!'.

This weekend I will be staying with my host family which will be nice. I saw them last week for my birthday but have not stayed the night since Christmas.

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Last week was my birthday

Last week was a very very busy week for me. Just one of those weeks where everything is due at the same time and you want to just hide but then it all piles up and you feel even worse than you did to start with.
But in the middle of the tests and presentations I had my birthday! So...
I saw my friend for a smoothie and an afternoon of shopping. Then my host parents took me to Chilli's where I had chicken and a volcano ice cream cake which was fantastic.
Then a couple of my friends came round to my dorm room and we just had a wee natter, blew some party bubbles, played some guitar and so on.
On Friday I made a cast of my hand for my sculpture class and poured hot wax into it which will then be made into brass for my next project so that was fun. On Friday I also had an all American experience at Hooters! I ordered a burger but was later told that I should have had the fried chicken. Also found out that at night time the waitresses or 'Hooters Girls' line dance.

On Saturday night I went to Las Bendaras which is a Mexican restaurant here in Valdosta. On the 1st and 3rd Saturdays of the month they have a salsa dancing night. So my South American friends and my friend from Russia all went for a fun night. And it turns out I am not too bad at salsa, it is really a lot of small steps to the side or to the front.

My Sunday and Monday were spent trying to relax and also revise at the same time. Today I had a test and fingers crossed it went well. I had my drawing class tonight and after I had time to see the play by the students.

It was called 'Holler me Home' and was written by Debra Fordham who was a graduate from Valdosta State. She has gone on to work on Murphy Brown and has spent the last 7 seasons writing and producing for Scrubs the t.v. show.
The play was really interesting. It was set in the Okefenokee Swamp in the South Georgia and set in 1930. The crash of the stock market left hundreds of people and businesses with nothing. But the people who lived in the swamp had nothing to begin with so weren't effected by it. There was also a little romance and health issues and suicide all mixed in so wasn't as Scrubs like as I thought it would be but I was really impressed.

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

last week

So last week was pretty busy. Monday night I went to a Bible Study and then to a basketball game. The Valdosta State Blazers won the game by one point so it was all pretty tense.
Tuesday night I had my drawing class and was asked to go to a yoga class but it was starting straight after my class and I was too hungry.
Wednesday night I managed to get my laptop back but lost my key card to get into my room so had to pick up a temporary card and then buy a new one the next day. I went to my friends house for dinner and had pork with a ketchup and cola sauce which was pretty nice really.
Thursday night was a South America night at the International Centre. Some girls did a talk and then taught us how to salsa dance.
On Friday I went to a coffee hour at the International Centre. A couple friends and I went to El Toreo for dinner. It is a nice but also pretty cheap Mexican restaurant. We then went to a club called Glo down town Valdosta. That night there was another bomb threat at Centennial Dorms and so I had to sleep with a friend of mine. Nobody was allowed in the building till 5am.

Saturday I went to the gym and went to a party hosted for the international students. It was at a house on campus which is white. People here call it the White House. I know, it is very clever.
Sunday was really a day of rest and home work.

Monday this week I went a walk to the bank which ended up being 2 miles there and back. I stopped off at the hairdressers too and I have appointment for today. I saw some friends for the bible study again but they spent it talking about being a leader and getting involved next semester. Which I can't do but hey. I was glad I was there as the girl in charge on International Events was talking so I think it was good I was there to show her hard work pays off.
Yesterday I had that odd art class so had to rush home for food.

Sunday, 27 January 2008

Cataloochie ski trip

Just back from the trip and had a wonderful time. It was organised for the international students by the Baptist Student Ministry.

We left just after 12pm on Friday and got to our destination at 9pm although we did make a stop at Arbys for dinner and a couple of pit stops. One of which was a garage which had the most interesting drip coffee. I had the Cinnamon coffee cake as I am not brave enough to try chocolate banana, tiramisu or smores (chocolate and marshmallows on a pie crust). They also had syrup and powder to put in it too so we were all wide awake when we got to the church at 9.

There we stopped for more refreshments and met other baptist ministry students from other schools in Georgia. First we had to say where we were from and shout out our country so it could be put on the map. I was the only one from Scotland. Then an international students made a short speech to us about being ambitious which was nice. We then had another chance to mingle and grab more to eat.

We were then told to sit down so they could go over forms for the students skiing as they had to know name, address, weight, height and shoe size for everyone. Then the fun really started and we were all taught the Virginia Reel and a line dance! 200 people line dancing is pretty funny in itself but when they are from all over the world and have never line danced before, oh it was fantastic.

So after that we all went into the hotel and were put into rooms with 3 others. I stayed with a woman from Thailand, a girl from Japan and also a nice girl from the BCM who I know pretty well now and love to bits.
We woke up at a 6am after getting around 5 and a half hours sleep and had to be ready and in the van by 6.45am to get to the ski resort nice and early!

We all met in a large wooden lodge which had lots of picnic benches around. Everyone was given their tags and taken outside if they were going to ski and around 10/15 people stayed in the lodge. The BCM girl I stayed with, a woman from Turkey and I were approached by one of the men in charge of Cataloochie Ski Area and asked if we did want to ski. He has a certain amount of tickets he could give us for free as long as we kept quiet about it. So after having a wee think about it the 3 of us said yes please and made our way out. We collected our ski's and went to the beginners area. They took a group of 14 of us and we were taught the basics (although not all that well as I was still pretty awful).
I was out in the snow from around 8.30 to 11.30 maybe as I had fallen over enough and was quite uncomfortable with the beginners area being so busy making it terribly easy to crash into people.

I went back to the lodge and had lunch which was provided by the BCM and also Subway. Then after talking to a few people I decided to go for a little walk and take some photographs which I did with the lady from Turkey and a lady who is from Jordan.
The three of us spent most of the afternoon together and they are such fun interesting women. The scenery there was just stunning. It looked wonderful. The fake snow looked so real too.
I also bought myself a t-shirt. It is pretty cool.

At 4pm we had to be all packed up and ready to go. Which I was but of course the people on the slopes took a wee while. Then we hit the road again, stopped at Zaxbys this time for dinner (chicken fast food) and managed to get home at around 1.45am I think it was.
It was a little sad as I had met such nice people and really wanted to say a nice goodbye to everyone but we were all so tired and everybody just wanted to get straight to bed, including myself.
So I stayed in my jim jams until around 12.30pm and then thought I had best get up.

Wednesday, 23 January 2008

boo computers

So my computer has broken. The whole reason I bought the nice Mac was because I didn't think it would break on me. But nope. Broken. Stuck on the 'boot screen' according the the Valdosta University Tech Shop guy. In other words, it just won't turn on.

However, I have had a pretty good day. My sculpture is looking less like a tree trunk which is good as it looks more like a sculpture. Although also sad as I do like tree trunks.
I also bumped into a few friends on mine and have been invited to a Movie and Pancake Evening with the Baptist Student Ministry tomorrow night so that should be nice.

Tonight I saw a good friend of mine. She cooked me dinner and we watched The Queen which is a very good film. Almost made me like Tony Blair.

We also went on a quick shopping trip where I found a 6 pack of noodles for 65 cents. So yay me!

Off to call the apple people.

Monday, 21 January 2008

So today is Martin Luther King Day. Celebrations went on in Atlanta but as far as I know nothing was planned in Valdosta.

I saw a friend of mine around 10am and we ate lunch at Palms Dinning Hall on campus. On my meal plan it costs $6 to go in which is very expensive for here. It is all you can eat but usually I don't eat too much. Today I took 3 tea bags and a banana home with me to try and make myself feel better about wasting all that money on an omlette and cinamon bun.

I had a nice evening with my host parents, brought my camera to the restaurant Outback so they could see the NYC photographs. I had a small salad and grilled chicken sandwich which was very tasty. Then we went to Target (kinda like a nicer Matalan maybe) so I bought a cardigan for $5 and a belt for $10 to hold up my jeans I bought in NY that don't fit me, really annoyed I didn't buy the size down but Gwen said I can try and shrink them in the dryer maybe.

Anyway, don't have class till 12.30 but want to go work on my sculpture for an hour or so as I missed class on Friday. Hopefully it will all be fine, just a bit nervous that I have to finish it by the 11th of February and it still looks like a tree trunk.

Sunday, 20 January 2008

leadership weekend GRSP

Dunwoody and Atlanta Rotary Clubs and The Halle Foundation hosted a leadership weekend for the Georgia Rotary Students of 2007-08.
We all arrived at Oglethorpe University in Atlanta which looks like an old English castle. Three GRSP students stud there and I am pretty jealous of them.

Program Introductions:

· Welcome: Bill Woulfin, Governor, Rotary District 6900

· Weekend Roadmap: Fred Brandt, Past President, Rotary Club of Dunwoody

· Making a Difference: Kathy Brandt, President-Elect, Rotary Club of Dunwoody

· Video: The Star Thrower, Joel Barker

2:00 pm – 3:00 pm

Key Note Speaker: Dr. Elizabeth Kiss, President, Agnes Scott College

3:00 pm – 3:15 pm

Break – Refreshments

3:15 pm – 6:00 pm

One Person, One Group Making a Difference

· The Balashikha Project: Blake McBurney & Dr. Al Brann - Rotary Club of Atlanta

· MedShare International: A.B. Short, Executive Director

· A Personal Story: Kristi Matthews, Esq., City of Atlanta, Asst. Attorney

6:00 pm

Students picked up by Dunwoody and Atlanta host families

Students picked up by Dunwoody host families for evening at homes

7:00 pm – 10:00 pm

Potluck suppers for students and Rotarians in Rotarian homes




Presented by

Larry R. Hart, Chairman, Vistage International, Inc.

Students to have breakfast with host families in homes before program. Program begins at Oglethorpe at 9:00 am sharp.

9:00 am - 12:00 pm

Program - Oglethorpe, Lupton Hall

12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Lunch - Oglethorpe Cafeteria, Emerson Student Center

1:15 pm – 2:45 pm

Program Continues - Oglethorpe, Lupton Hall



Presented by

John Feight, CEO, Foundation for Hospital Art

3:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Paintfest - Oglethorpe, Emerson Student Center

· John Feight, CEO, Foundation for Hospital Art

5:00 pm – 5:30 pm

Student Rehearsal - Emerson Student Center


Open to all GRSP Students, Host Families and Interested Rotarians

5:30 pm – 6:30 pm

Refreshments/Beverages … Oglethorpe Student Center Lobby

6:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Dinner … Oglethorpe Student Center




Breakfast with host families in host homes before program. Drop off promptly at 8:45 am

9:00 am – 12:00 pm

GRSP Class of 2007-08 Creating a Legacy …

· Kathy Brandt and Rotarians, Rotary Club of Dunwoody

12:00 – 1:00

Lunch, Emerson Student Center – Conference ends

Saturday, 12 January 2008

christmas day

My first Christmas away from home!!
It started with a big ole breakfast with sausage, bacon, omelet, toast and cinnamon buns. The whole family was there and everyone ate together before any presents were even touched.
I had a phone call from home after breakfast which was really lovely to hear from them. Also a little odd as we had just had breakfast and at home they were just about to have cake.
Everyone exchanged presents and had a nice relaxing time together. My host mothers parents and brother then left to get ready for dinner. Then I watched a couple movies with my host parents until it was time for our meat which I think was pork but I can't remember. It was the usual mash potatoes, and peas but no brussel sprouts. Then there was cheesecake and brownies to be eaten.
Then we went back to the house and watched another movie before it was time for bed.

mums visit

So first things first. Sorry. I know it has been an awful long time since I have written the blog. It has all been pretty hectic really. My mum came over from the 13th to the 23rd of December so I wanted to spend as much time with her as I possibly could so didn't write the blog. Then it was Christmas with my host parents. Then on the 28th I traveled to New York City to meet my boyfriend from back home. Then I returned to Valdosta the night of the 6th of January and started classes the next day at 8am.

So I have a lot to write about...

It was wonderful to see my mum. My school friend drove me to Atlanta airport as he was going home to Henry County for Christmas. So once he dropped me off I managed to find mum and a family friend of ours who stays in Atlanta. We stayed at the friends house with her husband and sister who we are close friends with after she studied in Edinburgh.
The next day we drove to Athens to stay with our close friend. Athens is a beautiful city. There were a lot of lovely old buildings which were all being used as Fraternity houses. Which is a bit of a shame as I can only imagine what state the inside of the buildings would look like after a hard night of partying.

We managed to do a lot of shopping in Athens and found a nice bagel place to eat. We went to the Varsity fast food place which is only in Atlanta and Athens. We went to a church service. Mum also experienced Chick-fil-a which is another fast food place which just does chicken and again is only in Georgia. We made a visit to UGA and had a look at the stadium and bookstore. Also a visit to the tree that owns itself is a must in Athens.

From Athens we drove to Thomasville to saty with my Georgia Rotary Scholarship truestee. He is in charge of the four GRSP students in Valdosta so if we have any problems with our host parents for example, he will be able to find a new family or try to resolve the situation.

On our way there we stopped in a lovely place called Madison. We had a tour around a couple old houses and had a nice bite to eat. We also stopped to see the Brer Rabbit statute. It was pretty tiny.

Once in Thomasville we were shown our rooms in our wing of the house. I was in the play room, along with the pin ball machine and other toys.
We went to the black history museum, had a look around Thomasville. Saw another tree, this one was a large oak tree which is pretty massive! We went to the farmers market too.
A friend of mine from university lives near Thomasville too so my mum got to meet her and her mother. We went to Pebble Hill Plantation House which was stunning. The four of us had a look around the shops and ate lunch in Savannah Moon where I had a lovely salad.
There was also a nice pasta place called Fish Bones. The pasta is cooked in front of you and you pick the kind of pasta, sauce, vegetables and meat.

So then my mum and I went to stay with my host family in Moultrie. It was nice that she was able to meet my host family and friends here as I know it must be odd hearing all these names and stories and not knowing who anyone is. Her visit seemed to fly by but we did so much together.