Sunday, April 10, 2011

July 29th?!?!?!

About two weeks ago I got my short-term residency application form for Sweden and I also found out my tentative departure date is July 29th to July 30th. That means about three and a half months or 109 days (why yes, I am counting). Seeing as I previously thought I would be leaving around mid to late August, this really came as a shock to me.

Another thing that has recently came as a big shock to me is the fact that me leaving is really going to have a big affect on the people I'm leaving behind.
Let me start from the beginning. My friend group is the sort that defies the social norm. You know, the norm that says high school will split your friend group apart? Yeah, that one. Well, my group, which one of my teachers affectionately (sort of) calls 'The Cult', have been together since elementary school. It's all a sort of complicated web, but I'll give you the basics: (I'm going to talk about each of my friends now, but if you don't really care you can skip over it)

From left to right: Becca, Me, and Carli
On the far left there's Becca, who I have been friends with since we were two years old. She can act sort of goofy and childish, but is also one of the most confident people I know, and not in the cocky sort of way. She's also the sort of person that can make you laugh even when you feel like dying.
On the right is Carli. She and I became friends in sixth grade. We are quite similar in many ways, especially how our brains work. Lately we seem to talk the most out of our group, because she is going on exchange to Romania so we always seem to be able to talk about something exchange related, which quite honestly gets on the nerves of everyone else, but we can't seem to talk about anything else.

Then there is Anna, the Australian. We met in sixth grade, but we became friends in seventh grade, then she moved to Australia half way through the year, and came back the summer before sophomore year. She can put up with Carli and I's constant exchange banter because she's basically been on an exchange before.
Sequoia just moved here a few months ago, but has easily melded into our group.
Katie is our adorable little genius blonde. She's one of the smartest people I know but can also be a stereotypical blonde.
And finally, there is Whitney in the picture to the right. Whitney and I are both very similar in that we are not the most normal of people. It seems like Whitney has had the most trouble with me leaving, as she gets along best with me.

Okay, now that you have sort of 'met' all of my friends, I will get on with my point. The other day Whitney and I were sitting in our school's theater after school because that's what us theater kids do, but anyway, Whitney started to tell me how she was worried about what next year would be like. It was then that I realized I was being sort of selfish. All I had thought about was what my next year would be like, but I never thought about what it would be like for Becca, Anna, Whitney, Katie and Sequoia. I had considered what my parents would do without me. I am the youngest out of two. My older sister moved out for college last year, so the house will be empty. My parents are nervous about it, but they are looking forward to being able to travel without having to worry about missing school and that sort of thing.

Sorry for the rambling of this post, I am still on Lortab from my wisdom teeth surgery, and Lortab seems to make me ramble and become rather deep, so disregard the confusingness of this post.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Finally Started a Blog

Well, I had my wisdom teeth taken out this morning, and seeing as it hurts to do anything but lie in bed, I figured now would be a good time to start my blog.
Let us start with the basics:
My name is Melissa Danielle, but everyone just calls me Danni. I am sixteen years old and have spent my entire life living in Colorado. On December 23rd, 2010, I found out I was accepted into the Rotary Youth Exchange Program to spend my junior year abroad in Sweden. 

I don't really know how I decided I was going to do a foreign exchange, but my parents claim I have been talking about it ever since I was three years old. So, when high school rolled around, I started doing research into various exchange programs. I finally decided on Rotary because my parents and I liked the sort of family that comes with Rotary, the constant support and the low cost. I sent in my application in the beginning of October and my local interview was a month later. I was accepted locally a week after, then the district interviews were at the beginning of December. There were 42 candidates from all around Southern Colorado, competing for the 28  open spots, which was the most my district had ever seen. By the second day of the three day long selection process, there were only 34 of us left, which goes to show just how stressful it was.

Three weeks after the district interviews, we got our letters in the mail. These letters were all the 34 of us who applied could think about for those long weeks. The day during my school's winter break when I saw on Facebook that people were starting to get their letters, was the most exciting and most terrifying day of my life so far. Even though I knew the mail would get there until around 5 O'clock, I walked up to the mailboxes at the front of my neighbourhood at 2:00, in a snowstorm, and sat there waiting for 3 and a half hours (the mail was late that day). When that letter was finally put into my box, I grabbed it and ripped it open. My hands were shaking so hard when I tried to pull it out of the envelope, that I almost dropped it, but I got a quick glimpse at the letters spelling out: CONGRATULATIONS! I was so excited about being accepted that almost forgot to keep reading the letter to see where I was going, and my mom says that I started making strange squealing noise, but I don't remember if I did or not. Finally when my hands steadied enough I lifted the flap of paper and read: SWEDEN!

District 5470 2011-2012 Outbounders
Here is a picture taken at my district orientation of all 28 outbounders and our district chairman with our host country flags. I'm right in the middle, behind the guy in the grey suit.

People often ask me 'Why did you pick Sweden?' and in all honesty, I didn't. In my district, Rotary basically chooses your country for you. We told them our top three choices, which they took into consideration, but essentially it was their decision. My top choices were Germany, Austria and Denmark, but I am so glad I was picked for Sweden. The more research I have done, the more I realize that I am truly Swedish at heart, and there is no way they could have picked a better country for me (Well, at least from what I have read, I haven't actually been to Sweden yet XD).