Monday, December 27, 2010

Merry Kiwi Christmas

First of all I hope that everyone had a very Merry Christmas and have a good New Year!!

It is now only 3 1/2 weeks until I leave for the USA. It is both exciting and scary. I think the whole experience of it is starting to sink in. I will be spending a year away from home without seeing any of my family or friends. But I am also extremely hyped to be heading over there. Mum and Dad bought me a whole heap of kiwiana and travel accesories for Christmas, including my very own stuffed kiwi to take with me. =)

Even though I have everything sorted in my head, there is still a lot of things to organise in the next couple of weeks, namely sort out my insurance - because I have been lax and left it until the last minute.

I also need to figure out how much clothes to pack etc. I have sort of started packing - I have actually put all the things that I am taking but will not be using until then into my suitcase. The only problem is that my suitcase isn't very big and I want to take my tramping pack to the US aswell incase of weekend trips away etc (airline only allows for 1 bag -  which sucks )= )
My pack takes up most of my suitcase so I have to be very economical when packing and only take essentials.

I did think I would be able to get away with only taking cooler clothes and a jacket but with the weather like it has been over there this winter I think I might need some warmer clothes as well and they always take up more room )=

At the moment my cousins are up from Cromwell  and it has been really fun catching up with them. We all went to the Caroline Bay Carnival that takes place every year for the two weeks after Christmas Day. We went on the ferris wheel and played 'Housie' which was lots of fun. My 10 year old cousin and I both one a 'house' so we got to bring home lots of Goodies. And we are planning to go to the circus at some point over the next few days as well!!!

Looking forward to the next weeks, but it is a bitter sweet time as well,
Next time I write will be very close to heading off,


Monday, December 6, 2010

Nerves and excitement

So I t has been a while since I updated, but the truth is not much has been happening. I am still trying to scrape together the money to pay for my insurance and then a few more dollars for spending money once I get there. I have got a room and a roomate at the Pop Century resort for the nights of the 20th and 21st after I arrive, so that will be fun. There are a few other Kiwis and Aussies staying there too so hopefully we will be able to catch up. I know that there is some sort of shopping tour that a few of us are keen for on the 21st so that should be fun.

Everything else seems to be under control. I have had to change my flight from Auckland to LA but with all the issues with Qantas' planes it is maybe a good thing, though it does mean that I have a short connection at LA only 2 hours and 15 minutes, but hopefully I will make it.

We got our results back from last semester and I have passed all my courses so everything is all go for graduation next week. While I am up in Christchurch then I am going to sort out my ISIC card and hopefully get some UC merchandise.

Well not much else to say except that I am getting really excited and nervous as there is only 6 weeks until I leave. I am totally freaking out!!


Wednesday, November 3, 2010


So yesterday I spent the day in Auckland. I really have no feelings at all about that city. It is all just concrete and buildings. Anyway so the plane ride was uneventful. I had to get up at 4.45am (way way way too early) and then get a taxi to the airport because it was too early for any busses. I was flying jetstar which I find perfectly satisfactory despite the complaints. I think that there will be some people that complain on every airline and there will always be mishaps so it isn't worth blaming them on anyone.

Anyway, I caught the airport express into town and met up with a girl who I have worked with previously and was going to get a visa aswell (she is going to work in Canada for 6months), so that was exciting. We chatted on the bus and then figured out where to go once we go into the city. Once we got to the correct street it was really easy to spot the consulate because there was a massive US flag on the building.

Once there it was pretty painless. We got in line for security and they just look at your passport and then put your bag through the x-ray machine and then you are let through. Then you have to get into another line (which sounds like a lot of lines, but there was only a couple of people ahead of us so it was really quick) then we got to talk to another lady who just took all of my papers and then sifted through them and found all the important ones that she needed. Then we were finger printed and told to wait until our name was called.

They had the photos of Obama and Hilary Clinton and the vice-president (who I can't remember his name) and the Ambassador who Sarah (my friend) thought looked like Chuck Norris. We both had a 'chuck'le (bad joke) at that.

We had to wait about 25 mins because the people in front of us seemed to have more complicated issues. While we waited we chatted about nothing and watched CNN that they had playing on the tv (without the sound). They kept showing pictures of people that were wanted for various things.

Finally my name was called and she asked me what I was going to America for (which I answered the standard cyborg answer "to participate in the Walt Disney World International College program" - lol!) and then she asked about Uni an what I was studying and what year I was in, and that was it. She stamped and signed everything and I was done and dusted.

After that I waited donestairs for Sarah and we went to Esquires for morning tea - coz it was like 10.15 and we hadnt had anything since breakfast at 6am. She was going to head home via Wellywood to see some of her old friends so we just talked about stuff until she had to leave to catch her flight.

In the afternoon, I decided I would go to the museum - so I got on a bus, but it was going the wrong way, so I had about a 45min bus trip. Then I spent a good 3 hours at the museum which had some really interesting exhibits. The War exhibit was excellent! Lol! my anthropology training was thinking, as I walked along, 'yeah this works; this really engages the visitors; this could so be better' etc.

The volcano exhibit was really good too. They have this house which is like a volcanic eruption simulator - all the year nines that were there were screaming when the house shook and I was thinking 'yep this must be about a 3.5!' and 'this was nowhere near as bad as the earthquake we had yesterday'. But the whole simulation was really effective. We were in a living room looking out through a glass sliding door over the underwater volcano in Auckland (can't remember what it is called). After the first shake the tv switched on and we were watching the news about how parts of Auckland had been told to evacuate and the roads were all blocked and then through the window we could see steam on the water and the news was still talking to a volcanologist. Was really good. Then the eruption happened and there was lava and a massive cloud of smoke coming towards us. The house kept jolting and the lights flickered. And then when the cloud hit us the house shook and the lights went out. The Aftermath - was the whole city covered in ash and a new island in the water. Then lol! Mark Sainsbury came out and said about volcano awareness. I think that I will be pretty safe from volcanos down here in the South Island - it's earthquakes we have to watch out for.

After the museum I tooka bus back into town and got some dinner and then headed to the airport. I was about two hours early but I got checked in and rang my mum to tell her all about my day =). Then I got on the free terminal transport bus and went to the international terminal for fun. I now know exactly where I have to go for next time. Anyway I was really tired (could barely keep my eyes open) by the time I got home at 10.30pm.

Today woke up at midday and my passport with visa had arrived.Yay!!!

Wow this has been a relly long blog. Can't believe it is November allready. Only 2 months, 17 days to go!


Sunday, October 31, 2010

Next Hallowe'en =)

So today is Hallowe'en or All Hallow's Eve. The day when people dress up in scary masks to scare off the evil spirits before All Saint's Day on November 1st.

I am quite excited to experience Hallowe'en next year. When I was 8 and we came to the US it was for four weeks during September and October, but we left in mid October and so I never got to experience the excitement of a dressed up, lolly filled Hallowe'en. In New Zealand very rarely do you see houses decorated or trick or treaters or anything so it will be really fun to see the American's go all out for this consumerised holiday.

I saw last week's episode of Glee and if youare familliar with it you will know about Sue's Corner. Anyway last week she was talking about Hallowe'en and she said it was a time 'where parents dress their little boys up as little girls and little girls up as whores'. The way she says really offensive things with a completely serious tone is really very funny.

Anyway, I was going to tell that I have now bought my tickets to Orlando and they are non-refundable so I will have to go now.

All up the tickets (from Christchurch to Orlando) will cost $NZ1499. It really isn't too bad coz that is with all the airport taxes etc put in and the travel agent's fee.

My schedule is this:
Jan 20 - 12pm - 1.20pm Christchurch to Auckland
               3.10pm - 6.35am Auckland to LA
               12.30pm-5.44pm LA to Houston
               6.45pm-10.02pm Houston to Orlando

And then a group of us are going to organise to stay at one of the Disney Value Hotels which will work out tyo be only about $US20 a night if there is a few of us.
So yeah should be fun to meet up with people beforehand.

Tuesday is my visa interview so I will be heading up to Auckland for the day. My flight leaves at 6.40am and I have to be at the airport before 6.00am so will have to get up a 5am. Not a fun start to the day. After my interview I have some time to kill, so will probably do some window shopping or maybe go the museum. It is Melbourne Cup day so I hope it is a lucky day and I get my Visa. =)

Well, I will inform you of how my Visa Interview goes


Friday, October 22, 2010


Well, first of all thank you to anyone out there who is actually reading this. It is very strange to think that other people are reading your thoughts and happenings but it is also nice to think that we aren't just blathering away to ourselves.

It has been a couple of weeks since I last updated because I have been really busy first with work and then with Uni. Only one more day and then fingers crossed I will have passed my last two courses and be able to graduate in December. Yay!!!

Okay so I have finally managed to fill out all those ridiculous forms for the US embassy (I mean seriously if you are going to the US to become a terrorist or prostitute are you really going to tick yes?). Anyway I suppose some people might just be that idiotic!

My visa appointment is booked. Yay!! for the 2nd of November at 10am. The flight will get into Auckland at 8am barring any issues and that leaves me two hours to get to the embassy. So I do have some time incase of plane delay or traffic etc. If I get to the City early there is always window shopping - not real shopping no matter how much I would love to, because I am saving. Although whenever I get bummed about not getting to buy new, pretty, shiny things I just think of all the really cheap new, pretty, shiny things I can buy once I get to Florida. Yay!!

Okay so am totally excited about Auckland trip. Not so excited about sorting out plane tickets. They have gone up by a few hundred since I last checked so I want to get them sorted next week. At the moment I am waiting to hear back from my travel agent regarding cheapest airfares so hopefully they can get me a good deal.

Well I will sign off now and write more either after I have booked my flights or after my Visa Interview which ever happens first.


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Quick Update

Tena koutou katoa,

well my disney welcome pack finally arrived today. I was so excited when I saw the courier pull up in front of my flat and then I got all freaked out because I thought that the package might be for one of my flatmates, but it wasn't! So, yay!!

Anyway...I have now officially read all of the information in the Disney Welcome Pack - which is exciting and scary at the same time because it is all starting to feel really real.

Next week I am heading home to Timaru for a few days to earn some dollars working and while there I am going to go to my travel agent and hopefully book my flights both to Orlando and to Auckland to get my visa. Exciting stuff!

I can't believe it is October already. I mean it does not feel that long since I was applying and having my interview and it was almost 5 months ago! It really is frightening how time goes so quickly - especially as we get older. Time goes way faster now than it did when I was a kid!

Well that's it from me for the moment. I don't have much more exciting news unless people are interested in the fact that I have to give TWO presentations on Thursday and that I have a test and two essays due in only two weeks!! Eeek two and a half weeks and hopefully my university life will be over.

Will blog again soon,


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Still Waiting...

Okay so we are all still waiting for the coveted Disney Welcome Pack. But I do think it will be here soon. I hope! the mean time I thought that I would do a short update. I heven't really done much in regards to my trip...except I downloaded a heap of Kiwi music to my itunes so that next year when I am feeling melancholy (lol! big word) I can listen to my NZ music and feel heaps better - or maybe it will just make me homesick (naw!). So I got heaps of Shihad, Split Enz, The Feelers, Crowded House, Opshop and heaps more. Yay!

Today my friend Winsome came back from Oz (so lucky-but then I am going to the USA next year, so not too jealous). It was her first trip out of NZ and she brought me some australia cadbury chocolates. Yum!

Well, I am hoping to get my airfare sorted very, very soon as I do not want the cost of flights to go up. As it is I am looking at at least a $NZ1600 flight Auckland-Orlando.

OMG one more thing before I go - I was watching the next season of America's Next Top Model on YouTube because I was sooo bored. It was the season where the top 6 come to New Zealand. Lol! It was soo funny. One girl literally thought NZ was up near Canada (okaay?); and they all got really freaked out by this group of Maori guys doing the haka! Hilarious!

Well that's all the news I have now, so I will sign off.


Tuesday, September 21, 2010


Hi, my name is Ella and I am from New Zealand. Next Year I will be going on a magical adventure to "The Most Magical Place on Earth" ie Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida (not to be confused with "The Happiest Place on Earth" in LA, California. Lol!) to be a part of the International College Programme. This means that I get to work (and Play) at Disney.

Now some of you may be wondering how this opportunity came my way? Well...

Way, way back in May of this year I happened to see an advertisement for a student work program to Walt Disney World. Now my line of thinking was that I would be graduating Uni this December 2010; I was itching to travel; with the recession jobs are difficult to come by. So I thought why not apply? Here comes the interesting part. No sooner had I sent an email asking for more information, the Uni advertises that the very same Disney people would be coming to visit the uni that week to give a presentation. It must have been Fate! So I went along and then did the spontaneous thing and signed up for an interview that week. Originally I had been planning to work for 6 months after I had graduated and then go next July, but they were only interviewing for the January intake - so I thought why not?

Everything happened really quick from there on out. The Presentation was on Wednesday, My Interview was that Saturday and I was accepted into the programme on the Following Friday. Wahoo! Was sooo excited!!!

Then all I had to do was get a new passport because my old one expired in June next year. But the new passports turned out to be extremely pretty with pictures on the pages - it was way cooler than my old passports. I also had to get a background check, but luckily everything was allright there and I do not have a record! Lol!

The last few months I have just been researching everything from flights to cell phones and American Banks. I even had a couple of weeks where I was addicted to Wallmart and filled my shopping basket up with all the stuff I was going to buy once I got there! Lol!! I know I am such a geek!

Oh I forgot to mention before that when we get accepted they tell us what Job description you got given (you are allowed to say what you are willing to do but then the disney people pick the one (6 month program) or two (12 month program) jobs that you will be doing from the jobs you ticked).

My jobs are, for the first 6 months (Jan - Jul) Quick Service Food and Beverage. Which definitely was not my first choice, but if it gets me to Disney then I will do it. I could be doing anything from working on an outside stall or cart to selling ice creams or drinks to working at a fast food restaurant. Personally I would really like one of the outdoor carts or stalls - I think it would be more fun being able to see the action.

From July through to January 2012 I get to work on Operations. This is either working on a ride, show, taking tickets or working at the front gates to the parks. I really hope I am on a ride, because that would be super fun!!!

Well there isn't much else to update you on. All of us that are going in January are waiting patiently (or not so patiently) for our Disney Welcome Packs which we hope will be arriving sometime soon. As there is only four months exactly until I leave, I think that this is a fair assumption. We are also trying to save as much dollars as we can because with flights, visa, insurance plus the $US100 registration fee it all adds up. Although it is a lot cheaper than probably spending a year in the US by yourself. At least we know we have a job and we know we have a place to stay.

Money also is annoying because the American dollar is worth more than the New Zealand dollar which means every dollar we save in NZ is really only about 72 cents in the US. Sucks!!

Anyway this has been an extremely long post. I will update when I have some exciting news ie Disney Welcome Pack comes.