Sunday, October 9, 2011

The first week/s of life in Fort

Writing about this so late, I don't recall exact details very well but I'm pretty sure that my first day of soccer practise was the monday after I arrived. The first few days of practise were awful, the temperature was up in the high 80s (30-32 celsius) and we were running a lot.

The guys on the soccer team were the first people I met from the high school and they proved to be a really great bunch of people.

A couple of practise days in, Dick decided to take a group of guys (2 from soccer, 2 involved in music, myself and Martin) to Noah's Ark, a water park in Wisconsin Dells. That was one of the best days of my life! It was a scorching hot day, there were some great rides there and the people I was hanging out with were awesome. We met up with some girls from Fort there as well who were all pretty cool. I couldn't think of a better way to set up for the school year than joining soccer and going to Noah's ark that first week. It gave me a lot of familiar faces when school started up.

I think it was my second week when I met my Liasion, Kathy Ihde (basically my go-to person if I'm having issues with home, school and such). Again I'm not too sure on order of events here but I think this is right. She took me and another NZer who just moved to Fort to live with his grandparents to Rhythm on the river which is a really cool music thing where they play music all night and have a fair and stuff. Shaun (other NZer) and I weren't there very long because after about 15 minutes we were invited round to a bonfire at someone's house but I had enough time for Kathy (who is heavily involved in the school music department as a chaperone/mom for marching band and showchoir and pretty much every aspect of high school music) to introduce me to virtually the entire showchoir who were semi-busy selling cupcakes as a fundraiser.

Kathy also took me along to a marching band rehearsal that sunday so I could meet the band kids. I'm pretty sure that I can't do the absolute shock of the whole high school marching band concept justice in writing but I'll try. I walked into the room and was introduced to about 15 people right away which in itself was overwhelming but that was nothing compared to what happened next. Pretty soon 80 or so high school students from all grades were sitting in the band room with saxaphones, trumpets, tubas, flutes, tenor drums, bass drums, any other marching instrument you could dream of playing through scales as a warm-up as if that was the most normal thing in the world! Also at the side of the room were two marumbas, two vibraphones, timpani, chimes and gongs! They had like everything you'd need for a full symphony orchestra, so different to any NZ music department that I have ever encountered. The sight of all this was totally overwhelming.

After recovering from the shock of marching band, I decided to join pit percussion for the band. They had already had summer camps and stuff to learn their marching drills and music so I couldn't join as a marching player. Pit basically set up in front of the band and play various percussion instruments (marumbas,vibes,cymbals,chimes, random snare parts not being played by the marching drumline) and there were 6 of us in pit this year. We go to marching band competitions every weekend day and I take band as a class at school so we rehearse then. Pit also has a sectional rehearsal every monday from 6.30pm til 9pm (just to give you an idea of how much free time I get right now)

We had our first soccer game after I had been to maybe 2 practises. We take those awesome yellow school buses to away games and both the junior varsity (2nd) and varsity (first) team play at the same place with JV opening for the varsity game. We won our first game something like 5-2 against a team from Portage/Poynette which was an away game about an hours drive from Fort. They take sport pretty seriously here, way more so than back home. If you get caught fighting or drinking you can get a suspension equivalent to a 3rd of the season and if you get bad grades (the coach decides the minimum acceptable grade) for any class then you can get suspended from playing for that as well. We also have a lot more practises here, it's a big commitment. Basically during the week we either have a game or practise but we don't have games or practises on weekends.

So yeah, I basically jumped into things pretty quick after I got here. Next post will cover my experience with starting school.

My bedroom in Fort

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