{Summer 09}
SUMMER TIME!!! Classes finished for me on March 12 so now it is officially summer and the end of my third year living in America. This year I decided to stay here for the whole summer as it will be my last and I wanted to experience a few things and take just one summer school class. The longer I live here, the harder I think it is going to be to leave.

This semester was defiantly a lot more successful than the last semester, I found myself doing a lot better in the classroom, on the track and in life in general. I am sure Mum and Dad liked not getting so many phone calls with me in tears........

After classes finished we had just one more outdoor track meet, our Conference Championship in Logan Utah. So it was nice to relax and sleep for a week before having to race again......and visiting Logan was a lot of fun. Since then I have been doing......well.......NOTHING!! No school, no running and no job. I have felt rather lost and perhaps should have taken up Mum and Dad's offer to come home for three weeks before my summer school class starts, but that’s ok. I have been keeping myself busy.

We had two weeks of active rest (Time off from training, just chilling out and not having to run each day......but in Coach's words....."That does not mean sitting on your butt for the whole two weeks"). Along with the whole not running part to fill up my time, I realized that I still am not a sleeper. Mum and Dad used to get annoyed at how much I didn't sleep, but I was starting to think that in my old age I was starting to sleep more.......that would be incorrect. The only reason I think I sleep is because I am running. For the whole two weeks I wasn't running I was sleeping no more that 5 hours a night. Haha lucky I found McLeod’s daughters on YouTube so I have been finishing off the seasons that have aired since I left.....and in the process got Hannah hooked on it. She thinks its so funny learning the Australian lingo......like "lets go have some brekie."

I have also realized that I just love to design things.......I always new I liked it but it is something that just makes me so happy and I have a smile on my face the whole time. So I have been using this to help out a few people here. One of my teammates is getting married over the summer to one of the Baseball players so I helped her design her wedding invites. Casey Balkenbush is also getting married so I design his and his fiancé Tiffany's wedding invites. I got a lot of positive feed back from the invites and Tiffany encouraged me to put my contact details on the back to see if I can get a few more customers and perhaps go into business.

Because my Visa is just a student Visa I am unable to get a job unless it is on campus......the economy is pretty bad for getting a job here and I have not been able to get anything yet so I thought I should give this whole design thing a go. You can check out my invite website on one of the tabs above.

In the last few weeks I have moved house......for the last two years I have been living at the Balkenbush's house. It has been such a blessing to be able to live in their home and be apart of their family. They really have treated my like another daughter........so now I feel like I am fleeing the nest again. I have moved (well in the process of moving) in with two other girls on our team. Alex is a thrower and Alicia is a pole volter. It is going to be a bit of a change but I am excited to be living with some people my own age again and being a lot closer to campus. I have also loved decorating my room......I gave myself a small budget to spruce it up a little. I painted a wall and the ceiling (I am not usually and angry person.....but found out that painting a ceiling makes me super angry!!). I searched around for some free furniture and painted it all to match then decorated with photos and paintings. I am so impressed with how well it turned out and how cheap it was.....I have included some photos of it under June 09 tab.

The summer has started off a bit weird here with the last week being full with thunderstorms, and they are expected to continue on for another week. I like it though, seeing it rain in Reno is fun. I am sure it will be super hot soon enough.......and lots more adventures to come.

Well that is all the updates for now.....I hope you enjoy looking around and seeing what I have been up to in the last few months. Would love to hear from you.......leave a comment on my page.

I will hopefully be back to New Zealand for Christmas and New Years.....

Take care,

Kiwi.........err my New Zealand name: Mandy :)

One way to get the most out of life is to look upon it as an adventure.
William Feather

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you."
Deuteronomy 31:6

{Spring 09}

FIVE semesters down, THREE to go. Wow I am over half my time living in America. It seems crazy that I have been here so long, but yet looking back I have done so much in my time.

This semester has been crazy, probably the most stressful time I have had in my life. But classes are done and I am back on my feet running. Wahoo. My grades ended up ok, and all I have learned a lot about life, and myself as a result of the last four months. Struggles and failures really do make you stronger and wiser and from the other side I am so thankful for them.

Winter break is ahead, with Sally, Matt and my cousin Kate coming to visit in three days for almost three weeks!! They will get to experience a white Christmas, see my American life and  hopefully visit some famous American places such as the Grand Canyon, Hollywood and Disneyland. Some of our team is also heading to the Olympic training center in San Diego for two weeks after New years that I am hoping to be able to join.

Along with the excitement of the visitors coming, winter has finally arrived in Reno. After a very dry fall (Autumn) the snow finally started to fall last week. We have had two storms so far and four out of the next five days are supposed to be snowy!! I love living where it snows, but running in it is not much fun. I went running this morning at 10:30am and it was still -10*C. Ahhh....

Ok thanks for checking out my site. Hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year (Wink Wink, that’s also my Birthday!!)

Love Mandy

Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy wealthy and wise
Benjamin Franklin

People's dreams are made out of what they do all day. The same way a dog that runs after rabbits will dream of rabbits. It's what you do that makes your soul, not the other way around
Barbara Kingsolver


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