This weekend I had my first orientation in Hackensack, Minnesota at Deep Portages 30th Annual Winter Rendezvous. We got there Friday night and even though I was a half an hour late, I was the second one there. It was a bit weird at first because all the inbounds had already met and were hugging and catching up on lost time. I had only met two of my fellow outbounds so far, but everyone met really fast. Right away there was some general downtime and fun. After a few hours of that we had our first outbound orientation meeting. We talked about our country placement and our reaction to that. Some kids got placed in their #7 choices! We have 9 outbounds going to Mexico, Turkey, Thailand, Brazil, Philippines, Australia, Germany, and guess what! Two of us are going to Finland! That was so exciting to me as I will know someone there before I even arrive. She lives in Thunder Bay Ontario which has the biggest population of Finns outside of Finland. She even had some salmiakki to try. Salmiakki is a Finnish candy that is basically salty black licorice. It is surprisingly good though and I believe it will grow on me.
The next day was the actual rendezvous which was basically a family winter Olympics style thing. They split us into groups with one Rotarian per four kids. The one girl in my group got second runner up Women's. It was super fun. After that we went rock climbing on their indoor rock wall. I'm a little bit more chicken than I'd like to admit so I only went up once. One kid in my group went up several times, sometimes blindfolded and backwards! After that there was more hanging out and supper. Lastly we had our second and final orientation meeting of the evening. We took some pretty goofy intelligence tests, and learned a lot about culture shock from our rotex students. Apparently giving a potted plant in Finland is not an acceptable gift. Wonder why? After this there was more snacking and joking, and my friend from France taught us all how to make origami horses!
Today we woke up, had breakfast and said a lot of goodbyes. We won't see each other again until the end of April, when we go to the rotary district conference in Grand Forks.