• Club Number 18039
  • District 9685
  • Chartered 1946

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James Dodd in Brasil 10 Oct 2010

Welcome to the first ever October edition! My last two weeks have been slightly strange as I’ve been wondering and trying to find out when I’ll be changing houses but it has eventually sorted itself out and now I am with my new host family.
I have now finally moved house after much deliberation. I was expecting to move at the beginning of October, but I hadn’t heard anything from my Rotary Club even after several phone calls to my President and my Counsellor. This last Wednesday marked the official visit of the District Governor to come to my Rotary Club. It was a very boring occasion but my new host family came and I got to get to know them a bit.
Also my 2nd host family was invited to share all the “bad things” that I have done and all the “bad habits” that I have with my new host family. It turned out that I ended up moving that evening so I spent the whole afternoon packing everything up. That night I was picked up by my new host parents and taken to my new home.  My new house is really near to my first family as it’s only literally just around the corner.  (Photo: 2nd and 3rd host families)
A big change from my last host family is that it’s only me and my host parents, as I have no siblings. My host brother is on exchange in Mexico. So I’m looking forward to lots of quiet time without children running around or loud Brazillian discussions. Since I’m so close to the Country Club, I will be going back there to play tennis some evenings and my new host parents are members of Olimpico, so I will be able to continue training there as well. My tennis should keep improving and I have been chosen to represent my Rotary Club at an interclub competition.
The night I arrived, I was taken by my host dad to his football match. It was a great first experience to get to know him and a lot of his friends. It certainly looks like I will have another whole different group of friends.
This last weekend I was invited by my host family to go to a wedding of one of my host mum’s workmates. After travelling for an hour we eventually arrived in the next city, Paranavai. I have never been here so it was all new to me. The wedding itself was in the Catholic Cathedral in the middle of the city and was a very grand proceeding, but the service itself only went for about 25 minutes which was much shorter than I expected.  (Photo: Newly married couple Alessandra and Willian)

The reception was held at the local Country Club and was once again a very grand occasion. It was a fairly normal wedding reception with good food and dancing, but there was one thing that caught my eye as strange. Brasilians have a tradition where the groom and his best men walk around to each person and ask for a donation.
 However it’s more of a game rather than them asking you nicely, as there is lots of noise and you never get out of paying, even if it is only $5. After paying they cut a small piece of the groom’s tie and give it to you as a good luck charm. At first it freaked me out as they were cutting up a perfectly good tie, but then after the tradition was explained to me, it all made sense. (Photo: My table – couples who work with my host mum)
University has now entered the final bimestre.     I have received half of my marks from my 3rd Bimestre exams. Here are my marks so far: Calculus - 96  and Analytical Geometry – 87. I am fairly happy with my marks considering I have learnt the whole course in Analytical Geometry here, whereas Calculus was just a revision of what I had learnt last year at Barker. I still haven’t received my marks for Informatics or Physics but I should be getting them back this week.
In 2 weeks I will be travelling to Pantanal and Bonito for 9 days. This will be my first tour since the Amazon and I’ve been told that it will be an amazing experience. I only have 3 months left in Brazil and more than one month of that will be travelling, so time is starting to run short.
I will try and keep up my newsletters for the duration – Dad says he gets plenty of good feedback.

Tchau,
James Dodd
PS. It’s 10/10/10 at 10:10:10pm

James Dodd in Brasil 13 Sept 2010

Welcome to the newest edition of my fortnightly newsletter. These last two weekends have been fairly big ones.
The weather has really started to heat up over these last few weeks and is set to continue throughout summer. The biggest issue is that these next few months (August, September, October) are the dries t months of every year in Maringa – it only drizzles once or twice a month. When summer hits it will become ridiculously humid and hot. In talking to my parents one time this week I noticed that it was 32OC at 10pm! (but only about 20% humidity).
I am starting tennis training this week, so it will be good to get back into it. But since I will be changing families sometime at the beginning of October, I’m not sure if I will be able to go back to Olimpico. Ultimately I want to move closer back to the Country Club as I find it’s a better place to play as the people are generally friendlier and want to get to know you in a social environment.
That leads me onto Rotary. In the Rotary meeting this week, the exchange student that my club is sending out this year attended. It was good to meet him and it looks like the search for my 3rd family is over, however I didn’t get much of a chance to talk to him. Hopefully next week I’ll find out if I will be living with his family because at the time it was just speculation.
University is starting to get a bit hectic now as 3rd bimestre exams are coming up. Everyone is stressing out, including the professors. The next stage of our group project (which is a chicken farm - you may remember from some months back) where we will actually have to build it properly is due soon.


The first weekend in September was a long weekend for me. I only have university 3 days a week (Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday) and the following Tuesday was a public holiday, so naturally the Monday was declared a public holiday as well and I ended up having a 6-day long weekend. I spent most of the time relaxing because, as you would expect, it rained. However on the Sunday my host family took me to Castello Branco, which is a town where my host mother’s family lives. I have been there several times for family occasions but this time there was a party for the whole town. It was called a chão which translates to “floor” so naturally I was totally confused about what the party could be. However, once I saw it, chão made perfect sense. Huge pieces of meat are placed on stakes and are then barbequed by a surrounding wood fire. It’s kind of hard to explain in words, so see the picture. The meat was obviously too big to be cut with a knife so naturally you use a band saw… which I found quite entertaining.
Outside there were jumping castles, small rides and even a mechanical bull. Unfortunately these were all for children so all I could do was watch. I did try the “But I’m an exchange student” card but even then

they wouldn’t let me try. Nearly everyone from the town was there, so everyone knew everyone else and/or was related to them. The photo at the top of the newsletter was taken just for fun to send back to all of you. It’s a picture of me getting a piece of meat with a knife. My host father thought it would be a funny idea so he took a photo of it for me.
This weekend some other exchange students from Maringá and I were invited to Mamborê, which is a small town about 1 ½ hour drive by car from Maringá. Since it was just exchange students, we decided to take the bus. This probably wasn’t the best decision as a 3 hour bus ride there and 3 hours back was tiresome.
However once we arrived it was all worthwhile. We had arrived at the 50th anniversary of the municipality of Mamborê and as you would expect the whole town was there to celebrate it. The festival was more like a fair as there were rides, stall games and bars everywhere. I have lost all my photos of it thanks to my phone dying yesterday, but I will get the photos from the other exchange students when I have the chance.  The town itself was very small and literally had no facilities. I honestly don’t know how the girl on exchange lives there.
Well these last few weeks have been relatively relaxing. The clock is certainly ticking as it is now only 4 months until I return.
Tchau, 
James Dodd

James Dodd in Brasil 29 August 2010

Welcome to the edição próxima. I got bored of writing “next edition” so I decided to write it in Portuguese. These last two weeks have been fairly quiet but there were some highlights.
It has been about 2 weeks since I have last played tennis. I really need to get back into it, but now since the heat has hit again it isn’t really practical to play in the afternoon. Even though it is still winter, the days are getting hotter. For example, the top temperature today was 37 degrees Celsius but it will stay about this or less until next year. It rarely gets above 40 degrees Celsius in Maringá but the temperature compiled with the humidity is a killer. When I tell people that in Sydney it gets to 40-45 degrees Celsius during summer they all look at me with blank looks thinking about how they would all die instantly, but after describing that houses are closed in and nearly everyone has air conditioning then it’s not so bad.
Over these last two weeks I have finished another small cross-stitch. It’s a good thing to do to keep my mind busy while resting and watching TV. It’s a baby koala that just needs a few finishing touches and then will be ready to be given to someone. I’m still not sure who I am going to give these small gifts to, but that will be sorted out sometime later.
Last week on Tuesday I was invited to the birthday party of two little girls, Alice (4) and Cecilia (7). These girls are the daughters of my Rotary Club’s President Mauricio. It was the girls’ idea to invite me so that one time that I met them I must have made a fairly good impression. The party was held at a party room where there were games and things to keep everyone busy, including myself. There were things like a jumping castle, mazes, dressups, a bowling alley, table tennis table and various other arcade games. On a side note, “AUS” currently holds several records on one of the driving games (that I achieved). This was a really fun occasion for everyone there including the parents and the grandparents.
On Thursday my host father (on the spur of the moment) decided to go and watch a soccer match at the city stadium, so I went along. This was the first soccer game that I have watched live in Brasil (yes I know it’s hard to believe after 7 months) but was certainly an experience in itself. To enter the stadium is free and the only things that you pay for is food and drinks. The game itself was fairly crap with the first two goals being own-goals, including one funny incident where a defender passed back to the goalkeeper but slightly miscued so it perfectly curved around the goalkeeper into the goal. It was quite funny to watch it live and it’s times like that where you want instant replay.
Friday was a sad but festive day: the mathematics (Calculus and Analytical Geometry) professor’s last day at Cesumar. She was the best professor that the course had to offer and will be sorely missed. So what do you do when someone is leaving? You throw them a party during the last class and that’s exactly what my fellow classmates and I did. I have learned so much from her over these last 7 months and I’m not sure that “maths days” are going to be the same.
On Saturday night I finally met one of the exchange students in this district, a Mexican girl who is so small.  We went and saw “Inception” at the movies (translated as A Origem which means “the origin” – another fail in movie title translation). This was the 2nd time that I had seen it but seeing it for the second time filled in so many of the small gaps that I missed the first time. Maybe I missed them because the video and audio quality of the download was terrible.
Today was yet another Rotary Welcome Meeting for all exchange students. This was the 4th one that I have been to and the content never changes. It was a great chance to meet all of the new exchange students in this district and to find out who is living in Maringá (this district covers a large part of the north-west of my state). At this meeting I was asked several times “Ah, are you the Australian?” which made me think what I had done that so many people knew who I was. After many lengthy conversations I met the parents a boy who is currently on exchange in my district at home.
Well these last 7 months have been really enjoyable and I can’t believe that my year is going so fast. Considering that I will be travelling on tours for about a month and a half soon, that only leaves about 3 months! Also these blogs are getting harder and harder to write but it’s something that I want to do for all of you.
Tchau,
James Dodd

James Dodd - Letter from Brasil - 15 August

Welcome to the next edition of my fortnightly report. These past 2 weeks have been fairly packed and time is certainly flying. I only have 5 months until I leave! Over these past 2 weeks I have finished my 2nd and 3rd cross-stitches which I will present to my some of my closest friends here.

University is still coming along well. I am going most days now and the subjects are getting more interesting as now I am learning new things. This week I only went to university one day because of all the other things I was doing, but I received several phone calls from my friends wondering if I was ok. I thought that the calls from my friends were a good indication of the friendships that I have made with them.
Last Friday I was invited by some of the Rotarians to go ten-pin bowling with them. It has been a long time since I have played but it was certainly a fun time. We played 5 games overall and I came 2nd twice and 3rd three times. After the games I then went to a Thiago’s house for his birthday. You may remember that I have been to Thiago’s house several times before for Brasil’s World Cup games, so it was good to go back and to see the rest of his family again.
The following Sunday was Father’s Day so I went with my host family to a barbeque with my extended host family. It was a different experience for me mostly considering that it was a different date to what it is in Australia and that I couldn’t spend Father’s Day with my real dad.
Last Tuesday I was invited by the Youth Exchange Officer in my club to go with him to work. From what I understood of what he told me, all I gathered was that we were going to a farm near a close city. After he picked me up in the morning I actually found out what we were doing. He is a zoologist and a university professor, but that day we were going to farms to mark and check sheep. He is one of 5 registrars in this State to check on the quality of sheep and to make sure that they are all accounted for. So after travelling for an hour and a half and driving along unsealed roads we eventually arrived at our first stop.
We marked about 25 lambs with their respective tag numbers, the number of the farm and the stamp of quality of the State. This was definitely the first time that I have ever done something like this, but it was fun. The photo shows us with one of the lambs.
At night I went out with the exchange students including some of the new ones that have arrived. Nearly all of them have arrived and settled in by now. It has been a few months since there have been a lot of other exchange students in Maringá so I have been having lots of independent time.
Over this last week I have been out a lot with the exchange student from India because he goes home next Wednesday. We have had several parties for him and Monday night will be his official farewell. He is certainly someone that I am going to miss from my exchange.
During these last 2 weeks I have received many comments on my Portuguese. I have been told that I speak without an accent, which some people find strange because that means that I don’t even have the local accent. It seems that I speak straight Portuguese. And since that I have been here for 7 months I am looking forward to my Portuguese becoming grammatically better and to learn more complex words.
I hope that these last 7 months have been enjoyable for you to read what I have been up to. I am going to try and keep doing this every 2 weeks for your information/interest and also as a record for me. Mum and Dad have relayed back to me your many positive comments about my blog and my amazing year in Brasil.
Tchau,
James Dodd

James Dodd's August Letter From Brazil

Welcome to the next edition of my blog. We are now into August so time is flying. University has finally started again after the holidays and it was great to see everyone again. We are now into “Bimestre 3”. All of the subjects have started up once again and we are now working towards the exams at the end of September.



My Portuguese is getting much better and I have received many comments from other people that my Portuguese is very good for being here only 6 months. In meeting a lot of new people one person actually asked me, “So how many years have you been here?” It thought that was a very flattering comment on my Portuguese skills. I wouldn’t say it is that good, but at least I can talk to people as long as I can figure out what each word is.

During the last week of the holidays I started to cross-stitch in the afternoons while watching TV. I have managed to finish one bookmark and I am currently ¾ of the way through another small one. The bookmark doesn’t look like a bookmark at the moment but soon it will become the finished product. I am thinking that I will give these cross-stitches to some special people that I have known from my exchange.
I have been going to Olimpico to play tennis regularly and I have even started winning there. I now exist on the championship rankings. I am playing in “Classe A” which is effectively the top division without getting into semi-professional. I am really enjoying it there and hopefully I will keep training there as the year goes on.

Last weekend I was invited to the baptisms of Wilson Matos’ grandchildren. It was really good to see all of the family again and to catch up with everyone. After the church service I was invited back to Wilson Filho’s house (the son of Wilson Matos) to celebrate the baptism. His house is certainly something to marvel at. I spent the afternoon there playing with the kids and also playing some music with the other adults. Eventually everyone left, but we all went to Wilson Matos’ house for dinner. I didn’t get home till very late, but it still was a great day. I have been invited by Wilson’s daughter to do some presentations about Australia to primary school children learning English. I am not quite sure what I should say, but at least I know that I will have to speak very slowly and they probably won’t understand much anyway.
Last Thursday was the birthday of one of the remaining exchange students in Maringá, the guy from India. He invited the other exchange students and his host families to a Japanese Restaurant, which was actually really good. The food there was amazing. After we had dinner there, we had the cake. It was one of the most elaborate birthday cakes I have seen: it was a Ferrero Rocher cake and it cost about $200AUD. Once the host families had left, we went to Ivo’s house for his birthday. Last year Ivo was on exchange in my Rotary District in Sydney.

Last night I was invited to a “Cervejada” by one of my friends from university. I’m not really quite sure how to explain what it is, but it is effectively a gigantic party which is open to anyone (obviously above 18 years of age). You pay once to get in and then all drinks inside are free. Obviously I couldn’t drink (thanks to Rotary rules) but it was still a different and great experience. I thought that a party for 2000 people wasn’t quite possible in my town but it seems it is.
Well that’s all for these last 2 weeks. I know it is a little bit shorter than usual but at least I remembered to do it. I am trying to keep this up as the year goes on.

Tchau,
James Dodd

James Dodd's July Letter From Brazil

Welcome to my fortnightly newsletter. I am currently on university holidays, so sleeping in and relaxing have been high on my list of things to do. Right now it is a little bit scary that I’m half way through my exchange. It is now 6 months until I arrive back in Australia!

My holidays haven’t been very packed but I have been up to some things. I at least caught up on sleep for once.  Uni is starting again next week so I will have to get back into the routine of getting up at 6:30am instead of midday (lunch time). However, it will be good to see all of my classmates again. I have been ‘hitting the town’ with some of them during the holiday and it was good to see them outside uni. I have received my marks from last ‘bimestre’: Calculus I (99); Linear Alegbra (90); Informatics (95); Digital Electronics (90-100?); Basic Electricity (90-100?). For Digital Electronics and Basic Electricity I still haven’t received my results, so I put what I think I will get.

It is always a great feeling when you see the postman at the front door with a box. My parents sent me a box full of things that every exchange student would need. I received more Australian lapel pins to give away (I had run out), new shoes and of course TimTams. I have found out (from talking to other exchange students) that TimTams are only sold in Australia, New Zealand and India. They only appear in India in the specialty import shops, so they are ridiculously expensive. Must be a good marketing opportunity for someone!

Now I am a guest member at Olimpico country club, I have been going every day, playing tennis there every afternoon. I will start training properly soon so I can get my fitness back to where I was before the HSC. I have also been swimming there and going to the sauna. The sauna has been great to relax after playing or even just after a long day.

Rotary over the last few weeks has been a bit hectic. Last weekend my Rotary Club had a party for the President’s Changeover. It was a very grand party and nearly all of the Rotarians were there. I received some gifts from the club including an official football shirt of Brasil and the Brasilian flag. I addressed the meeting by saying a few words of thanks to the current president and toasting the new president.  The picture shows me in my Australian blazer, draped in the Brasillian flag, sharing one of the toasts with the Rotarians.

Last Saturday my family had a joint birthday party for both of my host nephews who turned 7 years old. I spent the afternoon setting up the house with balloons and making the nibbles for dinner. I joined in with the little kids and ate lots of sugar.

On Sunday, I went to the current president’s house for a family barbeque. It was great to be accepted into another family and be treated like a son. After lunch, he took me to an old abandoned airport where he goes every Sunday afternoon to race remote control model cars.  

The fellow racers in Maringá have built a track on the old runway. The cars were to scale 1:10 and were incredibly fast. The fastest car went from 0-100km/h in 1.9 seconds and had a top speed of about 120-130km/h. The cars run on a mixture of 80% methanol and 20% nitro. It was amazing to see the amount of tuning and fixing that went into managing the cars. When it started raining, we all piled into the back of a Kombi van to watch the World Cup Final.

Currently there is a German Exchange Student in Maringá, who I went to the Amazon with. We’ve caught up several times. He will be leaving for Germany in 3 weeks and then there will just be Australians here. It is great to catch up with other exchange students before they leave. Even though I might never see them again, they are people I will never forget.

So 6 months to go. It’s all downhill from here. I hope your first 6 months without me wasn’t too hard, but I’ll be back in 6 months today!
Tchau,
James Dodd

Emma Overlack returns to Germany

To my dear Dodds, Halletts, Carrolls, Shams and Horrells,

I'm back in Germany!!!

So weird. Haha Friday morning I arrived at around half past six in Frankfurt at the airport, where my mum should've been waiting for me. But as my mum is all the time she was about five minutes late, which gave me time to sit down somewhere, hide, put my hoddie on and as soon as she came, I walked behinde her (so she couldn't see me) and tipped her on her shoulder asking :"Excuse me where can I get my flight back to Sydney?"

She was so funny. I could see how she was thinking and wondering who I am and then I decided to be nice and hugged her, so she found out. She said later she did recognize my face, but I looked so much older and the English was the thing which confused her, she thought I would still walk out of the gate and then talk German but not English. It was good fun and of course great to see her again.

We had to wait for the train a couple of hours and then another 3-4 hours train ride back to my hometown. My elder brother picked me up from the train station and I thought I might jump into his arms and...It worked! He caught me without any problems or tripping over or so and my Dad did the same when I arrived back home.

My little sister  was so excited, that she even started crying and didn't want to let go of me anymore. Where ever I sat down, she was always on my lap. It was sooo nice.

My little brother has been growing a lot and we measured whether I've been growing and discovered that I'm still as small as I was when I left Germany.And I thought I was growing, but I was proved wrong...

Even three of my old friends directly came over to say hello. It was just soooo wonderful!!! I was so happy to see my best friends again! Oh and I had to get used to the village life again. Well firstly the funny thing when I got here was, that instead of really recognizing my home from it's look, I stepped out the car and smelled that I was home. Not only inside the house also outside it really has it's own smell. A smell where I notice-I'm home. Both of my brothers also noticed that I smell quite weird. As my younger brother would describe it - like the cheese in french supermarkets! So now I know what Australia smells like. French cheese:)

Yesterday Patrick Mahony (a friend of Michelle and Kathryn), who studied in Stuttgard for the GSE-team arrived here at my home to visit me. Because it was some sort of Celebration at my school, we took him there and I saw heaps of my old school friends. Most of them didn't recognize me at the beginning and had to come very close, study my face to say oh yeah it's the same old Emma. All of them said :"Oh Emma, you look so much older, and your hair's so long...oh and you've gained weight."

It was great to see all of them again and they were really surprised to see me. ( I firstly said I'll come back to school some time during the next week)

For afternoon tea my cousin, his old schoolfriend and my brothers girlfriend came over as well and we all had a great half English conversation about strange food we ate in different countries. Pat enjoyed a german BBQ with us for dinner and this morning we dropped him at the train station in Switzerland, so he can continue on to Andrea in Luzern. Before he got on the train we showed him around a bit in the old middle-ages town and the place in the town, where Lake Constance turns into the river Rhein.

So yeah I just came back and had my first Australian visit already and I really do like it that way. keep me busy for the next two years and then I'll be back anyway :-)  

But not everything is that great and I really do miss Australia and my friends over there. When I change planes in Singapore and got on the 2nd plane to Frankfurt with all those Germans on it, I only thought ñ ìall those anoying Germans, can't even talk in Englishî (probably can but don't do it) and just only wanted to go back. It was intresting in that way, because I heard so many stories about other students, who went back and firstly were sad to leave, but then really excited to go back home. I dunno, I was just sad most of the time, that I had to leave everybody there and wasnít able to pack all of them in my luggage and wasn't excited at all. haha maybe there's something wrong with me

Oh can you remember how I said I wouldn't go for Australia in the game Germany-Australia; well I changed my mind at the airport, when my friends gave me Socceroo shorts. So now I'll be at the public viewing tonight in the middle of hundreds of germans going for Australia. I think it's a great idea :)

So as you can see I've just been here a couple of days and I'm so busy already. I like it, keeps me from being homesick and stuff. I'm happy all around :) I had such a great year and I'm looking forward to my couple of years back here and of course then to come back to Australia!!!!!

I miss you guys, but I'll see you soon. Enjoy your time!

Love

Emma

Letter from Exchange Student Andrea Muller

My dear Rotary Club of Ryde, dear President and Members,

Surprise! Here I am, finally, writing the letter to you which is far over due. Yes, it's the Swiss girl Andrea who had the honour of being your exchange student two years ago (already!). Not that I'd think you were forgetful, but it's been quite a long time since I have been in contact.



Photo: My flute ensemble, with the championship goblet. (Mirjam, me, Karin. Karin is going on youth  exchange with Rotary this year, though she is still waiting for a confirmation from a Club)


So where should I start? Should I start with my Tuesday nights, when I always sit in orchestra rehearsals, thinking how much more fun the Rotary meeting with you would be? Or better with my exciting plans for my future as a French speaking anthropologist? Or with my new 'title'? Well, first things first, I am in the middle of final exams. You might wonder, why I write this mail to you in the most stressful time of my school career. The truth is, I needed a break from studying and so I was looking at pictures from Australia. That always cheers me up! Do you remember the Rotary weekend in Yass? The District Assembly in Bathurst? Wonderful times. Now I will soon be finished with school. And I hope wonderful times are awaiting me.

As I mentioned before, I want to become an cultural anthropologist. Yes, my host mother's, Nora Etmektijan's influence has had a an impact. But I would say, mainly my exchange year in general made me choose this direction. French speaking, because I am going to study in Neuchatel, a city in the French part of Switzerland. Of course I could study it in German too, in Zurich or in Lucerne, but why should I take the easy way? That's what I asked myself and so I decided to walk a bit slower but farer, as I hope. If I can learn English in one year, I should be able to do the same with French. I am really excited about my plans. Next to that, Neuchatel is probably the third most beautiful city in the world, after Sydney and Lucerne.

During my studies I will share a flat in Neuchatel with two French girls. It's a relief that this part is already settled. Finally moving out ñ my mum is a bit scared. Of course, she is used to have me far away, but suddenly she fears that our home is going to be all quiet. I guess most of you know that feeling. To me it's very exciting of course.

Finishing school and moving away means, that I have to  leave my orchestras and ensembles. With my flute ensemble we had an exciting ending, as we won the ensemble championship in our canton in May. Now we won't exist as a musical group any more. The youth orchestra is participating in a competition in Luxembourg in July so I will have an unforgettable ending in this formation as well.

In the past few months I also had to learn one of the important lessons in life. This is, that one should say no sometimes. Instead of looking at my schedule, I kept accepting more and more tasks and roles. I ended up playing two concerts (in each one two French horn solos), three theater performances and one mass during three days in a row. It was the weekend of my little brother's confirmation too. And that just before the exams... well, I became sick, and had to rest a couple of days in bed. Looking back, it was probably a good and instructional experience.  

I also got a new 'title'. And since you are probably responsible for it, I think you should know about it. It's tradition that the year 12 students produce a journal in the end of the year, in which the students can get even with the teachers (in a fair and respectable way) and every student is presented once again. By the way, I have been in responsible for the sponsoring ñ more stress. In my portrait my grade decided to call me 'the rhetorical talent'. It's not funny, because I think they have never heard a truly good speaker. Nevertheless, it's the expression the people in my region will read. Now, why do they call me that? I am pretty sure you all know! Because I was forced (in a nice way) to practice it for one year in a foreign language. Thank god! I want to add, that it's a bit easier when I can do speeches in my mother tongue, so that might make a difference. But John and Geoff are still my idols concerning public speaking!

I know, I keep repeating myself, I can't remember what I have already told you in my last email, but it feels good writing to you. If my style of writing is a bit informal, it's because I want to write to you the same way I would speak, and I hope you can feel a little bit my heart beating while reading it.

I enjoy reading the weekly HUB, you are just as active as two years ago, if not even more. Congratulations to John Dodd's election as future DG, I wish the Club just the best for the coming challenges.

Very kind regards

Andrea Muller

PR Directors Report 2009-2010 – Stefan Sojka

The year has been exciting for me and for my PR role in Rotary. The most significant thing has been the development of the club’s new Website. This has been a long process, as a club has generated a huge amount of information over the years and will do so into the future. It is essential that we organise and manage this information, as it is not only good from a management point of view, but it makes all communication and public relations easier. Each event that we participate in generates promotional material, photographs, articles and comments.
The more we can consolidate the collection and delivery of all this media, the more effective we will be at PR. The new Website has been designed from the ground up with this in mind. It will launch soon, but will never stand still. I am asking all members to contribute everything they can to help make our Website the best Rotary Club Website in the world – and we can do this by simply supplying it with great content and accurate information. This will set an example to other clubs and raise our own profile, both within Rotary and with the wider community.
I had some time off this year, due to personal circumstances and also a bit of a major flu attack, and in my absence I must say I was amazed at the efforts of PP Charles Kilby and Rtn Adrian Hallett. From Fords in the Park to the huge Graffiti launch, our club has been spearheaded into the local headlines and is poised to capitalise on their great work over the year ahead. Thank you so much for your support, Charles and Adrian.
Other highlights for me for the year have included the production of the MUNA video and audio files, which are both a permanent record of our involvement and an excellent marketing tool for all future MUNA events. We also gained a big spread in the paper for our Vocational Excellence Awards and our donation of the ultra-sound machine to Ryde Hospital. Throughout the entire year, I managed to keep pumping out a new Hub each week, thanks to the fabulous contributions of Allen Horrell’s journalism and PP Geoff Brennan’s On-Time Printing Solutions.
Next year is going to be bigger and better, with the Website springing into life, huge visibility of the club with the Graffiti program, Adrian Hallett’s amazing work on signage and his travelling trailer show, more videos, photo galleries, some 30 second commercials on 2RRR and, what I hope will be a big scoop for the club, our branding rights to a new community domain: ryde.nsw.au. This is in its very early stages of development, but will grow to become an excellent vehicle for our club.

The new Website launch is imminent!

The new Website is coming together very well indeed. In fact this blog post is part of it, which just goes to show that everything is working!  No doubt this section of the site will grow and grow as time rolls on.  Please bookmark the site so you can return at any time to see all the updates, which will be done regularly.

Please also tell your friends and anyone who has been connected with the club over the years. Guests speakers, exchange students, past members and friends.  We would love to hear your feedback and comments, contributions and links.

Warm regards,

Stefan Sojka

PR Director
Rotary Club of Ryde 2010-2011

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