On Blood Types

Hi, everyone!
I hope you all had a wonderful time celebrating whatever it is that you celebrate this time of year. I had a great Christmas with my family here in Minneapolis- we were going to go to Wisconsin, but got snowed in.

Here's an AFS update:

I submitted my full application at the end of November, but on December 5th my parents got an email telling us that there were some things missing on my application. Most of them were pretty easy to take care of, so it was no big deal. BUT, as we found out, AFS also needed my blood type on one of my medical forms- information my parents don't have. We didn't think that would be very hard to find out; just call the doctor, or go to the hospital for a quick blood test. BUT BOY WERE WE WRONG.

Turns out my pediatrician doesn't know my blood type and isn't able to do a test. We had to call the hospital where I was born. So we did, and went through a whole big process of requesting medical information and driving around and talking to robots on the phone. Finally, we got through, and guess what? My blood wasn't typed when I was born! HA!

So a few days ago my mom took me to the Red Cross and I donated a pint of blood. It was actually a very pleasant experience, and I saved three lives! In twelve minutes! Without even really having to do anything. But unfortunately, they still won't be able to tell me my type for a few more days. GAH.

But at least the blood type is finally on its way. The application has been submitted without it- we'll just send it along when we find it out. I'm still doing fine in terms of time and deadlines, so it's all good.
It is just really surprising to me that it's so impossible to find out your blood type. The hospital is able to type your blood in seconds in an emergency, so how hard can it be? I mean, there are only, what? Four options?
My family is placing bets on what type I'll be. I'm thinking it's O.

Did you know that in Japan people treat their blood types like their zodiac signs? Everyone knows them there.

Anyways, all I can say is that as soon as I step off the plane in France, I hope someone asks me what my blood type is.

Happy New Year, everyone!


To donate to my AFS tuition click on the Chip In! link to the right -->
It only takes a minute!


Donation! Shout out to Ben Olk!

I'm pleased to announce that I have officially received my first donation!

Yes, I know. This blog has been up for awhile. And it is a bit pathetic to only be receiving a donation now. But I've been working on making this blog presentable to other people before I share it with anyone, so it's not like all of my friends and family have been trolling through this and not donating anything.

A nice photobooth portrait of my funds...
I was talking about this blog at a dinner with my family and our close family friends, the Olks. I mentioned how the little monitor on the side has been depressingly empty for a good month now. And generously, our friend Ben handed over a dollar bill to be my first donation. A week later, I got five euros in the mail from him. So thanks, Ben! It feels so much better to have some money coming in here.

Be like Ben and help support my year abroad!
No amount is too small. And you'll make my day (not to mention my year...)!

Oh, and another update:
I have officially sent off my AFS application. I'll find out my assignment sometime in January or February, and I'll let you all know just as soon as the news comes.


Nora Epp


To donate to my AFS tuition click on the Chip In! link to the right -->
It only takes a minute!


Another Intro- but of a slightly different sort

Hello everyone who is reading this (which is no one, but that will change soon).

Well, I've neglected this blog for about a month, and now that I am actually about a day away from officially submitting my AFS application, I thought I would update a little.

Since I'm going to be telling friends and family about this blog, people who aren't necessarily familiar with AFS, I thought I would start there. AFS stands for the American Field Service, and they had something to do with ambulances in World War II. Then, after the war, they turned into a promoting-world-peace-and-diplomacy student exchange program. These two things seem completely unrelated to me, but there must be some kind of link. Anyways, they kept the initials AFS even though it doesn't really mean anything.

They have been sending students around the world for over 60 years. They have an excellent track record, and are the biggest, most established exchange program in existence. If you have known an exchange student at any point in your life, it's a very good chance they were with AFS.

Here's their website if you want to know more:

So, with AFS, I will be going to France next year. For the entire year. I'll stay with a host family, go to the local high school, etc. All my classes and interactions and other language surrounding me will be IN FRENCH. I won't be coming home at all during the year. This is full immersion. HOW COOL IS THAT?!

The other million dollar question is, of course, "Why?" Well. You would think that I would have a very articulate and logical answer for that. And I do, but it is scrambled somewhere deep within my brain where I can't quite get at it. I will try to sort it out for you.

I am going abroad for a number of reasons:
1) I have studied French for most of my life, and although still not fluent, I am passionate about and knowledgeable of the language, and there are few things I want more than to achieve fluency.
2) I've thought about being an exchange student since about 6th grade. I started to write it off as an impossibility, and then this summer I started to consider it some more, and I thought "Why not? Why couldn't I?" I realized it actually made way more sense than most things do.
3) I have a personality that suits it perfectly. I am not necessarily a chatty cathy, but I am very independent, easy-going, articulate, and interested.
4) Next year, several of my best friends will be graduating from high school and going to colleges far away, so staying in Minneapolis would be considerably less exciting.
5) I've always wanted to live in a foreign country, particularly France. I've always thought that I would live in France when I'm older. But why wait?
6) I like exploring and trying new things and going to new places!!! This will be the newest thing I've ever experienced.
7) It's a dream come true. Did I say that already?

Yes, It will be hard. But I know myself well enough to trust that this is something I can do.
And overall, the pros simply outweigh the cons. In fact, the pros probably have a good 500 pounds on the cons.

Anyway. I'm going to France next year. And I need your help! I'm hoping to make $2,500 towards my AFS tuition with this blog. Contributing is just a click away (see the little PitchIn! widget on the right).

Feel free to email me with an questions, or leave a comment.

Thank you!

Nora Epp


Intro Part 2

I didn't mention this before, and as it's pretty important, I will do so now:
The purpose of this blog, right now, is to fundraise for the tuition of my year abroad.
Next year, in France, I'll use it to update everyone on all the exciting things I'll be doing.

My goal is to raise $2,500 with this blog. To contribute instantly, click on the "Chip In" gadget on the right.

As I mentioned before, I'm 15. I live in Minnesota. My biggest interests are theater, travel, biking, hiking, movies, reading, cooking, fashion, and people. Oh, and France. That's a big interest too.

I suppose you want to know about my extracurriculars and community service and all those other things that people use to judge the character of high school students. I've been very involved in the student-run theater program at my high school- that would easily be my biggest commitment/interest. I plan to join my school's speech team when the season rolls around, and I do community service projects pretty regularly with my church. Actually, this past summer I went on a trip to New Orleans with my church to attend a Lutheran gathering and do community service in the area. I consider myself a dedicated, vocal student.

My biggest interest aside from theater would probably be travel and being outside. I have been all over the United States, and, whenever given the chance, find myself on my way to some new destination. I am a person who can thrive in basically any environment: I love the wilderness, and I love big cities. For the past two summers, I have gone on 10-day backpacking trips in the Bighorn mountain range in Wyoming with a YMCA camp here in Minnesota. I've gone canoeing in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area up north, and hiked and camped all over the country with my family.

I hope that was satisfactory, and I apologize for how awkward self promotion can be. Let me just say one more thing: I am a very worthy investment.

Thanks for reading this.

Nora Epp


A Brief Introduction

I'm Nora Epp. I'm 15 years old, I live in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

I'm nice. I like to bike, shop, read, cook, talk, etc. I like theater and movies and music and fashion. I like my family. I like my friends. I like my house and my yard and my dog. And my chickens.

I am completely infatuated with France, and having been a Midwestern U.S. resident for all of my life, have very little actual experience with the country. It is a dream of mine to live their someday. I love adventure, I love new things, and I love to travel.

So this is what I'm thinking:
Why spend my junior year in high school doing the same old thing? Why not, say... Go somewhere else? Try something new? How about FRANCE?!

And, well, here I am. I'm in the process of filling out my application to study abroad for the entire school year of 2010-2011 in the beautiful country of France. This will be quite an adventure. It is a dream come true.

The following posts will fill in many, many more details, but right now I have homework to do.
Nora Epp