Yes, I see from your page we do have some things in common. Where is your family from in the US?
Let me suggest a text that I believe, from a theoretical and practical standpoint, you will find useful, and not too expensive. "Brave New Digital Classroom: Technolgy and Foreign Language Learning" by Robert J. Blake (2008).
I had a friend in HS from NZ and have dreamed of traveling there. From all you have said and I have heard it is beautiful.