Monday, December 28, 2009

Goodbye for now.


I had my going away party was quite awesome. Three and a half hours surrounded by the people I love, just being me and enjoying their company. They bought me plane letters and presents. They are all so special to me. I will treasure each and every one of them, but more importantly, each and every one of you. Most of them, I won't see until next year. I hope they are still full of the same love and awesomeness that they are now. I hope that they will accept me when I come back, changed as I may be. I hope that they are still willing to love the somewhat odd me. I hope that God blesses them so so much.

It's starting to hit. This is it. Three days. So many things I won't be here finishing the mountain of food we have left over from Christmas and my party. For the air conditioner being fixed. For my sister's twenty-first birthday. For Australia Day. I love summer, when I feel totally Aussie in my bathers and thongs. I love coming home from the beach covered in sand and sunburned, even though I put on a heap of sunscreen. I love the sarcasm. I love the humour. I love the friendliness and openess of peole. I love Australia. I hope that when I come back, I have that same love for France. I also hope to be able to represent my country well, and show people what an amazing place this is.

I'll miss you all.
I love you all.

Jeremiah 29:11...look it up. This is why I know that I'm going to be okay. Isn't God just AWESOME? =)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

6 Days

So, I'm currently trying to just not think about exchange. Slightly pathetic? Yes. But still, I can't deal with the stress. So many people want to see me but I just don't have the time. Then when I do, people aren't available and it's just way to complicated... It's gotten to the stage that I just say 'I am available here,' and if they can't make it, then too bad. I feel horrible, but it's the only way I can do it.

I went on youth camp last week, and it was awesome as usual. You could just feel the Holy Spirit the whole time and it was such a great rest, away from all the stress back home. Oh, and I won Pegged, earning me a massive bucket of lollies (5.1 litres, to be precise). I went around to everyone, saying, please, take some, I'm going away in ten days for a year. And even after everyone on camp took, say, 3 lollies each (120x3), I was still left with half a bucket. Needless to say, I now have a constant sugar headache =)

I've said goodbye to three people now. And it kinda really sucks...goodbyes are stupid. They hurt. I cry. They cry. We hug and cry some more. Rinse and repeat.

I don't want to leave. I don't want to go. I cannot do this. I can't change my entire life. I am having doubts. Fellow exchangers, in particular inbounders...please tell me I'm not alone!!! Please. And that it gets better...

Good stuff, good stuff...I'm trying to be positive. Ha. I'm going to Sydney with my sister before France. Today was Christmas. Happy Christmas peoples. I got sparkles put on my face yesterday at the fairy store. Tomorrow there are the Boxing Day sales. I bought awesome bathers the other day that I totally love.

There's nothing much more to do before I go, but still so much, if that makes sense.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Things Are Looking Up

I'm a bit calmer about exchange now. Outbounders: TALK TO PEOPLE! Knowing that you have the support of everyone around you makes you feel a lot better. Plus I have made many lists of things I need to do, buy and go. And a big calendar. Organisation helps. I know that I will have everything, and won't be freaking out about forgetting things/people.

Good things:
-I'm getting another hole pierced in my ears (possibly with my sister)
-I'm not too scared about exchange (today)
-I have planned a whole day out as a surprise with my boyfriend
-I bought lots of things the other lots of things are crossed off my list
-I'm planning my going away party
-I'm seeing people that I need to
-I'm crossing lots of things off my list
-Choreography night was awesome
-My boyfriend's family is home
-I don't have to work for much longer (like 6 shifts, tops)
-Christmas is soon!
-My sister and I are going to Sydney for 2 days before I leave


Friday, November 27, 2009


Firstly... Today I realised just how lucky I am. To be alive. To be walking. To be talking. To be going on exchange. Cheers to Jordan for showing me that, leading totally by example, and not even realising what an effect she has had. I'm glad you're going well =)

I have a visa. I have a host family. I have insurance. I have a plane flight. I am ready to go to France, in the sense that all of my paperwork is done.

I am ready, but I am not set, and I don't want to go.

I need more time. More time to organise things. More time to know that this is what I really want. More time to be with people. More time to mature. More time to know that I can handle exchange. More time to know that I can do this, that I will do this.

Every night I am up for hours, thinking about exchange, one moment excited, the next terrified. Maybe I shouldn't have selected a year. Maybe my host family will hate me. Maybe I will love them heaps and think of them as my own. Maybe I won't be able to function. Maybe the language will not be too hard to pick up. Maybe I will get really homesick. Maybe I will thrive being away from here. Maybe I will regret exchange. Maybe I will love it.

All I can think is this: I am meant to go on exchange. I got selected onto Rotary (then turned them down, but that's another story). I got my visa without a problem. Payment is not as difficult for me as I thought it would be. There have been no problems with EF. My parents didn't even need convincing. I am, for some reason, meant to do this. I can only guarantee that I am NOT the perfect exchange student, and I hope my host family don't expect me to be.

My reaction to it all...*insert profanity here*

Monday, November 16, 2009

Pre-departure Orientation and Presents

Woot. On the weekend I had pre-departure orientation. It was quite helpful, we could ask all sorts of questions and the like. It started off with parents and students in the one room, and they went over rules, packing, costs, airport procedure etc. Although I could pretty much sum it up- don't drink, don't do drugs, don't have sex, be good =) The parents and students then went into two different rooms, and had a discussion. We talked about our fears, our excitement, school, host families...everything. It was great to meet other exchange students, and I found out that three of them knew people that I knew...Perth is waaay too small. And one of those girls is also off to France, but only for a semester. It was awesome to know that I'm not alone though, and maybe we can visit each other for the weekend or something. The short term exchangers (for two or three months, mostly going to Canada) leave very soon, and I am sooo jealous. I want to go now as well! But yeah. Orientation was cool and I met some awesome people =)

I'm starting to think what I'm going to pack (I know, it's a long time until I leave, but at least if I do it this way there won't be any last minute rush trips for things I need). I'm also thinking about things to take my host family. I was thinking three gifts each- one for when I arrive, one for birthdays, and the others for when I leave. I'm trying to find a good mixture between wildlife, typical Aussie things and scenery. Here's my list of things, that no one wants to read, but oh well.

For Evelyne (mum):
-A coffee cup with Australian flowers on it
-Jewellery (opal things, in the shape of perhaps a kangaroo...hard to explain but super pretty)
-Maybe an ornament of some sort of animal or flowers or something
-Or some body stuff with Aussie oils and the like.

For Bernard (dad):
-The good old corked hat
-A tie with like, small kangaroos or something.
-A bonds singlet (very Aussie)?
-A beer cooler (also, very Aussie)?
Men are so hard to shop for, gah.

For Sandy (sister, 4 years old):
-Picture books, specifically The Rainbow Fish- I loved this book as a kid and it as beautiful pictures, even if it's not Australian as such, Possum Magic and Snugglepot and Cuddlepie- two beautiful children's books that are very Australian.
-Chocolate...I figure a four year old is going to love me if I give her chocolate, and there are chocolates you can get here with pictures of Australian animals.
-A toy of an Australian animal.

For the family:
-A book on WA and Perth
-Coasters with Aboriginal art on them- I saw these on the net and they looked really nice.
-A calendar of some sort showing Australian things...maybe wildlife?
-This awesome jar of rock candy that says 'Perth' and 'WA' on it. Odd, I know, but rock candy tastes goooood =)

I think it's starting to hit...I'm going on exchange. But, in a way, it still doesn't seem real. It's like, yes I'm going to France...and...? It's not something exciting. (Today, anyway). It just seems normal.

Just a shout-out to a friend who has recently been hurt- I love you Jordan, and am so glad that you are okay.
I am so blessed and thankful for everything...Things happen sometimes that really make you I am lucky.

Friday, November 6, 2009


I hate them.

Ok, so at least all I had to do was fill out some paper work. EF takes all the forms to the consulate over east, so no scary interviews for me!! The paper work was a bit random- two double pages, filled out exactly the same, a parental authorisation thing, a finacial guarentee thing, probably some other stuff I can't remember, my passport, my birth certificate, copies of my parents' passports, etc etc. I tried filling it out, looked at my handwriting, and gave it up! I think I'd probably have a better chance of actually getting a visa if the paperwork didn't look as though it was filled out by a five year old. Of course, my writing isn't that bad. Honestly... =)

Oh, and I had to get poked with a needle some more. This time it was a vaccination. The last two were blood type and a tuberculosis test. Oh, the trials of being an exchange student =)

Yet another thing coming together...It's becoming more and more real, yet is still unimaginable.

Pre-departure orientation on the 14th. Exciting =)=)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Counting Down

Two months to go. Two months until my life is turned upside down, inside out, on its head, leaving me to cope, alone, in a country where I have minimal friends and no family. Exciting.

Honestly though, I'm terrified. I can hardly cope here in Australia. What am I going to do in France? Am I cut out to be an exchange student? Doubts and worries cloud my mind and all I can think of is what the hell am I doing moving to another country on the other side of the world?? I guess this is all part of the experience though. They say exchange really takes three years- one to prepare, one to go on exchange, and one to recover, so I try to remember that it's not all bad, that I'm going to have good and bad times and I just have to remember- it's not right, it's not wrong, it's just different. And different it will be indeed.

Okay, whine is over. For some good news..I have a host family!!! I have a mum, Evelyne, a dad, Bernard, and a four year old absolutely adorable sister, Sandy. I've been emailing Evelyne and she is really nice, so I'm hoping it all goes well! I'll be living in the town of Mazeres, in Ariege. It's about halfway between Toulouse and Andorra, and my family go to Andorra once a month as certain products there are cheaper because of taxes. I hope to get to Barcelona at some point as well, it's not too far away =) I was going to be going to the public school in the nearby town of Pamiers, but there are a lot of strikes and such going on at the moment with the French schooling system, so I'll be off to a private Catholic school!! Oh well, at least they don't have uniforms, and I go to a private school here, where fun is not allowed, so I'm going to hope it's better than that! And if not, then at least I am used to it.

so I sit here, waiting for my high school life to finish and a totally new one to begin. I want to be myself this coming year, and learn.

Terrified? Yes. But also totally ready to face the best and worst year of my life

Friday, August 7, 2009

Waiting for my time to begin...

In about...five months now, I'm leaving. Out of Perth, Australia, to live in what is probably my favourite country in the entire world.


I'm excited, yet somewhat terrified.

In January this year, it occured to me that I really don't want to go straight to uni next year. I wanted to travel, like my sister did. Discusions with Mum about this led to the idea that maybe, just maybe, I could go on exchange. After researching (and pre-applying to) several different organisations, I was accepted on and decided with EF, or Education first. They have a great reputation, and I know people who have gone with them, and they really take care of you.

I've studied French for the past five years, and gotten pretty good at it, if I do say so myself. Through school, I have taken part in two short-term exchanges- one for three weeks in year ten, and the other for two weeks in year twelve. I also hosted a short-term student from France in year eleven, which is why I returned there in year twelve. Anais, my exchange sister, is now one of my best friends ever. Each time I've been in France, I have fallen more and more in love with it. I've visited Paris, st Tropez, Gassin, La Croix Valmer, Toulon, Nice, Cassis, Cannes (all in the south, in Provance), Aurange (in the Alps) and Monaco. France is my love and I cannot wait to return. I hope to also visit London and Berlin during my exchange, and I would love to visit Rome as well. It all depends!!

I've been reading blogs that other people have written whilst on exchange and found that I like to know every single little detail, which is somewhat pathetic but oh well. Here's what I'e been through so far:

1. Research. It's not boring at all, in fact, really exciting (okay, I realise I sound totally pathetic here, but really, you get to find out a lot of information on exchange and you can really find the best organisation for you).
2. Pre-Application. With a lot of organisations, this is not binding, so you can pre-apply and find out some more information. I pre-applied to both Rotary and EF.
3. Information Meetings. I went along to an information meeting with EF. This was really helpful and helped me find out a lot more about going on exchange and what it would be like. We could ask any questions at all which really helped as well.
4. Interview. Most organisations have an interview as a part of their application process. This isnothingto be scared of, even if you are terrified before attending it, like I was!! They generally try to get a feel for you and what type of person you are, to make sure that you won't go off doing something crazy whilst on exchange!! I attended interviews with both Rotary and EF, as they were also non-binding.
5. Decision making time!! Now is usually when you will have to make a decision. I was accpted into both the EF and Rotary programs, and although Rotary was a lot cheaper, I really wanted to go to France. My division unfortunately don't send people to France, something aout them having problems in the past, so decided to give Rotary a miss. EF had accepted me and sent me a stack of forms, so I decided that EF would be my exchange organisation!!
6. Application Forms. A lot of these are sent to your host family. And whilst there are waaaay too many of them, they are there to match you up with with the best host family possible! I found it best to just fill them all out slowly. Forms in English and French, photo pages, health pages, letters to your host family, rules and regulations to sign, even things for parents to fill out!! The sooner you get these off though, the sooner they can be sent to your host country to start looking for your host family!!
7. Monthly Mailings. From here on, this is what happens with EF. In the eight months leading up to your departure, you will be sent monthly mailings at the beginning of each month. These include information on your host country- everything from history to fashion is included, visa and passport information, flight information, previous exchange students talking about their experiences, and fun stuff like books to read about your host country, 20 things you should do on exchange, and recipes of specialities from your host country. I look forward to them, they help me to count down until I leave!

I till have to get my visa and host family and decide what to pack and say goodbye to people and do all sorts of things, but, for now, I have great fun reading blogs of exchange student going all over the world, and dreaming about what my host family will be like. I can't wait until pre-departure orientation!!!

Amites (Love)