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