Sunday, February 28, 2010

Lovin' the life...

Well i've now been in France for over a month and have finally found some motivation to continue this blog....the plan from now on is to try and update once a week...let's see how long that lasts.

The last couple of weeks have been great...i've really come to feel part of my family and i'm totally enjoying the french lifestyle. France really is a beautiful country and i've been lucky enough to see a bit of it these last couple of weeks. Since my last post i've settled into school and made a couple of friends which is really quite parties or outings yet but things are coming i'm hoping. I've been on holidays the past two weeks though so i haven't seen anyone apart from my host family because we've spent the whole time travelling..

The first week of holidays i went to the north of France to Bretagne and we went to the beach and saw some beautiful landscapes. It was pretty cold up there but i saw a medieval, fortified city and lots of little port towns. The history in france is so great and seeing all the historical churches and buildings is so amazing. This past week i went south to the pyrenees with my host dad and host brother. They are both amazing and my host brother has to be the funniest kid on the planet...i have so many hysterical photos of him! We stayed at my hot dad's mum's house and she was so lovely. During our stay i saw the Lourdes cathedral which is a famous stop for pilgrims because the virgin appeared there and there is a grotto and you can drink healing water. It was absoultely beautiful and while i'm not religious to that extent it was lovely seeing people take so much comfort from this place and their beliefs. I also spent a wonderful day tobogging in the pyrenees which was an absoulte laugh. My host family borrowed a snow suit for me and i looked, and felt, like a giant marshmallow. I had a wonderful day though filled with lots of crashes and laughs. It's very tiring though!

I go back to school the day after tomorrow and i'm almost looking foward to it which is kinda sad. There was a bit of confusion about changing classes etc ater the holidays but i'm not really worried about that..i'll sort it out when i get back to school. I'm going to Spain next weekend with my rotary club and my mexican friend Claudia so i'm really looking foward to that...i love Europe!!!

My french isn't going too badly though my host family do speak english so i don't use it as much as i should...when i go back to school i'm hoping people there will speak french with me so i can continue to learn. When i have to speak french i can get by but i really do want to be quite fluent by the end of my exchange so i need to start using my french.

Lastly while i'm having a great time here now i'm defiantely missing my friends and family back in Oz as well as my two great friends Sarah and Elisa who are on exchange in Norway and Belgium...i knew i'd miss these guys heaps but wasn't quite prepared for exactly how much..

Until next time

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

I'm Here

Well i've been here a week now and i'm sorry i haven't updated sooner. I don't have very much access to the internet in my host family so i'll update this as often as i can.

Well let's start at the beginning! Saturday morning aus time my dad came over to say goodbye. He gave me a lovely card, we took some photos and then he had to go because i had to get everything organised to leave. We travelled the two hours to Sydney Airport by car and i was absolutely stinking hot in my rotary uniform. Long black pants and a polo shirt in the middle of summer is blazer and scarf didn't even come anywhere near me until we got to the airport. At the airport i met the rotarians from my district who came to help us get away alright and also met Jada and Beth the two other outbounds from my district on my flight. We managed to get seats together when we checked in and then we had about an hour to fill in before we could go through departures. My mum, my stepdad and i spent the time together wandering around the airport, bying me an adaptor and talking. I was too nervous to eat so we didn't worry about that. Then the time came to move to the departure gate and i think i was pretty calm. No tears from either me or my mum so it was pretty good. Jada, Beth and I then managed to navigate our way through departures and make it to our gate in plenty of time. We relaxed in the departure lounge and met the outbounds from other districts. On our flight we had the students from about 6 districts who were going to France, Germany, Japan, Spain and Italy. Once we boarded the plane we had about a 45 minute wait in the heat before take off. I don't know what the delay was but i can tell you i was tempted to get off the plane just to avoid the heat. The 7 hour flight from Sydney to Kuala Lumpar was long but it wasn't too bad. I occupied myself by talking to Beth and Jada, reading my book of plane letters (thanks so much to my friends...they were brilliant) and watching Fame and the Hannah Montana Movie. It was at Kuala Lumpar airport that i really realised what i was doing. At this stage Jada, Beth and I had to slpit because they were flying on to Frankfurt and i was going on to Paris. I found this hard because i was now with people i didn't know and i was feeling a bit lonely. To behonest i think if i'd felt like this before at Sydney i wouldn't have left becuase at KL i really just wanted to turn around and go home.I spent the waiting time at KL wandering around trying to find toilets that were'nt being cleaned, talking to my new flight buddies and relaxing...well as much as you can in an airport. The flight from KL to Paris was 13 hours but it felt like so much longer than that. I treid to sleep but i couldn't so i pretty much daydreamed away that trip. At Paris airport we fairwelled some of our group who were picked up at Paris and the we caught a little train to the domestic airport. A group of us had to go to the same terminal though only me and Ellie were headed to Toulouse. Sitting in Paris airport was cool although a lady kept circling our group lookig to steal stuff so we had to be careful. We had four hours to wait for our flight and then Ellie and I went through. Our plane was delayed at for about 30 mins so we waited in the lounge and then we ahd a bit of trouble with our boarding passes but we finally made it onto the bus to take us toour plane. On this plane i happened to be next to an american man so we talked a bit and then i tried to sleep. I arrived at toulouse airport at about 1.30pm and my host mum and rotary president were there to meet me. My bags didn't arrive from Paris so i was given a little care kit and then we headed home. I was so tired and pretty much went staright to bed because i could barely keep my eyes open.

Well i had a little panic the first morning and even sent a letter home saying i didn't want to stay here. I found it really hard and scary and different and i'm still not fully comfortable here. for now i'm just holding on and hoping i can make it through to some good times ahead. My bags also arrived after two days so i finally have more clothes than the one set i'd packed in my hand luggage.

My host family is really nice and i have my own room here. It's a very small house but it's quite cosy with a fire and everything.
The second day i was here i went to Najac, a very old town 10 minutes from Villefranche de Rouergue to see the castle and the church. It was so pretty and i loved the old stone architecture. I started school the Wednesday after i arrived and i am in 1ère ES2. I really like school and i have spanish, english, french, economics, biology, sport, maths, history and geography. The kids in my class are very nice and i don't feel that much older than them even though most of them are 16 and i'm 18.
I have also had my first rotary weekend and the other exchange students in my district are great. There are two other Australian girls and it felt great to speak really quick fluent english with people who actually understand everything.
I might be going to Spain in February to ski so i'm looking foward to that. I don't know how to ski so that should be interesting.
xoxo Mel