Posted by Georgie Chalmers on Feb 01, 2018

Dear everyone back home

I hope everyone is doing well and enjoying the warm weather.

It is finally all happening and my exchange is here! It has been a long time coming and I honestly cannot stop smiling about this, once in a lifetime, adventure that is unfolding before me.

It all began on the 9th of Jan at roughly 5.30pm when all of us, nervous but excited outbounds, arrived at the airport with our families. I was absolutely terrified. I wasn’t 100% sure on what I had got myself into; leaving everything I knew and of course my gorgeous family to embark on a journey half way across the world.

On Jan 9th at about 10.30am we arrived in Los Angeles, very tired, and as per usual hungry, but excited to see this incredible country that I had only seen through a screen. When first arriving I was already homesick and still nervous however being in this completely foreign environment it was the perfect distraction. As we left LAX we were greeted by the most lovely people from the Westchester rotary club - they were going to be our hosts for the duration of our stay. That afternoon we went to Santa Monica Pier. It was very windy and pouring with rain but I really enjoyed it. We were all on this buzz of excitement so it was a lot of fun. That night we went to Shakey’s for dinner. This was really good bonding time with the rest of the outbounds despite the fact that we were incredibly tired by this point.

On the 10th of Jan we went to Disneyland. This was such a fun and cool day as I finally got to see ‘the happiest place on earth’ in real life. We went round in small groups to each ride and met a bunch of the characters. Although it was a good day we could all agree that we were perhaps a little old and the rides were not as exciting and thrilling as we originally thought.

For dinner we went to the Westchester rotary club. It was such a lovely night and we got to meet a bunch of new gorgeous people. Each of us were able to speak a little bit about ourselves and of course hand over our NZ inspired gift that they could then auction for charity. This was one of my favorite nights as it showed me the type of new people that I have and will meet around the world.

The next day we went to universal. This was better for all of us. The rides were so thrilling and the atmosphere was just incredible. Our days in USA were finishing up so it was the perfect way to end.

On Saturday 13th Jan at roughly 11.30pm I arrived in Denmark to everyone of my host families smiley faces. This was such a surreal feeling but made a year of hard work worth it.

I have now been on exchange for just under two weeks and at the moment I have a lot of mixed feelings. There is a lot going on for me at the moment. I am excited to really get in the grove of exchange however I know I need to put in the hard yards to get there. Adjusting to this new variety of food and of course lifestyle is a little bit difficult however it does get a whole lot easier each day. As far as school goes I am beginning to really get to know everyone in my class. Everyone is so lovely, it is just getting over the initial barrier of meeting them that is a little bit uncomfortable.

Although I am still quite jet lagged and I am missing a mince pie, I am very grateful that you all gave me this opportunity and I can’t wait to tell you what I get up to.