Posted by Mia Kidston on Aug 08, 2019

It’s weird to think I’ve been here on exchange for over 6 months now. That I’ve already spent half a year away from my family and friends. It’s also a little weird to have summer in the middle of the year, but hey! I’m not gonna complain about three months off school. This summer has been chock-a-block. This month especially.

One of the highlights of this month was getting to see my friend Oscar! He visited Lille for the day and it was amazing! We had some coffee and a good yarn, went to watch Toy Story 4, and then he met one of the Australians Sara. We had so much fun that day, mucking around in shops, having a picnic in the park and wandering endlessly through Lille. We even bought matching toy rabbits for our blazers. It was so nice to see a familiar face.

The last of my oldies left on the 6th. After that, trips to Lille were a little boring and didn’t feel right. Us newbies, uh oldies now, have been hanging out as much as possible, but it’s a little difficult since all of us are going on holiday with our host families. We’re all really excited for our newbies to arrive, there’s about 30 arriving. The integration weekend is on the 30th but sadly, I can’t go for the nights. There may be a chance I’ll go for the last day.

It’s because my host family is taking me down south for a week which I’m really excited for! It’s really generous of them. I spent the last 10 days in Saint-Florent, Corsica! I stayed with very generous and kind Rotarian family. They took me out on the boat most days, the others were chill days where we made food at home and then I would explore a little. They even took me to Bastia for dinner one night! It was so much fun getting to know Georges and Emilie and their little girl, Rose. One night, I made Bacon & Egg Pie as a thank you for hosting me, they loved it. I’m super grateful for the opportunity and hopefully will be able to see them again as they live in Bethune.

I don’t think I’ve been homesick at all this month, not even a little bit! I’ve been really busy and upbeat. I’m constantly out doing something or even just at home helping outside. It’s been a little hectic here since my oldest host sister, Maeva, just headed off to Australia. There were always papers everywhere and suitcases on the ground, very similar to when I left New Zealand back in January.

We went down to Paris on the 30th to see her off. Very different to our departure from Auckland - French Rotary doesn’t have all the students leave at once, they all have different departure dates and take the plane alone. No Rotarians in sight. She texted us last night telling us she had arrived in Melbourne and was with her host family. It’ll quite strange without Maeva around but I’m sure we’ll manage.

I haven’t seen much of the students this month and I think this month will be the same. I’m okay with it but it’s a little strange not seeing the students once a week, and even when I do it’s not the same because we’re no longer a massive group. I’m sure it’ll feel normal again with our newbies. I’m really looking forward to meeting everyone and going down south with my host family. It’s still quite unbelievable to me that I've been here for almost seven months, but hey, time flies when you’re having fun.