AS I LOOKED through the airplane’s window, I could see the place I would soon call home. Excitement and anxiety coursed through my veins as if I were on a roller coaster for the first time.
In no time, I had landed in Brisbane. As I step off the plane, my mind is filled with a million thoughts of what is to come. I get through customs and I search for hosts. Joy took over as I saw my host family. Kassiah Cook, my exchange, and I run up to each other and embrace in a welcoming hug. We had gotten along so well, we were both thrilled to have more time to spend with each other and to see what adventures we encounter. Although I was on the opposite side of the world, I felt at home.
The first place I was taken to was to meet their cousins, which included a band of three mini-musketeers who would do everything in their power to get your attention. The littlest, Emiline, was the one I would spend the most time with. She would leave her mother as we walked through Brisbane, and ask to hold my hand so she would feel safe. Although I was only with them for two days, I feel as if I had become a part of their family and will always remember the laughs we shared.IT IS FRIDAY NOW, and I have spent two weeks in Australia. I have truly enjoyed every minute of my travels. I arrived during school holidays, so I have had the opportunity to get to know the whole family and explore the beautiful sites of Australia before heading to school. My host family consisted of three new temporary siblings and two wonderful parents, who have so far been the sweetest individuals in the world. As an only child, having a full house is a change, but so far it has been incredible. They have shown me around Caloundra, the Gold Coast, and now I am home in Moree. This quaint town lies in the North West of New South Wales, where you are bound to recognize someone.
TWO DAYS AGO, Wednesday, April 25th, was Anzac Day. ‘ANZAC’ stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. Exactly 103 years ago Australian and New Zealand soldiers formed part of the allied expedition that set out to capture the Gallipoli peninsula. Moree offers two services to commemorate all brave individuals who fought in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations. The whole family started bright and early before dawn to arrive at the Memorial Window in time. I had the amazing opportunity of watching the sun rise as Australian heroes marched through the street.
After this one of a kind experience, we went looking for another unique Australian adventure: the artesian bore. This is a hole in the middle of nowhere, which flows the freshest and warmest water you can find. Many locals travel to these bores as a weekend treat to relax after all their hard work. Older residents have also said that this water helps with joint and muscle pain if you bath in it frequently. Although the water stunk of sewage and rotten eggs, due to the high amount hydrogen sulfide it contained, we all had fun relaxing and splashing in the crisp Australian water.Although I have had a wonderful time during the holidays, starting next week I will have to start boarding at the New England Girls School (NEGS) in Armidale. I have heard many stories from Kassi, but who knows what is to come. I miss my family, but I am also thrilled to see what NEGS has in store for me!
It was my first day at NEGS, and I had just found out where my room was. I was ready to get settled, but first I had to meet my new roommate. Eloise Barden, from Narrabri, had become not only my roommate but one of my best friends at NEGS. Although I saw her 24/7, we somehow never got sick of each other and she had supported me throughout my whole experience. I don’t know what I would have done without her.
As the days flew by, going to school at NEGS became routine. Although I was still amazed that I was there, it sometimes felt as if I had nothing to do. Dismissing this slight challenge, I had an amazing time getting to know all of the girls. Boarding at NEGS gave me an amazing chance to meeting all of them quickly. As time passed I had become closer to all of them and they became a supportive bunch who I could rely on for anything.
Stepping into their classes, everything seemed to be going smoothly, but the education in Australian is a bit behind than what we have at Athenian. Since, it seemed as if I was reviewing, teachers were very flexible and understanding when it came to doing your own work, but still being able to participate in the lesson.
Throughout these few weeks I had the chance to visit Australia, and Moree once again. When I returned to Armidale, my time in Australia went by too quickly. I was finally fully comfortable and almost done learning everyone’s names, but it was time to go. I couldn’t have asked for anything more; Armidale, and the people in the small town have changed my life.
It’s crazy to think that I am almost home! This has been one of the best two months of my life and I wouldn’t change a thing. Everyone that I had the chance to meet has changed me in some way or another, and I am forever grateful.
Most importantly, I couldn’t have experienced any of this without my host family they have been the sweetest individuals in the world. I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to become comfortable in their home and with them. I truly believe that I have become a part of their family, and am sad to leave my second home. I will miss them all very much and try to keep in contact. I hope to be able to visit them once again sometime in the near future.