This month has come with changes, new perspectives, positives and negatives, pros and cons, decisions and growth. I feel as if I continue to grow month to month and even week to week.
I changed families this month and am now in my third and final family. This has bought all sorts of emotions. I’ve moved in with  the family of one of my really good friends from school, Josefina, into her apartment. I now live two blocks from school so can have a decent sleep before school. I also know I’m very adjusted to living here, because if I don’t feel like putting on shoes I’ll just walk to school in my crocs and socks! In the family there are the two parents and an older sister who’s 24. Straight away I felt very comfortable in the house and in this family and I have things I didn’t even know I was missing. They say “I love you” to each other all the time, and the energy and love in the house is so warm and it is refreshing to be a part of. With my host sister Jose, it’s working really well as we have different groups of friends and also friends in common, which means we don’t spend TOO much time with each other. We’ve written a list of things we want to do together in Cordoba, and the family are taking me to the mountains next weekend.
 I think the biggest thing that I’ve found changing to this house is I’m allowed to just ‘be’. If I’m feeling sad that’s okay and I can talk about it or not, or if I’m feeling happy that’s great and if I don’t feel like doing anything that’s fine and if I want to be out with friends all day that’s great with them too. One of the hardest things about being an exchange student, at least for me, was the pressure to be ‘on’ all the time and I feel in this house I’m treated more as a normal person rather than a perfect exchange student. I even love small things, like how we all take turns doing the dishes, like how my host dad watched videos about New Zealand before I came, how we watch ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?’ and discuss the questions at dinner, how I can sit outside with the mum and have a chat, that I’m allowed to help cook, that my mum wakes up early to make me and my sister sandwiches before school, that if someone isn’t hungry they don’t have to eat and that our fat ginger cat “Michi” sleeps on my bed every night. I feel like I’m experiencing a real Argentinian family and I’ve just slotted in.
I went on two camps this month, one with Rotary for the orientation and one with school. The weekend with Rotary turned out to be one of the best weekends of my exchange. The district has joined with another, so there were around 60 exchange students with me being the only ‘Oldie’! It was such a strange thing, because I found myself giving people advice based off my own experiences and just seeing them with their whole exchange ahead of them while I only have two months left was pretty crazy. I spent a lot of time with the group of Brazilians because Brazil is at the top of my bucket list and I just love their energy, jokes and music. I translated a lot between the inbounds and the outbounds and at the end of the camp, I’ll be honest, I was pretty sad I wasn’t going on the South Trip with my own district. As my spanish is good now, I made friends with a lot of the outbounds and spent a lot of time with them! We now have a little group and are catching up this weekend, which is great as it gives me exposure to people outside of my class.
I came back home on a Sunday and left on Monday directly for an overnight camp with my class, to a river. It was one of the stranger experiences I’ve had but of course, a great one. We were the only ones there, in a motel sort of thing attached to a church, and had two rooms, one of 16 and one of 14. We went to the river, played rugby, played cards, one boy even learnt to drive a manual in a teachers brand new car! We had a little ‘party’ on Saturday night, which the teachers were completely fine with and while I went to bed at around 2am, a lot stayed up until 5am. I ended up going home with my philosophy teacher rather than going on the bus, and I really enjoy talking to him. I’ve always enjoyed talking to people of different ages, but haven’t had much of an opportunity yet to build those kinds of relationships outside of my age bracket so that’s my next workon!
I turned 18 this month! What a big milestone, and honestly there wasn’t a more perfect way then to spend it with my family. While I have loved Argentina, I have realised over the past 10 months that family is the most important thing to me, and to kiss, hug, laugh, eat, talk and cry with the people who have shaped me into the young woman I am was amazing and would not give up those 10 days for the world. I took my parents around Buenos Aires and it was pretty cool to be able to show off my spanish ;)
Another thing to note is how much I love that I was placed in Cordoba. I have visited other provinces and could definitely see myself living in Buenos Aires, but Cordoba has its own little culture. From the accent, to the friendliness of the people, to the specific drinks, I feel grateful to have lived part of my life in this city. I have been thinking recently about coming back to live at some point, maybe to study or to work, but what I do know is that part of me is and will always be in Argentina. I feel blessed to have been given this country and to be experiencing it now for all that it is. Thank you to Papakura Rotary and to my family, for this opportunity and for your continuous support.
With love from Argentina,