If you close your eyes and imagine the colour yellow, that pretty much sums up my latest month here on exchange. As my sixth month comes to a close, I feel utterly and completely satisfied but not only that, I feel like I’m shining with happiness! When I reflect on the relationships that I’ve made and not only that but the growth I’ve had as a person I feel a sense of pure happiness and overall, just positive about this roller coaster of an adventure. 
I think the biggest reason as to why this month has gone SO well is that my level of Spanish has improved dramatically, to the point where I think in Spanish and can understand almost everything, albeit the odd word or phrase of mistranslation. This month I finished my first book in Spanish (Harry Potter, if you know me, how fitting right!) and am now onto my second. I didn’t think about translating it, I just read and understood and I couldn’t even imagine that 6 months ago. I still go to Spanish lessons once a week, but because of the holidays and the flu I’ve missed about a month of classes. I enjoy my classes too and for once in my life I even ask for MORE homework, because I actually really enjoy doing it. I love meeting people, and talking with my friends parents and such, because now I can actually share about my country and ideas!
School is honestly the highlight of my exchange. I’ve heard students complain about school occasionally and of course, I was that girl sometimes in NZ too, but the fact that I love it so much makes waking up at 6am a little less difficult. I give my class dean a hug every morning, and often have a little chat with him before I go to class! He often checks how everything is going with my family and things which is really nice. I still sit with different people every day, and have found myself actually having really deep conversations with other people in my class. I feel really welcomed by not only my friend group but by my whole class and it’s weird to be the foreign one! I still play cards A LOT, and win a decent amount of money too which makes it even more enjoyable and is something I want to bring back to teach my family. 
It was actually the holidays for the first two weeks of my month, and in the first week was invited to go to Salta with Malena’s family, an inbound from last year who I was friends with in New Zealand. What a crazy world, the fact that Malena went on holiday with my family to our beach property  and now, 20,000km away, I am going on holiday with hers! I love Salta and I love her family so obviously it was an absolute win! I went around the city of Salta, saw some absolutely stunning scenery with rivers and mountains and cacti and also went to Tucuman, another city just further up from Salta. It was really cool to travel with a family rather than a tour company, as something I love is stopping in at tiny towns and eating at locally owned shops or just seeing ‘hidden’ treasures that you just can’t see without the knowledge of Argentinians! We talked a lot, and drunk a lot of mate (a drink containing yerba, sort of like green tea leaves, that is shared around a group of family or friends). My love for mate is another thing all together, and I’m already planning the ways I will carry it to my university classes. I’m so grateful for families like the Fantinis, that welcome me in like a daughter, a sister or a friend and make me feel completely at home. 
My second week of the holidays, I was able to see my friends every day accept one! This reminds me of home and for me, being busy is relaxing and so this week was just as good as the last. I had a few sleepovers and many ‘merienda’ dates, (essentially afternoon tea). The last Saturday before school started back again was ‘friend day’, so me and my friends went to the park for a picnic. It’s now much easier to understand what is happening in a group conversation and if I don’t, there’s always someone to explain it to me. My friend Jose, is my best friend here in Argentina, which is definitely another thing I didn’t think was even possible 6 months ago. She is the only friend/person that I speak in English with, but she is so special to my exchange and we often talk about ‘real’ life things and if I’m honest, I just appreciate her so much. Franche, is another girl in the group that I’m close with and have been to and stayed at her house a few times. Her mum as well is so, so nice to me and I feel like I have a ‘person’, like a real mum that I could tell probably anything to. My group of 6 really has become a family and a support system for me and I’m so amazed that I have this incredible thing so very far away from my home because here, these friends feel like home to me.
I am doing well in my second family and have now been here for 3 months. I feel very comfortable with my host mum and I cook with her almost every night. She’s quite a reserved person, but I go out of my way to talk with her firstly because she’s such a nice host mum (always cooking my favourite food, watching Netflix with me, helping me with what I need) and secondly because it’s a way to practice my Spanish. This family is quite different to my own but I really like having younger brothers and are overall are such a nice family to me.
I have many exciting things coming up, plans with friends or travel with school or Rotary and I am 100% sure that I’m going to stay on this positive note. If I could talk to my past self, 6 months ago, I wouldn’t have believed what an incredible time I would be having. And I would say, be brave and take risks because nothing can compare to this adventure and at the end of the day, travel makes you rich in love, memories and knowledge. Thank you to my sponsor club, Papakura Rotary because without their support none of this would be possible.