So somehow or other, I left home just over a month ago. I’m not quite sure whether I feel like I have been here for ages or not. It feels like this month has flown past in the blink of an eye and yet leaving my family feels like quite a long time ago. I feel so removed from NZ so it means that I’m not really missing home or anything because it just feels like it doesn’t exist or that it's just waiting for me to return. Anyway here is my blog post for week 4.
So to pick up where I left off, Monday was a vey normal day except for the exciting fact that I had my first Rotary meeting. At 9:30pm I was picked up by my counsellor and together we drove to a small bar on the other side of the river. There was only about 7 other rotary people at the meeting and that was because it is the holiday season. This meant that I wasn’t having an official meeting, but rather just an introduction to some of the members and they were having a catch up/ It passed quickly and all the people were really nice. They asked me loads of questions and included me in the conversation which is always a positive thing. I left at about 12am and returned to my house for sleep.
Tuesday was the day when I was essentially home alone. My host dad was also around but he had to work for the majority of the day. It passed quickly with little incident. I remember that I blasted my music really loud when I was home alone which was really quite great and danced around like an idiot haha. I went for a long walk as well, taking the opportunity to explore. I also cooked for the first time that night for Benja and I. I haven’t cooked here yet because the meals are always meticulously planned and so I always help out here or there but I hadn’t actually done all the cooking before. Anyway I cooked my family’s traditional poached eggs. I mean if you’ve ever stayed over at my house you will know that this is a morning tradition. It was so funny to see the awe on my host dad’s face at the perfect poached egg I presented him on his face haha because my family here have no idea how to cook them. Anyway we also had a rice salad and a normal salad. It was really yum and he wouldn’t stop complimenting me for my cooking skills haha (even though it wasn’t anything special at all).
On Wednesday it was yet again another chill day (where I was essentially home alone) but at 5pm I walked over to Pauli (one of my friends) house. It was her birthday and so for about 4 hours, 20 other girls and I sat around a table and chatted. This was my first time I got the chance to meet the whole group and it was really cool. They were all really loud and talking over each other and so understanding was a bit of a mission. At one point they were trying to learn all the different swear words in English and teach me them in Spanish which caused much hilarity. It was really cool to be around people my age and just chat. I returned home at about 9 stuffed with peanuts (as peanuts were the only food I could eat). I got home and Vir, my host mum and Ignacio had come home so that was really cool as once again we had a full house.
Thursday was another chill day. I was supposed to be going into school with some of the rotary people to sign up and find out my course and what year group I was going to be in, however Adrianna (the woman who looks after exchange students) wasn’t in Bell Ville, so I can look forward to this excursion in the coming week.
Probably the most exciting part of the night was dinner. We decided to make gf crepes. Holy sdifgafdawe, they were incredible. We had 2 crepes each, the first with ricotta, black olives and tomato and the other with mushrooms, onion and queso cremoso (which is essentially a creamy cheese). I don’t think I have ever been so satisfied in my life. Oh and we also had a side of home made “rustic” wedges. I was so full afterwards I practically rolled to the couch. That night, Vir and I watched a few episodes of How To Get Away With Murder. I have finished season 2 but it was good to re watch episodes and do something together.
On Friday, I remember feeling really tired. We didn’t really do anything in all honesty. I skyped my family for an hour and a half which was really really nice. I also went for a walk and we had a big bbq for dinner with Ignacio and his girlfriend (+ Vir, my host mum and dad). I honestly love the pork here. Idk what they do with it but quite honestly it is incredible. It was very great and I found that I was able to follow the conversation.
Saturday was a bit more busy. In the morning Vir and I went into town and did a bit of shopping and it was nice to be getting out of the house. We returned and all had a quick lunch and then Vir and I prepped to go to Isla Verde because she was supposed to be taking photos there and I was coming along for the ride. Just before we left Vir called Juli (her friend in Isla Verde) and due to flooding there (because of a big storm) we couldn’t go. Instead we spent our time by the pool and then I went for a long run. When I returned we had a quick dinner and then went out to the bank so I could pay for my rotary jumper and then to the ice cream shop so we could stop for a quick treat. I had dulce de leche (which is a kind of sweet caramel here that is to die for) with grated chocolate. Honestly this is how exchange students gain weight, but I mean I went for a long run so I figured I could enjoy the treat.
After that we returned home and I changed and got ready to go out to the boliche. I went to Sara’s house and despite the fact that it had only been a week since we had last hung out one on one, I was speaking and understanding way more. This was really cool for me to see how only a week could make such a marked improvement. She finished getting ready and we then took a taxi to the town center. Once there we met up with all the other girls who we were going to the boliche with (there were about 10 of us and majority of them had been at Pauli’s house on Wednesday). We then walked through town to the house of one of their friends for the “previa” which is essentially a pre party. There were other girls there who were going to be at my school, but in the year below me and also a group of guys.
We danced and took photos and everyone screamed the lyrics to well-known songs (ofcourse I didn’t know any of them) but it was really really fun to just dance and be apart of everything. At about 3am we headed out to the boliche. I had a bit of a scare when I first arrived as the police were there and I didn’t have any ID to say I was older than 16 but I just spoke English and looked confused and after a few persuasive words from my friends, I was in. I was mainly with Candel and Sara but later on I was also with Manu, Caro and Viki. Manu is really really cool, very crazy and outgoing. Same with Caro. Viki is just so lovely and an honest to goodness nice person, same with Candel, and ofcourse I love Sara. I didn’t see too much of the other girls, except for Lucila and Anaclara and we just danced heaps together. And that was also just really cool. Honestly all the girls are so amazing. Anyway I met a countless number of people and don’t remember any of their names but that’s okay, I have a year to learn them haha. At 5 ish I was getting tired, my phone was dead and I was ready to go home. Regardless I hung in their until 6 when it finished.
Caro, Viki, Sara, Juli and I all walked together along the road for awhile as their were so many people and not enough taxis. I just remember my feet were killing me and I was so grateful when eventually someone picked us up, (I think a brother of someone). As we drove to my house it was really magical to watch the sun come up after a long night out. I came in and went straight to sleep, thoroughly exhausted.
Today is Sunday and I am dead. So tired. I made pesto pasta though which was exciting.
Anyway, some thoughts/observations:
Something I’m finding hard is friends. Like yes I have a group of friends now, they aren’t from the school I'm going to but they have taken me in, I am always hanging out with them and they are honestly so crazy and amazing. The drawback though is that it’s quite lonely being with a group of friends, probably more so than being alone. Often they speak rapid spanish amongst themselves, each talking over the other and often it is very difficult to understand. At first you are a novelty, something new and interesting but rapidly you aren’t the centre of attention so much and then often it’s harder to be apart of the conversation and you feel like maybe they are only friends with you because you are new and interesting or they feel sorry for you. Then you don’t really talk much and especially in a boliche or a place with lots of people, often you can feel out of place, overwhelmed and honestly a bit like a hassle. It does get easier and honestly I know that this is only a small difficulty in a wonderful year. And I know my group likes me and enjoys my company (with the spanish I can speak haha), in fact last night I overheard some of the girls saying about how they really liked me and that I was a cool person so that’s always good to hear. I think it’s often just an overthinking thing and doubting life because it isn’t what you're am used too. I have also talked to some other exchange students about it and I know they are in the exact same boat so it isn’t just me.
Something else I’m struggling with, is the fact that while I’ve been here a month, my spanish still isn’t fluent. I know that sounds really ridiculous but I had such high expectations of how my spanish was going to be perfect after a month-2 months. Like yes it has definitely improved but it’s nowhere near perfect. I think this may be because I haven’t been at school and so I haven’t really been emerged in spanish 24/7. This is one of the reasons I am so excited to start school. I am also very excited for English classes at my school hahah :p
I also sleep a lot here, like 8-10 hours per night+ (except when I go out hah) and yet I am always so tired. I think it is because I always have to think and talk in spanish and it is very tiring and draining.
Something I love here, is food shopping. It is so so so different. We go to like a little place where you pick the fruit and vegetables out of baskets and there’s a whole cheese and meat section where you choose the cut you want and it’s just very very different. I love it! They have aisles for tinned things as well but there aren’t many and they are still stacked and presented very differently. For example mayonnaise is in a packet not a jar. It’s so cool and interesting.
Also another observation I made is that everyone here drives with their lights on, even in broad daylight. I asked my host sister about this and she said it is the law because it makes it easier to see oncoming traffic. It’s so weird but also understandable and apparently the crash rate has dropped significantly.
Some upcoming events are:
- Tonight I think I am going to Sara’s house with a lot of people, I’m not sure for what but yeah.
- Tomorrow I think I am going to Cordoba in a bus by myself. I am really excited for this because I will get to watch the scenery and listen to music and have some quality me time.
- On Tuesday there is an event in Cordoba in Laguna Azul with Rotary and all the other exchange students which will be so cool, and I think Charo is coming which is so exciting! I can’t wait to meet everyone. We are also doing wake boarding at the event and I am so excited.
- Schools starts in a week?!?!
So yeah, that’s about all for now. I’m going to try to keep updating every Sunday but honestly it’s probably the worst day to do it because I am normally so tired on Sunday’s haha.