Friday, January 15, 2010

Host Family and Visas

God has answered my prayers! After my big stress on Thursday night, I got my visa on Friday, and my host family on today!

I was hanging out with my (AWESOME!) friend Ellyn, and I needed to check something on the internet, so I routinley checked my hotmail, and there was the beautiful email from my advisor that was titled, "Placement". I got so excited I started screaming, "I HAVE A HOST FAMILY!" And mum and I started screaming and it was so exciting.

My host family sounds lovely, and I will be living in a town called Tudela, in a region called Navarra, in the north of Spain. It looks beautiful and my town was built in 800AD. The new part of town doesn't seem as pretty, but the old town looks really cool! Tudela is 90km away from Pamplona, where the running of the bulls is!!! And its about 150km?? from the French border. It's pretty cool to know where I'll be living!

I have a father, who is an economist, a mother who is a psychologist, a younger sister Ana, 13; a younger sister María, 11; and a younger brother Javier, 6. I'm so excited to be the eldest in the family!!

I think the thing I'm most worried about is the language. Navarra is a region that speaks Basque, also known as Euskera. It is completely different to Spanish. To say 'hello' in Castellano (Spanish) is 'hola'. To say hello in Euskera is 'Kaixo' (pronounced Kai-sho). So it's completely different. I don't know how dominant Euskera is, and what language my school will be taught in, but I'll at least get a grasp for each language.

But I am so so so excited to finally have a family and a place, and a visa!!! Yay! An answer to prayer.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


This week has been very very stressful to me... well, the past couple of days has been anyway. January came about and I got my departure date, and before I knew it, it was a month until I departed. I went to Woy Woy on holidays, and then came back and refused to do anything, because I didn't want to actually say, "This is happening. You're going to Spain in a month, leaving everything you know in. a. month." Instead, I stayed in my pj's and watched movies all day long, while Mum tried telling me that I was putting off getting ready for Spain.

Then I went on holidays to Darwin, in the Northern Territory, where my Dad has been working one week on, one week off for the past year. It was such a lovely experience, finally getting to see where he works, and just enjoying being there. The last time I was in Darwin, was when I was in yr 2 (8 years old), and it was then that I broke both of my arms, on a 12 foot slippery dipp in a small suburb called NightCliff. It was great, because I got the opportunity of seeing where I broke my arms all those years ago, (11 years ago!) and redoing our trip to the hospital. I also randomly got to meet this Aboriginal artist, Sonda Turner Nampijinpa, who lived in Papanya, (where the Aboriginal art movement was started), whose Uncle had painted on the toilet block wall at Papanya with Geoffrey Bardon. Sonda was also the first Aboriginal woman to paint on canvas.* Being an art student, I had studied all of this, and was so moved to get to witness such an important part of Australian and Aboriginal history and culture.

But, the trip ended, and I came back home... to reality. I have had to acknowledge that exchange is upon me - three weeks, a short 21 days today. I made a list and realised that I had more things to do, than days to do them. These past two days have been huge for me, and also my parents, going around and getting different things organised. And with this, comes stress. And with this stress comes snapping. I have been stressed, and have snapped countless times at Mum (sorry Mum!) because of the little time I have to do them.

Tonight I had a crying fest at our family dinner (both of my brothers are married, so they don't live at home, so come for dinner sometimes). Both of my sister-in-laws, being the wonderful people they are, offered to help me out, lighten my load, so we spent the night organising who was doing what, and they are coming over tomorrow to help organise my farewell party (!) and send out invitations. It makes me sad to think that I'm going to be away from my family for so long, and is only really starting to sink in that it is really so soon.

Mum asked me, "Do you still want to go to Spain?" and I immediately replied with a nod. Despite my fears, reservations, stressing out, and sadness, I have no doubt within me that going on exchange is the right thing for me, and 100% of me is eager and anticipating and wanting to go on exchange. I have such mixed feelings; one minute almost jumping with excitement, the other, balling my eyes out. But, that's what exchange is. A huge conglomeration of emotions, running wildly through me. I'm constantly thinking AHHH! but sometimes out of excitement, sometimes out of fear. And I guess, when I get over there, that's what exchange will be like. A mixture of both excitement and struggles. But the good things will definitely outweigh the bads.

So, today I am more sad than happy about exchange, but tomorrow, I'll probably be more excited than sad. I feel like I have whiplash from the range of emotions I have. But what encourages me more than hugs, is what my sister-in-law Jas said to me tonight. She said that no matter what, God will be with me through everything 100%. And that's true. God will be with me throughout my entire journey, and that gives me greator comfort than anything else. God will be with me through my trials and celebrations. I feel like this year will be a big God year - a huge time where I will constantly be leaning on God and growing in his love, and learning more about his plans for my life, and the love he has for me. I know that every exchanger says to not have expectations about exchange, because we will always be dissapointed, but I know that my expectations will be nothing compared to what God has in plan for me - this year, and for the rest of my life.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


Yesterday I got my itinerary for Spain!

It is as follows:

Thursday 4/2/10 Depart Sydney at 5:30pm
Thursday 4/2/10 Arrive Bangkok at 10:45pm
Friday 5/2/10 Depart Bangkok at 12:10am
Friday 5/2/10 Arrive London Heathrow at 5:55am
Friday 5/2/10 Depart London Heathrow at 8:20am
Friday 5/2/10 Arrive MADRID!!! at 11:35am

Though, this is subject to change if my VISA still hasn't come through by then. So it may be later, but hopefully not!

So exciting - I finally have a date to depart, but also makes it a whole lot more real. I am finally understanding and realising, that in less than one month, I will leaving for Spain, (probably in Spain at this moment in one month!).

Although, I don't have a host family, which kinda sucks so hopefully I'll find out that soon :)

Woo hoo!! I'm going to Spain!