So, it begins…
I can’t believe a month has already passed, it’s been a whirlwind of adventure and emotion. If we rewind back through it all, you’ll find me with a confident face but full of uncertainty and fear inside. I mean the idea of a year abroad, it still hasn’t really sunk in, and I have a feeling it never will, maybe when I return home.
The whole thing started with a good solid sleep on the plane, then thinking they weren’t going to let me into the country and finally being dropped off at the wrong hotel. But experiences are made to have bumps and it was a good laugh looking back on it. After settling in we went out for some din dins and of course I found a plate full of steak which is something which I have to say now I’ve come very accustomed to. Full to the brim we decided we should start off the exchange how we mean to go on and eat more, going to a nearby Ice-cream place and tucking into the traditional flavour of dulce de leche. Us exchange students then stayed up and chatted for a bit which was an awesome chance for us all to get to know each other a bit better.
The following day with a 7.00am wake up, we had a 4 hour bus tour of buenos aires seeing the main attractions, including an incredible cemetery which looked more like an ancient museum, a huge church, the well renowned la boca where half of us including chaperones got scammed by the oldest trick in the book, ‘here, come have photo, come have photo’ (takes photo) ‘now pay 100 pesos’, a masterstroke from the tango lady, but to call us anything other than gullible tourists would be a straight up lie. After that we had some empanadas for lunch and we were given the afternoon to explore a bit ourselves which was pretty wicked, we went to some markets, the park, walked about 18 blocks to a library which was shut, then went back to the hotel for some much needed shut eye. At 7.30pm we set out for the much anticipated ‘meal and tango lesson’, which meant ‘steak and tango lesson, but turned out to be ‘steak and tango show’. It was quite long I have to admit and there were times when my eyes drooped a bit, but overall such a spectacular show and a real display of Argentinean tradition and culture. 
The next day I was also very excited for, we were going to a ranch on the outskirts of Buenos Aires. We spent the day there, horse riding, learning about the history of the place, eating the traditional Argentinian Asado for lunch (kind of like a barbecue with a variety of meats and considered very special in Argentina), we then watched another tango show and then did our own little bit of boogying on the dance floor which was a good laugh. We then went back for a siesta (Argentinian nap) and had a beautiful dinner, I was pretty sad knowing it would be our last. The next morning we were up at 3am, and before I knew it I was having to say goodbye to the people I’d made such an awesome connection with in so little time. And just like that I was back where I started, sleeping on the plane. 
 
 
I had a lovely welcome, from my host family and a few of their friends and I honestly surprised myself as much as them when I ended up blurbing out Spanish the whole hour long car journey back to my home town, Jesus Maria. I had one day there, one day and then at 4am the next morning we were off on a 3 day drive to Brazil for a 3 week holiday. The trip was absolutely incredible, we went to a an island east of Sao Paolo called Ihabela where we spent the next 15 days, chilling by the beach, swimming in the pool and sea, and just generally clicking into relaxation mode. I did try to keep myself as busy as I could, because as beautiful as it was I still had language issues with my host family, and of course I couldn’t really meet anyone else cause they were all Brazilian and I speak zero Portuguese. So I admit there were times when I felt lonely and homesick, even in a place of paradise, but there was stuff to do there, like I went to the gym with my host dad, Cesar, every morning, played table tennis and and football, and just tried to find routine to go along with relaxation. Something which was cool was, coincidentally my second host family had decided to go on vacation to the same island, and so we spent a fair amount of time with them so I know them very well now so I think it will be a lot easier to integrate into their family now, and I won’t need to have those second host family nerves so I got quite lucky with that. 
For the final 3 days of the trip we went to a popular tourist destination called Florianopolis, which was even more stunning than the previous place, I didn’t think id be able to say that. This beach had waves which honestly made me so excited, and being 4km long it had enough space for me to play some football. The final day there I decided to run the length of the beach and back, because I realised If I didn’t maintain some sort of exercise the stories about putting on 10kg would become reality for me which I wasn’t too keen on. The days there went all too quickly and before I knew it we were on our way back to Jesus Maria, the journey back was a bit more rough as I got food poisoning and being in the car for 12 hours after that wasn’t the best experience of my life. But now I’m back, and have been here now for almost 10 days.
It was a little lonely at the start, but I’ve met a few Argentinians that are my age now and we’ve hung out a few times and its all just that little bit easier now especially as my Spanish has improved a fair bit, my understanding especially now I can have a fluid conversation most of the time as I know all the swear words in Argentina hahaha - Just kidding. I’m also very excited for school which starts in march I’ll get to know so many more people. My host family are lovely as well, so welcoming and helpful with my integration into the town and Argentina and I feel very lucky with everything I’ve had so far here on my exchange. I’ve got my first football training session tomorrow with an Argentinian club so quite nervous for that but excited for the chance to show them that NZ aren’t just a country of rugby players :P 
Theres a long way to go, but the fact that a month has already passed shows that the long way to go will become a short way to go very soon, so I’m going to keep trying to make the most of what I’m given and keep having a blast. I am very thankful for this opportunity, I still can’t really believe it. See you in a month.
Harry 
 
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