Header

For 7 weeks ago, I sat on the plane to Tauranga, having no idea what I was getting in to, but I also had no idea how much it all would become to mean to me. Future exchange students, trust me when I say time will fly by fast for you on your year abroad. It feels like I just came yesterday, but on the same time feels like I have been here for six months. It freaks me out a bit.

I love New Zealand and I already see it as my second home. It has NOT been easy but it's definitely worth it. I have gained a second family and amazing friends. I have discovered so much about myself already and I am still growing. I think the fastest way to learn is to travel alone. It will be interesting to see who you are gonna welcome home to Sweden in December. Here's a quote I find very applicable to this whole exchange-growing-thing. May seem a bit depressing at first glance but for me it's inspiring, since this journey is also about helping me to discover myself and who I am and want to be.

"The thing is - I won’t come back.

The person you will welcome home in a year will not be the person you said goodbye to. It was a goodbye forever."

Design your blog - select from dozens of ready-made templates or make your own; simply “point & click” - click here!

Likes

Comments

After school I went out with some friends; Bri, Johanna, Sunny, Sam and Tash and then Niamh and her friend joined in! It was heaps of fun, I think we should do it more often. We first went and took a swim at Pilot Bay, was pretty cold tbh. Also saw an octopus for the first time!!! God it was so slimey and creepy haha. The man who catched it had the octopus clinged to his arm while it was fighting for it's life😨 imagine if that came and grabbed your leg in the water omg. Tauranga really is a fishing town. Then we had Turkish for dins, it was soo good. And last but not least we had ice cream at Copenhagen Cones 😋 Now I'm off to bed, tomorrow me and my family are going to Auckland and we will see Adele Thursday night!

Likes

Comments

The whole group of students

Mt Ngauruhoe aka Mt Doom from Lord of the Rings

Emerald lakes

Had an awesome weekend!! Some other exchange students and I did the Tongariro crossing last weekend. It's the best experience I've had in New Zealand so far. The crossing is almost 20 km long, it took about 9 hours for us to walk since we were a big group and had to stick together. It was crazy landscapes there!!! So many big mountains and the view was amazing. It was great. Some parts of Lord of the Rings were filmed there, how cool is that??!! And it was awesome to meet the other exchange students, we really had so much fun together and it means a lot to have people who understand what you are going through. We are all in the same boat, kind of. And I met the other Swedish guy Nils, it felt weird to speak Swedish again. We both mixed English and Swedish up haha, awkward moment but I guess it's a good sign! It's sad that I'm the only AFS student in Tauranga, but the others are not too far away.

Anyhow if I could rate this weekend I would give it 12/10 ❤

Likes

Comments

After a full on day at school the family went and watched Anna's volley game. They won! We also celebrated Al's birthday yesterday. He's actually turning 49 today but he's away for work so that's why we celebrated yesterday. We went out for dinner at Nomad after the game and later we made sundaes at home. It was a lovely evening. Anyhow happy birthday to my NZ dad!!

Even Lucky wanted some of that sundae hahaha😜

Likes

Comments

And so is this Saturday also coming to an end. It was a lazy day, slept to 11 am. The only thing I did outside home today was going to the gym. I'm getting a personal gym programme so I can get fit for doing some martial arts! I love going to the gym here. It's such a nice gym and it helps me to keep myself busy during the days, it's when I don't do much that I get home sick.

We had some family friends over today as well: Kim, Tori and two girls from Germany named Sophie and Nora. We watched movies and made Pavlova for dessert tonight, it's like a meringue cake with whipped cream and fruit on top. So delicious!!! Karen said it is usually very hard to make, but this one was surprisingly good! Al made lamb shanks for dinner which was great as well, and then the German girls had made a cheesecake that we also ate. Will have to walk up the Mount tomorrow to get rid of all the unhealthy food😂 The German girls were so sweet!!! I already feel like I will miss them when they go back. Sophie leaves NZ in 4 days, she's been here for 3 months now. Nora will stay for another month so hopefully we'll catch up again sometime!

I have found that people here are generally more open minded than Swedes. Like my host family met these two girls when they were out camping in December and now they are a part of the family! I reckon that wouldn't happen in Sweden. Swedish people (as I know it) are very personal and don't really open up their homes like that, especially if you only met once or twice. Which I find interesting!

Likes

Comments

Hi loviess!!!

Right now I'm in my bed doing my RE assignment about Islam, soon about to sleep since I need to get up at 6. Tomorrow we have a trip to Auckland and a "Pop-up Globe Theatre" with some Shakespeare play. Look forward to it, especially since I haven't been to Auckland except for when I transferred to Tauranga.

Today I went to school, finished at 3.15 as usual and then I got home and went to the gym. Feels so great to finally start training again, I haven't really trained for 2 months so I'm dead. I'm planning on doing both gym, volley and brazilian jiu jitsu here since I don't really have much homework in school and I want to keep myself busy to prevent homesickness and to get involved in life here. Anyhow after gym Anna and I made lolly cake, totally worth it lol😉

The forecast says bad weather until next week. It's raining 😢 not ready to say goodbye to Summer already 💔 And do you want to know something hilarious???? I got 2 rights out of total 30 on my Maths test. Gosh that is so embarrassing. I'm happy this year doesn't count.... So today I changed from Calc to Stats instead since I freaked out a bit afterwards (Calc is more calculations and traditional maths while Stats is reading statistics etc). I just think the Academic English is so hard!!! I can keep conversations going fluently but just understanding the complex words they use during most lessons really troubles me. I feel so bad in every subject here because of the English and they teach different here.

And I am sooo tired all the time. It gets better but still not good. The language is hunting me down.

Anyhowwww I really need to sleep now. Catch up with you later x

Likes

Comments

Had a great weekend! After watching rugby in Hamilton on Friday we went to a bed & breakfast and stayed there over the night. All of us shared one room😂 it was ok, at least I got a good sleep. Saturday we went to Raglan, also known as a surf town in NZ. Al brought the surf board but the weather wasn't pleasant so we decided not to surf. Instead we cruised around town, checking out all the cute stores and later on took a quick walk on the beach. For those of you who don't know much about New Zealand, Tauranga (the town I live in) is located on the East coast and Raglan is on the West coast. Took about 2 hours to drive I reckon! I also got to meet Al's nephews and their families as we stopped by in Te Awamutu where my host family used to live before moving to Tauranga. On the way home we went to the Bridal Veil Falls and gosh it was amazing. It was the first time I ever saw a waterfall.

Sunday was a chill day, didn't do much really. Went to Bayfair, the local mall, and bought some beauty things, some gifts for my family in Sweden (no spoilers though) and two dresses. I really needed to buy some nice dresses since the ones I brought from Sweden were too hot to wear. Later on we had my AFS liaison Bronwyn over for a cup of tea and a chat. It was just a normal family meeting, she wanted to make sure we all are happy, that there aren't any major problems and we discussed some of the cultural (and general) differences I've experienced so far. She is so funny!! I like her a lot. Her and I will catch up every other week for a coffee, and then the whole family will have a meeting once a month. After Bronwyn left I went out paddle boarding for the first time in my life with Al. To be honest it was very hard, especially going over the waves. But it was so cool and fun! Hopefully I will get the hang of it before I leave. At last I booked the flight tickets to Christchurch for the South Island trip! Excited!!!!! It's on the 17th to the 27th of April. Will tell you more about it later.

Likes

Comments

Today I've been here for 1 month, 9 more to go!! It is soooo sick how fast this month has gone by. I'm on an emotional roller coaster with both ups and downs, but right now it's only going up!! I love New Zealand, it's the most amazing country I've ever been to and I'm a privileged person to live here!!!!!

I watched my first rugby game today in Hamilton as well. It was brutal. Rugby is pretty tough 😂 I'm still amazed by the players who got up over and over again even though they got tackled and jumped on very bad. Before I came here I thought that rugby would be fun to play since it's so big in New Zealand but Jesus I would never survive in there haha.

Anyhow: this month has been the hardest one I've ever experienced. I've been facing scary and uncomfortable situations ALL the time since I came here and I still do, I honestly don't think I've ever cried this much in a month before but do you know what? Just like a rugby player I've learnt how to tackle the situations and I have learnt so much about myself already. I've taken some big steps out of my comfort zone and I have changed so much. This month has also been the best one, I will never regret going here. I've experienced so much and there is something new about New Zealand that makes me speechless every day. I love my life here. For those of you who are thinking about going abroad: DO IT!!! It doesn't matter if you might go home after 2 months or after 10 months or how you may like it over there. You will grow so much as a person no matter how it ends! This is only my first month here but I can feel it in my bones how much I have grown. I've gained self-confidence and knowledge about myself. I'm excited to see how everything develops here!

Thank you mum, dad, grandma & grandpa and my host family for making this possible!

xx Saga

Likes

Comments

Today was Ash Wednesday (lent), which most of you probably don't know about but since I'm in a Catholic school we practice things that aren't well known in Sweden.

I'm still not 100% sure what it's all about but basically you start lent today and that is you give up something to become a better person. It's on for about six weeks, until Easter. I chose to give up lollies haha. It's like Jesus sacrificed his life for us and we should do something in return I guess? There was a mass at school today and everyone got a cross painted on the forehead with ashes.

Later on I went out with some friends and we had fish and chips at Pilot Bay. We brought a picnic blanket and sat on the grass and just chilled. It was such a great night!! We had heaps of fun.

It feels like everything here is becoming better every day!!! On Friday I've been here 1 month. It's crazy how time flies!

Likes

Comments

Friday was Athletics Day!! It was an experience, the spirit here is very different compared to Athletics Day in Sweden.

Everybody did things like long jump, high jump, 100 m and discus and earned points to their house. Aquinas has 4 houses: Foy, Browne, Heni Pore and Cluny. I'm in Foy house and we had a clothing theme as constructors and the house colour is yellow/gold, so we had to stick to that. Anyhow my friend group decided to be painters! So we wore this costume that we splatter painted with different yellowish colours. I don't know how you get selected to different houses or how that works, but it's quite fun. Everything gets a different spirit!

Likes

Comments