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!



Hi everyone!!

I've been very busy the last days so that's why I haven't updated. And things here are starting to become "normal" so I don't really know what to share. I learn the routines more and I spend most of the time at school. I actually feel more comfortable for every day that pass by, people have started to say "Hi" to me in school and I'm getting more friends. I have also noticed that I'm slowly becoming a part of the group because they were asking where I were when I didn't sit with them at lunch. I know it's not big things but it's progress and it feels so damn great because it really is a struggle to adapt to a completely different and new society!!!

Anyhow: I have joined the Social Volleyball team! It was fun to play but very embarrassing during the first meet. We were 3 people who never had played before but it turned out we were supposed to compete against another team and we lost😂 But it was a good first time.

I also started playing violin again and joined the String Group, it feels great to play music again. I've missed it so much! It will take a while to get used to playing but I'll be fine in a couple of weeks. My fingers have just gotten so weak from not playing so that was a struggle haha.

Me, Paloma (France) and Johanna (Germany)

The weather here is bad at the moment. It's pouring down with rain and I accidentally left my windows open and now it smells like shit in my room (we have carpet all over the floor and it got wet).. I don't really have any plans for the weekend, maybe I'll hang out with some friends. But I would be fine staying at home as well, I'm sooo tired. It's exhausting to speak English all the time.

By the way I got a letter from Sweden from my aunt and it was so cute! It was filled with pep talk and love, which I needed because I had a little "dip" for a while. I feel like it's good to have contact with Sweden, especially in the beginning because I need support and my homesickness would be so much harder to handle if I didn't talk to my family. I also sent some things to Sweden for a couple of days ago, a package for my boyfriend with New Zealand lollies and then some postcards for other family members.

Some observations of the day:

- People here eat Marmite, it's a spread basically made out of Yeast and seasoning. I don't really like it but it was interesting to try.

- The school bus is very old, I don't even think it has AC because the driver has a towel that he wipes away all the fog on the windows with😅

- Kiwis are so friendly compared to Swedes. They call you "hun" and "love" all the time and you could easily start a conversation with a stranger without it being weird here. They are very polite and helpful.

- In my family here we have 2 blankets, one duvet cover which is a thicker one and then a blanket that could be the same as the sheets we use in Sweden, so it's more thin.



8.43 on a Monday night:

Today was the day when I first experienced a "small" cultural shock. I'm not sure if that's the right word to describe the feeling I have all but it's as close as I can get. It really strikes all of a sudden, like a shock (therefore the name). What the hell am I doing?? It's only been two weeks and I'm already feeling like this. Will I even make a year? It's so frustrating to say things with people not understanding what and it's hard to not know anything. I have to ask people questions all the time and I feel like a child. I can't find my way around here and nothing feels familiar except for my old teddy bear and my boyfriends t-shirt. I miss my mum and her hand stroking through my hair when I'm sad, I miss my boyfriend and his big warm hugs, I miss my siblings even though they get on my nerves sometimes, I miss my dog and how she always would cheer me up after a rough day by snuggling up next to me in bed. I miss my friends so much. I just miss the familiar things and I miss not feeling scared and vulnerable and alone. I've never done anything like this and it's very hard to explain how I feel.

Of course I knew everything would be different, I just didn't expect this reaction from myself. It's very fun and exciting with all the new things, but for me, it's also very frustrating in the beginning to try to adapt. Things that I always have known and things that were "right" in Sweden could be wrong here.

Don't get me wrong, there are so many things I like about my life here and I'm so happy for being here. I really like school, my friends and my family here!!! It's just very exhausting with rapid changes and it's sometimes hard experiencing all the cultural differences. I love New Zealand, I love being here but growing up is hard. Especially when you do it this fast.


Update 9.28 pm: after a talk with my NZ sister Alice it feels way better. She could really cheer me up and it felt so much better when she actually understands what I'm going through since she went on an exchange to Japan.



Spent this day at the beach, it was a lovely day. I reckon it was about 25-28°c, it was hot!! I met up with my friend Johanna, an exchange student from Germany. We just hung out at the beach and met up some of her exchange student friends. We were supposed to go to Papamoa beach but we got on the wrong bus so we ended up at Bayfair mall instead. 😜

Later on, Grandpa, Anna and I went to the Fishermans Club for tea at 6 pm (tea means dinner here, took me a while to realize) and we were supposed to see the big cruise ship leave the port but it was apparently leaving at 8. After dinner Anna and I went to Copenhagen Cones and got ice cream and took a walk round the mount. It was lovely and Anna got an great eye for photography so we took some lovely pictures. Finally, at 9 we went to the Night Owl which is a free outdoor movie theatre and watched the movie "The Wedding Singer".



Cheers to Friday and to surviving the first week in New Zealand! To summarize this week: it's been ups and downs but I really like it here. My host family is amazing and I'm starting to feel more comfortable both in school and at home. It doesn't feel like I've only been here for 1 week!

Today was a pretty chill day. We had photo day in school so we took Year level photos, House photos and ID-card photos. I looked horrible haha. Except for taking photos, I had RE, Drama and Music class today. Since my year doesn't count I'm taking lots of fun classes so I would say I like school.

Me and Anna are staying at the caravan with grandpa this weekend because Alice is going to Wellington and Karen and Allan are in Fiji for their 21st anniversary.

I got to practice the school haka even more which was quite fun. I think the Maori culture is interesting, in Sweden people don't really care for the native people in our country which I think is sad.

Observations of the day:
- People use the words "reckon" and "naughty" a lot
- The tap water here tastes different than the water in Sweden
- Jandals are very popular here



It was a grey day today. It rained and was windy. We had mufti day today in school which means no uniform needed, and we did lots of activities in our year group. We had fun and it was nice to see everyone without the uniform or all the rules. I almost learned to do the Aquinas Haka (sort of a warrior dance??) and it was all about that we are the "warriors of Christ". It was cool to be a part of that and to experience it since we don't have that in Sweden. Anyhow I had a good day and I took a walk on the beach after school. I also tried some New Zealand lollies which was fun. So far Pineapple lumps are my favourites but I also like the Hokey Pokey ice cream and the Crunchiebars.

To something completely different:
At times it all hits me pretty hard and I feel very overwhelmed. Everything is new and scary. I don't have any good friends yet, I don't know how to find in school or Tauranga and nothing at all is familiar. Sometimes I can't find the words either, but over all English isn't the biggest problem. But I get emotional at times. Not like I'm crying but more like I feel uncomfortable and home sick in some way. I just miss the feeling of being in control of things. But - I've only been here for a week so no wonder I feel that way. It will take some time until I feel completely at home. I guess it's a part of this whole thing, to get out of my comfort zone and challenge myself. And I am damn good for actually doing this, so even though it feels hard I am very proud of myself.

Observations of the day:

- People here don't pack their grocery bags themselves, the shop assistants do it instead
- It's really popular to be barefoot here, people could even go barefoot in the shopping mall
- Makeup isn't that common here since it's very expensive (costs generally like 5 times more compared to USA) and the people here are more laid back than Swedes



I survived the first day of school!!

It was different from the Swedish school but I like it. I'm very tired and I got a headache, but in a couple of weeks I'll be fine. Probably just the jet lag and all new impressions.

Honestly it wasn't as scary as I thought. I was most afraid of having no one to sit with at lunch, but believe it or not - I did!

So school started at 8.45 and Alice took us there. I went straight to Melissa's office (the International Dean) and got my time table set up and she told me about the school.

After that everyone gathered in the Gym and we had Assembly as Third period (during Assembly we listen to presentations from the Principal, teachers and student leaders and also share in award ceremonies). We also had House Assembly and I belong to the Foy House.

After Assembly (third period) we had Morning Tea which is the first break, we ate some light snacks and I sat with an exchange student from Germany and her friends. For my Fourth and Fifth period I had Year 12 Music and it was mostly presentations about what we were going to work with during the year. After that period we had Lunch so I ate a chicken wrap I made yesterday and some fruit.

For my Sixth period I had Biology and it was really fun! We are going to work with Homeostatis Biology for the first weeks. Last but not least I had Food Tech (not sure what that is yet) but it was fun.

The school uniform!

So the most different things were the Catholic spirit and the school uniform. The uniform wasn't really comfortable or good looking but at least I didn't have to decide what to wear in the morning.

My time table. The classes I'm taking are Biology, Tutor Class, Outdoor Ed, Food Tech, Drama and Religious Ed.

Anyhow I had a good day and I will just take it easy and get some rest this night. To attend a new school in a completely new country with new people in another language takes a lot of energy!!



I haven't posted anything in a while because I haven't had the time or energy to, sorry!!! But here u go 🏖

Started off at Arlanda Airport with saying goodbye to my family. I miss them already! It was hard but I managed to get myself together after getting through customs. I didn't believe I was going to New Zealand so I wasn't that sad yet about leaving.

On the first flight I was excited about leaving Sweden, but on the flight to Melbourne I got really emotional and I started questioning myself. What the hell were I thinking, leaving everything I've ever known to live with some strangers in a country on the other side of the planet? Anyhow after 3 flights I arrived at Auckland Airport. I got through customs and biosecurity there as well, had to fill in a passenger arrival card and declare my stuff.

After arriving in New Zealand at 6 am, I catched the flight to Tauranga and my host family were there to pick me up. It all felt so unreal!!! Everything looked so different compared to Sweden. The trees, the hills, the temperature, the way they drive on the "wrong side" of the road etc. I was really overwhelmed (and still am). Then I had a quick shower and they took me straight to school and the powhiri, maori welcoming. It was such an experience! They sang in Maori and held speeches and after all that I hongied the Kapa haka group and the Principal (rub the noses against each other, a Maori greeting). Then I met some people and went home again.

Later on we took a walk at the beach and around the Mount, it was so beautiful!

The day after that Allan, Karen and I took a walk on the beach to a café and ordered some coffee. Then we met some other people and talked to them. A couple of hours later we went to Lake Tarawera just over the day. We jumped off some rocks, went biscuiting and I tried wakeboarding but it was really tough so I face planted only haha.

And last but not least, we went camping the day after at Lake Tarawera again. It was really fun and my first Kiwi experience. Lake Tarawera is located at Mount Tarawera which is an active vulcano so at some places water comes out from the ground boiling so people cooked food in the water! We actually cooked bananas in the sand, we literally dug the bananas down and let them be for a couple of hours and they came out melted and so good!! We went biscuiting and water skiing as well.

I got horribly sun burned even though I used SPF 85 haha. The sun here is brutal because of the ozon layer here, it's more thin.

Well New Zealand has treated me really good so far!! I love it here and my family here is amazing. I just wish my family back in Sweden could be with me and experience it all!!



Forced Malva to pose with me, lol

I'm only hours away from what I've been waiting for so long. I will try to stay up all night so I can get in the right time zone, hopefully I'll get some sleep on the flights instead. First I will fly to Dubai, arriving at 22:55. Then my flight to Melbourne departs at 01:05, and arrives at 21:25 the 2nd. Last but not least the flight to Auckland departs at 23:35 and I'll arrive in New Zealand 05:15 the 3rd! I'm getting more scared for every minute that passes. Don't get me wrong, I'm super excited too but leaving all that I've ever known freaks me out a little. Anyhow I will try to update as much as I can and have the energy to, so stay tuned!!