Sunday, November 24, 2013

Exchange Lives in Us Forever

Exchange ends the day you come home, I thought at first.  You step off the plane, drive back the same highway that you used to go to the airport, arrive home, and then done.  That’s it.

However, I realized that it’s not true.  

I’m no longer in my host country, France.  But I feel the relationships that I made with my friends and host families still living inside of me.  I can vividly sense that they are right next to me, laughing and talking like I’ve never left them.  It may seem crazy, but I start laughing by myself when I look at old pictures that bring back memorable moments.  It’s been a while already, but it feels so fresh in my mind when my heart races in contentment.

The best part out of this is that I’m not sad because they’re over.  Instead, I am so gratified that they all happened from the first place.  But I would say that they’re still continuing.  The strength that people gave me and the happiness they nourished me still keeps me going.  Using this force, I know that my future will become brighter than ever.

I did say that the next time I write on my blog would be in March 2014 during my last Rotary Youth Exchange orientation.  However, I guess that isn’t true anymore.  What brought me to write another entry is that I got to see one of my best exchange friends again!!!  You would think that I went back to France, but it’s actually not that.  My family and I headed to Mazatlan to see Melissa, another exchange student who was in my host high school!

My family, Melissa, her mother and I enjoying a day at the beach ♫

Mazatlan is a gorgeous seaside city on the west coast of Mexico and I had a great family vacation there.  Unlike an ordinary trip full of touristic excursions, my family and I spent some time with Melissa’s family and other Mexican locals.  In fact, having our families meet each other strengthened our friendship even more.  I got to see her house, meet her friends, tag-along for a half-day at her high school and join some of her extracurricular activities.  She has explained her personal Mexican life to me when we were in France, but it was incredible how much more I began to understand her background.

United after 4 months!!!
(And there's me with my Spanish book...)
It felt like exchange again because for me, having absolutely no Spanish knowledge, I had trouble trying to understand what was going on around me.  But I loved that!  Because I’ve already gone through this stage in France, it felt so much easier and enjoyable this time.  Being ready to smile though you understood nothing, is truly a skill, I swear. 

Melissa's mom, grandmother and I, meeting each other for the first time
in person.  It was so funny because they were too happy to see me after
our hilarious Skype talks during exchange.
Altogether, this trip proved me that exchange lives in us forever.  And even better, the relationships that I’ve made can become even stronger, as it was established between me and Melissa.  Despite the distance between each other, we’re always friends at heart and our connection will never die.  I also remember that a Rotarian (who was a former exchange student) from the Kamp Kiwanis orientation has told me that even after decades, people from exchange will still be connected to you.  In her case, she had her host parents come to her wedding!!!

Now, now, I don’t expect my friends or host families to come to my wedding as I don’t even plan on having one yet!!  However, I am keeping in mind that we will meet again somewhere, someday, for each other.

Other than that, life back in my hometown is going very well.  I’m enjoying my last year of high school and I’ve created many new friends (as my old ones all graduated already). Also, I’m part of my Rotary Club’s Youth Committee.  I’m always keeping myself busy as usual so I know that the March orientation will come around very soon.  For now dear readers, I’ll see you by then!

Your adventurer,

Very beautiful and vibrantly coloured architecture along streets in city-centre 

Thumbs up!  Ready for the banana ride.

And if you were wondering what a banana ride is, it's simply a bouncy ride on a floater,
pulled by a speedy boat.  We ended up being bounced off,
falling into the sea, getting lots of salt water stinging in our eyes and nose...

Mazatlan is known to have one of the best sunsets in Mexico.

Melissa and I with Thomas, a Rotary Youth Exchange student from France!
Thomas knows a friend of mine from Kamp Kiwanis because they're
both from the same Rotary district in France!
Also, Thomas knows another friend from my Canadian
Rotary District who's in Tepic, a city two hours north of Mazatlan!
(Like Thomas, she is also doing her exchange this year.)
Did I also mention that Mazatlan was the host city for another student
from my Canadian Rotary district during my exchange year?

This probably makes NO sense at all, but as long as you see
how incredibly small our world is, that is good.

Participating in my first-ever pole-dancing class with Melissa.
'Twas an interesting experience.

Dinner with my family and Melissa's family
It was another unique dinner night as Melissa and I spoke in French with each other,
my family spoke in Japanese, Melissa's family spoke in Spanish,
AND we spoke in English altogether.
 Of course we ate tacos and sushi :)

1 comment:

  1. Sariiiii I miss you so muuuuch! And Melissa too! You're always so beautiful! I'm waiting news ! A lot of kisses and l♥ve xxx
    Virginie ♥