|From my last day in Switzerland.|
I still can't fully believe that only three weeks ago I had just said goodbye to my host family and hopped on a train to Paris. It feels like months ago now. My last few days in Switzerland passed slowly and quickly at the same time. I'm a very organised person, so I was all packed four days before leaving - though I had started packing a week earlier. School was finishing up, and there wasn't really much left for me to do. Despite my lack of work to do, time still managed to fly by until I was in the Geneva train station saying goodbye to some of my favourite people in the world.
I didn't talk about my host family very much in previous posts, but they were amazing. I couldn't have asked for a better family. They were so incredibly welcoming and generous towards me, always doing their best to make me feel at home. I got on very well with my host mother in particular, so leaving her was the hardest of all. There were many, many tears that day. I cried first at the train station, but we were hurried onto the train, so I had to calm down in order to organise my luggage, and find a seat. I thought that maybe I wouldn't cry again, but about 30 minutes into the train ride, when it was very obvious by the landscape that we were not in Switzerland anymore I had another quiet cry to myself, on and off for the rest of the trip.
All 25 New Zealanders who had gone on the exchange had a four day trip to Paris before heading home. I had imagined this trip would be a good thing, because we'd be able to have fun in Paris and then not be as sad when travelling home. I'm not sure about the other kids, but for me this was not the case. I was so distraught about leaving my family that the last thing I wanted to do was traipse around Paris with a big tour group for four days. All I wanted to do was curl up and sleep. Paris of course was beautiful, but my bad mood combined with our limited time meant that I wasn't able to fully enjoy anything. I would love to go back there for a couple for weeks get a proper feel for the city. The trip felt very long for me since all I wanted to do was go home (to either NZ or Switzerland). I was quite relived when we finally got on the plane. One thing in particular that I did enjoy in Paris was the bike tour we did. This tour was a lot of fun, it felt a lot less busy than everything else we did. We hopped our cute red bikes, which was such a relief for my very overworked feet, and cycled around the main tourist spots at a leisurely pace, all the while actually learning the history of Paris and how everything fitted together from our tour guide. The bike tour was definitely the highlight of my Paris trip.
I always knew that 2 months was all I had, but I was so settled in in Switzerland I really didn't feel like I was going to leave. Switzerland was my home, I lived there. For the last month at least, I couldn't imagine myself anywhere else. It makes me incredibly happy to feel that I have a second home all the way across the world, and a second family. There is no doubt in my mind, I am definitely going back to Switzerland some time.
This exchange was one of the best things I've ever done, and I cannot recommend it enough. I'm trying to convince all my younger siblings to go on one. The amount that you learn about different cultures, languages, and yourself is worth every penny that you pay - if not more.
I hope you've all enjoyed following my time abroad, and if you have any questions about exchanges you can reach me either here or on instagram, I'd be more than happy to answer.