I have officially passed the halfway mark and I don't believe it. It feels like just yesterday that I got off the plane and walked into the freezing cold winter of Japan.
I can remember my face hurting as the wind harassed me. I remember the snow making my fingers painful to move. And I remember, unfortunately, slipping about embarrassingly on ice I couldn't see.
But while it feels like yesterday, it also feels like it was years ago. Now instead of shivering in the snow, I'm sweating in the sun.
It was so long ago I left home, I feel as if I've lived here forever.
I can't believe how fast these six months have gone, but at the same time I can't believe it's only been six months.
Recently, a bunch of exchange students went home. The way the Rotary exchange works is students come at two times in the year. Some other kids and I arrived in January, whereas the kids before us arrived in August.
Us newbies are shown around by the more experienced guys who already know the ropes.
Everyone is from some different part of the world, we all speak differently and have completely different views on things but it's amazing how quickly you become friends with someone in a situation like this.
I have made friends from all corners of the world and they are friends for life.
So those "seniors" left not too long ago because their exchange had come to an end. It was sad and I miss them a lot.
But soon enough a bunch of new kids will be coming and the other "newbies" and I won't be a newby any more.
It's exciting but a little daunting. While I'm fully used to everything now, I still feel like a new kid.
I also moved host families again a couple of weeks ago. Yet again it was a slightly emotional move. It's tough moving every two months but the friends I make are friends forever.
I don't want to move but at the same time I'm always excited to meet new people and experience their lifestyle.
My current family is really cool and we live way out in the country literally amid the mountains; it's awesome. I'm already having so much fun here and I've basically just arrived. I can see a great two months ahead.
The rest of the exchange should be great, too. I'm still having the time of my life here as I live my dream.
The novelty has worn off but now I am actually a part of the world I was day dreaming about for so long. I actually feel Japanese. I still stick out like anything, though. But that's just fine - I love it here.
- The Timaru Herald