North, south - it's all very confusing
John Laurenson left Fairlie to live in Perigueux, in the Aquitaine region of France, to attend the Ecole Hoteliere du Perigord, a hospitality-based school.
From something old to something new, I took a trip to Paris with the family and I went to the place that dreams are made of. Disneyland.
It was the perfect day to go - a school day with a slight spattering of rain ensured that the longest I stood in line was five minutes.
Towards the end of our day, just as we were passing under the giant Christmas tree, it started snowing.
It only lasted for a minute or two, and blew gently up and down the streets, past mobs of tourists huddled together and excited children being ushered toward the exit.
It would have been magical if it wasn't so bloody cold.
The next night, along with my host dad and little brother, I donned my full body, skin tight, lycra All Blacks costume (don't worry, it doesn't get any weirder) and took the Metro to go and watch the All Blacks beat the French, yet again.
The ambience in the stadium was amazing, even if the whole crowd booed and shouted VOLEUR (thief) every time Richie McCaw came up on the big screen. Glad to see the French are moving on ...
I did the usual touristy things, climbed the Arc de Triomphe, saw the Louvre, but one of my favourite parts of my trip to Paris was sitting for a caricature.
Even though the end result was far from flattering, it was a great and hilarious gift from my family.
Life is returning to normal now, back to school with French lessons every Wednesday.
I had a hilarious time yesterday trying to explain to my teacher the names of the islands in New Zealand.
This story is 100 per cent true, and took place in French.
"They are the North, South and Stewart islands."
"What's this one called?"
"The North Island."
"Yes, the one in the north, what's it called?"
"It's called the North Island."
"No, no. What. Is. Its. Name?"
"It's called the North Island! Because it's in the north! It's simple!"
"Oh! And this one is the South Island, because it is in the south?"
"Nope, that one is Stewart Island."
The Timaru Herald