Victoria-Rose Tucker, a former Mountainview High School student, is five months into her AFS exchange in Spain.
Less than five months left to go, over halfway, and I feel like the best of my exchange is just beginning.
Since January 27, many things have changed and I couldn't be happier with my decision to move.
I finally packed my bags - after a lot of struggle and repacking) - and I left my first placement for good.
Turns out that I've bought and somehow collected more clothes and items than I'd expected! I reckon my suitcase must have weighed about 35 kilograms (maximum allowed on my flight was 30kg) and I had about three other bags containing shoes, shower and bathroom products and books.
I still plan on doing a little more shopping before I leave maybe I'll have to leave some things behind.
After leaving my house in Castelldefels, I temporarily moved in with a Spanish family at Barcelona. Dropped off on the Monday, I was to live there just until the Friday (when the family who would host me for five months would be ready).
The interim family are really lovely. On arrival, I was greeted by a girl my age who had recently done a student exchange to South Africa, so she understood my situation, plus she spoke English (not that I needed her to speak English any more). She made me feel welcome straight away: I was a bit hungry so she took me to a wee cafe and bought me a croissant.
Since the family were opening up their home to me for a few days and made me feel so welcome, I felt I should do something in return so, on my first night, I cooked them all dinner and made myself useful.
While there, I didn't have to go to school so I took the opportunity to do some shopping and visit some touristy locations, including the La Sagrada Familia, a famous church. Work on a grand scale began in March 1882 under the diocesan architect Francisco de Paula del Villar (1828-1901).
At the end of 1883, Antoni Gaudi was commissioned to carry on the project, a task he did not abandon until his death in 1926. Other architects have since continued the work, following his original idea. Building continues, and could be finished some time in the first third of the 21st century.
I went by myself to visit the church as my lovely temporary host mum, who had to work, bought me a ticket as well as a voice audio. I was absolutely amazed by the church and it was a sight that I think everyone should see if they ever go to Spain.
I took plenty of photos but they don't do it justice; the intimate and delicate design of absolutely every detail in the church cannot be caught by a small iPhone camera and should really be seen with the eyes only. It's just one of those once-in-a-lifetime kind of opportunities.
- The Timaru Herald