I live in one of the most beautiful places in Australia – according to ME. I have a job I love (most of the time), 3 beautiful girls, who are old enough now to be independent…but still need their Mummy. #1 is nearly 21, lives with BF, #2 is nearly 18, saving hard for a gap year in the UK and # 3 is 14, loves One Direction and the Hunger Games. Hubby and I have been married 21 years and I don’t know what I would do with out him.

I spend far too much time on the computer – often pretending to work, so when all my words with friend’s games are played and the gossip and news of the world read, I will BLOG.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Goodbye my beautiful girls

I planned to keep a running blog while the Chilean girls were here, unfortunately work and a busy schedule got in the way. Now they have safely arrived back in Chile, I can stop worrying and motivate to write about the experience.

15 girls and 1 boy from Liceo Lenko Franulik School in Santiago attended Beerwah High School for 4 weeks, this hopefully is the start of a reciprocal exchange program that will see out kids (and ME) going to Chile in 2013.

Our 2 billeting students were the most delightful, well mannered and fun girls. They embraced every thing about Australia (except Vegemite). 

There was planned activities most weekends. Shopping in Brisbane, surfing lessons,  horse riding, mountain climbing and a trip to Australia Zoo. So we had to fit some fun stuff in between.

As most weekends were busy with planned activities, we took time off during the week. No trip to Australia should be complete with put seeing a platypus, I only know of 2 places where you are guaranteed to see a platypus, Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary in Brisbane or Fleays on the Gold Coast. I have not been to Lone Pine since I was a kid so this was our choice. We were greeted by a cockatoo dancing and talking, the girls were amazed and delighted, they got to pat a dingo, feed the kangaroos and wallabies. One of the highlights was when a joey popped his head out of a pouch and ate food from V's hand when she was feeding mum. Ari loved the kangaroos so much she was almost kissing them, we got up close a personal with an emu....I didn't tell them how mean emus could be as this one was very tame. The platypus house was a big hit, I love watching people see a platypus for the first time...I mean how weird are they?

About 100 photos and only 3 keepers very hard to get a photo of a moving  object in low light

Beerwah High planned for the Chilean Students and host families to climb Nugungun (one of the Glasshouse Mountains), the idea was to have everyone on the top for a group photo, I took my time climbing the mountain and was given everyone's cameras to take the group photo, this was the first time the whole group saw my camera, I spent a long time on the top of the mountain taking photos, the Chilean girls loved having their photos taken and would have kept going if I had not run out of room on my CF card. (My photo was used as the official photo of the tour, the school logo was photoshopped on and everyone got a copy....the IT dude got creative with it adding frames around faces. I will see if I can get a copy. 

We took the girls for a BBQ breakfast at Mary Caincross Park, where they got to see small wallabies in the wild and enjoy the early morning rain-forest sounds, we then walked to the base of Kondilla Falls for a beautiful waterfall, this was on the same day we walked up Nugungun....we all had very tired legs the next day. 

Horse riding was an activity planned only for the Chilean Students....so they thought, there was an extra spot for daughter #3, the only adult along for the ride was the Chilean teacher...so I offered to go for the ride, I haven't riden in over 29 years so I was given a beautiful Clydesdale named Queenie. Queenie had 2 speeds, stop and slow so she was perfect for me. I was lucky to be allowed to take my camera on the ride, nothing is allowed as the horses spook. Queenie was so calm I was allowed (I think because my camera makes me look like a professional helped too). The next day I had a very sore bum and some great photos. 

We asked the girls to cook us a traditional Chilean dish one night, empanadas (a Chilean pastie) this was a fun night, the girls took over the kitchen with daughter#3 helping. There was lots of laughing, singing and loud music, they were taking it in turns to chose music on youtube. The empanadas were very nice and I made sure to get a recipe. For a return treat I asked a friend for Melbourne who is Chilean what would be a good dish to cook for the girls. I made pastel de cholo, a layered corn pie. A&V were not only happy I did this for them, V cried. Her mother makes it for special occasions and it is a family favorite. This made me feel very very good.
pastel de cholo

As we were getting to the end of the stay the girls wanted to have some friends for a sleep over, they had both gone to friends places during the stay so I thought it was only fair, I was happy for them to invite as many as the wanted (sleepovers are not big deal for us) Only 3 extras. I was appalled to find out that one of the Chilean girls was staying with a family that denied her access to the internet and left her in charge of 2 very naughty boys who were always fighting. Her stay was not a very happy and she felt she couldn't complain as it was bad manners! I did a fair bit of complaining on her behalf, I am mad at myself for not asking our girls if all their friends were happy! We could have taken a third or another family could have been found. S had a great time at our place and refused to stay the last few days with us, she said it was best if she stuck it out. What a good girl. 

There were lots of tears on the last day. Ari refused to pack...if she packed it made it real and she would have to go home. We gave them a necklace with a platypus charm that HWMBO made, this made them cry even more. A few hours sleep and we were up at ridiculous (2:30am) o'clock to get the girls to the school for the bus to the airport. More tears and hugs that went forever. Most of the girls hugged me and made me promise I would be coming to Chile next year. Getting them all on the bus was like herding cats...almost impossible. Sad as they where to leave, they will  be glad to see their families and sleep in their own beds. 

I am know I will see them next year, I hope we see them back in Australia.