366 days of gratitude

There’s a huge element of luck in hosting an exchange student.

We struck the jackpot when we did it more than 20 years ago and he and his family have become ours.

He is Argentinean and we’ve just returned from nine wonderful days there.

We caught up with our exchangee, his family and friends in San Nicolas, Pergamino, Mendoza and Buenos Aires.

We ate a lot of meat, drank some wine and visited el Mercado de Liniers  – the Buenos Aires cattle market which was having a quiet day – only about 6,000 head of cattle, because of a strike.

We also travelled to Mendoza and drove up a mountain pass in the Andes; and returned to Buenos Aires to watch the All Blacks play the Pumas.

It was our ninth trip to Argentina and, like the previous ones, made us appreciate that country and its people and ours.

Today I’m grateful for happy holidays and safe homecomings.

I’m also grateful that I was out of the country when the clocks went forward. The start of daylight saving always makes me feel jet-lagged and I reckon if I’m going to feel that way it’s better to do so as the result of travel rather than mucking about with time.

5 Responses to 366 days of gratitude

  1. Paul Scott says:

    I suppose the farmer checks out those big beef farms over there. Do we quarantine him when he gets back to NZ. They took quite a pounding with foot and mouth restrictions I think.
    Even writing that down frightens me.

  2. Teletext says:

    We’ve had few homestay students over the last few years. Most from South Korea and this earlier this year 2 from Japan. We have become friends with most of the families and my wife and daughters have visited and stayed with some of them. Our lives have been improved by knowing these families

  3. Gravedodger says:

    Hosting exchanges of many schemes have a tendency to bridge streams that have a potential to create boundaries and divide people.

    To have German and Japanese youth, from countries that as a child were mortal enemies has added enormously to understanding.
    Many of my parents generation would never buy a Toyota or a Mercedes due to treatment suffered in WW2.

    YFC and Country Girls were my first contact with youth from Europe and Germans were included, by the time my children were teenagers that net widened to include youth from my generation’s enemies in the Eastern bloc.

    Rotary, Lions, are particurly well equipped to sponsered as they are apolitical and sans official religious dogma.

    Such international activity is so much more useful than the plethora of “Sister city” rubbish that polllies of local and national hue are so enamoured of.

  4. Will says:

    We hosted four teenage Japanese girls once. They loved the farm; squealing noisily as they rode around on the back of the Landrover. They stroked the horses, patted the dogs, pointed at cattle and posed for photographs with sheep. We had heard Japanese won’t eat mutton, but served it anyway. They tore into it like a starving wolf pack. Looked shocked when we managed to communicate they were eating sheep. Couldn’t understand a word of each others language. Very pretty and petite – used terrifying quantities of hot water.

  5. Name Withheld says:

    “Sister city” rubbish that polllies of local and national hue are so enamoured of.
    Rubbish indeed. Some cities have more than one ‘sister’. Wellington has six!
    Simply an excuse for Council troughers to globe-trot on the ratepayers dollar.

    The Invercargill City Council is sending five people to Japan to visit sister city Kumagaya on Friday – just days after the council copped heavy criticism for sending three staff members to Chinese sister city Suqian to buy Christmas lights.
    That contingent arrived home minus any lights and the council copped a barrage of criticism, however it is proceeding with a visit to its other sister city, Kumagaya in Japan.

    Sister city relationships provide no benefits except to those who travel on junkets to celebrate them.

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