On exchange with Sarah and Dorina

Dorina (L) and Sarah (R)

Sarah

Sarah Palfi, 16, Campion College, Gisborne

On January 20 earlier this year, my “sister” arrived from the other side of the world — 14-year-old Dorina, who lives in Constance, Germany.

Almost an entire year ago, we made contact with Dorina’s family and learned about her wishes to be an exchange student in New Zealand. Dorina’s arrival came around so quickly, the days, weeks and months flying by for both of our families. Being an only child, I was extremely excited and curious to experience life with a younger sister — funnily, she is taller than me!

The instant I met Dorina at the airport after her three long flights, I felt such a strong connection.

We completely clicked. It’s such a hard thing to describe, meeting someone for the first time after Skyping and emailing for months, knowing immediately we would always be just like sisters in a special way.

Now we are more than halfway through exchange, Dorina and I are exactly like sisters, sharing a strong bond and doing typical teenage girl things together, minus the sibling fighting. To this day, we have not had a cross word or a single fight — our personalities just fit so well together which makes it possible to live in the same house yet not get sick of each other!

Having a younger sister has been a completely new and exciting thing to experience for me, words can’t say how much I love it! It’s certain I am going to shed many tears when Dorina’s six months in Gisborne comes to an end. I hate to think about life without her in the house.

When I wake up, after school and when I arrive home from various activities, I am always greeted with a cheerful “Hello!” from Dorina and the same question, “How was your day?” Even if I’ve had a slightly bad day or am feeling a little tired (as we all do from time to time), having a positive greeting definitely makes me feel so much better right away!

Dorina and I dance twice a week together at Dancefit Studios and she surfs on Wednesdays and Saturdays, which is more than enough to keep Mum busy, combined with my piano lessons, singing lessons and meetings for I am Youth.

Like sisters, we love to go shopping, walk up Kaiti Hill, listen to lots of music, watch our favourite TV programme, do fun photo shoots, do our makeup, eat pizza and spend hours enjoying each other’s company, simply talking, trying on dresses or giving each other wardrobe tours.

If my mum isn’t here, who will give me makeup tips, do up my dress, help me put on my necklace or plait my hair for me once Dorina leaves?

Oh boy, I’m going to need to learn how to do up bracelets with one hand and buy some more shoes — thanks Dorina for letting me borrow yours when we go out.

Dorina

Dorina Nittbaur, 14, Alexander von Humboldt Gymnasium, Konstanz, Germany

My friends thought I was crazy when I told them about my idea of spending half a year in another country, without my family and friends.

However it was always my dream to live in an English-speaking country, somewhere at the beach, so I was really happy when the opportunity for me to come to Gisborne arose.

Many things are different in Gisborne than they are in Germany but by now I’m used to them. For example, the cars drive on the other side of the road, which was really confusing in the beginning!

I still remember how excited I was when I sat in the plane from Auckland to Gisborne, waiting to finally meet my new family for the next six months, after almost a year of chatting, mailing and video chatting.

I thought it would be harder to live with a different family who have different routines and habits but Chris, Tom and Sarah are such a nice family and welcomed me like a true family member, which made it really easy for me to settle in.

I have a little brother back in Germany but I always wanted an older sister to be my role model and now I’ve got one! Sarah was like my sister from the very first time we met and she will always be my big sister.

I love New Zealand’s beaches, landscape, nature and culture and I’m so excited to see much more of it before my stay is over!

Sarah

Sarah Palfi, 16, Campion College, Gisborne

On January 20 earlier this year, my “sister” arrived from the other side of the world — 14-year-old Dorina, who lives in Constance, Germany.

Almost an entire year ago, we made contact with Dorina’s family and learned about her wishes to be an exchange student in New Zealand. Dorina’s arrival came around so quickly, the days, weeks and months flying by for both of our families. Being an only child, I was extremely excited and curious to experience life with a younger sister — funnily, she is taller than me!

The instant I met Dorina at the airport after her three long flights, I felt such a strong connection.

We completely clicked. It’s such a hard thing to describe, meeting someone for the first time after Skyping and emailing for months, knowing immediately we would always be just like sisters in a special way.

Now we are more than halfway through exchange, Dorina and I are exactly like sisters, sharing a strong bond and doing typical teenage girl things together, minus the sibling fighting. To this day, we have not had a cross word or a single fight — our personalities just fit so well together which makes it possible to live in the same house yet not get sick of each other!

Having a younger sister has been a completely new and exciting thing to experience for me, words can’t say how much I love it! It’s certain I am going to shed many tears when Dorina’s six months in Gisborne comes to an end. I hate to think about life without her in the house.

When I wake up, after school and when I arrive home from various activities, I am always greeted with a cheerful “Hello!” from Dorina and the same question, “How was your day?” Even if I’ve had a slightly bad day or am feeling a little tired (as we all do from time to time), having a positive greeting definitely makes me feel so much better right away!

Dorina and I dance twice a week together at Dancefit Studios and she surfs on Wednesdays and Saturdays, which is more than enough to keep Mum busy, combined with my piano lessons, singing lessons and meetings for I am Youth.

Like sisters, we love to go shopping, walk up Kaiti Hill, listen to lots of music, watch our favourite TV programme, do fun photo shoots, do our makeup, eat pizza and spend hours enjoying each other’s company, simply talking, trying on dresses or giving each other wardrobe tours.

If my mum isn’t here, who will give me makeup tips, do up my dress, help me put on my necklace or plait my hair for me once Dorina leaves?

Oh boy, I’m going to need to learn how to do up bracelets with one hand and buy some more shoes — thanks Dorina for letting me borrow yours when we go out.

Dorina

Dorina Nittbaur, 14, Alexander von Humboldt Gymnasium, Konstanz, Germany

My friends thought I was crazy when I told them about my idea of spending half a year in another country, without my family and friends.

However it was always my dream to live in an English-speaking country, somewhere at the beach, so I was really happy when the opportunity for me to come to Gisborne arose.

Many things are different in Gisborne than they are in Germany but by now I’m used to them. For example, the cars drive on the other side of the road, which was really confusing in the beginning!

I still remember how excited I was when I sat in the plane from Auckland to Gisborne, waiting to finally meet my new family for the next six months, after almost a year of chatting, mailing and video chatting.

I thought it would be harder to live with a different family who have different routines and habits but Chris, Tom and Sarah are such a nice family and welcomed me like a true family member, which made it really easy for me to settle in.

I have a little brother back in Germany but I always wanted an older sister to be my role model and now I’ve got one! Sarah was like my sister from the very first time we met and she will always be my big sister.

I love New Zealand’s beaches, landscape, nature and culture and I’m so excited to see much more of it before my stay is over!

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