Dear Tauranga Te Papa Members,
I’m currently on exchange in Moscow, Idaho of the United States. Over these past nine months I have been to many places on my exchange I thought I would share some with you all, so you could all see what it is that I have been up to, so here goes….
So far, my entire exchange has been jammed packed with traveling, changes and excitement. 
Whilst in Kauai with my first host family we had loads of adventures, I completed a 16km hike of the Napali Coast line, we had several days with blazing hot sun where I just swam and snorkelled, we went to a traditional Laua.  For three days of our trip though we experienced countless flash flood warnings, however somehow I still managed to leave looking fried. Through my rotary district 5080 I have gone on two Rotary trips, the first being to a town called Rossland in British Columbia, Canada, this trip was great fun where I got to meet all the other RYE students in my district. The second trip was a ski weekend to 49 degrees north, in the State of Washington, this was so amazing and such an active weekend that I enjoyed thoroughly.
Along with taking me to Kauai, my first host family has taken me snow shoeing, cross country skiing, these are things I had never experienced before, they were so fun but required so much energy and co-ordination which I’m kind of still trying to get a hang of so I ended up in the snow more times than I can count. We often go on drives to new places so I can see more or to go hiking which is really enjoyable.  My host father has also taken me out to spot moose which are reported to on the out skirts of Moscow, but we haven’t managed to find them yet.
Through my Rotary district 5080 I have been able to do a lot of travelling throughout the state of Idaho, across the border to Canada and into the states of Alberta and British Columbia. This was an 12 day bus tour with the rotary students in my district, this tour was so amazing and I was able to visit many historical sites that are unique to Canada.
Prom soon rolled around which was great fun. I found that this was very similar to the school balls back home, however despite this it was an amazing time, I went with a group of friends to prom which made it all the better.  
Shortly after prom and my tour around Canada I moved into my second host family which happens to be diagonally across the street from my first home. Originally when moving into my second family I felt uneasy as to be expected but they are all amazing people, I have an older sister Maia (18) and an younger brother Jonah (15). The move from my first to my second came with a fair share of surprises, it was to my shock when they told me that they didn’t have an television or a microwave and that there was only one bathroom for the whole house of five. Despite these surprises it has proven to be very interesting as when I want to bake anything I have to run back across the street to my first family to soften my butter. 
My second family took me into Canada to Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast, this was truly worth the 3 ferry’s and the 18 hour drive. We went to many beach’s, went kayaking around some of the coasts and my favourite was each day we went out on the boats and almost every day we saw seals. 
In June and July, I went on a month-long tour around the united states where I went to 25 states that now brings me to a total of 30 states that I have been too over the last nine months. Out of all of the states that in which I have visited I have concluded that my favorites are; Idaho, Washington and Hawaii. On my tour I visited the following states, Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington D.C.
Outside of the tour I have visited these states; Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Hawaii.
In these last three months I have restarted school going into my senior year 1st semester of the class of 2019, this is keeping things hectic and is a lot more enjoyable that my prior semester at Moscow High. Over the last two weeks I have moved into my 3rd and final family, this has been a really great experience and I’m enjoying it tremendously.  On the first day of school all of the seniors meet at the highest point in Moscow to watch the sunrise, this required a lot of effort to pull myself out of bed at 4 in the morning then go to a full day of school but was defiantly worth it.
For several of the past weekend I have visited the fairs in Moscow, Idaho and in Lewiston, we went on plenty of rides that absolutely terrified me, this was a first for me on my exchange I however do think I picked up the fair fever all the locals talk about. Whilst down in the Lewiston fair I went to an hoco (homecoming) football game with my friends this was really exciting as well, the hoco kings and queens for each grade rode out on golf carts and performed a dance in the center of the football field while the cheerleaders performed their routine dances.
I had one weekend where I went up to a camp called Luther haven up near Spokane, Washington this was held by my Rotary cross-border district that was for all of the inbound students that were coming into the district, I loved having the opportunity that is provided as a result of our January to January calendar to meet and form friendships with two lots of exchange students throughout my exchange.
All of my families’ love going camping so it has become a regular occurrence that I go camping all over the place regularly. Since my last report I have gone on three camping trips 2 with my second family and 1 with my first and third family. On the trips with my second family we went down to the hells canyon, and onto the salmon river. We camped right on the edge of the river on a sandbank on both of these trips my host parents had us go rafting. On one of the trips it was only me and my host family and then on the second trip it was with my host families running group, so this was really large with over 20 people. We spent 13 hours on the river in big rafts and small inflatable rafts for only one person however I took my friend Beza on this trip and we rafted in a one-person raft for 2 hours going down rapids and plenty of large drops. With my second and fist families I just went on a long weekend camping trip up to a river called the St Johns however since we are in fall here we couldn’t go rafting cause it’s so cold in the water now.
I have been very blessed to have had so many great experiences here and I can’t wait for what is to come in these next three months but at the same time I’m sad already to leave all that I have here.
I just want to say a massive thank you to all of you for being my sponsor club I have loved every experience that I have over these last nine months, sure there have been many up’s and downs and plenty of times when I’ve just wanted to come home and be with my family but sticking through this has grown my personality and made me so much stronger than I ever thought it would. But because of my parents, family and rotary I have been able to make the most of this year with every ounce of support everyone has given me.
So, there you have it this has so far been the last 9 months of my exchange and almost everything I have been up to and done.
Kalista Ellis,
Moscow, Idaho, USA.