Allo marianne…

– Bonjour, c’est PIE à l’appareil.
Le coeur qui bat, les mains moites. Je vais savoir
– Tu es placée dans une famille avec deux enfants — deux filles — dans la banlieue de Sydney.
– C’est merveilleux (traduire : « Tu as vraiment de la chance ma fille, tu aurais pu tomber en Tasmanie, dans le fin fond du bush, alors que là, tu vas pouvoir aller à Bondaï Beach tous les week-ends, faire bronzette, surfer, rencontrer des purs Australiens…).
– Il y a juste une petite chose. Ta famille d’accueil souhaite que tu ailles dans la même école que celle de leurs enfants : une école privée… une école de filles.
– Patatras. Je sentais bien que quelque chose allait clocher. Je tombe de ma chaise, fesse par terre : « École… privée… filles, privée, école… ». Ce n’est pas possible. Je ne survivrai pas.
Quatre mois plus tard, je suis heureuse de vous annoncer que je suis bel et bien vivante. Je ne vais pas à Bondaï Beach tous les week-ends, je ne me suis pas mise au surf, je ne connais pas tant d’Australiens que ça ; à l’école, il manque un peu de présence masculine, et les potins vont bon train (pas étonnant me direz-vous) ! Mais pour le reste tout va bien : je me suis bien intégrée, et tout ici est amusant. J’apprends à rire de toutes ces petites histoires sans importance que les filles partagent avec plaisir, en prenant la fâcheuse habitude de tout exagérer.

Extraits du discours d’adieu de Marianne à sa « High School » :

[…] My exchange is ending very soon, and this assembly is the last one I’ll attend. I’m very glad to stand here today, to talk to all of you about my year in Australia, and especially at Meriden. […] Before leaving France, I was dreaming about my future life in Australia. I also had several nightmares, seeing myself staying at some places such as Alice Springs, the Victorian bush, or worse, Canberra. I felt very lucky to get a host family in Sydney. But, because there is a but… I had been told that I had to go to a PRIVATE GIRL SCHOOL. I didn’t even know that this still existed! In France, I was attending a public co-ed school. Now, I had to leave my family and my friends, move to a unisex school, wear a uniform… (And a Hat) ! My family and friends found it hilarious, I was very scared. […] For my first few weeks, I had to get used to the school routine. Houses, assembles, chapels… Everything was new for me. I spent my first birthday away from my family, and was not homesick yet. I went to the yr 10 formal, which was also completely new for me. I loved it, and felt a bit like I was in an American TV show.

[…] The fourth term of school was for sure the hardest for me. Homesickness, feeling of depression, I wanted to go home. But luckily, the summer break came up very quickly. The first week of the holidays I went shopping in Melbourne with 10 year 12 girls… simply crazy. I was delighted, my parents more disappointed when they checked my expenses. I spent my first Christmas in summer, went away for two weeks in a beach house with my host family, (And had to put my head in the sand for some crazy art project…) tried surfing, and went out with some friends the rest of the time.

[…] The first term of year 11 was definitely the best all round. I was integrated in the year group, absolutely loved all of my subjects and made my friendships stronger everyday. I was used to the Australian slang, some people mentioned that I was starting to have an Aussie accent, and I was (and still) addicted to Tim Tams.But why am I standing in front of you today ? I don’t really want to share every moment of my year with you, because every exchange is unique and incomparable. I only wish to give you envy to do the same thing as I did. I am conscious that it is a frightening decision to make, and that life is not easy everyday.

[…] It is hard to live away from home and all your habits, its hard to get used to a different family, a different school, a different country. But this year made me growing up so much; and the ability to talk two languages became in spite of everything only a small part of all what I experienced the past 10 months.

[…] Last, but not least, I want to dedicate a huge thank you to all the girls in year 11. You are all amazing people, and I’ll always remember these moments spent with you. Either the formal, the year 10 camp, the carnivals, or the normal days of school, You have always been by my side. I realize that you are now all part of my life, and I will always be grateful for what you did for me, from the beginning to the end. So whatever everyone says about you, I am convinced that you are the most human, friendly and crazy girls I’ve ever met.

[…] Thank you all, my year at Meriden is one of the most amazing challenge I’ve ever been through, and it has been enjoyable because of all of the Meriden community.

Marianne, Cabarita, New South Wales, Un an en Australie