Jillian Pellicano, the Lions Abroad marketing intern, writes:
Sometimes the hardest part about leaving home can be sleeping in another house. When I first found out farmstays were part of the North Queensland program, I was a bit hesitant, but I decided to put my best foot forward and just go with it.
To my surprise, my farmstay turned out to be one of my favorite program components. Two classmates and I were placed with locals Graham and Sandra (Sandy) Turner for our farmstay. Upon our arrival, the Turners filled us in on family news, which included the fact that their youngest son, Phil, was expecting his firstborn son any day! Sandy explained that the due date was approaching, and that if the baby arrived during our farmstay weekend, then we would all be making the visit to meet their newest family member. Nothing makes you feel more welcome than an invitation to the birth of their first grandchild!
From then on, things only got better. At every meal, we sat around the table for a couple of hours just talking like an actual family. For the first time on the program, I was completely calm and comfortable. Sandy showed us around their 226-acre farm and let us up-close and personal with some of the animals, including roughly 200 cattle, three horses, five dogs, a rooster and seven chickens (which they refer to as chooks).
Among the animals we met, my favorite was a miniature horse named Rupert. Just like the family dogs, Rupert stayed by our side exploring the farm and occasionally trying to sneak into the house. He was definitely a nice and unusual surprise for my classmates and me.
While we weren’t there for the birth of their grandchild, we could not have asked for a better home to welcome us and we are so thankful for the hospitality and generosity of the Turner Family. Saying goodbye to my Aussie Mom and Dad was almost as difficult as saying goodbye to my actual parents when leaving for the program. But just as parents do, they sent us off with a bag full of goodies to take home! We still keep in touch with Sandy and Graham through Facebook, which allows us to see plenty pictures of Austin William, the newest addition to the incredible Turner Family!