After riding out the worst of the coronavirus trapped on the other side of the world from home, Celestin Vervaeke is heading back to France.
Celestin wrapped up his 12-month stay in Blayney on Tuesday as he jumped on a flight back home, but said he'd treasured the memories he'd made on what was an unforgettable trip - even without the late arrival of COVID-19.
Despite being worried he might not be able to say goodbye to friends made on the trip in person, Celestin was able to head to school on Monday for a farewell, as well as hosting several friends to a social-distanced gathering this week.
"I don't know how to feel, I am sort of sad but also happy to see my family and friends again," he said.
While he said he still had to farewell a few friends over text messages, being able to see most of them in person was "really nice" considering just a few weeks ago he was expecting NSW to be in complete lockdown.
Celestin will have to go into isolation with his parents for two weeks after he arrives back in France, with the country still in lockdown for people coming internationally.
However, once he's out of isolation he's hoping to see as many of his friends as he can while following social distance laws, which are hitting his home town of Lille harder than some other regions of the country.
However, he said after spending 12 months in Blayney, he was determined to come back to the Central West, and to Australia in general.
"It's sad to leave, definitely," he said.
"I want to come back in two years, after my exams."
Celelstin had loved trips to Sydney, labelling them one of the highlights of his stay in Australia, but said the country had "so many beautiful landscapes".
Trips to the Blue Mountains and further afield also gave him a proper taste of Australia, but the simple things also enthralled him during his stay before lockdown began, such as spending time with his host family, the Whittens, as well as heading to the skate park and other parts of town.