June 6, 2010
In less than two weeks our journey through New Zealand will come to an end. As time seems to work against us, I can only ask myself, “What have I accomplished in the last four weeks?” and “What do I want to achieve in the next two?”
1. Maori culture: We have been placed within their culture and have learned so much about them. Unfortunately I feel there is much more to discover about these tribes. The lack of Maori in the South Island restricts our current learning so my knowledge will be enhanced through literature.
Objective 1: read a book on Maori.
2. Sustainability: This trip focuses on sustainability but I feel we have only done enough environmentally to get a small taste. This South Island experience should get us involved with the “nitty gritty.” This is our chance to physically experience the real thing on a whole new level.
Objective 2: place myself in every environmental opportunity and experience as much as I can.
3. Friendships: The ability for relationships to begin and grow in four weeks time is remarkable. The people in our group ranged from good friends to complete strangers at the beginning of this trip. I am now developing quality relationships with all of them. What happens next?
Objective 3: retain relationships even after New Zealand.
There is so much more I could touch base on but these three are the biggest.
One day you’re with fifteen other students and two leaders staying in a cozy warm hostel. Then WHAM! You have to go for almost three days without guidance, hardly knowledge of where you’re going, and what you’re doing. So basically you just have to wing it, which is exactly what I did. This will be the second time I’ve gone on free travel. This time I will be spending some lovely quality time with Isaac, Emily, Rachel, and Kelby. We’re headed off to a small town called Picton on the South Island. The only way to get there is by plane or ferry. We chose the ferry. I’ll get to fly home again so I thought it would be a good way to see more of the land and water up close that you wouldn’t get to experience on a plane. Every time I looked out the window I couldn’t help but think it looked like Jurassic Park out there. I expected this huge water dinosaur to pop out of the water and eat the ferry.
Anyways, we got to Picton and found out that our hostel was only five minutes away. That was really convenient. Come to find out this place really had false advertising. They promised a lovely nice heated pool and a free breakfast. We were so excited to get in that pool after a long rainy day. All of us got on our bathing suits and were ready to hop in and relax. I’m so glad I didn’t hop in. I would have frozen to death or gotten hypothermia. I was the only smart one out of the group. I didn’t give into peer pressure when they were trying to lure me into the pool. I stood my ground and stayed warm. Even when they taunted me with chocolate, which is something I can’t resist. I’m pretty proud of myself for standing my ground. Another thing they promised us was free breakfast. I then understood why it was free. All they had was a loaf of bread, butter and sketchy jelly. And let me just say the staff at Atlantis backpackers was so hospitable……Just kidding. They were probably some of the rudest people I’ve ever met. Breakfast with them was so enjoyable. I can guarantee I will probably never go back there, unless they heat their pool. Maybe, just maybe.
Over the free travel we got to celebrate Isaac and Emily’s birthdays. I felt pretty privileged. We let them pick where they wanted to eat for breakfast. They chose out of all the places a restaurant called Drexel’s, which is an all American breakfast place. I was so excited because they had………STRIPPED BACON! My favorite thing ever! That really made my day. I think they had great birthdays. They got free Starbucks coffee, which was awesome. While walking around and looking at shops I found a hat worth ten New Zealand dollars because before my trip my mom packed away all our winter stuff. But that’s ok. I had a reason to get a nice little New Zealand hat. I really had a great time on free travel this time. I made some new friendships that I wouldn’t have gotten to make a EMU.
This past week I’ve been really thinking about my sister Morgan because she’s graduating and I’ll miss it. I feel really guilty about missing it because she always comes to my things so to be the good big sister I want to come to hers. I wish I could have been there for her because it was a big moment for her. I’m so proud of her. She’s accomplished so much. I’m disappointed though that she’s going to Bridgewater because we’re going to be rivals now. Just kidding. Maybe she’ll do a mock graduation for me when I get home. I miss my family occasionally but I know they want me to have fun and get the most out of my experience. I can’t wait to tell them all my great stories and adventures. I love them so much. It will be bitter sweet leaving New Zealand and going back home. I hope I can make it back here one day. It’s a place I’ll never forget.