A friend’s recent post made me stop and think - what is the purpose of this blog? I’m sending out photographs and idealized happy times into the cyber world, but what is their intent? Another question: where are the hard times?
This adventure has not been without struggles. When my dog died at home, it took everything I had to hold myself together and drag myself onwards. Homesickness would hit me like a truck at the most inconvenient times. A difficult flatmate situation left me feeling hopelessly unhappy in my own apartment. School brought along its typical cocktail of essays, exam stress, and procrastination. But I would have to say that the good times exponentially outnumbered the bad, and I think that is the point I am trying to make.
I didn’t document the difficulties so much, because those were the times when I learned the really hard lessons. I won’t be forgetting them any time soon. But I wanted to keep track of all the things that brought me happiness – the people, places, and experiences – so that a few years from now when I have forgotten all the tiny details, I can scroll through and see the colours and words of a truly positive experience, which will form the backdrop for all the things I learned.
Life upside down gave me a whole new perspective. It forced me to redefine myself in light of the choices I have made, to examine closely my ideals and set a path for the future. I think the most important thing I learned is that I am in control. Of my life, of my experiences, and of my happiness. There will ALWAYS be highs and lows, but it is up to me to find the best in all things. I can never rely on anyone to do that for me. I learned that I am strong and smart and adventurous. I learned that I can do just about anything on my own. And, paradoxically, I think it is this realization that brought me closer to the people around me. I experienced a social life that I’ve never had before, because I chose to actively seek positive connections and surround myself with them. I am so grateful to all the amazing friends I have found.
The internet is a permanent record. That is good, because one day when I drop my computer in a swimming pool and lose all of my photos, this blog will still be out there somewhere, waiting to be rediscovered. I don’t care if anyone else reads it, but if they do I hope they are encouraged to go out and live upside down for a little while, and see what they find out. I have exactly 17 days left in this wonderful country and you can trust that I will make the most of it! Perhaps there is one more thing to be learned.
With classes over and less than a month left in New Zealand, I’m beginning to feel like time is going by too quickly. I have managed to tick off most of the items on my list, but there are a few more things I’d like to do before I leave. I am writing them down so that I won’t forget to do at least some of them. Here goes:
- Go to Zealandia, a nature sanctuary just outside of Wellington
- Go horseback riding with Mae
- See the Marlborough Sounds (with Mom and Dad in just a few weeks!)
- Get my sunglasses back from Charlotte on the South Island
- Visit the museums in Wellington – Museum of Wellington City and Sea, City Gallery, Te Papa (again) and New Zealand Portrait Gallery
- Go to Hobbiton from The Lord of the Rings
- Go rock climbing at Ferg’s on the waterfront
- Walk to Oriental Bay (Wellington’s only beach) and climb Mt. Victoria
- Catch a harbour ferry to Somes Island
- Take a tour of Parliament
- Do the Red Rocks coastal walk
All that and studying for finals??? I’d better get started!