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One last walk through the “Botans”

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Weta Cave!

Weta Cave!

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So… what’s the point?

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.

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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!

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My international buddy, Mae, has been incredibly helpful throughout my exchange. We had a day off of school for the Queen’s Birthday, and we both needed a break from studying. So we went up Tinakori Hill to get a panoramic view of Wellington, then we drove out to Makara Beach. It was so nice to get out of the city again, and the views were fantastic. But it sure was windy!

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Supermoon, Wellington Harbour

Supermoon, Wellington Harbour

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We went to a ball… dancing ensued.

We went to a ball… dancing ensued.

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My very first rugby game! GO HURRICANES!

My very first rugby game! GO HURRICANES!

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Part 7: Auckland and the long journey home (by train!)