The end…well almost.
So as most students in the United States are recovering from mid term exams, I’m stuck inside the main library at Canterbury attempting to accomplish some final exam studying. To be honest, I’m not exactly studying but rather browsing the internet. I also just happened to check the weather and it’s a beautiful 21ºC or 70ºF, so that’s not exactly helping with the motivation factor. But I told myself that if I finish this blog entry (because printing 3 documents does not count as an accomplishment) I can go outside and enjoy the sunshine and beautiful spring weather.
It’s bizarre to think about how last week was my final week of classes in New Zealand, but it definitely went out with a bang. While Friday was technically still a day for lectures, most students attended Tea Party. This is an all day, end of year celebration with a couple Kiwi bands and some DJs mixed in. Kiwis also do not celebrate Halloween, however they tend to make any excuse to dress up in costumes. Since I didn’t bring my go to sailor costume did not make it into my suitcase, I had to come up with a new idea. With my red hair, pale skin, and freckles I became Ginger Bread. Ginger in regards to a person with these qualities is pronounced differently than it’s food namesake. The “ging” is said like the word “sing”. The costume was great until my bread backpack got a little soggy and someone ate the ginger off of my headband. Actually the day was sweet as.
(Sidenote: “sweet as” is a slang term in New Zealand, it means cool or awesome) (Sidenote 2: you can also add the word as to the end of any adjective. For example: My ancestors were brave as when they got on the boat to travel to New Zealand.)
For those that know me, I am quite the klutz. I was actually surprised that it took me this long to injure myself while in New Zealand. And while my cover story is that I mucked up my foot saving a puppy from an avalanche, I really only just fell down the stairs. Other injury of the day: a severely burnt tongue, which after a week has still not fully recovered.
Canterbury has a study week before the commencement of the final exam period. So like any good student we (Alyshia, Dylan, and I) decided to study, and by study we hopped on a plane to Wellington, the capitol of New Zealand. We had to alter some of our plans since I was crutch bound for the week – but in reality we didn’t have any plans for what we were going to do while in Wellington. We checked into the backpackers around 7:30 pm on Monday and immediately set out for a grocery store. After we settled into the backpacker, we headed out to an Irish pub to get some snacks and to relax after our day of travels.
The next morning we decided to take the cable car to the botanical gardens. We walked around/I gimped around the botanical gardens and we eventually ended up at a free shuttle to Zealandia, a protected wildlife restoration project. At this point I was kind of exhausted from our stroll around the botanical gardens but the shuttle man mentioned that I could borrow a mobility scooter. Sweet as! The day got better when we found out that we got both exhibits for $10 because Tuesdays are special student days. Even better! The staff members showed us a map and pointed out a few trails that we needed avoid because of the scooter. The trails in the park were initially paved and eventually led to some gravel trails and then things started to get a little questionable to the point where I felt as though I were off-roading in a motorized scooter. The photos Dylan took are possibly some of my favorites from New Zealand.
After our Zealandia adventures, we headed off to the Beehive where parliament is located. We toured around the city for a bit more and headed back to the hostel to prepare the traditional dinner of pasta with vegetables and cheese where we then hung out in the common room meeting a few more backpacker guests.
The next morning the weather wasn’t exactly optimal hang outdoor weather, so we headed over to Te Papa, a free museum. The selling point was actually the price, but we actually wound up spending a good bit of the day there. We walked around the harbour where I pulled off some sweet as hopscotch skills (See video). As it was now our last night in Wellington, we decided to go to some of the clubs within the city. We had a great time dancing, and I refreshed my memory as to why I shouldn’t play pool.
On Thursday we had to repack our things and head back to the airport. The issue was that we all booked our flights at different times, leading to us all departing at different points in the day. The cheapest thing for us to do was to head as a group to the airport and split the taxi fare. Thus leading to Dylan and I spending the entire day in the Wellington airport. I was thankful to have picked up the book “Ice Station” at the backpacker.
Friday morning we had our last IFSA event – the farewell dinner. While it was titled “Dinner” in reality it was an all day chocolate tasting tour at She Chocolat. I definitely got my chocolate fix in for a few months. It was a wonderful event, however it was somewhat shocking because it meant that our study abroad experience was coming to an end. We nominated each other for awards. I received – best dressed, most adorable, and best and worst party trick.
It’s difficult to think about going back to the states because New Zealand has been my home for the past four and a half months. I am so happy that I decided to extend my stay until December 1st, and I wish I could extend it for even longer