First Night in Dunedin
Written: July 1
Day four in New Zealand and I’ve just unpacked into my room in the University Flats in Dunedin. Feels good to be settled in and no longer living out of suitcases. That said, orientation was an awesome experience and undoubtedly helped me get adjusted to NZ time, wrap my head around all the changes and meet some awesome people. After landing in Auckland at 6 am local time we boarded a bus that took us to the Shakespear Lodge on the Whangaparaoa Peninsula. Spent the rest of the day (Friday) exploring the peninsula, playing touch rugby and eating “kai” throughout. By dinner time it was a miracle I was still standing – two days with no sleep save for a couple hours on the flight. Passed out immediately after dinner. Rest of the weekend’s activities included sea kayaking, a “bush wander” through restored conservation land, various informative talks about Dunedin, classes, being an international student at a university of 25,000, a visit to a hotsprings and the adjacent pub, exploring downtown Auckland, a few museums. This was topped off by a visit to a Marae where we learned traditional Maori customs and spent a night immersed in their culture.The Maori introduce themselves to one another and strangers by identifying their mountain, their river and their sea or lake that defines their home.
Saturday night I ended up on the beach looking at the stars, the city of Auckland in the distance with volcanic Rangitoto Island in the foreground talking with new friends about this experience we’ve found ourselves on. Pretty amazing night. It’s all been great so far.
Flew into Dunedin as the sun set over snowcapped mountains – the scene was very surreal. From the airplane, I felt like I was landing in the most remote corneriest corner of the globe. Then I ate pizza and drank beer and watched rugby with people I’ve become close to in absolutely no time and didn’t feel so isolated at all. Dunedin exploration starts tomorrow.