Time is an interesting thing. On one hand, I can’t believe I’ve been living in this beautiful country for almost three weeks now. I have done some pretty incredible things such as kayaking, mountain biking, hiking, curling, and I even took a tour of a chocolate factory (not quite like Willie Wonka’s but the amount of free chocolate I got made up for the fact there were no Oompa Loompas wandering around)! I’ve witnessed a beautiful sunrise in Auckland and powerful waves pounding against the cliffs at Tunnel Beach. I have met some incredible people from all over the world, all with unique stories of their own. I’ve survived “The Zoo” at a local rugby match (despite the fact I understand very little about the sport). The point is, I have done a whole lot in a short amount of time. It feels like just yesterday I was boarding a plane in San Francisco with a bunch of other random college kids who had no idea what to expect.
But in other moments, it feels like time has moved at an incredibly slow rate. Sometimes I think of how it has ONLY been three weeks and I have another FOUR MONTHS until I return home. It’s safe to say, in addition to all the great things I’ve done, I also have had my first feeling of homesickness. Since I never really felt anything like it before, it has certainly been a new challenge to cope and work through it. There were times that I didn’t care I was doing all these wonderful things down here, I just wanted to get back home. I was pushed out my comfort zone and I didn’t like it. I knew if I wanted to enjoy myself here, I had to be open to accepting this stretch of my comfort zone. So I took (and still am taking) each day one at a time. Each day I have felt better and better about being here. With each day, I shed a little bit of homesickeness and trade it for a little bit of excitement for the rest of my time here. For me, getting involved was the best way to feel more comfortable being here. I’ve already signed up to go on a ski trip to Cardrona, moutain bike the Otago Peninsula, as well as take surfing lessons. I play basketball at Unipol (the local gym) a few times a week and through that have met some very cool Kiwis.
At times, being here isn’t easy and that’s ok. It doesn’t have to be perfect every moment I’m here. That being said, this experience is what I make of it. I want it to be some of the best months of my life, so I’m trying to do the necessary things to make sure that happens. For me, it starts with a positive mindset and taking each day as it comes. With the great support I have back home and the fantastic people I have met so far, I know my time in New Zealand will be filled with memories that I can’t wait to start making.