Coffee is the Cure
It’s bizarre knowing that I’ve now been in New Zealand for over two weeks. It feels like so much longer and yet I still can’t believe I’m here at all. In these past few weeks, I’ve climbed (and slipped back down) muddy mountains, nearly been blown over a cliff by the wind (not a joke—be careful along steep edges), and helped cheer The Highlanders to a 25-15 win over The Chiefs. I actually paid attention to the rugby game and it was a really exciting win, but I couldn’t quite sing along to “Sweet Caroline” when it came on because it will always be The Red Sox anthem to me.
Although I’m loving my experience so far, I’ve also experienced my first bouts with homesickness. I’ve never been one to miss home but I’ve also never been so far from it. Besides my jealousy of it being summer back in the states, I genuinely miss little things like going to exercise class with my mom and waiting tables at the restaurant where I work. I can’t even begin to fathom what it’s like for people who live across the world from their loved ones for years at a time.
Luckily, I’ve found a cure to my homesickness: alone time. This may sound confusing because you’d assume that in order to get over missing people, I’d want to be surrounded by other people. Although this is sometimes the case, I’ve found that sitting alone in a coffee shop with nothing but a book, a journal, and a cup of coffee (or chai) does wonders for my mental health. I’ve declared a mission to go to as many coffee shops during my semester as possible. So far I’ve gone to four, which is not bad if I do say so myself. I’m starting to have favorites but I know that there are plenty more to be found. In each one, I look over the menu (which is usually the same but I do it anyways for the novelty of it), order my drink, and sit for hours with my headphones in and either a pen and journal or a book. I’m currently reading “The Art of Fielding” in honor of the baseball season back home that I’m missing. It’s a wonderful book and I highly recommend it. My only complaint on the coffee shop scene is how early they all close. Honestly, when is the last time a person said “Oh man, it’s four o’ clock, I guess I can’t drink any more hot drinks until tomorrow.”? I don’t get it, but because I appreciate the atmosphere so much, I abide by their rules without complaint.
This last paragraph is not to say that the people here aren’t wonderful—they are. Each and every day I meet a new person who astounds me with their story. I can’t go a day without becoming engaged in some sort of deeply interesting conversation with one of my flatmates. I feel so lucky that I get to share my experience in such a stunning place with other people who appreciate it as much as I do. I know there are more adventures to come and I only hope that they will turn into stories I remember and continue telling forever.