Less than ONE week. I can’t believe I’m going to be on a plane back to America in about five days. There were times where it felt like this moment would never come. You know how they talk about that cultural adjustment curve?
I was in that low slump for a couple weeks around my 5th and 6th week. I felt like August 9th was never going to come. Of course that sounds dramatic, but it was a huge struggle at that time. It took extra effort to get up at 630am to get ready and go to work. I had to find a good balance between letting myself be homesick and feel lonely to get it out of my system, but not to sulk too much so it wouldn’t lead to a pessimistic view of the whole experience. Keeping in touch with family and friends always made me feel better and stepping away from things like Facebook and watching movies in order to get some fresh air and enjoy the beautiful scenery I’m surrounded by was always helpful.
Now that I have such a short time left the bittersweet aspect of living abroad is starting to really kick in. Over my 10 weeks here I became close with some of my coworkers and I’m really going to miss the perfect balance of learning and laughing I have every day at work. My internship wouldn’t have been as amazing as it was without the help and friendliness of the individuals I worked with. On weekends, they would invite me over for movie nights and outdoorsy activities like canoeing.
The other intern who was also in Whanganui had only a 6 week internship, so when she left, I was left to travel on weekends alone. Traveling alone seems a little daunting at first, but it’s actually quite enjoyable. It’s almost empowering knowing that you are okay with being alone and have trust in yourself to confront any problems that may arise. It definitely forces you to break out of your shell.
Speaking of traveling alone…this past weekend was my last weekend in New Zealand, so I thought I would go out with a bang. Besides skydiving and bungee jumping, the last major adventure experience left was rafting! I traveled on the bus by myself, stayed in a cheap hostel, etc. and when Saturday morning came, I was ready for the last large adventure in New Zealand. There was a huge group of more than 40 people who showed up so we ended up taking 6 rafts out and when we got to the Tongariro River, it was raining! Rafting was much more intense than I anticipated. I thought there was going to be long stretches of calm waters and intense rapids every now and then. Well, I was completely wrong. There was over 50 rapids! They weren’t small, little bumpy rapids either. They were intense, “hold on!” “Get down!” rapids. One raft ahead of ours even tipped over and it was really scary because it went from fun to serious in a matter of seconds. Thankfully, everyone made it out okay and let’s just say, I was glad when my feet were planted back on ground. Even after saying that, I still loved it and would do it again, probably in warmer weather though…
Being in New Zealand has made me appreciate adventure and risk-taking. It has taught me to embrace unknown and unfamiliar situations. These last upcoming days I’m going to just take everything in and take advantage of my last week in New Zealand. Although I am starting to prep myself for going home to the States by catching up on some country music.
I can’t believe the next time I write, I’ll be back in good ole’ Wisco…