So this is it, I guess. I’m surprised at how sentimental I’ve been in the last couple of days, between hugging people a little too long and a little too often, to basically tearing up whenever I hear “ay brew.” Exaggerating a little on the latter part, but whatever. Rather than bore everyone with deep introspective paragraphs reflecting on how I’ve grown as a person and what this semester has meant…I thought I’d do all that in bullet points! Because what says brevity like bullet points, really?
- I go to school with the coolest kids in the world. From the ridiculous amount of fun Max can bring to even the most boring of situations, to the leadership and outdoor knowledge that just basically oozes of Luke, and everyone and everything else in between, I’m proud to call these people my friends. Run-on sentence, but oh well. So many of the people I hung out with this semester were back home from St. Lawrence, but we just never got a chance to become friends. Whether that was because we ran in different social circles or because we were a little intimidated by each other, it was still a stupid reason. Either way, we’ll be back in full swing in the fall, likely starting off with my 21st birthday on the first Thursday of the fall. So much for good first impressions…
- Capsicum means pepper in New Zealand. And Cougette means zucchini. And kumara means sweet potato. I’m not sure the reasons behind the discrepancies, but figured it’s a fun fact. Shows I picked up some culture here, no?
- American cuisine reigns Supreme. Hope I don’t get in trouble because I’m sure Iron Chef has that copywriter somewhere, but it’s true. We get a bad rap for all the fast food joints that litter just about every interstate but that’s not what American food is all about. I miss thin crust pizza. It’s sort of weird, in New York all pizza is considered Italian. Here, pizza is just a food group of its own. Sort of weird. However, checking out the farmers market in Dunedin a couple times has absolutely inspired the gardener within me. Get ready, Mom, I’m about to tear our backyard apart!
- They party too hard here. I wouldn’t last more than a semester as a “scarfie.” I love you, Kiwis, but Cindy’s + Monkey Bar more than once a month is too much for me. Maybe I’m getting old.
- Short videos are cool. Max has been documenting our weekends and has made me realize how much more even a couple seconds worth of video can capture a person or a moment much more than a picture. Depends on the context, I guess, but I think I need to invest in a camcorder at some point in the next year. Max interviewed all us in the last week or so and will be putting out a final video at some point, which I’ll upload here. Thanks, Max!
- Complaining is useless. It helps that there wasn’t much to complain about at all this semester, but the complete lack of it amongst our group has made me realize how much time and energy we waste, and how much negativity we spread, but complaining about meaningless things
- Americans are generally not well traveled. The average kiwi has been to so many awesome places, and has a ridiculous amount of stories and friends abroad. It helps that New Zealand is so small and the urge to explore elsewhere probably hits kiwis a lot younger than it does Americans, but still. Just now on the cab ride here to the airport, I talked to an older man who traveled all across Canada and America back in the late seventies, in a ford firebird (or thunder, or something fancy sounding like that) he bought off a used car lot in Nebraska for $200. He traveled up to Alaska, and watched the world series at a pub at 2am when it was still light outside. Crazy!
- Recycling is easy. I should have been doing it more often, and earlier. It’s crazy how engrained it is into the culture here, even the laziest of kiwis wouldn’t think of throwing cardboard into the garbage can when it could be put in the recycling bin. Good on em.
- I need to listen to more live music. Especially living so close to NYC in the summertime, it’s surprising that I haven’t taken advantage of Open Mic nights earlier. Tuesday nights at the Bog this semester always promised a good time, and a chance to see people who were ordinarily goofballs really get into whatever they were singing/playing.
- New Zealand doesn’t really have cool animals…Unfortunately I didn’t make it up to Australia to chill with any kangaroos but I think the scenery down here absolutely made up for frockling with whatever poisonous species I would have encountered up north. However, yesterday I learned a bit about a species of bird that hangs out in the botanical gardens. It eats the berries off of this massive bush, which actually ferment in its stomach while it digests – meaning it gets absolutely obliterated and passes out somewhere. Drunk birds. Potentially a new app? Let me know if you want to invest.
- I love my family. Obviously, I loved them before I left but I missed the heck out of them! And my house. I’ve missed that big dining room table, and being able to count onhaving the herbs I want in the cabinet. I think most would be surprised at how often a group of students our age talks about our families – everything from a strange gift from dad to how different you are from your brother. On long hikes it was pretty standard to pair up with someone and talk about their parents or siblings. Heck, even in our trivia game back at Luxmore hut we had a question – how many siblings are there among the ten people in the group? Everyone got it right. Hearing so much about a person’s family also typically makes the first encounter with them particularly hilarious. As much as we would have denied it at age thirteen, or even seventeen, people ARE their parents in so many ways.
It’s been real, New Zealand, and I promise I’ll be back within the next ten years. Until then, thanks for the new twang to my already thick long island accent, a dozen new best friends, and really a hell of a semester.
Next stop for places I want to travel : Africa, Switzerland, Ireland. Give me a couple years and hopefully this blog will be back in full swing.