Sunday, February 22, 2015

Wisdom from a Swing

Today’s accomplishments include:
  1. Burning toast and setting my building’s fire alarm off (great way to make friends)
  2. Getting lost by my lonesome in a city still unknown to me
  3. Making friends in a city playground still unknown to me (disregard the 15 year age difference)
  4. Discovering a city now sorta kinda unknown to me

Because I’m half irresponsible/half secretly afraid of people, I… “forgot” to sign up for the orientation tramp (hike) most students went on today and took a “me” day.

After my sincere apologies and attempt to explain my inability to cook to the residential employee who was inspecting my apartment post toast incident, I decided it was time to leave the laptop and do something with my life.  I mean hey, I’m in New Zealand.

Now that I’m officially enrolled at the University of Canterbury and own a student card, I’d thought I’d put it to use and go to the gym.  

I left five minutes later. 

For one, I don’t exactly enjoy that whole workout thing, and two, I felt an overwhelming restlessness while staring at that stupid red light that moves around the digital track and running in place.  I also had no idea if the treadmill was set to miles or kilometers.  So I decided today wasn’t the day to start my annual new years resolution of being a healthy active person.


I decided to get lost instead.  Typical, I know.

I’d like to say I’m about to deliver some original philosophy but I feel as if I’ve heard this somewhere else before….

The best way to discover a city (or city park) is to get lost in it. 

I still refuse to ride the city bus without having a friend to direct me where to go/get off/inform me when I’m chewing my gum too loudly.

But feeling super adventurous (and frustrated with the gym), I hid my sweatshirt in a random bush and started running in a TBD (to be discovered) direction.  I suppose saying that I got “lost” is a bit deceiving.  I was lost for about 5 minutes until I started recognizing a few familiar places I've passed on the bus before.  A few miles later, I realized I was almost to City Center.

While I do thoroughly enjoy the quaint city of Christchurch and its quirky shops composed of shipping containers, I decided to take a turn and run into Hagley Park. Hagley Park is still as foreign to me as NYC’s Central park and not at all large in comparison, but here I did find myself getting lost… I can’t say I minded getting lost in its breathtaking botanic gardens.

Best accomplishment of the day: I found SWINGS.  Age 2 or 20, I will never lose my love for swings.  It was also here that I made my toddler friends.  Interestingly enough, this was the second time I’ve run into kids under the age of 10 with no parents in sight.  This, along with the fun fact that hitchhiking is actually a thing here (and is considered safe) speaks for the friendly demeanor of New Zealand.  If only the ambiance of this place was a souvenir I could package in bubble wrap and bring back to the States with me.  I wouldn’t mind if alpacas could fit in a suitcase either.   

Going off the main path, I found one of the smaller gardens with a (rather charming) pool to chill by and recharge. At this point, I still had little idea of where I was and how to get back to the road, but because I had zero care I made no attempt to move.  I instead made an important decision:

I like it here.  A lot.

I could have used big fancy adjectives and run-on sentences to describe how I feel, but I’d rather be short and sweet in honor of true Kiwi language.  I dictate this as Kiwi language because of the ingenious “Don’t be a dick” signs I’ve see in multiple shops, buses, etc.

It’s kind of funny how some of the most chatty and outspoken folks are also the most introverted.  And how some of the most seemingly confident people are the most uncertain.  I think it’s safe to say that I just described a decent amount of people.  

And I bring this up, as this is a place that has inspired my inner being to mirror my outer.  It's like winning the lottery to be in a place where I don’t need to hold back in being myself.  I kind of hate getting personal, especially in a public setting such as my Internet blog, but this has been an extremely important part of my experience in New Zealand so far, one that is worth sharing. 

That being said, one last cheesy-ish thought:

Getting lost might be the best approach to finding your way.  Go figure.

Keep Happy,


  1. Hi Emily,

    I finally got the chance to read your blog, and I must say its fantastic, I really enjoyed it, and that is an awesome photo of the walkway to ilam apartment. (the last photo)

    thank you for sharing, and best of luck with your study, I hope you enjoy your time in New Zealand.

    Khalid (if you remember me :p)

  2. Would love if you brought home an alpaca to add to our farm :)