Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Mountains, valleys, and of course, alpacas


But in actuality, I’m 18 hours ahead of all you Americans, so technically, I’m living in the future.

Also, I’m living in paradise. 

Sumner Beach

Mussels in the Cave

(casual, right)

My sincere apologies for taking a ridiculous amount of time to blog since arrival, but please understand I have been busy having the time of my life (chasing around sheep).  I arrived at this fabulous city a week ago now, yet it somehow already feels like I’ve been here a month.  I am also minus one piece of luggage (shout out to Virgin Australia for that), and acquired a really fun stomach bug my second day/night.

Needless to say, I’M IN LOVE I’M IN LOVE AND I DON’T CARE WHO KNOWS IT! (I really hope everyone just caught my Buddy the Elf reference)  

I would love to say that I’m super tough and optimistic which is why I don’t care that I missed out on some hikes because of the stomach bug, or that I have anxiety about my lost luggage each day, but I owe this attitude to:
  1. Really friendly people in my program
  2. My wonderful mom of a program director, Eunice 
  3. New Zealand (of course) 
There’s something about New Zealand that delivers these extremely unique but incredible vibes that radiate throughout the country. 

Kiwi Nature Conserve

I don't know your name but I liked you
My first exposure to NZ mountains/scenery/previous fantasy movies sets was during our weekend field trip to Springfield, a short one-hour drive from the UC Campus.  We all decided that there are no words to describe it. I suppose I could revert to the word I created in my last post:

Marvincredenomouns (marvehn-inkred-uh-ee-num-en-es)
1. Marvelous, incredible, phenomenal and other good feelings I can’t really describe.

The coolest thing about standing on some tall hill in the middle of New Zealand and trying to take in every view in front of you, is that you can’t.  It’s too big and too brilliant; overwhelming in the best way possible.

Unfortunately, I can't recount every activity from the first day of the field trip due to the stomach bug, but I did (thankfully) force myself to climb “Castle Hill.”  I suppose it’s named Castle Hill because I felt like a queen on top of the world, ruling my peasant trolls (AKA the sheep in the field below me).

Castle Hill

We stayed the night at a resort called “Smylies.” Our tour guide, Connor, was the epitome of a quirky elder “man” (more like boy), with a killer sense of humor and British accent, and the cutest family, as well as alpacas, I’ve seen in my life.  Watching him, his wife, and his two children all pitch in to feed our hungry herd, and then eat dinner together as a family afterwards was absolutely adorable.  It’s not something you come across often in the States. 

Another thing I absolutely loved about this trip is how un-weird I felt the whole time.  It’s safe to say I often feel like my jokes are underappreciated, or that people think I’m more awkward than funny when I think I’m funny, but this has not been the case (yet).  I’ve really enjoyed getting to know other kids studying abroad here, and I say kids for a reason.  For example, it was to both my surprise and pleasure when I woke up 6AM during the Springfield trip and walked outside to find other kids already in the hilly cow pasture at Smylies.  And better yet, they were chasing (I mean running with) the cows, which I hadn’t even had plans to do until their inspiration hit me.  So to not be weird would actually be considered weird here…if that makes sense. 

Our second day was spent planting a literal forest of trees a few miles from the Smylies hostel.  We also went jetboating (/almost died) throughout the rivers that snake through the mountains (our driver claims it was only his second day driving the boat which made use feel real good).  I met my new favorite animals, sheep and alpacas, and learned just how dumb sheep actually are.  I witnessed this first hand as we watched them leap like overhappy leprechauns as they were clumsily herded into their pens by Blue (dog we met at the farm). 
"Official" IES Abroad Forest

My hair when I was 3 (and sometimes now)
So the first few days of the big adventure were happily spent becoming infatuated with everything about studying abroad and New Zealand, and of course, watching the toilet flush the wrong way throughout the course of my stomach bug.  But as I’ve learned from my explorations of NZ so far, every mountain has a valley in between... and that’s just the natural way of things. 

But the beautiful thing about New Zealand? It’s mostly mountains. 

Keep Climbin’, Keep Happy,

P.S. I hate to say that my posts may become more infrequent due to my inability to sit still at a desk here, but that makes for better and more stories, so it’s a win-win, right?

1 comment:

  1. own made up word. Love you to the moon and back...that's farther than to New Zealand and back.