I have been back in the U.S. for a week now; sleeping, working, eating delicious New York pizza and bagels. I love being home and getting to see all my family and friends again, but its also weird a little sad not being able to talk to all my New Zealand friends everyday. Seeing that Thanksgiving is tomorrow, I just wanted to let them and everyone else know how thankful I was for all their help and support over the last 5 months. I traveled to New Zealand, knowing no-one, expecting anything, and ready to jump at any new experience.
The first people I want to thank are my TEANers. You are the first 40 people that I met, it all started in the LA airport, and everyone was just as confused and tired and excited as i was to be traveling to NZ. Some of you guys I haven’t talked to since Auckland, some of you have stayed in my flat or i have stayed in yours, either way all of you are amazing and wonderful. Thanks for making my first 2 weeks in Fiji and New Zealand so enjoyable, relaxing, and great.
Thank you to my other Wellington TEANers. Evan,
We stuck with each other until the very end. I love all of you guys so much. We helped each other move in and move out. We went on hikes, went to rugby games, woke up at 7am to go to a bar and watch the all blacks, went to a theatre show, went in a weta cave, and had a lot of really awesome nights just hanging out and talking. You guys were always there when i needed you, and are some of the best people i have ever met. period. I hope we all keep in touch and I travel out to see you all soon. Thank you guys for more than you know.
Thank you Fran, my TEAN coordinator/admistrator-thing. You are the coolest Kiwi I have met. You are the most down-to-earth, chill, and welcoming person I met while abroad. I met you at Fiji because you came up to me and asked if I have ever seen ‘Avatar the last air bender’. You were the best TEAN organizer I could have asked for, thank you for just everything. You made the transition of traveling from the U.S. to fiji, to New Zealand, so smooth, relaxing and seamless. I was worried about it for weeks, and when I arrived my passport was a little messed up at customs, but you got me through it and kept everything calm. You cared about everyone so much and I really appreciated that. Thank you so much.
Thank you Richie. I feel like you just completely deserve your own thank you. You were such an awesome person to have met, and I’m so glad to know you. You were up for anything, and cared about everyone, and made sure everyone was always having a good time. Thank you for hanging out all semester long, and for always having extra beer that you let everyone drink. You are an amazing person, and I can’t wait for you to get back to the U.S. and travel around with Ciara. Ill see you when you get to New York ;).
Next, its my very important flatmates. Gesche,
first off thanks for putting up with all my nonsense, sarcasm, and weird habits. I’ve never had to live with myself, but i know i can sometimes be pretty annoying and loud (its the American coming out). You guys made coming home so relaxing and stress-free. I loved all of our movie nights, our long talks, and all of the adventures we went on. You guys weren’t just my flatmates, you were some of my dearest and closest friends. Whenever you make your way to America, let me know, ill have a couch/bed/floor waiting for you ;).
Thank you to Jessie. Victoria University has an awesome ‘vic-buddy’ program and i was lucky enough to be paired up with the best kiwi buddy i could have hoped for. Unfortunately we didn’t know that we were paired until a month after we were supposed to (they never sent either of us an email), but we became quick friends and I am beyond happy that I met you. My one regret is never getting a picture with you! we will just have to fix that when you come and visit me in New York. Thank you for making me feel welcome in NZ, and for introducing me to so many other amazing Kiwi’s.
Thank you to other international students. Amanda, Christine, Amber, Andy, Racheal, Christina, Luisa, Aline, and so many others. (I apologize if I don’t mention you by name). I met all of you guys one way or another, through friends, other flatmates, or classes. Thank you guys for making my stay in Wellington so awesome, and for always being willing to hang out, grab a coffee, and just do something. I wish I knew most of you more and I wish i had a longer amount of time to get to hang out with you all. I wish you all the best.
Thank you to architecture friends. Architecture was beyond confusing my first week. I wasn’t registered until the sat. before classes and didn’t get an email that explained my studio time and ended up missing my first day of class. It was the most stressful part of my adventure in New Zealand but I’m glad I got through them and everyone was so nice and willing to get to know me. Thank you for helping me when I was down, teaching me how NZ architecture works, and not laughing at my over American ways.
Thank you to friendly Kiwi’s (and not-kiwi’s) in my yoga class, on my quidditch team, and in the tramping club. Everyone was happy, excited, and super excepting whenever a new face arrived to any club or event. It really helped me to get involved, meet a lot of new people, and have a great semester.
Thank you to every teacher, professor, tour guide, waitress, cashier, coordinator, RA, and bus driver I ever met, you all did your jobs fantastically and with a smile.
Thank you to wonderful random people that you meet on planes, in hostels, on car rides, while tramping, and while on adventures. Even while traveling alone, New Zealand has a way of bringing people together, starting friendships, and making sure your not so ‘alone’.
Im sure this won’t be the last time I say this, but let me make it a point to make sure that it is heard:
THANK YOU NEW ZEALAND, FOR EVERYTHING YOU DID, ARE DOING, AND WILL DO.
If I’ve learned nothing else from my time in New Zealand, I will take this quote with me for the rest of my life, and for that I truly and deeply thank you from the bottom of my heart. “Not all those who wander are lost”-J. R. R. Tolkien.