And just like that, the first half of the program and thus our time in New Zealand is over! What an insane ride it has been these past six weeks, experiencing things I never thought would be possible and making more friends than I could have anticipated. The last two weeks in Wellington flew by as we were wrapping up the classes we squeezed in, writing papers, and taking finals.
The second to last weekend was a big one in Wellington, the annual Sevens Rugby Tournament. The games turned Wellington into a MAD HOUSE. Another girl on the program compared it to the superbowl, Mardi Gras, and Halloween combined. Add a lot of freaking crazy Kiwis and its pretty spot on. The games lasted all day Friday and Saturday, but we only attended on Friday. We got to watch the USA team play (…and lose… but still). I had never watched rugby before so this was really cool. Another interesting factor about the games is that everyone dresses up in group costumes! Most of the program were decked out in red, white and blue reppin’ USA, but we saw countless costumes at the actual games including Captain Americas, men in kilts, Alan from the Hangover, among many others. We stayed almost all day and watched game after game of rugby (which is surprisingly a very attractive sport, I might add). After dealing with a ton of wildly drunk fans, we headed out to grab some dinner and spend the rest of the night playing Bananagrams. On Saturday, the city of Wellington shut down all of the streets in the city center and everyone got crazy. The streets and bars were packed with people all afternoon and well into the night. It was lively until probably around 4 am when the bars finally shut down. Its definitely a once in a lifetime experience.. but I think that was enough for me. Those Kiwis are nuts.
The next week, the final week in New Zealand, was spent studying for my final and writing a final paper. And watching movies. We watched a LOT of movies for whatever reason. I think I watched more movies that week than in the entire past year. A few of us made mega couches and made it a goal to watch a scary movie every night for the rest of the trip. Unfortunately there just really isn’t enough time for that but we got off to a pretty good start. After the work was done on Saturday, we got all dressed up and went out for the last night in New Zealand. Fun fact: this is our original weekend travel group heading out together for the last night in Wellington. It was a complete accident.. But totally fitting.
Wellington and the rest of the New Zealand were incredibly good to us for the past six weeks. I got to do more things than I could’ve imagined and it was a better experience than I could ever ask for. It was easily the best six weeks of my life even with all of the imperfections.
SOOO the rest of the trip goes like this. We are now in Brisbane, Australia for a little less than a week. We arrived Sunday afternoon and classes started at 8 am on Monday morning. During my breaks between classes I have explored the city, visited the Queensland State Museum, and the State Library. Our hostel has a rooftop pool and deck area so that’s where most people hang out at night. We just have class Monday-Thursday then we have a free day on Friday. The majority of the group, I’d say, is planning on heading out to the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary where you can cuddle with koalas, see birds of prey, and feed a platypus. I AM SO EXCITED FOR THIS. It won’t take all day though so we’ll probably also go to Streets Beach before we get on an overnight 8 hour bus ride to Gladstone where we will board the ferry the Heron Island.
During our week on Heron Island, a tiny island off the eastern coast of Australia that you can walk all the way around in about 30 minutes, we will be staying at the Heron Island Research Station. There will be no internet or phone service whatsoever. We have classes early in the morning and late at night so as to optimize the amount of beach/diving/snorkeling time. We are given a set of mask, fins, and snorkel upon arrival on the island so you pretty much won’t find me anywhere else. Unless I see a shark, which is apparently very frequent… So that should be interesting. I’m shockingly excited about the week of total disconnection from the outside world.
I mean, how could anyone not be excited for this?
After a week there, we head to Sydney for two weeks then onto Fiji for the last two. I know time will flyyy by and I’m just hoping I can take advantage and enjoy every second of it!