It’s been just shy of a week being home from New Zealand, and I couldn’t be more mixed with emotions. It’s been very bittersweet to say the least. On the good side of things, my boyfriend pulled a fast one on me and had me under the impression that I would not be seeing him for a couple weeks after returning home. He lives in New Paltz and works so he made it seem very real. However, when I arrived at the airport, I got a tap on my shoulder waiting for my luggage. To my SHOCK, my boyfriend was standing there with a bouquet of roses and a huge smile. I bursted into tears. On the car ride home I couldn’t let go of him. I have to say, to all my fellow people studying abroad who are in relationships, it’s NOT easy. However, please do not let it hold you back! Distance does very well make the heart grow fonder.
When I arrived home, there was a car with pretty red bows sitting in the drive way. I asked my dad who’s car that was, and he responded “Yours”. ANOTHER CRY FEST! My first car! So much positive. So much yes!
Unfortunately not all the news I returned home to was good. Actually some of the news was quite terrible. While away my mother got diagnosed with breast cancer. I have no words for this news other than I am very upset. My parents found out a month ago and did not want to tell me while I was away. It sucks, and I’ve been quite down for the past week. However, as I myself have fought through cancer, I am very happy to be home with my mom now.
Reflecting on my experience in New Zealand, I will be very honest, I am happy to be home. New Zealand is a place filled with absolute beauty and grace. Home to landscapes not found pretty much anywhere else in the world. However, as far as society goes I began to feel homesick about a month before coming home. Wellington is a super cool city, it reminded me of what I pictured Greece to be like. However, spare Auckland and Wellington, there are only a few other major cities in the entire country of New Zealand. Being a city gal, I found myself missing this aspect of myself. I love New York. I love how I can live in New Paltz, a quite little Hudson Valley town, and than drive two hours south and be in the big apple, or my home Long Island. I love how I can drive 2 hours north and be in places that resemble the beauty of New Zealand. I felt like New Zealand got a little small after a while of being there. However, being abroad in general has taught me how to travel, and not to be scared to. This new skill I’ve gained has inspired me to travel within my own country, as there is so much I haven’t seen here in America! I also grew to appreciate many of the freedoms I have as a woman here in New York, as New Zealand’s regulations on abortion turned me off a lot.
Many of my kiwi friends broke the myth that New Zealand is some magical place free of problems. In fact many young kiwi’s around my age are planning on leaving New Zealand, as the wealth gap is becoming so terrible that starting a life there is not an option.
I chose to study in New Zealand because as a cancer survivor, I was attracted to the very clean environment. However, it’s soothing to know that as messed up as the USA seems sometimes, every country has there issues.