Goodbyes. For real.

3 days left in New Zealand.
Last day in Wellington.

I cannot even begin to describe how I feel right now. Its 4AM and I just said “Good Night” to Natalie for the last time. These past 4 1/2 months have absolutely flown by and I wish I could scrape a few extra moments in Wellington before it’s time to leave. But alas, time is not so kind.

I spent the last 20 hours packing, cleaning, shipping packages & gifts and enjoying the company of my best friends here in Welly. Tonight began the true sense that this incredible experience is coming to an end. While a few people have already departed, including Kevin (who is off on a trip that will take him from Singapore to Hong Kong, Venice to Dublin before flying home in December), it almost seemed as if they would be back. It was tonight, when I said a final goodbye to a kiwi friend, that it all hit me. Harder than a ton of bricks.

I realised in that moment that it would most likely be years before I see him again, if we were even so lucky. Someone I’ve seen at least four times a week for four months will no longer be present everyday. It’s a cruel irony that friendships can build so fast. In one sense, it’s fantastic. We can easily assimilate into a new environment and feel comfortable. But it makes it so much easier to be hurt when the time comes to head elsewhere.

Tomorrow, I leave Wellington.
Tomorrow, I say many more goodbyes.
Tomorrow’s going to be an emotional day.

And with that, I bid you good night.

– Liam
Wellington Harbour, Wellington, North Island, New Zealand

Spring Cleaning

5 days left in New Zealand.

In order to get my housing deposit back, I need to have a clean house. My hands smell like cleaner. The soap has completely dried out my hands. I saw things I didn’t want to see.

Positive – It was raining.
Negative – I’m really leaving.

– Liam

350 Climate Change Protest, Parliament, Wellington, North Island, New Zealand

Finished

7 days left in New Zealand.

Today, I sat my last exam at Victoria University. I’ve successfully(?) finished my academic career here in New Zealand and it can’t feel weirder. First, I don’t ever think I’ll be finishing a fall semester in the first week of November while putting aloe on a sunburnt arm ever again. Second, I have been here for over four months and it feels so much longer.

Four months is a tiny amount of time in one’s lifetime and yet, these four months will forever remain vivid (I hope) in my mind. So much has happened in these 120 days and yet I feel as if they have flown by. It’s sort of like Freshman year al over again. A bunch of people thrown into a new environment and have to try their best to get through the first semester. The 2007 Fall Semester flew by and so did that of 2009. Time flies, especially if you’re having fun.

Cheers,

Liam

Wellington Harbour, Wellington, North Island, New Zealand

UV Rays

8 days left in New Zealand.

Sunday’s forecast for Wellington: 60 degrees & sunny.
Monday’s forecast for Wellington: 55 degrees & rainy.

And of course, today had to be spent studying. However, I did attempt to get as much studying outside as possible. And for the first time ever (and probably the only time), I got a sunburn while studying for my fall semester exams. The weather here is getting better and better but its even better in Australia and Fiji, making me really excited for what will be the hottest November of my life.

But for the moment…its back to the books and some aloe on my arms.

Till tomorrow,

Liam

Beach at Dusk, Catlins Coast, South Island, New Zealand

Thin ‘n’ Crispy

9 days left in New Zealand

Today, I had an absolutely fantastic classic New York style pizza. One of the things that can instantly remind me of home is a thin, crispy piece of dough with tomatoes and cheese on top.

The weather is still fantastic and of course, I’m still studying.

– Liam

Sommes Island

A Thai Goodbye

10 days left in New Zealand.

Today was probably the most beautiful day I’ve seen in Wellington. Of course it’s just my luck that as the weather turns absolutely gorgeous, my final exam is just around the corner and study had to commence. After a few short hours in the library, I caught another voice recital at the NZSM (New Zealand school of Music) before just laying in the sun waiting for Natalie to get done with her exam so we could run downtown to run some errands.

Tonight, we went out to dinner at a nice Thai restaurant with a mix of Kiwi and American friends to celebrate our time together here organised by Allen, my across-the-street-downstairs neighbor. It was a nice dinner, but highlights the current theme of Landcross Street: leaving. People have already left and its shocking to know that I have only a week left in Wellington. Who knew that four months could go so fast?

Cheers,

Liam

The Island and a small slice of Americana

11 days left in New Zealand.

Unlike the last two days, today was packed with new adventures in Wellington. Lauren and I left Landcross street this morning and after a few stops at the grocery store and Le Moulin, a French bakery, we met Jacob at the ferry terminal. The three of us boarded the ferry and made our way across the harbour to Sommes Island. This wildlife refuge was once home to internment camps for anyone who sounded foreign to the Kiwis during both world wars. We spent almost three hours exploring the island. It was so beautiful, mostly for the fact that it is so untouched by mankind. We saw weta bugs, exotic birds, a baby blue penguin and of course, sheep. Lauren and I were excited to hear Jacob say that he saw some “really awesome, weird swan thing” but were so disappointed when we discovered that it was merely a Canadian goose. Oh well…

The last time I explored with Jacob & Lauren was in the Christchurch botanical gardens, back in September when we went kayaking. These are two of my favourite days in New Zealand. Jacob has been our unofficial tour guide in Wellington. Every day with Jacob starts with a planned activity and is followed by several random ones scattered all over the city. Lauren and I can always count on Jacob for a great day.

After exploring the island as best we could, we returned home for dinner before heading back to town to celebrate Guy Fawkes Day. Popularised by the movie V for Vendetta, this holiday is celebrated only in New Zealand and the United Kingdom. It celebrates the day in 1605 when Guy Fawkes, a Catholic in England, planned to blow up Parliament. He failed, and this is celebrated annually on 5 November with fireworks and festivals. The fireworks were great to see, since I had missed July 4th at home, and the carnival was fun as well. Topped off with a chai latte at Enigma, one of my favourite cafes, this was a fantastic day in Wellington.

Blog in brief: Jacob is Wellington’s most enthusiastic tour guide and the weather’s finally good enough to give me a sunburn.

Until tomorrow,

Liam

Te Mata Peak, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand

Gotta Love Food… (11/3/09)

Cuba Mall, Wellington, North Island, New Zealand

12 days in New Zealand.

Today, Elizabeth and I cracked open a container of Peanut Slab ice cream. A “Peanut Slab” is one of Elizabeth’s and my favorite New Zealand candy bar that can best be explained as a a Mr. Goodbar on steroids. The ice cream did not disappoint. After a long day of gift shopping, this was the perfect end. We recalled the amazing food that we have shared together here in 6A, something I’ll miss a lot, especially since Elizabeth leaves for the South Island on Saturday. While I’ll still be able to eat some of the cuisine I’ve made here in New Zealand back at UD, there are some things that just won’t be the same. Besides the obvious brand and ingredient differences (unless I get the Kiwi pie shop in New York to ship me a huge supply…) cooking for myself won’t be the same. I’m so used to cooking while the 6:00 news is on and I really enjoy cooking for another person. Maybe someone in HKLZ will want to cook together…

Blog in brief: Cooking is better when you’re in New Zealand with Elizabeth.

Cheers,

Liam

Music and Dance (11/3/09)

13 days left in New Zealand.

Today, I had a very simple, new experience. However, I was able to see Elizabeth and Emily perform in a pretty sweet dance performance. There were a number of different styles of dance displayed, including break dancing, Malaysian dance, hip-hop and Capoeira, a Brazilian martial art/dance. This was the first time I had been to something that resembled a campus event and it was great. There are so many events that I attend on Delaware’s campus and it was fantastic to get that feeling from Victoria after four months
I also had the opportunity to hear Saint-Saens Violin Concerto performed by my neighbor at his second year recital. Just like the dance event, it was fantastic to be attending recitals again. When at home, I have to attend 20 recitals a semester, which I typically dread. However, going to just two here has made me realise how much I actually miss them.

In short, dance + violin = missing Delaware.

Till tomorrow,

Liam

Oriental Bay, Wellington Harbour, Wellington, North Island, New Zealand

Time Flies (11/2/09)

14 days left in New Zealand.

Each day from now till 16 November, I’m trying to do at least one new thing in New Zealand each day and post a new picture from somewhere in New Zealand that I haven’t put up before.

Today’s new activities:

* Coffee at Espressoholic.
* Eating spaghetti on toast with cheese.
* Seeing the Wellington Youth Orchestra perform.

Something new tomorrow!

– Liam

Sunrise, Auckland Harbour, Auckland, North Island, New Zealand