G’day mates… I’m back–both in the sense that I’m home and that I’m finally updating this. I extend my sincere apologies for the delay. I really don’t have any excuse, besides the fact that summer makes me simultaneously busy and lazy.
So. I feel like people expect me to say that it’s been really hard being back, what with getting adjusted and all, but that hasn’t been the case, at least not for me. I always tried to look at Australia as what it was: a brief time period to explore another place and do a little getting to know myself, not to mention other people. I think because I kept the idea of the trip’s brevity at the front of my mind, I was able to accept the fact that it was over. Also, I had a really distinct picture of what life would be like when I got home in my head, and it turned out to be exactly what I expected: warm welcome homes, reunions that exciting at first, soon melded into another comfortable hangout, etc. AND I’m taking some of my best friends home with me, so basically, little to no adjustment neccessary.
OH something I’m really proud of: being that I enjoy both surprises and mischief, I changed my return flight to the 26th of June instead of the 29th….and didn’t tell my parents. I had my brothers in on the scheme, and after a harrowing journey home (even though I had Casey with me for the long part) my younger brother picked me up from JFK, and I snuck up to my parents room. The looks on their faces…priceless. Well, almost. It cost 35$ to switch flights.
New Zealand, as predicted, was breathtakingly beautiful. Glaciers, lakes, rivers, mountains and sheep. TONS of sheep. Christchurch was pretty….and pretty small. You could easily see its entirety in a day, two if you walk slow. Ya know how New York is the city that never sleeps? Christchurch is its exact opposite; Tracy and I got there at 11:30 pm on a Thursday night and not a soul was to be found. We skipped around the streets for a while.
Tracy chillin at the base of the biggest tree I’ve ever been under in the botannical gardens.
This I’m also really proud of. The most currencies I’ve ever had in my possession. Clockwise from top left: Australian, Malaysian, New Zealand..ish? (I still don’t know the word for that) American and a Mexican peso in the center.
Now, for the first stop on our trip: Hanmer Springs, northern South Island. Natural hot springs. It was like having a bunch of earth-warmed, organic hot tubs at our disposal. Mondo relaxing.
It’s too bad it was our first stop…Casey could’ve used some lazing after driving over countless of these bad boys:
Yes that’s a one lane bridge with a train track running through it.
This is Brandon trying to figure out the cushy puzzle that was our sleeping quarters. Once we got everything settled, things got a little better for everyone. Except for the fact that it went down to easily below freezing during the night. If not for the extra blankets the campervan place lent us, I wouldn’t be typing this right now because I would’ve lost my fingers to frostbite. And most likely my nose, too. Anyway.
Other highlights include Queenstown, which although it was the most commercial, was still really naturally gorgeous. We went on a gondola up to a mountain that looked over the entire lake.
Once at the top, we enjoyed a sweet street luge ride. Queenstown is one of three places in the world where you can do that, so we took advantage.
Other Queenstown shots:
All in all, good trip.
Once we got home, (home being Melbourne) Casey and I only had a day left in the city. Somehow, we got a sunny day, which we spent wandering through the bottanical gardens before enjoying our only trip to Crown Casino. (No I did not win anything.)
And now here I am, back in New Paltz with classes only a few weeks away. I’m definitely excited to get back to the familiar class setting. I honestly cannot believe this is my last year of college. Watch, soon as I graduate I’ll be running for the hills….of New Zealand.