I thought coming to New Zealand and getting used to the culture would be one of the hardest things. It was... until I realized that my time here is nearly up! I have mixed feelings about returning home. Part of me is ecstatic to see my family again and refamiliarize myself with the culture I grew up with, but the other part of me isn't ready to leave this place that I've come to call "home" over the past four months! I've learned so much while I've been here and met some of the greatest people.
We recently went on a trip to the northernmost part of the North Island, and it dawned on me that that was the "closest" I've been to home since I've gotten here. Cold water surrounds most of New Zealand, but at the very north, I could feel the warm water of the Pacific Ocean. The kiwis are so kind and welcoming, and I'm happy to say I've never really gotten homesick the entire time I've been here. There are so many things to do in New Zealand and the people definitely made me feel at home. As one of our last trips, a few of my American friends and I hiked up Mt. Te Aroha, a steep mountain located in a city near Hamilton. It was a 3-hour hike (5-hour roundtrip) to the top of the mountain, and it was tough! Once we were at the top, we could see all of Te Aroha and even parts of Hamilton. It was a bittersweet moment being able to see Hamilton and all the places we've become very familiar with.
Here at uni, everyone is already having withdrawls about not seeing each other over the summer. Yes, it is summer here. Because New Zealand is in the southern hemisphere, the seasons are opposite. They won't start school again until February. The dormlife here at uni has really allowed me to meet a lot of the students. Everyone is like a family and although each person has their "own" room, no one spends their time in there alone. There are 330 people in my dorm, and over the course of the semester, I've met a lot of them and they're all really cool people. Most of them are in their first semester of uni and so I was the "old lady," but we still had a lot in common :) I'm really going to miss everyone that I've met here and the places as well. Sometimes it's hard to see the "good" in "goodbye", so I'll just say.... see you later, New Zealand.