Kia Ora everyone!
Wow, what a whirlwind travel day and first day in Dunedin for us Linfield students. I met McKenna and Grace at the Portland Airport with plenty of time before our 3:30 pm flight to get coffee, discuss our plans for the semester, and the travel plans of our fellow Linfield students, Connor, Zoe, and Jewel, who we would be meeting in Auckland. None of us expected what would happen in the next 24 hours.
Our first flight of three was to Vancouver and was short and bumpy, but we made it with enough time to sit down for maybe twenty minutes before boarding for our fourteen-hour flight to Auckland. In the meantime, Connor and Zoe had been enjoying their seven-hour layover in San Fransisco and would be landing in Auckland soon after we were scheduled to. Jewel, leaving from LA, was scheduled to land in Auckland an hour after us. The flight from Vancouver to Auckland was long and lacking in sleep but the three of us somehow had seats next to each other. Zoe and Connor got a minor upgrade so they could sit next to each other, as well as some free snacks for Connor’s non-existant 21st birthday which was skipped because they flew over the international dateline. We all ended up landing in Auckland within twenty minutes of each other including Jewel. We had a tight layover to be able to get to our next flight which would be with Connor and Zoe, but Jewel was scheduled for a later flight because she wasn’t expected to land at the same time as us. Grace, McKenna, and I found Jewel just before customs, but Connor and Zoe seemed to be five minutes ahead of us throughout the entire airport.
We picked up our checked bags and tried to get through customs and bio-security as quickly as possible. With only 45 minutes before our next flight, we were still in the international terminal waiting in line to recheck our bags, not knowing that we needed to check them in the domestic terminal. After the 15 minute outdoor jog with checked bags in tow to the domestic terminal we got in the wrong line, yet again, and had to cross the terminal to check our bags. We made it through security as they were calling the final boarding call for our flight, which luckily was right next to the security checkpoint. Zoe and Connor, who had been at the gate for almost an hour before the flight was scheduled to take off seemed very relieved to see us as we boarded the plane. We were a little confused about how they got so far ahead of us because it seemed as if we weren’t too far behind them at the start of our Auckland airport adventure.
After Grace told Connor about our adventures running through the airport and between terminals with our bags we figured out how they got there on time. Connor and Zoe never picked up their checked bags in Auckland because they were told in Medford they were checked all the way through. This made things faster through both biosecurity and not having to recheck their bags, but now that we are in Dunedin they only have the extra set of clothes they packed in their carry-ons. After all of this, we were picked up our keys to our flats and were dropped off at our flats by our shuttle driver. Except for Zoe, who was dropped off at the wrong flat and had to treck back to the Uni-Flats with all of her stuff (but not her checked bag because that is in Auckland), to find out where she actually lives. Through all of this Zoe, Connor, and I still decided to go to International Student Orientation, even though we were all physically and emotionally exhausted. Somehow we all managed to survive our first day in country, I didn’t even take a nap, although I was definitely in bed and asleep by 9 pm. The sunny weather and humid air will take some getting used to for this Alaskan but I can’t wait for what this semester will bring.
Wish us luck!