I seriously cannot believe I am writing this from my couch all the way in Massachusetts! After my wonderful road trip with my dad, we spent a few days in Australia and then jumped on the plan for the 20-hour trip home.
When I have run into people around town, it feels so weird to say that I have been gone for five months. I remember seeing these same people right before I left and talking about how I was leaving on the fourth of July. In all honesty, it almost feels like I never left. But in the same breath, I know I have had so many once in a lifetime experiences that if I get into talking about them with everyone, I run into each conversation would last 3 hours.
There have definitely been some readjustments so far. For one: WINTER!!!!!! I had the genius idea to leave northern hemisphere summer to go to southern hemisphere winter, and then the second it started to be like summer in New Zealand, it was back to Boston winter. Yeah, definitely thought this one through. In all fairness, I do love cold weather, but I am not a fan of how it gets dark at 4:30pm. It does make me miss all the sunsets I got to watch from the hammock on my balcony with my IES Abroad flatmate Chloe.
I’m not going to lie, the jet lag has been absolutely terrible. When I flew to NZ, the jet leg manifested mainly in me just wanting to go to bed at 5pm. This time around, the huge time jump left me with some insane insomnia. After about three nights I think things have gone mostly back to normal, but I’m still a bit tired. Good thing I have this super comfy couch and an extended winter break!
In terms of the “culture shock”, it hasn’t been too bad. There are some moments where I’ve felt differences, but it’s been more funny than heartbreaking. The biggest place I felt it was actually the grocery store. My mom took me to the store to get any snacks or meals that I’ve missed while I was gone and, while I filled the cart with so SO much food, I already started to miss some of my favorite NZ food products (read: PICS PEANUT BUTTER). Good thing Amazon has literally anything, including peanut butter.
One thing that has been a bit more difficult is coming to terms with the fact I won’t be seeing my IES Abroad group when I go back to GW in January (well, 3/12ths of us actually go to GW but that’s beside the point). Thank goodness for social media so we can all stay in touch! Some of us already have plans to meet up over the next year so that also makes the separation a little easier, but the fact stands that I am really going to miss these people. We experienced all the highs and lows of moving across the world together and I can’t imagine doing that with anyone else. I am so thankful to each and every one of them for making NZ feel like home.
Writing these blogs has really helped me reflect on all of my experiences abroad and I am so thankful to IES Abroad for allowing me to share these little pieces of my adventure. I’m not sure I would say that study abroad “changed me”, I’m still Lexi in every way, shape, and form, but I would say that my time in New Zealand has given me the tools and encouragement to be bold, confident, and fearless moving forward. I am capable of so much, and I am so thankful to my semester abroad for proving that to me.
(for the last time on this blog) Cheers!
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<p>Hi! My name is Lexi and I am a junior spending my semester abroad at the University of Canterbury. Although my home university is in a city, I absolutely love being outdoors! Some of my favorite activities are hiking (especially with dogs), swimming in lakes, and trail running. I can't wait to explore the beautiful South Island of New Zealand and share some of my adventures!</p>