Finding Home Away From Home

Caroline Wilcox
March 11, 2020

I’ve now been living in New Zealand for a little over a month, and probably like many other abroad students, I’m starting to hit the point where the reality of life sets in. The honeymoon phase of a brand-new place and people is starting to wear off and I’m realizing that life moves with you when you move to a new place. It’s weird to think that I do live here and will for the next few months, and I’m not just on a long vacation across the world. It didn’t truly hit me until about a week ago in a lab for a class––we were doing an icebreaker where someone would say something about themselves and if you share that attribute you raise your hand. There are more details to the icebreaker, but they’re irrelevant. Anyway, a girl in my class said, “I live in Christchurch” and everyone raised their hands except me. I was thinking in my head, no, I live in New York, but I technically do live in Christchurch. While it may seem obvious, to me this realization was crazy.

The first few weeks of my life in Christchurch seemed fake, in a way. It felt like a drawn-out vacation, with a breathtaking destination waiting for me each weekend, ending every night in my apartment hanging out with my friends. While I still do all of that, I feel less like a visitor and more like a resident now. I know where all my favorite snacks are at the grocery store, I have the bus route ~somewhat~ down, and I’m starting to see more and more familiar faces in my classes. It’s a really cool feeling to start to fit in somewhere where you felt like you stuck out like a sore thumb initially.

Back to the point I made initially, about life following you wherever you go. Not to sound super deep or philosophical or anything, but it really is true, and it took me a few weeks to understand that. If you’ve kept up with my posts or even talked to me, you know my life here has been nothing short of amazing on the good days. I mean, come on, the beaches here look straight out of a movie. But something I’ve realized over the past couple of weeks is that it’s okay to have a bad day. It’s okay to miss home, it’s okay to feel down sometimes, and it’s even okay to spend an afternoon in bed if you need it. When preparing to go abroad, I figured I would be happy and energetic and outgoing at all times because what is there to be sad about when you’re living in such a beautiful place? But it’s still life! I think that’s something that’s so important for everyone abroad to realize–– yes, getting the chance to live in a foreign country is amazing, but you should never feel bad or guilty for having an off day every once in a while.

That all being said, I feel so lucky for the experiences I’ve already had, and that I get the opportunity to live here and grow so much over the next few months. I already can count several things that are unique to NZ that I will miss when I go home, like their incredible coffee – I swear I’ve never had a better coffee, and I used to be a die-hard Dunkin Donuts fan, but I think the iced latte I’m drinking right now may top even Dunkin. Secondly, I’ve had aioli before, but New Zealanders have a different kind of love for aioli. They serve it with fries, on burgers, essentially with any type of fried food you can think of. I will definitely be stockpiling some NZ aioli to bring back with me. I know this blog was a bit of a mess, and I would say that’ll change, but if I’m honest that’s probably what you should expect from me. Thank you so much for reading if you made it to the end, check back in a couple weeks for a new post from me!

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Caroline Wilcox

<p>Hi! My name is Caroline Wilcox and I am a junior majoring in Biology at the University of Rochester in Rochester, New York! A little bit about me– I have three dogs that have my entire heart, and I work at a bakery when I'm not busy with school. I have spent basically my entire life in Rochester and am more than ready to see what life is like outside of my small town!</p>

Home University:
University of Rochester
Brockport, NY
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