I know you have all been wondering what I have been up to in the past month; well, I have been on island time. I was really only on an island for a week with no service and no wifi (which allowed me to appreciate my time there), but island time has extended from the beginning of April until now. Studying abroad has encouraged me to take in every moment and do as much as I can before my time here comes to an end; in other words, I've been at a good level of busy (aside from this past week where I've been attached to my notes studying for an exam).
Back to that island I was talking about. I was in the Cook Islands with my IES Abroad program for a week that I wish lasted forever (except I could do without the humidity). Rarotonga was everything paradise should be. Just look at this beautiful sunset at Muri Beach pictured below.
And look at these palm trees!!! Does this not just scream paradise?
What does one do in paradise you may ask? Well I'll tell ya! One goes to a market, watches the Cook Island Maori people dance and play the drums, does a cross island walk (in the pouring rain), bikes around the island, explores the culture, goes snorkeling, eats heaps of food, husks a coconut, drinks coconut water from a coconut, visits a primary school and plays with the kids (gets chased and jumped on by the kids), and dances in the rain.
Now have I convinced you to travel to Rarotonga? Good, say hi to the chickens and roosters wandering around for me!
Following my week of bliss, I celebrated my birthday on Waiheke Island in Auckland and had a special visit from my mom and sister. For the rest of break I traveled with my family! It was no big deal or anything but on our first advenutre, we found ourselves walking through a wardrobe into Narnia (Cathedral Cove in Coromandel pictured below).
We also went to the Waitomo glowworm caves, Hot Water Beach, Huka Falls and Craters of the Moon in Lake Taupo, all pretty neat.
And then we simply walked into Mordor to drop this powerful ring into Mt. Doom (photo of me taken by my sister, Arielle Weinstein).
This is also known as the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, and the emerald lakes are pictured below.
Next we headed to New Zealand's capital, Wellington, which ended our trip in the North Island. In the South Island, we made a pit stop in Christchurch so that my family could see my home for the semester, followed by our last New Zealand adventure in Queenstown!
I still cannot fathom how beautiful New Zealand is. Thank you Te-Anau Downs (pictured below) for showing me just another reason why I am in love with this place.
Despite the tension between New Zealand and Australia as to whom is better (New Zealand hands down), I returned to Sydney so that my family could see why New Zealand is better; although they've got us (yes I'm talking as if I'm a Kiwi) on the adorable Koalas. But hey, we have Kiwi birds!
To conclude our short but sweet vacation (even though I think most of abroad is vacation), we watched the sunset create a stunning silhouette of the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge.
I am so thankful to have the opportunity to travel to all of these remarkable countries, but my heart (and classes) always leads me back to New Zealand.
(Milford Sound pictured below)
And so I returned home to Aotearoa.
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<p>Hey there! My name is Jami Weinstein, I am from the north suburbs of Chicago and I am a junior majoring in speech language pathology at Indiana University! I am thrilled to be sharing my study abroad experience from across the world, behind my camera, in Christchurch, New Zealand. When I snap a photograph, I feel as if I have jumped into a whole new perspective of life, and to me, words can’t explain a single moment, but a photo captures a story. Follow along on my journey as I make the moments count. Adventure awaits!</p>