28 Days and Counting…

Katelyn Steike
January 14, 2014

Hello everyone!  If you’re reading this, chances are you’re either a friend or family, or a student interested in studying abroad.  If you’re the latter, let me introduce myself… My name is Katie Steike and I’m a junior at the University of Rochester in upstate New York.  As you may or may not know, Rochester tends to have freezing cold, snowy, icy, and/or windy weather about 80% of the time I am there, so needless to say, I’m really excited to be stepping off the plane in Christchurch, New Zealand in a few short weeks to lovely summertime weather.

Even though I don’t leave for another 28 days (yes I’m counting down) I’ve already started packing. I was so excited that I just wanted to start getting ready. Then I started to realize that fitting 6 months worth of clothing, school supplies, camping gear, and other things I’ll need for my time abroad was going to be very difficult.  My airline only allows 1 checked bag weighing 50lbs, 1 carry-on bag weighing 15lbs and a small personal item. Ouch! To save space in my bag, I bought those compressible plastic bags that suck all the air out and make your clothes really compact.  It was THE BEST IDEA EVER.  My suitcase went from being completely full of clothing to only half full.  I could then fit my sleeping bag (which I also compressed in one of the bags) my backpacking backpack, my school backpack, my shoes, and all the other stuff I needed in the one bag. … And then I weighed my bag… and cried.  My bag weighed WAY too much, so it was time to repack and leave behind some clothing, and repack again, and again, until I finally got it down to the 50lb limit.  I’m slightly afraid I won’t have enough clothing while I’m there since I only brought about a week and a half’s worth, but I suppose I can always buy stuff there if I need to.

Then I packed my carry-on. There’s a 15 pound limit on it, but I told myself “they won’t actually weigh it”. But to be sure I Googled it.  WRONG.  Apparently in Auckland, NZ (where my layover is) they weigh EVERYTHING.  So I panicked.  How on earth was going to fit all the heavy things like my camera and the adapters for my chargers?  Then my dad reminded me that he got me a sweatshirt with absurd amounts of pockets a few years back.  I dug it out of my closet and filled up the pockets with everything heavy.  It was my savings grace.  I weighed the sweatshirt after everything was loaded in the pockets and it weighs 6lbs!  I also had to compromise and bring a smaller camera rather than the large, fancy one I was planning on bringing.  I suppose it will be more convenient while hiking to have a small one, but the other one takes much nicer pictures.   I’ll have to make due.

Packing has taught me to let go of the things I don’t need and keep it simple.  Luckily coming home, my airline will let me take 2 bags (so I can bring home everything I am sure I will collect and buy).  Now I’m at home waiting for the next 28 days to pass so I can finally board my plane and set off for New Zealand.  I’m excited, but nervous at the same time.  I’m definitely more excited than nervous, but something about the idea of not knowing a single person in the country is a little intimidating.  Regardless, I can’t wait to go!  I’m not really looking forward to my 34 hours of travel to get there (2 hours to the airport to arrive 3 hours early, 6 ½ hours to California from New York, then a 6 hour layover in Los Angeles, then 13 hours to Auckland, a 2 hour layover, and then 1 ½ hours to Christchurch), but I’m sure it will be worth it.

My blog is a “photo-blog”, so going forward my posts will probably be shorter, but loaded with pictures and captions.  I can’t wait for my adventure to begin!  I’ll be posting again once I’ve arrived with the details of what I’m sure is going to be an amazing journey.

my luggage for the trip:
The notebook I’ll be bringing:


All of the things I fit in my jacket pockets:


Katelyn Steike

<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">My name is Katie Steike and I&#39;m a junior at the University of Rochester, studying molecular genetics and music. I love reading, playing soccer, and going on hikes and adventures! I&#39;m going to be studying in Christchurch New Zealand for spring 2014 and I&#39;m excited to become immersed in the Kiwi culture and explore the beautiful country!</span></p>

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University of Rochester
Biological Sciences
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