Lords of the Forest

“Wouldn’t it be amazing if trees could talk?” a tourist standing next to me wondered.

I nodded my agreement. It would be amazing, especially since we were standing in front of Tane Mahuta (‘Lord of the Forest’), a 2,500 year old kauri tree in Waipoua Forest.

Can you imagine what stories he could tell? Maybe he could give a definite year the first humans arrived in New Zealand or give us a picture of the now extinct Moa bird. He could describe what happened to the island during massive volcanic eruptions or how his roots trembled with the waves of earthquakes. Continue reading

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My First Few Days in New Zealand

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I have now driven twice on the opposite side of the road and lived to tell the tale. It’s not as traumatizing as I thought it would be. I still turn on the windshield wipers instead of the turn signal and wince as cars come at me on the right, but I think I might be getting the hang of it. My hosts Glennis and David have taken turns risking their lives driving with me. I salute their bravery.

I am currently in Whangarei (pronounced fong-a-ray) staying with friends of my grandparents. It’s about 2.5 hours north of Auckland on the East Coast.

It’s been great to stay with people I know (at least in name) while I get on the timezone. Glennis and David have been great, not only with helping me drive, but also explaining what stores sell what, and making sure I’m well fed. Continue reading

Another Step Forward

I’m sitting in the airport waiting for my plane. It feels like every other summer for the past four years, except that this time I’m not going back to school. I’m not going back to classes, to homework, to late nights at the newspaper. Instead I’m getting on a plane that will take me halfway around the world to a place I’ve never been before.

When I graduated from college in May it felt like the end of another school year. I was burnt out, tired, ready to take a break. After a few months of no school, I’d be ready to head back into the fray.

I’ve left home many times before — going to college for the first time, studying abroad, transferring schools, and every school break in between. This time should be no different. I’m leaving home for a few months, maybe more. I’ll be back, I know I will. Continue reading

Working Holiday Visas

One of the first questions I’m asked when I tell people I’m moving to New Zealand is, “Why New Zealand?” This is an understandable question. How did I choose this country out of all the other countries in the world?

When I originally came up with my plan to move to another country, I wanted to move to Ireland. I loved just about every aspect of studying abroad there, from the people to the food to the sheep. Continue reading