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The Adventure Begins! January 20, 2013

Posted by ccarsca6 in Travel Log.

Jan 3rd, 2012.

I woke up to the smell of french toast and seeing my family as well as my girlfriend, Susan. After breakfast we went to drop me off at the airport. Susan surprised me with a big gift bag full of sweets, snacks, and games. 🙂 I got to the gate way ahead of time and for some reason everyone I encountered at the airport was nicer than I normally remember. The first of four flights was to Memphis. After I arrived I had a three hour layover! I decided to explore and see what there was to do in the airport. I swear there were more employees than passengers there. Let’s just say no one noticed when I moonwalked on the moving sidewalk for a considerable amount of time.

Look at all the people!
Look at all the people!

Needless to say, I couldn’t moonwalk for three hours. Instead I went to get some Moe’s because NZ doesn’t have mexican food. After that I finally boarded my flight and was on my way to LAX to meet up with the group!

Upon arriving at LAX, I learned that my bag had taken a direct flight to LA and that I would have to pick it up at the baggage claim office. Once I got that all figured out, I had to make my way around the airport to another terminal. I met up with Caroline, Kari, and Maria. We decided since we had such a long layover, we would go eat in the international terminal before going through security. We got some last minute Mexican because they don’t have Mexican food in NZ. We finished the food in no time and promptly played hearts for a while.

Next we went through security and met up with the group at the gate. Air New Zealand was really weird about the weight of carry-ons so there was a mild panic. At first I was told my (tiny) daypack was too heavy and that I would have to check it. I said I’d take out stuff I need and I just took it onboard anyway. I guess I lucked out.

The 14-hour flight went by much faster than expected. Even I got about two hours of sleep! Most people slept more. We had touch screen TV’s with on demand movies, shows, music, and free drinks. Not too bad right?

The Group on the PlaneSince Susan had given me a huge bag of goodies, so of course I ended up sharing most of it with my new friends on the plane. Going through customs in Auckland, the lady that was asking what kind of food I was bringing jokingly asked, “Is there anything healthy?” That cracked me up.

Jan 5th, 2013 (note the 4th never happened)

We had time to catch our breath, get our bags again, get to another terminal, go through security for the third time for the day (with shoes on! It was more relaxed here), and play the carry-on sneak through game again. The last flight was a short one-hour flight. I sat next to an English couple that had moved to NZ and learned a lot about what I would be encountering for the next six weeks. They were super-helpful.Mount Som'n'ernuther

After we landed, we got our bags and got on a bus to head to the Weir House. The drive was strange because it was our first time seeing the backwards roads. Not getting freaked out took some getting used to. The driver took us to Wellington and then way, way, up a hill to the Weir House. It became quite clear we would be hiking a lot. In fact, the couple on the flight said we’d have thighs like linebackers by the time we left.

Once we arrived at the Weir House, we got our keys and set up our internet. We took some, at least in my case, very needed showers, and ate lunch. After that we decided to fight jet lag and head down to explore the town. We ended up jumping off a platform into a bunch of jellyfish! They didn’t really sting and the drop was really fun, so it was worth it.

The platform that didn't require wavers! Isn't that nice?
The platform that didn’t require waivers! Isn’t that nice?

None of us new how to get anywhere, so of course we took a very circuitous route anywhere we went on Saturday.

The Weir House!!!
The Weir House!!!

We headed back up for dinner and then promptly headed out for a night on the town. It was about to be Rachel’s birthday so we had another reason to party. Rolling 44 deep, we showed up at a bar Susan had suggested for us. Colin immediately started bargaining for a group price. In the end we got half price drinks all night!. What a deal! We tried a few other places that night, but Hope Bros was our best deal and best place by far. I led the group back because I had looked at a map and figured out how we should navigate.

We woke up, had breakfast, orientation for a few hours, a tour of where we were having classes, and then finally lunch. After lunch we headed down to Oriental Bay to hang out. It was a forty minute walk and I led the way again. We took some silly pictures and once again tried to go jellyfish dodging. On the way back we went to the New World grocery store. I stocked up for pb&j’s and even got some wine. It ‘s way cheaper than beer here.

Finally we had dinner and then I tried to blog but accidentally fell asleep for five hours. Whoops! In the morning I have class at 8 am! Here we go!

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