Dunedin, 11,700 miles from Edinburgh but yet somehow feels like home.
Eight months ago today I felt the most anticipation I ever have as I shoved my whole life into 23kg and jumped on a glorified tin can to the other side of the world. Being in the air I realized just how big the world is and that after 40hrs of virtually no sleep, passport control is not your friend. I arrived in Auckland hungrier than Di Caprio was for an Oscar, so I headed to a nice restaurant to sample New Zealand’s food. Naturally, I ended up in McDonalds. Arrival at the flat I was greeted by five bearded men who were wearing shorts in the middle of winter, I was initiated with some beer pong and was shown around the town, boy does Dunedin party! On that night the mood was set for the next eight months.
The first lecture theater I entered I felt like a fresher as 300 eyes seemed to track my movements to my seat. Sitting there, I don’t think I took one bit of information in as I waited eagerly, excited to explore more of the city. Oh, one piece of advice; If you come to Dunedin don’t take Anatomy 242. Looking back my first semester it feels like it lasted three weeks. Somehow with all the distractions I managed to pull some grades out of my backside.
By the time summer rolled around I couldn’t wait to explore the country. Unfortunately my travel compadres changed their plans to so couldn’t join me. Still, I’d barely left Dunedin in the 4 months that had passed so I packed my stuff into a car older than myself and hit the road solo. 12,000km by car, 250km by bike and 75km by foot and 49km by boat in three months gave me some of the best memories of my entire life. Some of my favorites include running along the beach in torrential rain, almost drowning at new chums beach (we laughed afterwards), being chased by seals, being attacked by a tiny penguin, mountain biking at night, sandboarding in te paki and skinny dipping whenever possible. Every single day was an adventure to remember! Second piece of advice; when travelling for extended periods, be sure to have a playlist longer than 50 songs.
Now the end of the year is closing in faster than I can cope with, I’m not ready to leave this beautiful country just yet. Going on a year abroad is the single best decision I have ever made. I can’t believe I even thought twice about coming here. Some things I’m going to miss are; the giant yellow thing in the sky, the mountains, the constant view of the back of a mobile home with the token bold yellow line in the road, always having sandy feet but never wearing shoes, the mispronounciation of vowels, but most of all the incredible people I have met this year.