The End of the Road

I always knew that my journey of a lifetime would come to an end. But now that it has, I still can’t quite believe it. Yesterday, February 3, 2016 was the longest day of my life. In total it was 38 hours long. It started in Christchurch New Zealand, my home for the last 5 weeks and brought me back to school at the University of Delaware, still on the 3rd. It took 4 airports, 3 flight, 2 delays, 2 coffees, countless repeats of the same playlist, and 10 snapchats to documents the progress. And now, it’s over. Done.

I can’t believe that technically just yesterday I was halfway around the world, in the other hemisphere. It was warm, sunny and in the 80s. Now I’m in Delaware where there is some snow on the ground. In New Zealand the sun was out till 9:30pm and now it’s gone by 5:30pm. But even though it’s the end of a chapter, it’s the close of an amazing one.

I started this journey with 40 strangers. Yes I knew some of them already, two or three were already considered friends, but most I didn’t even know their name. And there we were on a 13 hour flight together. And in just a few days these people were my closest companions. We sat on endless buses together, hiked, biked, played pickup games of soccer and volleyball. We ate all our meals together, took class together, and traveled every where together. At the end of the day we unwound together, watching movies and just hanging out.

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Finding Hedgehogs in the Dark

If you ever go to New Zealand and walk around at night, there is a good chance you’ll stumble across a spiky little brown ball at some point. In New Zealand hedgehogs are considered an invasive species, but they are so darn cute. They’re fairly docile animals so you can usually pick them up. We happened to have a resident “hedgehog whisperer” on our trip who knew all about safe ways to handle them.

Basically they’re going to spike up when you pick them up as a natural defense mechanism. And let me tell you, it is VERY painful to hold them when they’re spiky. But if you just set them down on your lap or hold them gently from the underside and stroke their quills most of them calm down and will just sit with you.They really are adorable little animals. If flipped onto their back, they curl up into a tight little ball to protect their middle with just their face poking out.

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On the Other Side of the World

Currently I am residing in New Zealand, on the South Island, in Christchurch. That is 9293 miles away from home. It is without a doubt the farthest I’ve ever been from home and I am here traveling without my family. I am here at Lincoln University for 5 weeks as part of a study abroad program in animal science. And if you didn’t know, New Zealand is the perfect place for that because they have a lot of sheep and a lot of cows. Wherever you go, it seems there are always sheep up on the hill or cows in the fields.

Since arriving here I’ve been to numerous farms to hear straight from the famers about their farming practices, what they plant, how many stock units they have and what their daily routine includes. But in our down time when we don’t have class or farm tours we get a change to get out and explore this beautiful island.

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