New Zealand was absolutely amazing. I’m so fortunate to have been able to visit such a beautiful place. The whole week was lovely: I learned some bits about New Zealand history and Maori culture, made new friends from all over the world, and got to see some amazing sights. I even pushed myself to my physical limit climbing the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, a 19.4 trek across an active volcano that was used to film Mt. Doom in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. As a huge fan of the movies, it was great to see such amazing sights in person. The scenery was absolutely breathtaking, as was the hike. I struggled a bit, but it was so worth it to reach the top of the summit and see for miles in the distance.
Living in Brisbane for so long, it’s hard to imagine going back to life at home in northeast Pennsylvania. Life in Australia, especially in an urban environment, is so different from the life I’ve known in so many ways. And having been at QUT for almost a full semester, it will be a bit of a challenge for me to acclimate myself to the learning environment at Arcadia again. At QUT, class attendance isn’t mandatory or even really expected. However, trying out a new university for a semester made me appreciate my home university even more. I have much better relationships with my professors at Arcadia, because our classes are so small, and conversation is encouraged. I miss the close proximity of campus, and all of the friends I have there. I even miss food at the chat, and the video lab in Murphy which seems to be my second home during the semester.
Now that I have less than a month left in Australia, I’m starting to think more about going home, and leaving my new home here in South Bank. As the date draws closer, I feel more and more ready to go home. I’m missing my family and friends, and all the comforts of home. I’m planning my last trip to Cairns to snorkel the Great Barrier Reef. I’m trying to spend these days soaking up all I can of Brisbane, taking walks, checking out local markets, having photo shoots with my friends, and making memories. I’ve included a picture from one of my evening walks. I know when I go back, I’ll be missing Brisbane like crazy, and wishing I’d never left.