Home is Behind, the World Ahead

Liesel Rutland University of Otago, New Zealand


February 13, 2019
Currently Studying at: University of Otago, New Zealand
Homeschool: Wofford College

I am currently sitting at the gate in the Charlotte Airport. By the end of this blog, I will finish writing this blog from my six-hour layover in Houston. My flight has already been delayed twenty-eight minutes, but I am in it for the long haul anyway, so twenty-eight minutes is going to be the blink of an eye for me.

My mom walked with me until security, I went through without any hiccups, waved and blew a kiss to her, and then it finally hit me. That was the moment that I would be on my own.

This past week has been heaven. I got to see my grandparents, my sister swim in her last meet, and my friends at Wofford’s Black and Gold ball. I crocheted three hats and two headbands when I was bored, finished creating my packing list, and just hung out with my family. My church gave me an amazing (and unexpected) farewell, for which I am incredibly grateful! I began to panic two days ago when I realized that I had not packed yet, and I would be leaving soon. But I finished my laundry and spent around five hours packing. And here we are, one checked bag right at fifty pounds, one carry-on bag weighing exactly fifteen pounds, and one personal item (my laptop bag). I know that I have everything that I need and more, which is a comforting thought especially after my mini-freak out a couple of days ago.

Now is the time to sit and wait. I have a couple of things on my agenda during my layover in Houston. That is where I will exchange US dollars into New Zealand dollars. I will also grab some lunch, read my book, finish this blog, and contact my family to update them. My flight just got delayed fourteen more minutes.

Maybe I will finish this blog here!

I have already seen so many different cultures around me and experienced so many different languages, accents, clothes, and styles. I love people watching, and the airport is the best place to do so! It is funny to see so many people in business attire while I am sitting here with a sweatshirt that I got from my dad from the ’70s. But hey, I have a long flight ahead of me and I have to be comfortable. Plus I already received a compliment on my sweatshirt :) Anyway, I keep seeing some cute little kids and they are keeping me distracted. I do not think I will get bored, just lonely. I love my family and I will miss them dearly, but right now I am doing well.

My flight ended up being delayed an additional twenty-five minutes, but here we are in Houston, safe and sound. I found the Chick-Fil-A at terminal A, and then took the skyway to terminal D. I exchanged my money and now I am relaxing. I updated my family, and now I am recharging and vegging. I took an accidental nap on the plane from Charlotte to Houston and ate some mini pretzels and had some cranberry juice to drink. I sat in an aisle seat on the second to last row in the back of the plane, but nobody was in the window seat beside me so that was awesome. It has been cloudy all day and it is sprinkling here in Houston. I forgot that the time zone would change from Charlotte to Houston, so that threw me off for a little while when I was on the plane.

So many thoughts have been racing through my mind, but mainly I have just kept thinking about how amazing it is that I am actually on my way. After all of the preparation and planning and packing, I am finally on my way to the beautiful country of New Zealand! I am excited beyond words and my adrenaline has been pumping like crazy all day. I woke up this morning at 4:45, so I am on hour twelve, and I still have seventeen more to go until I touch New Zealand soil. I am still in great spirits, and my friends and family have been so supportive and loving throughout this whole process. I appreciate all of the texts, snaps, Insta stories, and everything in between! Signing off for now, I shall continue to mentally prepare for this sixteen-hour flight and you will catch me on the other side of the world!

Kia Ora,