Once upon a time, I decided that the northern hemisphere just wasn’t my jam. So halfway through my junior year of college, I packed up my stuff into two (slightly overweight) suitcases, said goodbye to western New York, and jetted off to spend a semester living and studying at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand.
I loved it instantly. My head was filled with fantastic dreams of visiting Hobbiton and finding the guys from Flight of the Conchords… but there was also the lurking thought that I would be spending the next five months having amazing adventures ten thousand miles away from all the people I knew and loved.
So what to do? I posted photos on Facebook for my friends back at school and Skyped with my parents when my internet wasn’t going berzerk, but I wanted to be able to keep in touch with everyone, to share stories and pictures with anyone who was interested! Does this sound like a commercial for travel blogs yet? Exactly. And so, “My Life as a Kiwi” was born. For five months, I posted dutifully and passionately, sharing the most incredible adventures of my life with everyone at home, and new friends abroad.
When the semester was over, I returned to New York for my final year of college, where I was greeted with a welcome home gift of having to design and write a self-guided senior thesis. After agonizing over this decision for 2.5 seconds, I decided to write about New Zealand. More specifically, I decided to write an ethnographic travelogue of my experience as an outsider learning about the European-descended and indigenous Māori parts of Kiwi culture (say whaaa?). While I was writing my thesis, I frequently referenced my journal, email, and especially my blog to remind myself of the thoughts and feelings that had accompanied the events I was recounting.
After months of work, I pushed print, handed in my thesis, and skipped off to Kelly’s for a celebratory drink. Phase Two of this blog’s existence was over, but it still stuck around. After graduation, I just kept writing.
If you’re looking for the original posts from “My Life as a Kiwi,” here they are!
Oh… and I did visit Hobbiton after all.