New Zealand


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!

The Excitement Never Ends!

Oh… and I did visit Hobbiton after all.

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