Monday, February 8, 2010

Final Blog Assignment
-Rob Gardiner

This trip to New Zealand has undoubtedly been one of the best five weeks of my life. I made memories everyday that will remain with me forever. Over the course of the month I learned so much more than just the geology and biology of New Zealand. I learned about a culture I had no idea even existed (the Maori) and am now fascinated by their history and proudly wear one of their beautiful carvings around my neck. I also learned a lot more about myself than I had ever imagined I would while studying abroad.
I've been stuck on this next sentence for a long time now because I really can't put into words how special and truly life changing this trip was. This blog and my photos can't capture how amazing a time I had. If I could go back and re-do the entire trip there is really not one moment I would change. The people who I got to experience everything with made the time spent in New Zealand that much better. I fell in love with New Zealand and the only thing helping me get through this snow storm is the possibility of going back someday. In fact, at one of the last hostels we stayed in I picked up some papers about seasonal work in the summer after graduation. However, it came to mind that as many times as I do go back to Aotearoa and no matter how many amazing things I see while there, it will in no way compare to our trip simply because I will not have the same group of people to experience it with. Since I've been home I've been seriously affected by jet lag which has l!
eft me with nothing else to do but go through the 700 photos I took and relive every moment. A large number of these photos were taken during the Tongariro Crossing. The crossing was probably the most challenging walk I have ever done and will ever do. After hiking for 5 and a half hours up steep inclines with lose rock, everything else seems easy. The sense of accomplishment I felt after the crossing was second only to how I felt when I landed after skydiving. I'll end it here before I begin to start rambling off stories about the trip which could take forever.
Thank you to everybody who was involved in this trip (including those people back in New Zealand) for being part of one of the best times of my life.

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