Brett Friedberg - Final Blog
What does this trip mean to me? It's hard to even start. Before we left, I didn't know what to expect from the trip. I had looked over the itinerary a couple of times, but was unaware of just how many amazing sites we would see on the trip. I try to tell family and friends about the places we have visited, but pictures and words never do it much justice. I found it hard to explain things like Tane Mahuta and the importance it has to the Maori people. You just had to be there. Or the Tongariro Crossing, I tried my best to take pictures to show everyone how beautiful the hike was, but again, the pictures didn't do much justice compared to actually hiking it. It makes me wonder about the rest of the world and how I have only seen pictures of 97% of it. If this trip did nothing else, it made me want to see more of the world through my own eyes. Anyway, back to New Zealand.
Not only did we just visit so many sites and enjoy the view, but actually were able to learn about how they came to be this way or why certain organisms were able to thrive there. I think this gave the trip much more meaning than if I had traveled there by myself. Coming in, I thought I would know most of the biology since I was myself a biology major, but I quickly realized this was not the biology I had been taught at UD. As for the geology, my vocabulary was small including words like rock and ocean, but Art, Doug, and Adam have given me a wealth of knowledge on these subjects that I have been able to take back home with me. Next time I'm at a beach, I'm sure I will banter on about the geology features and the types of shells to whoever is with me. I'm very appreciative to think of different sites and have more going through my head than "beautiful" or "so great". Instead, I can think of a place and think about how the sand got there and why it's the size it is, or "man, I know how that arch was formed!"
How about the culture in New Zealand? This was essentially the first trip out of the country for me, so I was anxious excited about finally seeing a new place. Between the fish and chips, fried oyster, ready to go sandwiches, sausage, their attempt at bacon, cafes, thai food, or the no tipping policy getting lunch was always interesting. Public restrooms: What a great concept! Although I do not think they would be so clean and without issues in many parts of our own country. People we encountered daily were always quick to say hello and ask about your time in New Zealand, always being friendly and warm-hearted. How about the Marae stay? They were some of the nicest people I have met. Their wonderful culture gave everyone a chance to see how natural and unique some people in the world live.
After such an exciting and happy journey, leaving everyone at the Philadelphia airport was a weird feeling. Over the month, we had spent so much time together and become such good friends, it did not seem like anyone was ready to end the trip. Most of us had recently met each other, but in the little time we were together, we did some of the most amazing things we will ever do in our lifetime. In the process, I made great friends I hope to continue to stay close with so we can relive and talk about all the great times we had in New Zealand and hopefully make some new ones. In my final blog I have decided to make my top 10 most memorable moments of the trip. (obviously the list could go on and on)
1. Swimming into the caves at Cathedral Cove.
2. Tongariro Crossing
3. The haka
5. Climbing mount "manganunu" in pitch black darkness
6. Whale Watching excursion
7. Finding the geocache.
8. Trevor eating lamb for the first time.
9. The attempt to find Victoria street the first night in Hamilton which took upwards of three hours.
10. Church visit at the Marae and the casket raising.