As I sit here in LAX, all that is left to do is reflect upon the past month, lest I remember that classes start in just a few days. From our Maori visits to hiking the Tongariro Alpine crossing, there has rarely been a dull moment, save for the last few days at the Uni. However, Dull is an imprecise word but I use it because the stresses of the journey morphed constantly and kept the trip constantly interesting. From joy and amazement to practically needing to get away from each other to hiking mountain passes and sleeping (err… studying!) on beaches, we have seen a rollercoaster of every part of our senses over this past month. This is not to say that this trip wasn't an exceptional experience, for it is the ardors of travel that make the situations so memorable.
Before departure, I had made a point to sample the delicacies of the Land of the Long White Cloud, but only after starting to understand the locals and viewing the heralded sights that these small islands have to offer. I feel that all of these goals were achieved to a degree that I could never have imagined, but let's be honest, you can never have enough good food, so I will work on that again next time I visit. The bond of cultures in New Zealand is an exceptional combination that has rarely been seen over the years and the sights and sounds and smells should be experienced by all lest we forget what true beauty actually is. It must not be forgotten the numerous facts and information that I learned from the classes, which is particularly important to me as I truly felt like the stupidest person for 10000 miles when I heard many people discuss the material very early on.
This trip has shown me a lot of New Zealand but it has also revealed things about myself and others. This will most likely be one of my last opportunities to travel in such a large group, which has been an experience, but what I will miss is the insightful discussions, lectures, experiences, and information that Art, Doug, Adam, Stu, and every other helpful Kiwi we found was more than willing to share with us. I have found that it is rarely what you see but in what context and who you share it with, and I am glad that my first experience was with all of you, and you all have the desire to come back and explore the South Island as much as I do.
We will be the heard of turtles marauding through a field of peanut butter forever.