Courtney Windju - “More details provided below!”

 Courtney Windju

Courtney left the USA to study at the University of Otago in New Zealand. When she’s not studying she likes exploring, baking and meeting new people. Courtney graduated from the University of San Diego in 2016.

This is truly my first chance to sit down and share my adventures with all of you - so my sincere apologies for the delay! I am currently wearing two layers and sipping on peppermint tea with a pink nose while writing this post - with freshly made granola baking in the oven. All I have to say is living in San Diego the past 2 years has certainly ill-prepared me for this trip.

It all began in Los Angeles, California after spending a couple of days with my lovely older sister, I made my way to LAX to depart on a 13 hour flight. The Globalinks crew gathered at the gate and we all mingled a bit before our flight took off. I slept 9 hours on the plane ride, which made for not a bad ride at all! We arrived in Auckland at 6:30 am and strolled around the city.  Anyone who knows me will be aware of how observant I am. This has been the most enjoyable aspect of being in a new place - noticing different ways of life, appearances and attitudes. On a rather humorous note, I just read this direct quote from my journal:

"…all I know is I’m having pizza for dinner with a cliff bar as my appetizer."

pizza-for-dinner

“… pizza for dinner ….”

Something about traveling has made my appetite become rather monstrous.  Speaking of food, I learned that NZ isn’t necessarily known for a certain dish, because it consists of a variety of different cultures, thus there’s a little bit of everything here! 

The next day we departed for Rotorua, known for some of the best mountain biking in the world. You may be quite familiar with the phrase “best in the world” after reading my posts, because NZ is the adventure capital of the world. For you Lord of the Rings and Hobbit fans, we were near Hobbiton - I didn’t go on the tour, but several others did. It looked awesome! One important thing you all should know, or those of you whom have yet to experience NZ - the scenery here is absolutely amazing.

impressive-scenery-in-new-zealand

“… the scenery here is absolutely amazing. ”

I recall thinking that I was looking at a desktop background time and time again. In Rotorua, we also had the chance to visit a Marae, the home of the Maori people. Here we learned about the Maori culture, which has been very well fought for and reserved here in NZ. I am sure a few of you are familiar with the Haka, a chant the Maoris would do in preparation for battle to intimidate their opponent. In Rotorua, we also participated in a community service day where we planted 450 trees. I have recognized that the kiwis (people of NZ) are very well informed environmentally, which is fascinating to me. Furthermore, the pictures are from our hike up Mt. Maunganui in a very popular surf town by the name of Tauranga. The views were absolutely breathtaking.

hike-to-mount-maunganui

 

beautiful-mount-maunganui

“…our hike up Mt. Maunganui …”

Speaking of breathtaking, I recently saw a quote that I really enjoyed, it goes like this – 

 “Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.” - Hilary Cooper

new-zealand-beach

“‘…. the moments that take our breath away.’”

views-in-new-zealand

 

Finally, I arrived in Dunedin. I have been here since July 1st and it has been a bit chilly! Although, I will say I have experienced colder weather in Idaho and there is no snow in Dunedin. I live in a nice little flat here with my roommates from the U.S., South Korea, Germany and New Zealand. I have to say grocery shopping here was an interesting, yet fun experience. I circumnavigated the store a few times and bought an interesting mix of items. I think I will be living off of pb & js and ramen - yum!The day before we left Auckland for Dunedin, we went caving in Waitomo. Caving is popular in New Zealand and let me tell ya, I have never experienced anything like it before. We were well beneath the earth crawling through holes, walking through water in our gumboots (rain boots) and admiring the amazing glow worms above us - I will provide a picture later, since we could not bring our cameras down in the caves with us.

Well that is about all I have for now in terms of catching up! 

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