I was pretty nervous because of the exams. Not only because I have left university for a year, but also because I need to answer all the questions in English. That was my first-time-ever exam in a language different from my mother tongue. The first exam was a 3-hour exam, inside the Otago Museum. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I read the room placement, but I wasn’t wrong. The exam was held in the seminar room, inside one of my favourite places in Dunedin. I was relieved and didn’t get too nervous about the exams afterwards. And after long and gloomy study days in the library (the heat pump in my flat was broken so it was really cold), I finally managed to pass all the subjects. Yay! And I got myself a gift: splurging in a sushi restaurant. Yum!
The best thing after finishing an exam is going on holiday. Of course, I had planned to go on a road trip around New Zealand’s South Island, until I got an important call. It was from a fine dining restaurant owner, offering me a part-time job. I have been looking for a part-time job since the first time I set my feet in Dunedin, so that was an offer I couldn’t reject. The whole holiday plan was over, but I didn’t feel sad; I felt excited. Having a part-time job while attending university was a thing I have dreamt of since I was still in Indonesia. It was hard back then because being a medical student means I didn’t have a life. At least, I didn’t have time to gain new experiences outside school and to grow as a person.
The job at the wee nice restaurant was not the only job I did on my holiday. I was offered another job, which was even more interesting because of its relation to my major, human nutrition. My main role was to educate people about healthy eating and promote vegetarian meals, which I enjoyed the most. It was fascinating to meet many people, talk about food, and make new connections. I learned many things from this job, from dealing with communication issues to learning about public food choices.
Not getting out of Dunedin didn’t mean I couldn’t make the most of it. I went on several short trips, from Dunedin’s most loved beaches to New Zealand’s only castle.
Tunnel Beach was my first destination, because of its unique history. It is called Tunnel Beach mainly because everybody needs to walk through a (cool but somewhat creepy) tunnel to reach the beach. The view was stunning, overlooking hills and farmlands.
St Kilda Beach
My next destination was another beach. I participated in a local non-profit organisation event to do a coastal cleanup. The aim of the event was to preserve nature conservation, starting from a simple and easy step, but which can make a huge difference. My task was to collect trash from St. Kilda Beach. It easily became my favourite beach, with a low tide and dogs running freely around the beach. At the end of the day, I and a couple of friends successfully filled 3 big trash bags with plastic, food wrappers, and even wine bottles.
The last destination was New Zealand’s only castle, the Larnach Castle. I needed to drive for 30 minutes along the coast, and then go up the hills. The location of the castle was really remote, and I couldn’t believe that kind of castle still existed. The view was beautiful, and the buildings are carefully preserved. Unfortunately, I didn’t have much time to explore this area as I was there for a job-related thing.
That was the end of my holiday, and now I’m off to my second semester at Otago University. I guess I still have time to do everything… See ya!