Latest Week One in Windy Wellington

Week One in Windy Wellington

Kathryn Rohlwing
Kathryn Rohlwing
Kathryn Rohlwing hails from Gainesville, Florida and attends Wake Forest University in North Carolina in the US. She’s spending one year at Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand.

I didn’t feel anything for the first few days, it was such a whirlwind.

One minute I was trapped on a 13 hour flight listening to the drunken guy next to me recount his surfing adventures and the next I was sitting on the tarmac looking out over a shock of grey-green ocean backed by steep mountains and the next sitting on the top of one of those mountains eating and watching the tide come in below.

With a week of kayaking, rogaine-ing (a strange treasure hunt sort of thing that mostly involves running up mountains and dodging sheep), rugby, cricket, hiking, hot springs, museums and cultural events, jet lag didn’t even have a chance to set in, much less culture shock or homesickness.

I think I am still too caught up in the newness of this island to think long about what I miss from home.

Even now that I have settled into the mountaintop house I have been assigned, I pass every day bouncing from one activity to the next.

In the past couple days, I have toured the Botanic Gardens, hiked Mt. Victoria, wandered through town and explored campus.

I spent today at the waterfront, watching boat races and eating fish-and-chips, followed by perusing a street market, listening to a live band and finally climbing back up the mountain to my house to play around on Facebook.

There are occasional moments, though, when it hits me. I get bowled over by the wind as I open my door. Bang my head every time I go to spit out my toothpaste because I forget our bathroom is the size of a shoebox. I alternate between scalding my hands and freezing them in the tiny two-tap sinks.

But every time one of these feelings hits, I find myself looking out my window to the city and mountains or walking to the waterfront to watch the sailboats and I feel silly for letting my inner five-year-old have a meltdown over something as small as those differences.

When I actually stop, take a deep breath and remember my real age, I can’t get over how beautiful New Zealand is and how incredibly lucky I am to be studying here.