Sunday, 26 June 2016

On the Road Again & Starting the Next Chapter

Written by Amanda White

Thursday and Friday were long travel days, and our last two with Stacey and Wendy. {You mean you don’t know who Wendy is?! Wendy is only the best lil Haka tour bus EVER! Our home for two weeks, now filled with laughter, memories, great music, lots of sleeps, and lots of Stacey fun facts—and once-filled with all of our luggage over and over and over again.}

I’ll be honest: I took very few pictures on Thursday. One takeaway for me personally from Kiwi culture is being laid back and unplugged from technology. I’m trying to continually apply this to my life more and more, looking at my phone and watch less and less. And while I love taking pictures and capturing memories in that way, by this point in the expedition I had taken around 800 pictures (NO JOKE) and was ready to just sit back, look around, and enjoy the scenery the second time around as we passed back through the South Island.

Thursday night was our farewell dinner to Stacey. We ate out at one of her favorite pubs in Christchurch, and she {eventually… after a long and drawn-out night full of procrastination and bets regarding our tour group being in her Facebook cover photo} told us the stories of all her tattoos. It was a cool bonding time, particularly for those on the trip who have tattoos of their own, and several of whom got new tattoos in Wellington today (Sunday)!

Some final views of the South Island mountains
Friday was just an EARLY morning. Stacey drove us all the way from Christchurch to Picton by around noon to catch the ferry back to the North Island. She took us to her favorite spot in Picton for final pictures, selfies, and hugs {and, unfortunately, a few final sand flea bites}. It was a bittersweet goodbye to Stacey at the ferry terminal, but we’ll see her soon.

Me and PC Stace
One last bus selfie!
The ferry ride was pretty rocky. After watching the sunset up on the observation deck, I came to the passenger lounge to find almost all of my pals laying on the floor to mitigate the rocking/seasickness, either trying to sleep or giggling uncontrollably (I’m looking at you, Shannon!). But at least Madeline, Tori, Shannon and I figured out that (1) Tori can list all the US states in 19 seconds; and (2) between the four of us, we know most of the US state capitals. Finally in Wellington (FOR GOOD! Well… for four weeks. Which, in the context of NEIP is “for good.”), we checked in to Trek Global and headed out to the night market on Cuba Street once again, and then to Kaffee Eis for some Well{ington}-enjoyed gelato.

Sunset on the interislander
Saturday marked the last day of our expedition officially! We learned about organizational purpose at Zealandia, and the wide variety of campaigns that Absolutely, Positively Wellington has put on through the years. These were a strong ending to two weeks of travel and 13 branding presentations—now it’s time for report-writing and interning! The group spent the afternoon exploring Wellington in various ways—some shopping, some exploring Te Papa Museum, and others resting up for the big week ahead. Most of us ended up at a bar on the harbor to watch the All-Blacks crush Wales in rugby again—we’re pretty big fans now.

Sunday, according to our itinerary, was “Rest and preparation day,” which we took to mean “Get to know Wellington however you see fit Day.” There were Sunday morning markets; more Te Papa exploration; shopping; tattoo-getting; some naps; and even some homework. We’re getting ready for internship orientation—tomorrow, we’ll go our separate ways and work in the real world! Wow.

Nowhere I’d rather do that than here in Wellington, New Zealand.


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