Trip Start Jan 12, 2008
15Trip End May 10, 2008
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First of all: I have to thank you all. I came back to the states in May to spend a couple of months to visit and ended up staying for four months. I am so blessed to have such amazing family and friends and am so grateful for the support you've given me while living out my dream. One of the most valuable things I've learned from this experience is to really enjoy where I'm at at the time and who I'm with. Knowing that I only get so much time with people, whether it was the people I met in New Zealand or the friends I hung out with this summer or time with family, (like seeing my niece walk and get smarter and smarter everyday) has made me appreciate each moment where before I may have taken it for granted
Here's my plans, most of you already know, but just to give you dates: I am flying out of Minneapolis on Friday, September 5th to Bangkok Thailand. It's over 20 hours of flying--yuck! My flight will be getting in on Saturday at 11:50 pm. I'll be meeting my roomate that I lived with in New Zealand there, (Anca) and we'll be spending 2 weeks traveling all around the country. It's extremely inexpensive there. You can stay in a hostel for a couple of dollars or get a 4 or 5 star hotel room on the beach for under $30. A large Thai meal on the street might cost you a dollar. (who knows what's in it though, right?) No, actually the Thai people are known for making some pretty amazing food. Thai cooking classes are a popular tourist activity.
The country is fairly large, Bangkok has millions of people, very advanced, crowded, busy. But outside of the city, the culture is extremely modest. It's not uncommon to see fully clothed Thais swimming in the ocean. Almost 100% of the people are buddhist, and they practice prayers and offerings daily. I am so excited to visit the ancient temples and learn more about their history and culture. One of the things I want to do is a 2-3 day trek/tour in the northern part. Guides will take you through the jungles to different hill tribes and historical sites.
We'll both fly back to Christchurch New Zealand on September 20th. I'll be living in the same place, with Anca, Kurt, and now another gal from Australia whom I haven't met yet. I'm pretty sure I could go back to waitressing at the Pub I was working at before, but I would like to try to find something new if I can
Because our economy is, well, basically falling apart here in America, New Zealand is feeling the effects there as well. Kurt (my photographer roommate who I did graphic design for) cut down his assistant Sarah's hours from full time to just one day a week due to a lack of incoming business. We were starting to really push and market his portraiture part of business when I was leaving last time so it will be interesting to see how that is going when I get back.
To add to that: When I first arrived there in January last year, I could not believe how many people would ask me who I was voting for for president this year. They are just as, if not more (than some people) interested in our politics as we are! I found a huge appreciation for that and was reminded of the role our politics have in the rest of the world. So don't forget to vote, people!!!
New Zealand only offers 1 year work visas and mine will be expiring in January of 2009
I have two friends from college that will be in Australia at the time. One girl will be working in Brisbane and the other going to college in Newcastle, just north of Sydney. It'll be nice to know that I'll have people I can count on if I need a couch to crash on while I'm finding a place of my own to live. I'd like to find more graphic design work if I can and possible even work with a photography studio again.
So that's the tentative plan!
Attached are photos from last April/May. For the last part of Stacie's and my trip around the South Island we took a boat cruise around Milford Sound
The other photos included are from various places in Christchurch. I took them a couple of days before I left in May, during the first part of their fall season.
Thanks again for all your love and support. I will be missing you so much this next year so please keep in touch and drop me a line sometime! And one other thing to add, every time I go somewhere new it just makes me think of how much I appreciate where I come from. There's no place like home!!!
I'll leave you with a well known Maori saying (Maori are the indiginous people of NZ).
Kia hora te marino, kia whakapapa pounamu te moana, Kia tere karohirohi i mua i tou huarahi.
May calm be spread around you, may the sea glisten like greenstone and the shimmer of summer dance across your path.