Well, this is my last post. I’m sitting here in my room on my second day back in the states feeling a mixture of jet lag and sadness, and thankfully no indigestion (the Indian food is out of my system). This trip was intense and life changing and has shown me that every step I take during my time on earth has purpose. Everything we do impacts the environment and here in America, the majority of the population have no idea about how big of an impact we could be in the world just by stopping to think once and a while. I am just as guilty as the next person of buying into our materialistic culture and I’m not saying that it’s all bad. What I’m saying is that no matter how cool a tv show or new computer is, I’ve seen pieces of nature that bring them to shame. I’ve climbed mountains so beautiful that my fear of heights disappeared into nothing and looked at the world through the eyes of a culture that is the complete opposite of my own, finding that we aren’t so different after all. Differences are all to often dismissed as fear and thrown to the winds. We are all part of the same world and living in fear is not progress. Bruce taught us that the easiest way to conquer fear is to smother it with love (along with a lot of other things I can’t remember right now). The times of fear are over and the times of love must continue if we are to find peace and sustain a bright future for our species. If we can find common ground together, then there is hope. Life shouldn’t be built on things. It should be built on love and relationships. I have 37 new relationships in my life now (I’m including you Kitty and Chad) that have changed me for the better (not tryin to get all sappy here guys, but y’all really are pretty spectacular). It’s hard waking up each day at 6AM (jet lag problems) and realizing I’m not about to go on another adventure with the Yellow Cohort, but 36 hours of travel and some violating airport security checks aren’t enough to convince me that our time together is finished. The Aborigines taught us that time is relative, so I know that at some time right now, in the past and in the future we are going on another adventure together. Be it in the Land Down Under, Athens or somewhere we don’t know yet, it’s happening and I am beyond excited to see how it goes. Follow your white herons…they may only come once. This is Dad, signing out for now (it’s an inside joke…you wouldn’t get it even if I explained it). BOOYAH.
Today was our last full day in country. We left the marae at 8AM sharp to drive to the Wellington YHA and drop off our baggage. Upon arrival, I noticed that I had accidentally left my raincoat at the marae. This initially distressed me, but my distress quickly turned to blind panic once I realized that my passport was in the coat pocket of that jacket. Everything went black. Just kidding, but I did get pretty panicked. I used someone’s phone to call the marae and thankfully, they had the jacket. We had to leave the YHA to take our final exam, though, so I told them that I would come back in a couple hours. On our walk to the Massey University, the space where we took our final, I worked very hard to keep my cool. I was unsuccessful until we passed by a mural on a wall showing a white crane. This brought to mind something that Bruce said at the marae yesterday about how life gives you white cranes and you can’t let them go…they’re dreams and opportunities which are incredibly rare. Normally, I would just say that he’s an old hippy, but his words rang true. In my darkest place, I found an opportunity to gain inner peace. I accepted that the current circumstances were out of my control and that all I could do was my best with what I had. I went and took my final (I was so zen at that point that I didn’t even check my answers) and then tried to figure out a way to get a cab to the marae. This instance is an example of where God showed me His incredible faithfulness. In my worry and questioning, two of my friends (Megan and Alec) volunteered to come with me and split my cab fare because cabs are so expensive here. Then, a kind woman at Massey called a cab for me. We arrived at the marae promptly and nobody was there. Our cab driver waited for us at the end of the driveway and we sprinted down to the structure to see if my coat was anywhere to be found. Nobody was home. We went around calling for someone and knocked on a couple doors. Finally, we heard a muffled groan from behind one door and Megan pushed it open. To our surprise (surprise is an understatement), it was Bruce. He was sitting in his wheelchair with his back to us and I’m pretty positive he had no pants on (I didn’t go in far enough to see). He was startled (like us), but was happy to point us in the direction of my coat and passport (someone had put it in a drawer for safekeeping). We also found two notebooks from other people in our cohort. Once we had everything, we sprinted back up to our cab because the timer for the fare was still running. This was a tad painful for me, because I had on no shoes and we were running on gravel (you aren’t allowed to wear shoes inside a marae and I didn’t have time to slide mine on before running). We managed to get back to our cab, but only stayed in it for another couple of blocks, because Alec and Megan saw a cool bike shop they wanted to look at. After looking inside, we walked all the way back to the hostel through Wellington. The city is nice, but is definitely not my favorite of the places we’ve visited. The one exception is the area down by the water. We got to our hostel, but there was nobody to let us into our rooms, so we walked down to the water. That area is beautiful and we got a bit of food from this amazing cafe that sits right in front of the harbor. I will never forget how good that gluten free toast was…it almost made me feel like I was eating real bread. We went back to the hostel after that to shower and unpack and then hit the streets again. After hitting up pretty much every souvenir shop there was (surprisingly few and far between for New Zealand’s capitol), it was time to head back for dinner. We met in the lobby of the hostel and walked as a group to an Indian place that was close by. They served us amazing food family style and I definitely ate too much. I ended up having to go back to the hostel to take care of some business due to stomach pain, which brings me to another point. Indian food before a 14 hour plane ride may not have been the best plan. We’ll ride it out though I guess (send positive thoughts of air freshener my way). I made it back out after I felt a little better and met up with the group at a place with great music. Then, we went to a karaoke bar, where everybody really let loose. It was a good way to round off our amazing trip together and I am so sad that we have to leave tomorrow (actually in two hours…). I am really going to miss playing the odds game, practical jokes, laughing harder than I’ve ever laughed, the incredible natural beauty and biodiversity of Australia and New Zealand and learning how to make an impact in changing our world for the better. Most of all, though. I am going to miss this amazing group that I have been blessed to be with. Thankfully, most of us live in Athens, and we will find a way to get Megan down from Colorado to visit (who wants to be cold all the time anyways). This is me signing off for now, but there will be one more post, so don’t get too sad (or happy). See you in a couple hours.
Apparently my days got mixed up somehow so I either combined a day or skipped one…I will try to find the entry, but if I can’t, then let’s just say the day was awesome. Here’s what happened today:
We spent most of the day today traveling from Kaikoura (finally got the spelling down…sorry folks), which is on the South Island to Wellington on the North Island. It started out as a two-hour bus ride followed by a three hour ferry ride. At the beginning of the bus ride, we stopped at the mouth of a stream that feeds into the ocean. We hiked up the streambed for about a half-mile to see a “school” for New Zealand Fur Seal pups. It was a waterfall and pool where about 60 seal pups were chillin out and swimming around (looked like a big ol’ pot of seal soup). The pups were adorable and waddled right up to us to have a look. It was really hard not to touch them, because they’re probably the cutest things I’ve seen since my baby pictures, but we knew to keep our hands out of reach to avoid being mauled (thanks Animal Planet). I definitely got a seal selfie though. On the bus ride, we saw some more beautiful scenery, including some of the most expansive vineyards in the South Island. We were all kept awake and amused by a homemade song from Alec and Frances about why seals are fat (sounds childish, but we rarely get to sleep, so we’re all crazy). When we got to the ferry, I was surprised, because it looked more like an airport than a boat dock. On the ferry, they had luxury coffee shops, food and even a movie theatre. We had about three hours to do homework that was due at the end of the ferry ride. That went well except for the fact that our field guide, John (this is a new one…they’re all named John for some reason), kept taking us out onto the boat deck every hour to tell us some facts about the area we were passing through. It was actually pretty interesting (if you like stories about whaling and fault lines…I do), but the wind coming off the ocean was so strong that it nearly made my hat blow off. The views were stunning, though, so we stayed on the deck for a long time. A couple of people got seasick from the swell, but thankfully I was not one of them (if I eat something…it stays with me). Our arrival into Wellington was punctuated by more stunning views and a gorgeous rainbow (I swear, you probably see about two of those things a day here). We hopped onto our new charter bus (one with a heating and cooling system that worked thankfully) and headed over to our accommodations for the night. We are staying in a Maori residence called a marae, which sits in the middle of Wellington. You would hardly be able to tell, though, because it is an incredibly large piece of land enclosed in forest. The house is a gigantic wooden structure made almost entirely of recycled items and is a hub for Maori culture in Wellington. Upon arrival, we had to engage in a traditional greeting with our hosts, which involved them listing their entire lineage, their mountain and their stream. They followed this with a song. This is important to the Maori, because they venerate their ancestors and view them as represented in natural figures such as mountains or streams. Our host even views this marae as his mother. We had to reciprocate the Maori greeting with an introduction of our own, citing “Stone Mountain” as our mountain and the “Chattahoochee” as our river. We followed this with a rendition of “Lean on Me” and then called the Dawgs. I thought this was pretty spectacular until I found out that the two previous groups sang the exact same song (we still killed it though…go dawgs!). After our introductions, we had tea and put our things away. We’re staying in a giant room upstairs as a single group. It’s pretty fitting since tonight is our last full night together (we leave for the airport at 3 AM on the 5th). After we settled in, the founder of this marae gave us a speech on the history of the marae and his personal history as growing up as a Maori. It was a very interesting talk followed by an amazing dinner. The Maori who live here made us a delicious chicken curry dish with vegetables followed by rice pudding and an assortment of exotic fruits. I got to try persimmons and two fruits whose names I don’t know (one of them tasted like a mint banana though), and that rice pudding was dang good. After dinner, we hung around for a bit and got to know the teenagers of the marae while cleaning up the dishes. I love the community aspect here and how everyone equally shares the load to keep up the eco-friendly standard of living here that supports their cultural way of life. Also, we heard a wild kiwi on the way to the bathroom just now (day made)! This truly was a spectacular day. Currently, everyone is either studying for our final exam tomorrow or trying to fall asleep (difficult due to the amount of snorers in the group). Everybody is really sad, because tomorrow is our last day in New Zealand. I’m ready to go out and make the most of it! Bruce (the head of the marae) told us that truly living is to conquer fear with love. Don’t really know how to do that, but I’m gonna find a way to apply it to my life!
The day started off in the form of a pain in the butt wakeup time followed by a glorious sunrise and an amazing boat ride. I am definitely putting in an application to work at Encounter Kaikora (apparently I’ve been spelling it wrong this whole time…whoops) when I come back to NZ. They were the first dolphin encounter tour boat company in New Zealand (I think), and are awesome at what they do. We set out over a swelling ocean (seasickness patches did the job) to find a pod of dolphins to swim with. They made us put on full body wetsuits, which were probably about as hilarious to see everyone in as they were uncomfortable to wear (very uncomfortable). Everything was forgotten, though, once we saw the dolphins. We jumped out of the boat in our snorkel gear into the most amazing experience of my life. A pod of close to 400 dusky and common dolphins swarmed around us the second we jumped into the water. They swam as fast as they could out to us, making it look like they were going to run into us before swerving away at the turn of a hair. The skipper and captain of the boat told us to make noises at them to “attract” them, so pretty much everybody started squealing and screaming what they thought sounded like dolphin noise (it didn’t). I took a different approach and started humming Fleetwood Mac through my snorkel. Unsurprisingly, they loved it. A group of about 6 of them circled around me, touching me with their dorsal fins. It was INCREDIBLE. I didn’t get any underwater footage (the iPhone 4 couldn’t have taken it), but I am getting copies of all of my friends’ go-pro videos. We snorkeled for about 30 minutes (it flew by) and then jumped back into the boat to follow the pod. We jumped back into the water at another access point and swam with them for a little longer, then had to start going back to shore. I didn’t really realize how cold the water was until I got back into the boat for the second time. Unfortunately, I left my towel at Aoraki (sorry Mom…), so I shivered dry for a bit and then got some warm hot chocolate on the front of the boat where we were cruising and watching the dolphins do tricks. They’re all such hams and it was hilarious to watch them flipping and having a blast out there in the water. On the way back, we also saw two sperm whales in the bay (I think Megan started crying out of happiness). We got back to the Encounter Kaikora headquarters and ate sack lunches before heading out on a guided walk throughout the peninsula. There were amazing views, cool rock pools and boring lectures. We even got to get up close and personal with some New Zealand Fur Seals. One of the charged at us, but I’m sure he wouldn’t have hurt us (we ran too fast). Then, we finished up the day with group dinner, another lecture (Maori vs. European perspective on the land…actually quite interesting), and finally, had our group talent show. Apparently this is the first time that a group has done this and it was hilarious. I sang Landslide for everybody (with the lights out so they wouldn’t make me laugh) and other people did dances, skits and even magic tricks. I’m really going to miss everybody and I’m sad that we only have two more days here. I’m going to make the most of them and try to do as many awesome things as I can before we leave. Talk to you tomorrow unless I’m doing a cooler activity (that means I’ll definitely be talking to you…)!
We left Aoraki today. I had to wake up early to make breakfast, so the transition onto the bus wasn’t as difficult for me as earlier (caffeine my friends). We scrambled up some eggs and bacon for everybody and then were on our way. I am definitely planning on finding a way back to Mount Cook one day. It definitely spoke to me and I felt a connection with the area that is difficult to describe. Everybody bundled up for another freezing bus ride only to find out that our bus driver actually figured out how to work the heat! The problem was that he learned how to work it so well that the bus was sweltering. I feel bad for that poor man trying to find the right temperature to keep a bunch of loud Americans happy. All he wants out of life is to point out scenery to us while we’re trying to sleep. The ride was beautiful and we got to learn all about braided river systems, which are apparently mostly poisoned in New Zealand now by cattle (this could be incorrect…clearly I was only half listening). After about 100 stops, we made it to Kaiakora right as the sun was setting, rounding off a bus trip that lasted from sunrise to sunset. I spent most of the ride trying to sleep on the floor of the bus, so I was really happy to finally arrive. On the plus side, the sunset was really beautiful. I tried to have Alec take some pictures for me because he was sitting next to the window closest to it, but they all turned out like crap. I’ll still post one though…with a little editing, anything can be good (Hollywood taught me that). After we arrived, we set our stuff down in our hostel and then walked down to town for dinner. After looking in just about every restaurant for a table, we finally found a place that we could fit. I got grouper, which to my surprise actually tasted great (not much of a fish person…I’m loyal to Chic Fil A). The town here is quaint and nice and it’s definitely going on my places to immigrate list. When we got back, Frances gave Alec, Megan and me some patches for seasickness to wear since we’re going to swim with dolphins in the open ocean tomorrow. You’re supposed to put them on behind your ear the night before you go on the boat. Allegedly they work great, but the side effects are really weird. We felt fine at first, but when we sat down to start working on our homework modules, all of a sudden we got really tired and then started acting loopy. I’m sitting here trying to write this while I’m barely able to concentrate, so hopefully it turns out well. Luckily, I only bought wifi for tomorrow, so I will be able to edit this before you see it. I’m leaving this part in it though…just for kicks. Deuces.
**Yep, not much to edit!
Today was an incredibly special day. We got to sleep in before our group breakfast and hike. Our accommodations are a lot like an alpine hotel and I’m pretty sure we have it to ourselves (except for out senile bus driver who sleeps here too – the one that does not understand AC units). There’s a big common room that we share for mealtimes and chillin’. We had pancakes there this morning. Our leaders, Kristin and Chad, even got some gluten free ones for me. They didn’t really cook that well, but I wasn’t complaining. I’ve always liked warm dough. We left for our hike around 10:30 AM and trekked all the way from the base of Hooker Valley to the base of Mount Cook. It was about a five hour hike there and back and was full of the most beautiful scenery I have ever seen in my entire life. The high country of New Zealand is a world of its own and I can completely understand why the Maori held this place in high spiritual regard. It’s almost as if time stands still here and you can feel the millions of years of history washing over you in the forms of the glaciers, rocks and lichen. The morning started out pretty cold, but about halfway through the hike, most of us got naked. Just kidding, but we did shed some layers…hiking uphill is hot! At the base of Mount Cook, there is a glacial lake that still has icebergs floating in it. It was mostly frozen when we arrived, but in keeping with the long standing Discover Abroad tradition, I had to jump into the water. Most of the guys did it with me and a couple of girls. Katie, Sally and Frances stayed out of the water and took some pretty incredible pictures. All I can say is that it was a life changing experience. Alec and I were the first in the water and I had to jump back out after a few seconds because it was so cold. It actually felt like knives were being stabbed into my feet. After a couple more seconds, though, I was back in the water and submerged myself like the other guys in front of me. Everything shuts down in water that cold and we all were screaming uncontrollably (sadly ruining the otherwise peaceful stop in the hike of several other visitors…go dawgs). Strangely, though, I don’t think that I’ve ever felt more alive. It took us about thirty minutes to warm back up and eat our lunch, then we were back on the trail down to home. I will never forget the quiet serenity of the mountain, though, and need to find some way to come back here some day. Aoraki is permanently on my migration list (if you’re reading this Mom, it’s ok…I will come back eventually). We stopped by the visitors center on the way back and got some cool souvenirs. I got a sweet New Zealand hat that Alec got as well, but it’s cool because he already copied me with Australia Jersey…now we’re even. Dinner was soup and grilled cheese followed by a documentary on environmentalism and progress. It was pretty depressing to watch the direction that our world is headed, but I know that there is hope for the future. Change happens generationally and if we can commit to saving the environment, then we can save ourselves as a species too. The moral of the story is to listen to more Bon Iver and Stevie Nicks. Just kidding, but in all seriousness you know what to do…it’s just taking the steps to do it. Now it’s time for a few rounds of spades and then bed. I got lucky that there was wifi here, but I know nothing about Kaiakora. If there’s no wifi there, then I’ll talk to you in Wellington. Until then, I’m leaving you in suspense about my Journeys Down Under. Stay classy San Francisco.
Waking up at 6:50 this morning was killer. I was sad to leave Queenstown, but even sadder to wake up that early. We got off to a late start, which took away one of our bathroom breaks. It’s a lot like prison here sometimes (just kidding…more like house arrest). Our bus driver forgot how to turn on the heat, so we spent most of the ride in sleeping bags, which was awesome. We stopped at two different farms today to learn about sustainable farming or something like that. Both were sheep farms, but we only got down and dirty with the sheep at the first one. They’re really cute but actually pretty stupid…one of them ran into the fence. The views were really beautiful though. The second one was about 9,000 acres and we spent the entire lecture on a giant hill that overlooked the property. Coincidentally, the biggest field on the property is the site of the final battle in Lord of the Rings. It was incredibly beautiful and I was definitely more focused on that than sheep farming (sheep farming is cool though don’t get me wrong). We stopped for lunch in a little town called Wanaka. It sits in the middle of a mountain valley with a lake that is so clear and blue that you can see the bottom (pictures attached). I’m moving there after I graduate. Feel free to visit. We got to Aoraki Mount Cook around 4:30 PM. I feel like I say this at every place we go to, but this is the most incredible place I’ve ever been. We unloaded the bus and then had just enough time to go for a short walk through the tundra (I don’t know if this is what you call the land, but it kind of looks like Alaska, so I’m improvising). The area is so remote and beautiful and I can’t wait to explore it. We had a group dinner tonight and then an intro lecture on the area. Both were fun, but I’m definitely ready for bed. We’re watching a movie instead though. Currently, everyone is arguing between Ice Age and Crazy Stupid Love as I type this (looks like the latter is winning). Crazy Stupid Love sounds crappy, but I get extreme FOMO, so it’s better to deny myself sleep and watch a bad movie than miss out on anything (moral of this story is to live life as a follower). We start off our hike tomorrow at 10AM so wish me luck. Get back to you soon.
Today was our last day in Queenstown. Coincidentally, it was our free day as well. I went with a group from my cohort on the “Ride of the Rings”, a trail ride through a national park where many of the scenes from the Lord of the Rings, the Lovely Bones, the Hobbit and a couple other movies were shot (thanks Mom and Dad). The National Park is called Paradise and it was actually like paradise (besides all the bad horse smell). I keep saying how beautiful everything is here, but this place really takes the cake. It was pouring rain all morning as we drove over to the park, but the second we arrived, the clouds parted and the sun shone through. The weather was perfect throughout our entire ride and we got to see Lothlorien, Isengard, and about ten other locations from the Lord of the Rings (don’t judge…I don’t hate on the Bachelor or Gossip Girl…much). Then, the second we got back from the ride, the torrents broke loose (like an atomic weather bomb). We were incredibly lucky to get such a good break in the weather. Our friends who were scheduled to sky dive or do certain bungy jumps had their activities get cancelled because of the weather. Once we got back from “Ride of the Rings” (sorry, that name cracks me up), we went and got some food from a supermarket in town for lunch. I had some issues locating gluten free snacks and a lady working in the store took it upon herself to escort me through the isles even after I found what I wanted. People here are so nice. We ate our lunch when we got back to the hostel (I literally had two avocados and an entire package of rice cakes…filling…) After that, we tried to do some schoolwork (didn’t work out great) and then did laundry. We had a lecture on how to do our final digital stories for the course at 5PM, which was enlightening. I’m actually looking forward to doing this a little bit. It definitely beats LSAT prep. After our lecture, we went to dinner at Ferg Burger one last time. If I ever have the chance to come back here, then that will be the first place I go after the ATM (I’ll need money to pay for the disgusting amount of food I buy). Finally, we walked around the city for the last time and then stopped by the same grocery store from earlier to buy our sack lunches for the next two days (everybody needs a little consistency now and again). Now I’m finally attempting to do my schoolwork while writing this at the same time. Wish me luck. We’re heading off to a sheep farm and Mount Cook tomorrow morning. I don’t know that I will have wifi, so if I don’t then I will update y’all on everything that happened when I get to Kaikoura. Try not to let the suspense get to you.
As you can tell by this entry, I didn’t freeze into an icicle last night. You can take my possessions off of eBay Andy. We woke up this morning for a 7:00AM breakfast followed by a two-hour hike through the rainforest to that waterfall we saw yesterday. It was pretty weird seeing rainforest that can survive and thrive in snow. Also, I felt a little out of it, because every time I turned my head, I kept thinking I saw hobbits running everywhere…New Zealand mate. When we finally made it to the waterfall, we were exhausted and wet (it rains a lot here), so most of us clambered up the rock face to stand in the awesome flow of its power. We learned that that waterfall comes from the lake that we had to cross to get to Deep Cove (Lake Manapouri) and that it’s so high above sea level that it forms that giant waterfall. It was pretty awesome, but it was difficult getting people to quit humming “Don’t Go Chasing Waterfalls” by TLC and now I have it stuck in my head (lookin at you Alec and Frances…lookin at you). After we hiked back, we hurried and got on a cruise ship in the cove that took us and about 60 other tourists for a 3 hour cruise around the fiord and out to the Tasman Sea. As thrilled, as I’m sure the other passengers were to have 36 odd college students on their cruise, we were all struck dumb by the natural beauty that surrounded us. Several amazing selfies and some cold winds later, we arrived back at Deep Cove and then, prepped for our second round of group debates. My team was assigned the side of the New Zealand Department of Conservation. We’re argued that there should not be a 10 to 20% increase in tourism in the area because it will damage the natural environment here. Who wouldn’t agree with that (probably the 60 other passengers on our cruise today…)? Dinner was awesome as usual, because food is my greatest friend. Then, after our debates (there was no clear winner, but I think we owned it), we went out on a nighttime hike to listen for kiwi and look at some glowworms. We didn’t hear any kiwi (they don’t like people for some reason), but we did see a bunch of glowworms. It was like there was a second milky way in the trees, because they literally lit up everything like stars. After our hike, we all sat around and told ghost stories for way too long and now I’m betting I’ll never fall asleep. It’s back to Queenstown tomorrow! Can’t wait to see all of you soon!
This morning, we woke up to a winter wonderland. There was a snowstorm in the night, so when we looked outside this morning, it was like we’d stepped out of the wardrobe and into Narnia (literally…it was filmed here). Our departure for Doubtful Sound ended up being delayed because of the snow, but we made it out eventually. The bus ride was filled of beautiful scenery (as usual) and took around two hours. After that, we had to take a ferry across Lake Manapouri. It was freezing, but we stayed outside on top of the boat for the majority of the 45-minute trip because the views were so spectacular. I’m pretty sure I saw the mountain they used for the Lonely Mountain in the Hobbit and I just about peed myself. There were some great selfies all around and then we went back inside the barge and I indulged in some more chicken-flavored potato chips. Once our barge arrived, we had to get on another bus to take us over the mountain and into Deep Cove, the area in Doubtful Sound where we are staying. Doubtful Sound is part of the iconic Fiordlands National Park of New Zealand and we are very lucky to visit it, because visitors need what it called a concession to come inside and those can be difficult to get. This place is incredibly beautiful, because it preserves the natural beauty of New Zealand in a manner that is completely untouched by humans. Pristine rainforests and mountains created by glaciers create a landscape that is stunning to look at. We’ve been told that this area is referred to as one of the Seven Wonders of the World and I believe it. Everything here looks like it’s straight out of a Bon Iver music video. Once we arrived at Deep Cove, we put our stuff away and then had an intro lecture about the area. After that, we went on a short hike through the forest down to the actual cove. The views were stunning like everything else here and I thought I might have seen a kiwi in the distance. Then again, it could have been a rock. We stopped at an overlook to see this insanely beautiful waterfall on the way back and we all took some hilarious pictures that made it look like we were drinking it (some attached to show you). Alec also tried to make one that looked like he was throwing up…idiot (it was a success though). After our walk back to our accommodations, we had another lecture and then dinner. Our cook is a very funny Kiwi (the New Zealanders refer to themselves as that…no joke) who made us all laugh with his hilarious antics. He even called me out for being gluten free. It was hilarious (not…but the rest of it was). Dinner is over now and we are anxiously waiting to start our group discussion over articles we are supposed to have read. That should be interesting. After this, I plan on going to bed at some point and since we don’t have heaters, I may freeze. If that happens, then it was nice knowing you. If not, then the joke’s on you. Looking forward to whatever tomorrow holds (I’m sure it will be more beautiful scenery…get some diversity already NZ). Also, I’m moving here…do something about it.