Kia Ora! Greetings from Aotearoa!
That’s the Maori name for New Zealand, and translates as “Land of the Long White Cloud”.
What made me decide to come to this place of all places in the world? Well, let me start out by confessing that I really knew nothing about New Zealand when I filled out my Study Abroad paperwork. “That’s the island somewhere near Australia or something, right?” (It’s actually divided into the North Island and South Island!) Perhaps if I was a bigger fan of the Fantasy film genre, I would have known a bit more about the country, which filmmakers love to make use of for its breathtaking scenery and widely diverse landscapes. My Lord-of-the-Rings-fanatic roommate probably had a much clearer reason for choosing to study here. But me, well, I’m fairly certain that I didn’t actually choose New Zealand at all – I believe it chose me. It just felt like the “Elena thing to do”. And since I typically like to follow my heart when making big decisions, that’s exactly what I did.
|Flying over the South Island|
It wasn’t until right before my trip that I found out that my very own godmother had travelled to New Zealand herself when she was just around my age, a few decades ago. She fell completely in love with Aotearoa but hasn’t been back in many years, simply because it breaks her heart too badly every time she has to return home. Perhaps that gives you somewhat of an indication of just how enchanting New Zealand is!
After just a little over three months here, I can certainly say I understand now what my godmother was talking about. With a population of only 4 million people - but 30 million sheep - there is plenty of room for Morry Fitzroy to roam around and take flight over the sandy beaches, rugged volcanoes, and luscious island forests, not to mention the icy glaciers, splendid mountains, and rolling green hills. He’s been having a lot of adventures here in the beautiful south Pacific, and even made it across the Tasman Sea to Australia for a week! Morry Fitzroy delighted in finding koalas, kangaroos, wombats, wallabies and emus in their natural habitats while hitchhiking along the Great Ocean Road. He also liked to get lost at the Queen Victoria market among all the fresh produce, relish the Melbourne coffee culture, and explore National Park wonders.
|If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.|
|In the midst of the jungle|
|Wilson's Prom National Park, Australia|
|Morry Fitzroy at the Queen Victoria Market|