A Formal FarewellAuckland, Fall 2012
Every new beginning has a prologue. A decision; a disaster; maybe a miracle. I’d say for me, my chance to leave the country was a decision made possible by a miracle. On July 4, I’m off to Auckland where I’ll spend my second-to-last semester of my undergraduate degree. I’ve been waiting for this day to come for 6 months (if not my whole life) and the fact that it’s only days away is beyond my comprehension. Really – I don’t think I will quite believe it till I plant my feet on the ground of a brand new country.
The months, weeks, and moments leading up to my trip to New Zealand, I think, have been full of lessons. Maybe this period of waiting won’t be as transformative as whatever happens in Auckland, but I know it’s been an important time. In fact, I think that many decisions in my life have led up to this one. After graduating high school, I spent one year at a tiny school in a small town before deciding to transfer back to Augsburg. Augsburg is in the heart of Minneapolis, and I spent a year and a half commuting there via city bus. I think that what led me to Augsburg – a little bit of craziness; a deep urge to make my own path; and curiosity – is the same as what’s leading me to Auckland.
In many ways, Auckland is still a mystery to me. How much can I possibly learn about its people, its streets, or its history, while I’m still a stranger to it? That’s why I’m so excited to be keeping this blog. The country itself is a person with whom I must become familiar. Additionally, I think New Zealand will help me get to know myself. I can’t quite say how. Every day has more to teach me about the person I am and want to become. Every day, including these days spent anticipating my departure.
I’ve had so many unexpected farewells, from coworkers and family and dear friends. I mean, of course I expected to say goodbye. But nothing before has been like these ones. All these conversations have been laced with excitement. The people around me have helped me be excited for this trip when I’ve been a little too overwhelmed to feel that way myself. It serves as a good reminder for an introvert like me. I still need relationships, and I have people in my life meant to help me live it.
So, while I can only summarize this experience so much in 500 words, I want to say that I am ready and wide open for this study abroad experience. I’m really happy I get to share it with an audience. After all, I’ve learned that I need you all quite desperately to help me grow.
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