Friday is my last day of school in New Zealand and to be honest I’m not sure how I feel about it. I’m not going to lie, I’ve made much better friends here than I would have expected.
Since I’ve been little, my Mom has always been telling me about when she went to Mexico for a summer and met one of her really good friends, Lucy. She and Lucy are still super close to this day after around 20 years. She had always said “You never know who’s out there until you go find them,” and she is so right.
When I came here, I had hoped to travel, try some new foods, maybe meet some nice people, and experience life on the other side of the world. That expectation was ridiculously exceeded very quickly. I did all those things, and I ended up with so much more than I ever had imagined.
I have had a number of really awesome friends at home since Kindergarten when I started at Blessed Sacrament, so to be honest, I didn’t really think I needed any more friends.
But one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned this year, is how important it is to be willing to make new friends, and what you can learn from others, especially those on the other side of the world. For example, my friends here have taught me how to jet ski, how to play netball and a number of other Kiwi sports. Also how to sing and dance in Maori (like the haka), and most importantly, that friendship is universal. We all laugh at the same jokes, and cry over the same movies, we get stuck in riptides together, and we play practical jokes on each other (they even managed to kidnap me last weekend so that I wouldn’t go home).
More than anything though, I have learned how it felt to be the new kid in school, and how grateful you feel when someone else cares enough to want to get to know you, or to even say hello to you.
So as I’m about to have my last day of school, I’m realizing how much I am going to miss my new friends, even while I am so excited to see my old friends again soon. I have gained so much more this year than I ever expected, more than just cool travel experiences, I have gained some long lasting friendships for many years to come.
From here, I end with a quote from my good friend Winnie the Pooh…
Oh no, please. Can’t we go back to page one and do it all over again?”
— Winnie the Pooh