hii!! I'm back for one final post on NZ. Just wanted to say thanks so much for supporting me and being a part of my time abroad, it's been fun! I made this video as a way of remembering the city I lived in for 5 months and the friends that made my experience incredible. It's a bit shaky in some parts, but hopefully you like it.

love, ashley

Ashley Chin Comment
Home sweet home

So I have returned to America, back in my bed in lovely California. It was a long journey home. I realized Stephanie and I hadn't slept in a proper bed in over 55 hours by the time I got home, mainly due to the all-nighter Steph and I pulled after returning from Aussie.

Our trip to Australia was unbelievable. Stephanie, Erika, and I had an awesome time driving on the left side of the road (I am actually quite confused in the U.S. now), and we met some great people along the way. The trip in a nutshell:

  • ~24 hours driving over 10 days
  • Did my first (introductory) scuba dive on the Great Barrier Reef in Cairns
  • Saw a koala in the wild on Magnetic Island
  • Ocean rafted around the Whitsunday Islands
  • Camped out and hiked ~20 km (12 miles) on Fraser Island
  • Pet a kangaroo and koala in Steve Irwin's Australia Zoo

Anyway, being home is a weird feeling. The last few hours in NZ felt very much like limbo, I wasn't sure where I was or where was "home." It was even weirder coming back to America and realizing how different it really is from NZ. Just going through customs, I realized that there are many (mostly undesirable) aspects of the States apparent to me now, ones I wouldn't have seen beforehand.  But generally, now having been back in CA for a couple days, I feel like I never left.  My experience abroad already feels so surreal. It's weird that after so little time, such a significant and cherished part of my life can feel like such a distant moment of the past.

During my time in NZ, I met a lot of great people, I saw a lot of great places, (I think) I learned more about what's important to me, and most importantly, it made me really happy. It was sad to leave, but that just means my experience was that great (some could say it was legendary or epic)...

Anyway, this is THE final post! (How dramatic.) Except for one I may post later, depending on if I can get a little project of mine to work out. But for now, thanks to everyone who has read my long-winded posts.  It's been a sweet as time. Cheers!

Ashley Chin Comment
my time in paradise

This will probably be my last post in New Zealand. I leave for Australia in 2 days, and I can't believe how fast it's all gone. I won't get into much mushy reflective stuff until a final post from the States, but I'm definitely feeling sentimental! I had 4 exams in the past 8 days. They all went well, and in between my 2nd and 3rd exam, I went to Coromandel with Stephanie, Melissa, and Hanna. Stephanie got some good practice driving on the wrong side of the road.

At Hot Water Beach, we dug a little pool so that the hot water from an underground reservoir can escape to form a natural hot tub. Some of the water was definitely scalding though: we met a Kiwi who caught his own mussels and cooked them with the hot steam from the beach!

We made our way to Cathedral Cove, where the Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian was filmed. I think it was the most perfect beach ever. Though the sign warned us that there was "rock fall hazard," we couldn't resist going through the tunnel.

Anyway, I finished exams yesterday and celebrated by going to karaoke night at our university bar, Shadows. Alex and I had been looking forward to this--we practiced for an hour or so and even prepared a song (Total Eclipse of the Heart). When we got there, someone sang it first, so we ended up singing Jackson 5's I Want You Back (yes, again), Miley Cyrus' Party In The U.S.A., and Abba's S.O.S.. And, after our rendition of Macy Gray's I Try, we were announced the winners of the contest and $100 bar tab!! I don't think I've ever been more ecstatic!

Hopefully I'll be able to do some quick posts while I'm in Australia, but this is it for New Zealand! Gotta really cherish these last 2 days in the most beautiful land ever. I still can't believe that these past 4 months don't feel like enough. Well. Until next time, cheers!

Ashley Chin Comments