- I walk everywhere, because it’s both possible and necessary. Like my freshman year, I don’t have a car. But also like Elon, Queenstown is small enough that everything is in reasonable walking distance.
- I love walking everywhere, because it’s so beautiful! One of my favorite parts of Elon was how gorgeous it was. Don’t believe me? Proof here, here and here. Now, every day on my walk to work or lunch, I have stunning views. I’m not even going to link that for you, because a quick adlib of Queenstown + (adj. describing beauty) will give you all the results you need. Or just scroll down for some pictures.
- I meet people from all over the world. Elon prides itself on a fairly international student body. So when I arrived, I had the joy of meeting people from Brazil, Honduras and the Philippines. But compared to Queenstown, that was nothing. As a top tourist destination, with everything from short-term visitors to other visa workers, there are people from six continents. During my first week, I had a conversation with a Korean, Taiwanese, two Italians, and a French Canadian. One conversation, so many accents and different perspectives. It was awesome.
- Free or cheap food? I’m there. College kids are scavengers. If a student club was hosting an event with food, people would be there just for the free chick-fil-a nuggets. Well, quitting my full-time, salaried job to move to a tourist town across the world wasn’t exactly easy on the wallet. So when I found out my job provides staff meals each shift, I was pumped. Likewise, I have no qualms eating meals at strange hours just because a restaurant offers a sweet deal at that time. The big difference though, is that unlike college, it’s not a bunch of junk food, so rather than packing on the pounds, hopefully with all the walking, I’m dropping the kilos.
- Spring time – suit up! At Elon, as soon as the temperature hit the high 60s, people were out on the lawns in summer clothes and swimsuits. After the long winter, these kiwis are itching to get some sun. So even though I’m more comfortable in my sweater and jeans, people are lounging on the beaches in their bikinis and shorts.
- Being cold is worth it if you look cute. As a freshman, when I went out at night, I would rarely wear a coat. Even though it gets warm (and even hot!) in Queenstown during the day, at night the temperature drops. I was shocked my first night out to see girls romping around in their little outfits with no coats. Yes, I understand, your jacket doesn’t make your outfit look as cute, and juggling your jacket and a drink is quite inconvenient. But you know what else isn’t really cute? Hypothermia. And trust me, pneumonia is quite inconvenient too.
- Sharing is caring. Remember freshman year when you could never get a moment to yourself? Share a room. Share a bathroom. Share the laundry room. Share a kitchen – if you’re so lucky. Queenstown is the same. Luckily we moved out of the hostel where we shared a room with 6 people, and a bathroom and kitchen with 20+ people. Now, we’re in a house with fewer people, and we all have our own rooms, but there are still 4-6 people sharing a bathroom, living space, kitchen, laundry, etc. Shockingly though, I don’t mind it. It’s very common here, and everyone in the house is awesome (maybe more details on them later).
- Every night is a weekend night, if you want it to be. As a freshman, I didn’t experience consequences for going out mid-week. If I had a late class the next day or minimal homework, there was always someone willing to go out. Because nearly everyone is in hospo, work generally starts and ends later, so people aren’t as restricted to the weekends.
- Friendships can be fleeting. For the first couple months of college, I would meet people at a party, and for that night, they were my BFFs!! Fast forward a couple weeks and I would give them a head nod on the sidewalk. In Queenstown, people have such different schedules that it is hard to make recurring plans of any sort. And since people don’t tend to stay for a very long time in Queenstown, people are always moving in and out.
- It’s “the time of my life.” Entering college, I couldn’t have a conversation with an adult without hearing “It’s the time of your life! Enjoy it!” Well, they were right, and I loved Elon. But I also already love New Zealand. How could I not, with the endless possibilities, new experiences and awesome opportunities?!
And now for some pretty pictures. Today was the first day we have less than perfect weather, but it makes for some really cool scenery. When I went out for a run, it was only slightly misting and I found some great spots. So I came back and grabbed our camera. Unfortunately I didn’t also grab a rain coat or warmer gear. I had a few dead fingers and felt like a popsicle, so you’re welcome.
The clouds covering the tops of the mountains gave the whole area an ominous feel, but so pretty.
The clouds hovered right above the town all day – raining and misting.
I found a sweet little stream and waterfall that I’m guessing is a bit of rainwater and lots of snow melting and coming down into the lake. It was alongside a trail I thought would be my new running trail, but then I turned the corner into a straight up hill section and changed my mind.
PS – did you know if you click on these pictures you can see the enlarged version?