So here is a quick summary of what I've done over the last 10 months of my life. It has been 10 months and a lot has happened but bear with me, I've condensed 10 months in to 1 page!
After I got back from my exchange, it was summer in NZ! I got off the plane in Auckland (and Wellington) completely not prepared for the heat which hit me. But as soon as I got in to proper clothing for February (shorts, t-shirt, sunglasses) the heat wasn't a problem anymore. But I had to learn to be in NZ again after all that time away from it.
The hardest feeling I had to get use to when I was back in New Zealand was trying to understand where the last half a year of my life had gone. I struggled to comprehend and accept that I was in New Zealand again after half a year, having had the time of my life overseas in a place which had come to mean so much to me. In a way I never left the Netherlands. But I'll get to that soon.
So as I had been away for 6 months and naturally I had a number of people I had to see! And being New Zealand, that usually means you need to drive somewhere. I was able to drive again quite quickly. The time I had spent in NL on the WRONG side of the road ;) couldn't make me forget the 17 years of drive/being on the left side of the road. So along with Mum I drove up to Hawkes Bay to visit some family members. I had forgotten how nice it is is to go swimming and kayaking in the sea! The difference in scenery couldn't be more profound at times either. It was amazing to have a few weeks of summer holidays after having almost a year of Winter/Autumn. Here are some photos of Hawkes Bay region and Wellington
I also caught up with friends in Wellington from high school but really I didn't have much time in Wellington. 3 weeks in total but even those 3 weeks were enough. I needed to move on. I didn't like being in Wellington because it felt like nothing had changed while I had changed a lot and so I felt like the last 6 months hadn't meant much. I didn't feel quite at home. Luckily I had the next step already planned out!
Before I left on my exchange I planned to study Engineering (I was never sure what type though) at The University of Canterbury in Christchurch when I got back. However while on my exchange, I had learnt a lot about myself, what I wanted to do and that I had fallen in love with The Netherlands, the people, culture and the life there.So I guess it won't be surprising to you that I wanted to stay/go back.
So well before I left to return to New Zealand, I applied to study Aerospace Engineering at The Technical University of Delft (TU Delft) in the Netherlands starting in September 2016. So in this way I never let go fully as I planned to go back.
However the problem was that getting in to Engineering in NL is a lot harder than getting in to Engineering in NZ. TU Delft only accepts 480 new first year Aerospace Engineers each academic year (starting in September 2016) so to get a place I had to do some entrance exams in March and I would find out the results in mid April. Knowing this I still decided to go to University in NZ in case I didn't get in to TU Delft.
So my next part of my life would be going and living in Christchurch and attending the University of Canterbury, and this is what I did! It was great to be in a different city and living a new life. I really enjoyed my time in Christchurch and I made some really good friends there! Being in Christchurch really helped me settle back in to life in NZ and it helped me miss NL less.
After I had done my entrance tests and waited the most suspenseful 2 weeks waiting for the results, I was accepted in to Aerospace Engineering at TU Delft. This was probably the most amazing news ever. I couldn't believe it and I was so elated. I didn't think things could get any better...but they did
My girlfriend came to visit me
Now that probably doesn't sound that special but we had been doing a long distance relationship for about 3 months at this point as she lives in The Netherlands.
We met on my exchange and after a while we just got together. In hindsight we were crazy to do a long distant relationship given the situation we were in (be honest, it isn't the smartest idea dating someone who literally lives/will live on the other side of the world) but we made it work and we've been together for about a year now.
Her visit was the most amazing surprise and biggest 'I love you' anyone could ever hope for. I will never forget the moment I saw her walk through the door of my house. And she never lets me forget the look on my face :)
The 10 days she spent with me in NZ were amazing. I showed her places from my past, my university and we also went to Tekapo for a few days. On a side note, star gazing in Tekapo is mind blowing. You can see meteoroids, satellites and even our satellite galaxies from there. If you ever visit New Zealand, it is worth a visit to see the Milkyway as you probably haven't before (especially if you are from the Northern Hemisphere. )You can see scenery like this:
The next few months passed quickly. I had exams, preparations for living in The Netherlands to make and just not enough time to do it all. But thanks to a lot of people, I got my insurance, flights, housing, student loan, enrollment, passports all sorted for the Netherlands whilst getting a overall GPA of 7.5 for my first semester at Uni in NZ!
After finishing at University in NZ and doing a volunteering 10 trip on The Spirit of New Zealand as a Leading Hand, I had about 5 weeks in New Zealand before I was going to leave for the Netherlands. So I worked for 4 of those weeks and said my 'see you soon' to many people who mean so much to me and I left New Zealand on the 13th of August for the Netherlands.
So almost 1 year after I left on my exchange I was going back. It was hard to leave Wellington then. My parents saw me off at the airport and I do look forward when they can welcome me back (whenever that is). It was around this time I realized how much I had come to appreciate and love New Zealand in a way which I never did before I left on my exchange and indeed while I was on my exchange. So like I never fully left The Netherlands, a part of my will never fully leave New Zealand.
So fast forward almost 3 months and I am living in Delft, currently studying for exams. I've already had 1 (exam) and I have another 2 next week. And after that I get straight back in to lectures. TU Delft doesn't give its students many holidays (sadly).
I'll talk more about Delft in a future post (I'll try to post often ish about my study, life in Delft/NL and what I'm up to as an international student at TU Delft). But until then here are some pictures of Delft!
Have a good one