Saturday, April 5, 2008

The early days of getting ready: 82 days to go

I decided to go ahead and start my blog, because I feel like it. I will be leaving for New Zealand on June 25 at 3 PM from Dulles International Airport near DC. My journey has already begun in some ways, since I have had to do a lot of paperwork already. I applied to the University of Otago program through AustraLearn in early January, and had a lot of problems with them. They 'lost' my application materials at one point, and seemed very disorganized. My parents decided I couldn't go through them, and for a moment I thought I had lost my chance for going to New Zealand. But Arcadia University had a program at Otago, and the deadline wasn't for two more weeks. So I quickly applied. Before I had even gotten all of my materials in, the program coordinator, Sue Richardson, called me to see if I had any questions. I immediately felt relieved and taken care of, and am feeling very good about Arcadia. I have taken care of my housing and course paperwork. The only thing I need to work on before going is my student visa, which I apparently can't apply for yet. I booked my flights last week, which got me really excited about the fact that I am really going. Here is my itinerary:

Wed, June 25
Depart IAD 3 PM
Arrive LAX 5:10 PM (5 hr 10 min flight)
Depart LAX 10:30 PM
Arrive AKL 6:30 AM (Fri, June 27) (13 hr flight)

Mon, June 30
Depart ROT 9:15 AM
Arrive CHC 11 AM (1 hr 45 min flight)
Depart CHC 1:35 PM
Arrive DUD 2:20 PM (45 min flight)

Sun, Nov 9
Depart DUD 11:20 AM
Arrive WLG 12:30 PM (1 hr 10 min flight)
Depart WLG 1:00 PM
Arrive AKL 2:00 PM (1 hr flight)
Depart AKL 7:15 PM
Arrive LAX 10:10 AM (11 hr 55 min flight)
Depart LAX 3:55 PM
Arrive IAD 11:35 PM (4 hr 45 min flight)

IAD = Dulles; LAX = Los Angeles; AKL = Auckland; ROT = Rotorua; CHC = Christchurch; DUD = Dunedin; WLG = Wellington

I am not exactly super excited about the length of some of those layovers (not to mention the LA-Auckland flight and returning), but it will be well worth it. I have never flown alone, so this will be interesting. I actually had to book two separate flights, because there was an Arcadia group flight from LA, but I have to actually get there first. Also, I've never been to California! I know I will most likely only see the inside of the airport, but it's still exciting.

Now I am just left to do more research and try to get prepared. I have been looking at some online travelogues and at photos on Flickr. I want to get an idea of what places in New Zealand I want to visit. I am really excited!

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