After an eight-week long winter break, I can finally say I’m back at school—sort of. I’m writing this from my dorm room at the University of Waikato in Hamilton, New Zealand. I’m here for to study for a semester, but getting ready to leave made me feel like I was preparing for an extended vacation, rather than a semester of college. Honestly, if you’ve been pining away for a new wardrobe, study abroad. You’ll need loads of clothes and shoes that you could never justify buying for Arizona weather.
The flight over wasn’t too bad, just thirteen hours from Los Angeles to Auckland, the capital of New Zealand. Thankfully, the 2013 issue of Sports Illustrated Swim just came out and I had Kate Upton to keep me company. It took days for her and the SI crew to get to Antarctica to shoot the cover spread—news that instantly quelled my internal grumblings about long plane trips. Everything went smoothly and before I knew it, my RA was helping me carry my fifty-pound suitcase up to my new dorm room.
The first day was hard. I successfully held back tears and ignored my homesickness, but they were there, just beneath the surface. I think it’s easy to hold them in when you’re alone because no one’s there to trigger them—case in point: the moment I heard my mom’s voice, I felt myself crack. I’m already facing some challenges: food (trying not to freak out that the only option at dinner was beef lasagna), fitting in with the other kids, adjusting my routine (the gym opens at 5:30 am, thank the Lord)… But it’s been less than two days and everyone keeps reminding me to give myself some time. These four months will (supposedly) be the adventure of a lifetime, or so I’ve heard. Either way, I’m keeping my fingers crossed.
Comfort food upon arrival
Dorm room at Waikato