New Zealand 1 – Departure

I’m heading on an adventure and therefore the blog is back! As much as getting married is an awesome adventure, I’m sure even my closest of family could care less than reading posts that I could have written over the past 6 months: “Tonight Keith and I made a great dinner. We cuddled on the couch and watched a movie. On the weekend we cleaned the apartment… ” etc, etc. I wanted to spare the rest of the world from continually hearing my giddy posts on coming home after work and enjoying grocery store dates with Keith (yes, we always grocery shop together. Weird? I don’t think so), cooking dinner together, and collapsing on the couch.

So without further ado, I am traveling to New Zealand this upcoming Saturday for three whole months. I will be back in the States for the month of July and will probably be going back again after that. “Why?” you may ask. A tragic earthquake struck Christchurch, New Zealand over a year ago. By now most people have forgotten it even happened. Most don’t realize that the damage is still there and the central business district is still CLOSED. Can you imagine? You worked on Main Street in City X for your entire life and now you can’t even enter that part of the city for over a year. The point is there’s still damage to be evaluated which means there’s still work for my company to do in the structural engineering & building performance industry. Therefore, I was asked if I wanted to ship out for an all expense paid trip to New Zealand for a little while. After a short discussion with the new husband that I didn’t know if we should be apart for so long we quickly realized this was a pretty awesome opportunity—one that came at a time where we don’t have kids or any other parts of a crazy hectic life (remember that first paragraph about grocery shopping and chilling on the coach all the time?). We’ve survived me traveling abroad and going away to grad school in the past, this really isn’t too different.

If you happened to be one of my WPI Admissions blog followers (aka my parents, Elizabeth, & Cindy)  you may know about my adventures in Australia & New Zealand I’d had in college. Unfortunately I only spent a brief 2 days in New Zealand after living in Australia for 2 months, and by that time I was rather broke…we’re talking calling-up-my-parents-to-deposit-$20-in-my-checking-account-just-so-I-could-eat-lunch-at-the-airport broke. Luckily this time around my food is actually paid for and I’ll be able to do a bit more adventuring through the land of Lord of the Rings.

Oh and for my fellow WPI-ers who traveled for IQP, I’m not going to lie – PQP is the best thing since sliced bread. I wish I could have an entire class devoted to teaching me what I’m getting myself into and how to pronounce “Kia Ora” to the local Kiwis (typical welcome greeting). But alas, I was emailed a few reports to read, sent the address of my hotel, and will show up to work on Tuesday morning wondering what my day, or even the next 3 months, will look like. I guess WPI was just doing what we paid the school to do, teach us what to learn on our own and be prepared for these large-scale projects even half-way across the world. Luckily I already learned some things the hard way, like knowing not to ask your boss “which team do you root for?” when discussing Australian Football and rugby. That wasn’t an awkward situation at all…

I’ll leave you with a comparison photo of Christchurch’s Cathedral pre & post earthquake. Note that the steeple has disappeared completely:

Pre Earthquake - photo from my camera

Post Earthquake (flutracker.com)

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