When I was telling people about my internship in New Zealand, I would always say “a month” as though it is such a long time… A month is a remarkably short amount of time. It’s truly astounding.
I look at my phone every few days and think “Shit, it’s what day already?”
Some days here go slowly, especially when we don’t have much to do. If the weather is bad – raining, hailing, snowing – we don’t have much to do. We sit around all day and the time drags on. Most days speed by. I wake up at 7:30, start work at 8:30, eat lunch at 12 (lunch can be 20 minutes to an hour depending on the day), and work until 4:30.
To run you through a normal day: Wake up. Take about 15 minutes to actually get out of bed because I need to answer messages from all of my people in America (by the time I wake up, it’s 3pm for them). Get up, eat breakfast. Once we go out, I put the goats in their pen, and then grab Nipper and Libby from their paddocks so they can eat their grain. Once they’re in, I get Freeman and Gravy out of their paddock so they can go out for the day. On days with treks, we go get the trek horses from Craig’s paddock down the road. After they come in, we remove their covers, groom them, and tack them up, Then, we collect the hay bags from the paddocks. After that, we muck out Harley’s stall and the pony paddocks. If there is a trek at 10, we go out on that. Once we get back from the trek, we take the horse’s bridles off and give them hay and water. If there isn’t a trek, we may ride a pony or two, or lunge a horse or two.
After lunch, we might go on a trek. Or we might ride/lunge ponies. If there has been a trek, we untack and re-cover the horses once the day is over for them. When we take the horses to the field, we collect the little ponies (Nipper, Freeman, Gravy) on our way back. Once they’re back, we put out all of the hay bags, re-spread Harley’s straw, and sweep all of the concrete surfaces. At the end of the day, we shut the road gate and let the goats out.
It’s a lot. It took at least a week and a half to get the hang of things, and I’m still learning. I love it.
It’s been flying by. 19 days gone. One thing I did not expect, or maybe didn’t even really think about, is that during my whole time in New Zealand – 32 days – I will have a total of 5, maybe 6 days off. The thing is, I’m happy about that.
Whenever I talked to people before coming here, and even while here, they would tell me things that I should travel to see. I should take a trip around the North and South Island. I should go skiing. I should see penguins. I should go on long hikes.
But I think I’ve decided that that isn’t the type of tourist I want to be. At least not at this point in my life.
I’m loving being right here for my short little month. I’m getting to know the people I’m working with – making connections. I’m learning about Canterbury and Christchurch. I’m seeing how life works in New Zealand, and living it. I’m learning a lot about France and Japan from the other workers, which I did not expect. I like this.
I will (and have done) a little exploring. I took a tour out to the Southern Alps. I explored Christchurch. And I’m taking a 3 day trip to Dunedin soon to visit a friend (so maybe I will see some penguins). And I know I can come back.
There are many ways to travel. Many types of trips. Many experiences that are uniquely individual.
So I’m going to enjoy my one month immersion into life here on the horse trekking farm. I might not be seeing all of New Zealand, but I’ll be surprised if life doesn’t bring me back to this beautiful country.