A New Kind of Normal






Stages of study abroad.

It is the end of March! Where has the time gone? Apologize for the slightly later (Sunday instead of the usual Friday) posting. My internet every week is limited, and I used all my allotment too soon in the week.

At my current stage of studying abroad I have reached stage 4. I have been experiencing a new kind of normal. I usually feel quite adaptable to new environments and comfortable being in unfamiliar situations, but it has taken me a longer time to adjust in New Zealand. I wonder maybe it is because I am not filling my schedule with an abundant amount of work, a state where I thrive on being productive and busy. Usually my days are filled with clubs, job(s), volunteer work, homework, socializing, and personal time. Being in a new country and studying on an unfamiliar schedule (and not having my usual work/ volunteer/ social circles) I find myself with free time – finally time to read, to paint and self-care that I often neglect. Many moments are also filled with exploring nature, cooking and reflection to help me regulate a stable life style.

I think at the beginning of the month where I felt very helpless and struggling while I was sick definitely served as a low point. Though I found that as a good discovery of how important health and self-care is while abroad. There are no close, loving friends (nor family) around me, which means I need to develop resilience and independence to take that extra mile in checking in with myself. Now I have developed a decent schedule where Mondays I schedule out my week and set out weekly or daily goals. Tuesday through Thursday I focus on making the  maximum amount of progress in my research work. Friday night I treat myself with a movie or hang-out with a friend exploring the city or other activities. Saturday I wrap up some homework and read comfortably at the local library. Sunday I do a reflection, finish some writings and go to the Harbourside market to buy fresh groceries – fruits, vegetables for a very decent price!

I am happiest when I am productive but over the last month I realized the importance of relaxation, which means both outdoor and indoor activities – living a balanced life! There are still many small moments that I still notice that I am not familiar with – Kiwis don’t say “Bless you” as much as Americans do. I ALWAYS want to say that after someone sneezes. Apparently when you ask a Maori where they came from, they would answer “Hawaiki” – but this can’t be traced back to a real place?

I love learning something new everyday while being embedded in my own routine. A piece of me will always be in Wellington.

Enjoying a smoothie at the Sunday market.