About Amanda Rolens

I am Amanda! I am an exercise science major with a minor in human biology. I will be interning in New Zealand for three months!

Hello America, long time no see!

Well I have been home for about a week now and it’s a weird feeling. I was told by my roommate who had been in Costa Rica before she came to New Zealand and who had returned home in between her travels, that when you arrive home it’s an odd feeling because everything is the same. I looked at her and thought that it was strange because surely after three months, things at home were going to be different… but I feel she is very correct on the feeling.

While I was getting ready to leave the US for New Zealand, I was anxious, excited, nervous and didn’t know what to expect. Arriving home I was sad, confused and was barely excited at all. I never thought those would be my feelings coming home! Coming home to the same thing made me feel like I wasn’t gone at all. I came home to my room looking the way it did when I left, my house was the same, the streets were the same, everything was exactly the same from when I left ( which is like a duhhh moment when I was only gone for three short months). It’s been a strange feeling that’s for sure.

I miss the people, they’re all so friendly. I miss the weather, as I came home to rain. I miss the friends I made who I left while I came home. I miss the beauty of the island, it was so hilly and green with lakes, hikes, parks, lots of sporting events and harbours and everything in between that was all in such close proximity. I fell in love with the city I lived in and I think that’s what I miss most. It was so safe, so fun, so pretty and so full of life. I could walk everywhere and never had to worry about driving. It’s easy to fall in love with a city when the surroundings and the people that live there are one of a kind.

I do enjoy certain things about being home, like having my dog back, being able to drive when I really don’t feel like walking, and having the familiarity of people, places and things that are subjected to the way I live my life in America. People keep asking me if there are things that I really missed while being away, and there is not one thing I can pinpoint except for my dog, family and friends. Which I feel like is expected. Adjusting back to life here in America has been a little bit of a challenge, but I know within a few more days it’ll be back to normal. I miss my second home and cannot wait to return one day. New Zealand stole my heart and I will forever be thankful for the opportunity I had and for the relationships I made.

I could post a million pictures to reflect on my time and what I am missing everyday, but the three pictures below sum up my most missed pieces of my journey.

This picture brings back so many thoughts and memories. This was my ultimate favorite spot in the city of Wellington. This is the Wellington Harbour, where I would go sit and read, reflect on my time, enjoy amazing gelato and take in the beauty of the island.

Every time I look at this picture, it makes me a little sad. I miss my office crew and the unique personalities of each one of them. We shared so many laughs in the little office we shared! Not only did they take me in like I had been apart of the crew since day one, there was never a dull moment.

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My two rocks while I was in New Zealand. I miss them both so much. My roommate and I shared so many memories together and clicked right away, which I was so thankful for! Ali, the guy on the right is a Kiwi who became such a good friend while I was there. He had the biggest heart and always knew what to say, he made my time in New Zealand just that much better with the friendship we had made.

Saying goodbye to beautiful people, a beautiful country and an amazing experience.

As I pack all my things to get ready to head home tomorrow, I can’t help but reflect on everything that has happened in these three months. Last night, my office crew took me out for a nice good bye dinner and it was a wonderful way to end my journey.

Out to dinner before I leave the office to return home! The 2 people to my right in the picture are 2 of my office crew and the other is a junior coach at the Tennis Centre. These are some of the most amazing, loving, welcoming people I have ever met!

Before I left for my crazy adventure, I had so many emotions flowing that it didn’t even seem real until I was on the plane headed to my new home. Traveling alone was something I had never done, and to be traveling thousands of miles away without anyone was really terrifying. I ended up finding out so much about myself and gained a whole new perspective of life and will be forever thankful for my experience and everything I have learned.

I have had the most amazing time here and am not at all ready to go home. I loved everyone I worked with and will cherish every laugh, every boring job assignment and every walk up the hill to work forever. I gained relationships that I thought I would never make after being alone for the first month without a roommate and I hadn’t met any friends yet. But after that first month, I had made relationships that I know will last a lifetime. I gained knowledge and experience working at the tennis center that I can carry with me and I can’t thank my office crew enough. My time here has been nothing short of amazing, I can’t even put into words what this experience has done for me. While at times I felt like I wasn’t learning and growing as much as some students who go to countries with cultures a lot different than ours in America, I realized I grew and learned a lot just in different ways. The next time I reflect and write, I’ll be in the US dreaming of my time and waiting for the day that I get to come back to this beautiful country!

 

Good bye office, hellllo open roads!

As my time is coming to a close, I have left the office for a little bit to hit the roads and see more of the North Island. The few days of work this week was not been a bit short of stressful and filled with chaos as we have the biggest tournament of the year this coming weekend. After saying that, it is a relief to be out traveling!

I headed out a few days ago on 3/10 to catch a tour bus called the Kiwi Experience which offers an experience that fits what you want and they have it all planned out for you in a way. I hopped on kind of nervous of traveling on my own and staying in hostels for the first time but it has been a wonderful experience so far. The first day we drove a few hours into a town called Taupo, where skydiving, a top 10 trek (hike) and many other outdoor activities were offered around the wonderful Lake Taupo. The first day getting into Taupo there was one girl off the bus that was getting off to skydive, which had been on the back of my mind. I kept asking the bus driver questions about it the whole drive, and he told me if I decided to do it, to just get off the bus when the other girl did…so that’s what I did. I’ll just say that it was one of the most exhilarating things I have ever done!

My skydiving free fall over Lake Taupo!

Another picture from when I first jumped out of the plane! The plane was hot pink, which I found rather cool :)

The morning after I skydived, I headed out for an early morning to go do the Tongariro Crossing which was a 19.4 km hike, just short of a half marathon is how they liked to describe it to us.It is  New Zealand’s oldest national park , the Tongariro National Park is full of both cultural identity and amazing scenery. Landmarks of New Zealand, including the volcanic peaks of Ngauruhoe, Tongariro and Ruapehu make the Tongariro Alpine Crossing  a world-renowned trek. “The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is heralded as the best one-day trek available in New Zealand, while others say it ranks among the top ten single-day treks in the world”- stated from the national park website! It was the most amazing hike with beautiful views and for those that love Lord Of The Rings, we got to experience Mt Doom. The hike took a little over six hours to complete, and by the end I was exhausted and ready for a good nap!

The start of the Hike at 7am with a beautiful sunrise happening!

The beauty that unfolds as you hike the Tongariro Crossing!

 

After what they call the Devils Staircase, you land at a somewhat flat spot and have this image of Mt. Doom from Lord Of The Rings!

I’m now in Auckland, towards the top of the North Island, and have yet to explore too much of this city! I hope I have more adventures and learn more about the history and beauty of the island as my travels continue! Until next week,

Amanda

New home and good byes!

Well I moved in to my the place I’ll call home until I leave to travel. I love the house and where it’s located. It’s nice to have home cooked meals and sit around with a family. It makes me feel like I’m at home. I have a nice comfy bed with a gorgeous view, I can’t complain. Up from the house there is a long walk way with tons of stairs to the next city over, if you take the path all the way it’ll take you to the botanacle gardens and to where the Cable Car is. I have walked there a few times alreadt and love the views!

My roommate that I had at my apartment left to travel because her internship kind of turned out to be a flop. So we went and had our last few nights together, I plan on visiting her in Pennsylvania this coming Summer. It’s crazy that my time here is fastly approaching! I am definitely not ready to leave this beautiful place but all good things must come to an end. I leave to travel here in a few days and then we have a huge tournament and then it’ll be time for me to start packing my bags :(

Until next time,

Amanda

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The walk way to the other city that is close to my new home!

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Picture from the top of the Rose Garden!

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This was taken at the top of the Cable Car, during one of my walks from my new house!

New friends, a beautiful hike and coming my way.. new accommodation.

This week flew by! Work is busy as usual. I have been in charge of our weekly e-newsletter entirely lately, so that’s been a lot of work. I write up articles, post pictures, and also update the company’s website with all the new tournaments coming up, star players in the region, courses available and whatever else will catch a lookers eye.

I had a lot of fun babysitting, the little boy was so adorable. He didn’t know much English at all, he just sat on his Ipad and played splashy fish and flappy bird.. some of the only words he could say in English. The kids were wonderful and well behaved. The little boy went to bed really easy and stayed asleep until his parents got home later that night.

I made a new friend the other day, sitting on a bench and he ended up being from America. He had only been here for less than a day when we met, so we both decided to go on a hike that neither of us had been on yet. The view was gorgeous and the hike was just a perfect amount of time and difficultness.

I’m moving out of my apartment in a few days, and am moving in with the lady I work with and babysit for. It should be a good experience to live in a house with a family while I am here, so I am pretty excited about that.

That’s all for now,

Amanda

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A view from one of the stopping points on the hike- the hike is called Mt. Victoria.

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The view from the top of the hike!

 

Tournaments and shenanigans-

With it being summer here in New Zealand, we have tons of tournaments going on at the moment. I’ve been busy at working prepping for the events going on and then events to follow. We have a huge tournament coming up called the Wellington Open and the company I work for is trying a lot of new things then years in the past, so there is a lot of pressure riding on us to put on and host a successful tournament.

Aside from work, I’ve been planning some trips and will leave the last two weeks of work to travel the North island a bit more. I didn’t have the chance and time to visit the South Island at all, but I can promise myself that I will be back this beautiful coutry sometime again. My roommate and I have been going over to a friends house almost every night enjoying his company and having movie nights. He’s from New Zealand so it’s nice to learn and talk about the differences and similarities in our Countries.

I started reading a few new books to keep me company on my lazy days at the beach. After hectic days at the office and eventful nights with friends almost every night, it is night to have a relaxing Sunday at the produce market and then head to the beach for the rest of the day. I’m babysitting for my boss tomorrow night, her little boy and two kids from Denmark who are here visitng with their family. I’m excited to interact with kids as I love being around those from around the world.

Until next week,

Amanda

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A sunny, relaxing day at Oriental Bay.

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Mean Girls- Making our kiwi friend suffer through the typical teenage girl movie.

Days go by and poof it’s already mid February!

Week 5- kept in my journal

Ah I can’t believe time is flying by as fast as it is. I work more than I have to most days just because I love it here so much. I got offered a full time position this week, I wish I were closer to being completely done with my studies so I could even just work here for 6 months or so. I feel so blessed and lucky to have been placed with such a lovely company. We had another tournament that was really fun and I am starting to pick up everything!

I had mentioned going to the Rugby sevens in my last blog, and it was one of the most fun experiences I have had. It was a little crazy, but it’s something that is huge here so I felt like it was something I had to do. We dressed up as American girls the second night and actually went and watched the Rugby tournament and it was nuts in the stadium! It was so loud, with so many people everywhere in the craziest costumes! Some of the costumes were so amazing and hilarious.

My roommate Maureen and I have been going to the beach on nice days when we both get off of work. We always spend our Sunday mornings at the produce market and then usually do our grocery shopping afterwards. We met a group of people from all over the world the other night and had them all over and cooked dinner and talked about all the countries and it was a good night full of good laughs and learning.

Valentines Day was yesterday and a bunch of us girls went out and had dinner and then went out dancing. It was a lot of fun with great vibes and fun all around. The night life is really good here, so we spend our evenings out meeting people and going to different stores, night markets and galleries.

I haven’t had much time to go do too many touristy things yet, I have to work on the weekends a lot for tournaments that we have at the Tennis Center. The girls and I are planning a few weekend trips coming up, so hopefully we’ll get to see a little more of New Zealand here soon.

Until next week,

Amanda

During tournaments we often get out to watch some of our best juniors in the region for some good tennis matches! We were caught soakin up the sun :)

My roommate in the front and Anna, another intern here in New Zealand getting readty for our night out on Valentines day. I love these girls!

 

Onto week 4- travel, tennis and more tennis.

I have been without internet and keeping a written journal until I could catch up.. So here it is. ( 2/07/2013)

I feel like my blogs are a bit boring, being in an English speaking country that really doesn’t feel much different than home. I worked my first tennis tournament last week and it was a lot of fun. It was a bit hectic with a lot of things to learn, but in the end it was rewarding being able to help out and run the last day of the tournament by myself. I fall more in love with this place everyday! The country, the people, and every other little thing that I encounter every day.

The people I work with are so amazing and welcoming and I have been babysitting one of the ladies little 8 month old boy. He is the cutest and so much fun! I finally have company at home now that my roommate moved in! It’s been a lot of fun being able to show her around and have nights out together. The Rugby 7′s is going on right now and it is a huge rugby tournament that takes place at the stadium. It is a huge dress up, city wide party and it’s crazier than a Halloween night in the states. We are going to the stadium dressed up tomorrow and we’re really excited.

One of the ladies I work with let my roommate and I take her car for a few days, so we went and took some time off of work and went around to surrounding cities and just kind of went exploring. The weather has been kind of crazy, it isn’t surprising to experience all the seasons in one day here. You never know if it’s going to stay really nice or rain all day.

I work all day and then go out exploring on foot most of the time afterwards, so my stories and blogs aren’t too exciting.

Until next week,

Amanda

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One of the bridges my roommate and I found while exploring!

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Tonight is the first night of the Rugby 7′s and we’re almost off for our night dressed as Minnie Mouse and a hippie!

 

Tournament, new friends, birthday.. week 3

Time is flying by as I can’t believe it is already February!

This last week was busy but it was definitely a good busy. I am loving every minute working at Tennis Central, my job until the end of my time here. The people are just as wonderful as when I first started there. We have a huge International Junior Tennis Championship tournament coming up this week that I am really looking forward to. I got to babysit for a little on Friday while my coworkers worked on their tennis skills for the day and he was the sweetest little boy.

My 22nd Birthday came along and I got to go out and enjoy the night life here with a few friends I met while I was working with the Soccer team. I was struggling to meet people my own age as I work with all older people, but I finally have made a group of girlfriends that has been making my time a lot better. I met a local that took me around this last weekend and he took me on a night experience tour at an animal/eco sanctuary where I got to see a lot of New Zealands noctournal animals and it was so amazing! I got to see their national bird which is called a Kiwi and looked like a little kid with the smile on my face when I finally saw it. Glow worms, tuataras, which are a lizard looking reptile, and many other wild birds were on the list of things I was privelaged to see. I also was able to enjoy the summer markets here this week and was able to leave work a little early one day to enjoy the sun at the beach.

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Went and played pool with some of the friends I have made before going out for my Birthday!

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Enjoying the beach on a beautiful afternoon! It is beyond gorgeous but the sun sure sneaks up on you and the water is cold!

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Little Cian (Kee-N), he was so funny and the perfect little baby. His mom is also the sweetest lady and is American too!

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Kāruhiruhi also known as a Pied shag. This and another bird were the only pictures I was able to get from the sanctuary before the sun went down and then we weren’t able to use flash.

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This is a Takahē. Him and his mate were following us all around at the beginning of the tour. They were beautiful birds that are only in New Zealand!

 

I am looking forward to this week with the tennis tournament and Thursday being a national holiday. I also am getting a new roommate tomorrow, which will be SO nice to finally have some company for when I am at home. Also, there is a huge rugby game this weekend where everyone dresses up and it’s a huge city wide party for the weekend! I fall in love with this country more and more everyday.

until next week,

Amanda

First and second week, they flew by!

Hi all!

I have been so busy here in NZ but I am loving every minute of it! One of my internships involves me working with New Zealands only professional football (soccer) team and so far I have got to enjoy two awesome games! I also am working at a tennis center and the people there are just amazing! I am located in a great spot and the walk to work is only about 10 minutes away.

I notice things everyday that are different, similar and just crazy. Last friday at work it was 2:30pm and we sat around our office and enjoyed some wine and that was just because they ran out of beer. The culture here is so laid back, it was hard to get used to. I’ll add that they cuss like sailors here! It’s a common occurance to hear the F word in an office setting, it was really strange at first!

Aside from work, I go out and explore the city almost everyday. The architecture is old and beautiful and the streets are jammed pack with cafes, restaurants, bars and boutiques. They have Sunday produce markets that are amazing and the fruits and veggies are a lot cheaper than what they are at the grocery store. I love walking the busy streets of the city and listening to the locals sing and play their guitars and watching little street acts in the middle of town. It has a similar feel as Portland, Oregon as it is very liberal and busy. I have a favorite spot in the city that overlooks the harbour, it’s so beautiful and takes away all the negative emotions of being away from home. I’ve been busy at work and haven’t had time to do much traveling outside the city, I have been able to enjoy the beach, go on a few walks and experience the wellington cable car, and little things the city has to offer!

until next week,

Oriental Bay, NZ

Oriental Bay is about a 30 minute walk from my apartment and it is beautfil on a nice sunny day!

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One of the Sunday produce markets that are SO lovely!!

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The Wellington Cable Car! This was a wonderful experience and leads you to a beautiful view and botanical gardens!

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While this isnt the best picture, I’ll have better ones to come! This was at my first football game sitting in the media box! It was an awesome experience :)

Amanda

This is one of the beautiful views of the Wellington Harbour. They have cafes, bars and a summer market surrounding it with seating all around to soak it all in.