Monday, February 13, 2012

The End of My Girl's Trip--New Zealand and Australia

I promised I'd be back with the rest of my oldest daughter's semester abroad, and though it's taken me a while, here it is! January must be the most difficult month of the year to keep up a blog--I notice many of my blogging friends taking breaks also. I'd rather cozy up to the fire with a book, fold laundry (really?), just about anything else than sit down with my computer and write! But I want to wind up telling you all about her trip to the Pacific Rim, so here goes:

After her wonderful time in Japan, the group moved on to New Zealand. She says now that though Japan was one of her favorite parts because of the home stay, she really loved New Zealand and Australia.  She was surrounded by so much beauty there, and it was so good to hear English spoken again.

In NZ they began their time with a few days in a Marae, sleeping on the floor and experiencing life as the original peoples of New Zealand would have.

From there, they moved on to a family's home on Waiheke Island, New Zealand.  Eating gluten- and dairy free in NZ was relatively easy. The mom where they stayed first kept her spoiled with gluten-free pancakes each morning--

And she had no problem finding cafes and restaurants with gf offerings!

GF Pasta on Waiheke Island

GF Cappacino Muffin
But she was most excited about the pizza! A few years ago we read that Dominoes had gluten-free pizza in New Zealand and Australia, and she couldn't wait to try it. Sure enough, as soon as she could, she ordered a Dominoes gf, cheese-free pizza. And ate the whole thing. Not just once, but over and over again. Here's the first one: (And I know, only someone who is pizza-deprived would really understand how excited she was at this point in the trip!)

Her first pizza in months!

Notice the Gluten-Free sticker on the mid-right of the box
In Australia, it rained much of the time she was there, which delayed and changed many of the group's plans. But they continued on in spite of the rain.

In the harbor near the Sydney Opera House

On the beach, but not swimming because of the rain!

Seeing a kangaroo at the zoo!

And eating a kangaroo burger for Thanksgiving Dinner.

She easily found gluten-free/dairy free food,

A cafe near her youth hostel in Sydney.

while she explored the beautiful countryside.

Blue Mountains

I think it may have been easier for her there than it is here at home. My sweet girl has always been a teensy thing, and in the earlier posts I told you how she lost weight in China but began to gain in Japan. By the time she came home, she had gained over 20 (needed) pounds! Never in my wildest dreams did I hope that she would gain weight on this trip, but she did--thanks to the great care of the wonderful people in other countries. And, I think, because it is, in fact, probably easier to eat gluten free in New Zealand and Australia where people are more health conscious, and there are more options.

She finished up her trip with a couple of days in Hawaii before coming home just in time to help get ready for Christmas. Finally she got some time on the beach in the sun!

On the beach on Hawaii

I'll end, again, with my girl's own words from her statement of learning about the semester. I am so proud of her! She is so glad she went. She felt really well the whole time she was gone. Can travel to difficult places be done on a restricted diet? It sure can! She learned a lot and so did we. And she's already talking about going back.

 Looking back over the semester, I do not even begin to know where to start. Do I start in Beijing, the logical place, where it all began? In Japan, where I fell in love with the people? In New Zealand, where I was surrounded by some of God’s most glorious creation? Or in Australia, where I was surrounded by the familiar and unfamiliar simultaneously?

In each place, I struggled to find God there, and in each place, there He was, right there with me.

Also in this series China, At Last!  My Traveler. . .An Update  More from Travelin' Girl! Japan 


  1. What a great post!! Makes me hopeful that Jackson could participate in this when he is in college! Yay!

    1. Alyssa, She had such a great experience! I think with planning Jackson will be able to go and do whatever he wants to do! I'm so proud of you for all of your hard work for him.

  2. These memories will be with her for a lifetime. That is why I love to travel as much as I can. Course Australia has always been on my to-do list. But with limited funds I get to travel through blog posts like this one :-)

  3. Deb--I seem to travel less and less, but I'm so glad my kids are getting to do these things right now! Thanks for reading and commenting. I've been thinking about you--you've had a tough go lately. Hope you are feeling better.