Friday, January 17, 2014

17 January 2014: our departure for home!

As I write this, our students and Dr. Moran are awaiting our boarding of our first flight enroute to home.  We leave for Auckland in about 30 min, and then we'll be on our way to Los Angeles later in the evening.  The mood is somber, as it is hard to believe that our grand adventure is at a close.  After another relatively slow day, one in which we spent several hours at the local mall, we have our ducks aligned and are ready for the grueling movement to our homes (~21 hours in the air, 4 hrs of layovers, and the time it will take to drive home from JFK).

One of the best signs that this trip has been a success among the students was illustrated to Dr. Moran and me when we arrived in the airport after delivering our borrowed trailer to a storage facility and the rental van to its respective company.  As we walked up to our group, we could see that they were writing (again) in their journals.  I thought they were working on writing their final 'daily' journal entries of the trip, but instead, they were signing each other's journals.  We've really had a special group on this trip, and I think they realize what a great set of friends they've made through the course.  As I write this, another student approached me about writing something in his journal (Dr. Moran has had several requests as well).  We've learned a lot about conservation biology, about birds, and the dual cultures (Maori and Europeans) of New Zealand, but the students have also learned a lot about themselves.  Mission accomplished!

The next entry will probably be once we arrive back on US soil, in Los Angeles.  Thank you to all the parents, family members, friends, and other folks who made this trip possible for a fantastic group of students.  Dr. Moran and I have been very fortunate to have your students with us on this trip!

One final picture of the mighty stallion that helped us get around New Zealand's South Island!

1 comment: