Cheers to Living!

Guys! Get me out of here before I extend my Australian Visa to a year!

To start off episode 5 of the down under experience, I would like to tell you about my academic involvement thus far. My Operations Management course has been going very well. We are a class of six individuals that all attend the University of Pittsburgh, including our professor, Gigi, who teaches at Pitt. With a class so small, the relationship between students and faculty is stronger than any other class I have taken. Operations Management consists of the process behind starting, making, and finishing a product or service while being as efficient as possible. When learning about operations, a manager must always think, “Is the process performing well?” and “How can we make the process better?”. Our professor is having us dissect the workings behind each of our internships, comparing the different steps and processes, and seeing if the companies are maximizing efficiency or not. Furthermore, working with Sports of New South Wales is going very well. My co-intern, Jacee and I, are working on an upcoming awards ceremony. We have been working more into the event planning side of the banquet, and created the 2018 NSW Community Sports Awards ceremony program. The Community Sports Awards honors those individuals and teams dedicated to improving the world of disabled sports. The sports range from football, wheelchair sports, to even pony riding. Participating in this project has opened our eyes to the hard working and caring individuals who serve this community. Jacee and I will be attending the event to see all of our behind-the-scenes work come to life.

You know how they say “work hard, play hard”? Well, this past week I did just that. This weekend was nothing shy from spectacular. Monday, June 11th happened to be the Queen of England’s birthday. Here in Australia, this is a national holiday, meaning that we as residents of the country had a long weekend upon us (Happy Birthday Queen Elizabeth II). Knowing about the holiday, and being the spontaneous human I love to be, I booked a plane ticket to Auckland, New Zealand. That just happened to be the best decision I could have made; despite the fact that a bottle of wine broke in my backpack, ruined my laptop, and I lost my luggage. I hate to say it, but all that happened to me, and in that moment if anything else had gone wrong, I would have had a mental breakdown. A woman saw me struggling trying to clean my backpack in a sink in the airport bathroom. She asked me what happened, I told her the story and she ended the conversation saying, “honey, this means good luck is coming your way.” And that my friends, it did.

I hiked Piha Paradise, a seaside village west of Auckland, on New Zealand’s North Island. It was breathtakingly beautiful. The north island is known for its hiking trails, rugged scenery, magnetic black sand beaches, war memorials, subtropical rainforest waterfalls, and volcanic monoliths. While exploring, I came across a group of kiwi’s (New Zealander’s nickname for themselves), having a picnic and bonfire in a cave off the north shore beach and for the first time in a while, I was completely at ease with the world. With many adventures, in between, I ended the long weekend attending my first ever horse race. That woman in the airport must have been a fortune teller, because for my first time ever betting on a horse, I actually won! Sometimes the bad things in life lead to the better things!

So today, I will leave you all with this:

“Fill your life with adventures, not things. Have stories to tell not stuff to show.”