2019 Spring Aubrey Haggerty Australia External Programs IFSA

I’ll Take a Rainbow On The Rocks, Please!

The longing for Griffith’s mid-trimester break was evident on campus this week. “It’s about time” was a common phrase I heard while passing students in the library and in cafe lines. Yes, it is about time.

I was scheduled to travel to New Zealand for the month of January, but to the dismay of my friends and family (who had to deal with my pouting throughout the first month of 2019), the travel plans went awry in the early weeks of December. Finally only ten hours stand between me and my long-awaited flight to the small southern island. Tomorrow I’ll be in the adventure capital of world. Each day after that, my roommate and I will be visiting a new town on the South Island of the country. I leave with few expectations, unfinished homework, and a bit of gratitude that I get to leave for a week.

The fact that it is already the mid-trimester break is wholly perplexing. I sit down to write these posts and I am forced to think of the acceleration of the passing weeks. Time has always slipped by here but suddenly and unexpectedly I am more than halfway through. According to my dad (who swears he has not been counting down), there will be only forty-nine days left when I return from New Zealand. Forty nine? Forty nine days to do what? What have I not done that I came here to do? Go to the Great Barrier Reef? That flight is already booked. Relax? I’m working on that. Get good grades? I could probably spend more time in that department. As I get ready to hop on another plane and start a whole new adventure, I start to get carried away with thoughts of “Checking off that Bucket List.” What else do I have to do so that I can rest assured I actually was in Australia? What do I need to do on this trip in New Zealand so that I can say I really was there? My thoughts race with the fear of forgetting to do something I had come here to do. Then I remember the hours I just spent with a friend by a creek today, trekking along a carpet of boulders that lead out to the crashing waves of the ocean and a mystically dark rock cliff. None of that was planned and it was one of the best days I have had yet. It was only twenty minutes from my apartment. Jumping along the boulder fields in Tallebudgera Creek in the pouring rain, I had a funny thought, “Wow, this is what I came here to do.” Of course, I didn’t make this trip to test my luck boulder-hopping in the cold rain. I did it for the organic stories, the stories that begin without a purpose and slowly mold themselves into in-erasable memories of friendship and adventure. There’s really no need for a haunting and bank-account-daunting list of “must-dos.” I hope I remember that in the next week in New Zealand. Travel down the road a few kilometers, bring a friend if you have one and get outside. Swim to the other side of the creek, even if you’re afraid. Make it to the part where the creek meets the ocean. Then climb to the top of the rocks and watch the waves crash harder as the tide comes in. Sit there, looking at it all for thirty minutes as it pours rain and soaks your hair and you can’t stop shivering. Watch the part where the light blue waters churn into black, swirling seas. Share a moment with the nesting bird on the boulder beside you, the bird with the bright orange beak. Let the sea mist coat your face. See a rainbow on the rocks.

At least…..that’s my kind of bucket list.


  1. Yes forty nine days 😀
    I like your bucket list but if you decide to swim across a creek remember they have alligators there 😉. Loved the blog. Great story. I can’t wait to see the next one. Love Dad

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