New Zealand - My Family Travels

                                                                 Leap of Faith

“3…2” As the bungee master counts down, I cut him off… “Wait, no, you have to start again, I wasn’t ready.” He starts again, “3…2…” I interject “Stop, okay, one more time, I am ready this time.” “3….2…1” As he counts down I take a deep breath and lean forward. I feel myself starting to tip over the edge. I freak out. What am I thinking? Why did I jump? Frantically, I try to catch myself; I flail my arms trying to push myself back onto the ledge. Sadly, I realize, nothing is going to stop me now.
            Let’s back up to the very beginning of the story. I am in New Zealand on an exchange program with three other Americans; Coby, Erica and Madeline. We each have a host family and host sister or brother; Jarrod, Lydia, Riley, and my sister, Bridget. We have been staying in New Zealand for over four weeks and the eight of us have become extremely close and bungee jumping is supposed to be our last “hoorah” before we go back to America. I have experienced so much with these people; they have become like my family, especially my ‘sister’ Bridget. We have become so close in such a short time, it is amazing. I have changed immensely because of her and all the people I have met here. When we decided to go bungee jumping I was hesitant but eventually they convinced me to jump. Bungee jumping is something I swore I would never do, and now as I am falling from 141 feet in the air, I remember why.
            Why? Why did I do this? Why did I jump? All these questions keep popping up in my head when suddenly I realize how much fun I am having. I can see all around New Zealand, the hills and the green grass extend forever! I take everything in, this whole experience, all the people I met, all the friends I made and all the new things I tried. Suddenly, as the rope reaches its limit I am jerked back up into the air and once again I am freefalling toward the ground. I reminisce on the past four weeks of my trip. I have gone mountain biking, black water rafting, fishing and snowboarding, but most of all I have become sisters with Bridget. She is one of the sweetest and giggliest people I have ever met; she is always smiling about something and always knows how to brighten up my day. As I bounce around on the bungee rope I think about these things and how lucky I am to have this experience. After a minute or two the rope stops pulling me away from the ground and I am left hanging there until a bungee worker comes over to help me. He brings me to the ground and starts to unhook my feet from the rope; I feel a rush of accomplishment.
            Once I am freed from the bungee cord I run to my friends and give my ‘sister’ a giant hug. “You did it!” she says. I have never been so excited in my entire life. I never thought I would be able to do something like that, I have always been too afraid. This is one of my fondest memories of New Zealand. Not only did I conquer my fear of heights; I got to spend quality time with my sister and the rest of the group. It truly was the perfect ending to an amazing trip. That day helped bond us all together. We did something that pushed us out of our comfort zone and doing it together was really special. We got to see each other grow through this experience, and we encouraged and supported each other as each of us took that 43 meter leap.

             My experience in New Zealand has helped me grow as a person. While I was away I had a feeling of independence and freedom that I had never felt before. I got the opportunity to try so many new things and met the most amazing and loving people. There are so many things I will take from this trip, but mainly I have become a more confident and courageous person, who is willing to try new things. I will also take away the friendships I formed in New Zealand, both with the New Zealanders and the Americans. I know someday I will be back to New Zealand, but in the meantime I will have to rely on email and the telephone to keep in contact with my New Zealand family and friends.


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