April 27, 2017 (part 1)

I am going home today!

This morning I packed up and got rid of the last of the things that I wasn’t taking with me, had breakfast, finished packing the last few things, checked out of the hostel, and took an Uber to the airport bus station.

I left for the airport a lot earlier than I needed to but I had to be out of the hostel by 10 anyway and I knew I would be a lot less stressed if I was waiting around in the airport instead of cutting it close. My flight didn’t leave until 4pm though. So I took the bus to the airport (which I had pre-paid for when I bought a roundtrip ticket when I came back from Rarotonga, which made it even cheaper.) I still can’t believe I paid so much for a taxi when I first got to New Zealand but oh well, I learned eventually. 😛 On the bus ride to the airport (which takes about an hour) our bus driver asked if we heard a noise, but none of us did. A little bit later he pulled onto the shoulder of the 6 lane highway and gets out to check on the bus. And then he got back in and radioed in, saying that we had a half flat tire. Oh good. lol. They told him to go ahead but to take it a little slower, so he told us what was going on and told us that it was fine because the bus had more tires than a car. When we finally made it to the airport I went to the self check kiosk area and weighed my bags. One was just a little over, so I went through my things and rearranged them a little and then weighed them again to make sure.

Have I mentioned that Air New Zealand is great? When I booked my flight I told it that I had two bags to check and I only had the pay $1 for the second bag (nothing for the first.)

Anyway, I checked in and then went over to the other self service kiosk to send my bags through (so much automation, it’s pretty convenient!) but it didn’t like me for some reason so someone had to come over and check my ID and make sure that I was me and then she sent my bags through. From there I went through security where my ID was checked (which was automated again for certain countries’ passports) and then I went through the xrays, etc. with my bags. In New Zealand they don’t make you take off your shoes, etc. and it is so nice and much less of a pain than it is in the States.

When I finally got through all of the security, my flight was still a few hours away so I didn’t know what gate I would be flying out of. Which was a little annoying but I just wandered around the airport for a little while and bought a few more souvenirs to use up the last of my cash and then I bought two pieces of caramel chocolate slice (kinda like brownies) with the last of my cash so I could take it home and let people try it. 😀 Once I finished that I guessed that the Air New Zealand app was correct when it told me which gate I was flying out of (even though the signs still weren’t saying) so I settled down there for a little while and talked to some people on the phone and texted, and worked on some things online. I also had Gladys and Kipling tucked away in my bag. 🙂

Finally saw my huge plane that would take me to Texas. 😀

and took my last selfie in New Zealand, lol

I picked a window seat when I booked my flight, but I couldn’t take very good pictures out the window because it was weird and messed up unfortunately. 😦

But these were my last views of New Zealand

https://youtu.be/Px1l7sNWzt0
and then they served dinner.

It was basically a stewed beef with peas and mashed potatoes, a quinoa salad, a roll, and ice cream. Which was delicious. 🙂

Throughout the flight we hit turbulence quite a bit, which was zero fun. The sensation of falling when you’re super high up is definitely one of my very least favorite things ever. But I tried to distract myself with movies and TV shows until it was time to sleep. Oh and the sunset was pretty. 🙂

For the past several days I have been trying a sleep schedule that I found online that is supposed to help with jetlag, so as soon as I felt like I could sleep, I did. I didn’t sleep much though and I made myself wake up at a reasonable time (Texas time) so I would be on a better schedule for home. Thankfully the middle seat on my row was one of the only ones unoccupied, which was really nice and I know I slept more because of that.

I distracted and kept myself awake better by exploring the screen at my seat, which was fun. And I ordered a snack, cuz I could and it was free, lol.

and I tracked where we were a few times on the map. It also told me how high we were (34,999 feet), how fast we were going (594 mph), and the outside temperature (-47 F.)

The flight crew had us close up all of our windows for the night but a few times I opened mine just slightly to watch the sunrise. Partly because it was pretty, and partly because that would help cut down on the jetlag.

Pretty soon they served breakfast, which was also very good. It doesn’t look great but it really was. It was eggs, sausage, baked beans (pretty common breakfast food in New Zealand), fruit, and yogurt.

Keeping up with the map a little bit was fun because then I knew where we were and what I was seeing out the window. It was really neat to finally see North America again. 😀

My flight left Auckland at 4 PM on April 27th, New Zealand time, and it was a 12 hour flight, but because of the time change, we landed in Houston at about 1 PM on April 27th. So strange.

This is of us landing in TEXAS! 😀

(continued in part 2)

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