The last Friday in March, not having class, I went into the city to explore. I wanted to visit the two cathedrals there. I went to St. Stephen’s again for mass, and then walked over to St. John’s–the last gothic cathedral that’ll probably ever be built in the world. After that I went to ANZAC square (Australia New Zealand Army Corps) and walked around the memorials. While I was in the city I met up with my cousin Anne (really my grandmother’s second cousin, so I think that makes her my second cousin twice removed, but I don’t really understand these things). It was great to finally meet the woman behind the emails. My dad has fond memories of her telling him ghost stories as a child. We had lunch and I learned alot about our shared family. Anne has written books on her family history and is in the process of researching our shared branch of the family. It turns out that my grandparents were actually married in Brisbane. As they have both passed away, we have to investigate. We went to the registrars office to get their marriage certificate. It turns out they were married at St. Stephen’s Cathedral in August of 1944. Being a newbee to family genealogy, this was a very exciting discovery for me. It was a very special experience to get to go to the place where they’d been married 7 decades prior.
It was the first week in April where I had to remember that I was an actual student. I had two papers to write before leaving the country for the mid-semester break. I also had to pick my classes for Vanderbilt, help plan our New Zealand itinerary and go to work. It was a good time to get a care package for home (complete with my favorite brand of peanut butter–thanks mum). Safe to say, with my procrastination exacerbated twenty times by me international student status, it was a much more hectic week than it ever needed to be as everything was left to the last second. Thursday after work I had to catch the last train to the Gold Coast (an hour south of Brisbane). Luckily I have an amazing friend there (from my marketing class) who let me stay in her beautiful beach side apartment so I could catch my early flight out of the Gold Coast airport on Good Friday. My friends would be joining me Saturday. And thus my Great New Zealand Road Trip began.