Hello everyone!

A lot has happened since you last heard from me, so I felt obligated to write you tonight!

Firstly, I’ll give you an update on how classes are going: great! … mostly. For the courses “Paradoxes” and “Coming of Age in Global Cinema,” I am understanding the lessons well and completing the assignments easily. In fact, I gave my first presentation in Paradoxes last week and I received an A- despite being sick before, during, and after the presentation! (Don’t worry- I feel much better now!) The hesitation in my voice is due to my two Geology courses here: “Magmatic Systems and Volcanology” and “Field Studies & Field Techniques” are their names. Despite the fact that I haven’t had an Exam in either course yet, both have tested me physically and mentally. I can already tell that these courses will receive the bulk of my time devoted to studying and homework. I’ll be sure to keep you all posted on my academic progress!

Next up I wanted to provide a social update because I’m sure you’re all wondering who I’ve been associating myself with since I got to New Zealand! The simple answer is this: even though I spend most of my nights alone in my room working on homework, planning future excursions, or playing video games, I’ve been trying to force myself into situations where I am required to socialize. For those of you that know me well, the fact that I find social interaction difficult sometimes may come as a surprise. Truth is, the suave gentleman you know today was once a timid boy who mumbled his way through every conversation he got into. Although it may sound like a downer, I have to acknowledge this part of me because it still exists to a certain degree. Like anyone, I enjoy my “me time” and there are times when I’m more introverted than extroverted. However, I bring attention to this mostly because I am proud to be the weird, funny social butterfly I am today. I can honestly say that being myself has made me more friends than pretending to be someone I’m not ever did. And that’s pretty cool! On campus, I am technically a member of EIGHT different social groups and clubs. I don’t actively participate in each and every one of them, but I do dabble! My personal favorites so far are KAOS (which is like an awesome mix of BIG and EC from back at SNC), DramaSoc (which has awesome Improv Comedy nights), and the Tramping Club (which has nothing to do with the film Lady and the Tramp and everything to do with hiking).

Speaking of the Tramping Club, you may have noticed that picture of me on top of a mountain (brilliant segway). That’s yours truly atop the summit of Mt. Richardson. 600m of elevation, 2.5 hours of hiking, and ~40 minutes of breaks & breathing exercises. That last number is no joke- there were PLENTY of times where I needed to give my flimsy, asthmatic body a break from the rigor in order to not feel like death. In all honesty, this hike was one of the hardest things I have EVER done… and yet, it is also one of the greatest things I have ever done. Why? Because I did it… Let me say that again, but this time with more emphasis: I. DID. IT. Despite the self-doubt, the asthma, the burning lungs, the racing heart, the aching knees, the sore feet, and all other discomforts, I CLIMBED THAT MOUNTAIN. Some special thanks are in order here, because there were plenty of people who helped inspire me throughout the climb. Samantha Myatt, for being my rock and believing in me even when I don’t; Karen Bregger, for building a mountain of support beneath me; James Bregger, for encouraging me to be the *cough* genius I’ve always wanted to be; Amanda Stewart, for pushing your little brother toward his big goals; Steven Su, for hanging out at the back of the pack with me and engaging in all sorts of conversation, but always being polite about it; Ripley Shi, for keeping the car travel interesting, cheering for me when I made it to the summit, and even checking up on me after the trip to ensure I was recovering; and lastly my grandpa, Doc Savage, for always being a reminder that anything is possible if I want it bad enough and work hard enough. I love and appreciate each and every one of you for the help. Whether you knew it or not, your support is what carried me up that mountain.

And now, we’re here… Man, that got a lot more emotional than I was expecting! But this blog is supposed to be a raw, unfiltered account of my New Zealand tale, so I’m leaving it all in! I just recovered from a wave of sickness, so apologies for the lack of FaceBook posts and Instagram pics recently. I hope to go on another trip like Mt. Richardson soon 🙂 Be sure to stay tuned here and on my social media platforms when those updates arrive! Thank you all for reading and for your time.

Until next time,

Joshua Bregger

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