Five weeks locked down in Auckland might have been a lot harder for Liana Mikaele-Tu'u had a phone call from Black Ferns coach Glenn Moore gone a different way.
The Hastings born and raised 19-year-old was among those expecting a call two weeks ago to let them know if they had made the cut for a tour of England and France in November.
Mikaele-Tu'u said she didn't quite know how to feel in the lead-up to the news.
"I know a lot of other players were really anxious and couldn't sleep but I'm not really someone that likes to get worked up over something that I can't control," she said.
The blindside flanker/number eight said she has no memory of what Moore said except four magic words; "Congratulations, you made it."
"I didn't know what to say, I just said 'thank you' a lot," Mikaele-Tu'u laughed.
Then came a very special phone call to her father Tamiano and mother Laina back home in Hastings.
"Living away from my parents and my family, I kind of put them at the forefront of everything that I do here," the younger sister of Magpies and Highlanders loose forward Marino said.
It meant everything to be able to give them the news as her number one goal in sport has always been to make her parents proud.
Moving north to study physiotherapy at the Auckland University of Technology last year has had the extra benefit of advancing Mikaele-Tu'u's rugby career.
She first played the game in Year 11 at Hastings Girls' High School and made the Hawke's Bay Tui Farah Palmer Cup side in her final year of college.
The dream of playing at the highest level started in Hawke's Bay under the mentorship of former Black Ferns Krysten Cottrell and Emma Jensen.
"When I debuted for FPC that was when I started to have some kind of faith that I could pursue it," Mikaele-Tu'u said.
She gives all credit to Hawke's Bay Rugby for setting her up to succeed with the Auckland Storm.
Learning off teammates like Eloise Blackwell, Charmaine McMenamin, Aleisha-Pearl Nelson and Ruahei Demant there has allowed her to join them at international level.
But it hasn't been easy for Mikaele-Tu'u to balance elite rugby with her full-time studies, especially given the game's amateur status.
"We're expected to put in the same effort [as the men], train the same kind of hours but still can't do it as a full-time job," she said.
Mikaele-Tu'u said it helps that the players can all relate to each other and lift each other up through that though.
She and her new teammates will gather for a training camp at the start of October ahead of their flight to Europe on October 14.
Mikaele-Tu'u said she is nervous but mostly excited to become a part of the Black Ferns team culture she has heard a lot about:
"They talk about a culture of sisterhood and respect... and being around world-class players, I'm really excited for that as well."