Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Alive With the Glory of Love

How do I get up and leave here in 8 months time?

How do I go home and start where I left off?

As Frodo so eloquently put it, 'How do you pick up the threads of an old life? How do you go on when in your heart you begin to understand there is no going back?'

I'm obviously exaggerating but to a certain extent I believe it. I feel like this New Zealand experience is completely different from most university students who up and go to another country. They usually already live in dorms and have moved out of home to go to University. I, on the other hand, had never left home before, never been away from the comfort of my mother's cooking for more than 2 weeks. And suddenly, at the age of 20, I transplanted my life from home to a country halfway around the world. I started everything over! This feels like a new life that I started all on my own, and after a year it'll really start to feel like my own. Now, how do I just leave that behind?
I guess I really gotta start loving where I am and what I'm doing. I mean, I'm already loving everything that's happening. I've been homesick, but soon this will be home.

I've made some truly fantastic friends, whom I am extremely grateful for having had the privilege of meeting. You all know who you are and thank you for making my life here worth calling a life. Without you guys this would still be a vacation, a temporary existence before going home to the US. You've truly helped me to live here. (:
yuppp my neighbor are the beesssstttt [: white white white!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Land of Make Believe

Something I never thought I'd actually do: Fly to Tonga and stay on a beach fale.
Something I'll be doing in 2 weeks: Flying to Tonga and staying on a beach fale.
I was planning on doing the South Island for my 2 week break, but then my (Best) friend (EVER) Zach said he was going to Tonga for a week, I knew I couldn't let this opportunity pass.
Before I left for NZ I was really intent on staying in one of the Pacific Islands for a bit because I really wanted to see more Islander culture than just Māori... But, I convinced myself from it because of prices and not wanting to go alone.
However, when I found out that Zach was actually going I knew I had to! It was a sign! And really cheap!
Total cost for about 5 days of Tongan adventure =
$290 US round trip from Auckland to Nukualofa (Tonga)
$90 US one-way from Nukualofa to Ha'api (smaller island in the archipelago)
$121 US round trip boat ride to beach fale, 5 days of meals and stay, and round trip taxi
so, ~$500 which, I think, is WELL WORTH IT!

Another point of excitement for this upcoming break:
Finally getting my horse of rohan tattoo on April 8th at 11 am.
I've been planning on this tattoo for about two years now and I'm more than excited to get it because 1) I've been craving a tattoo for ages and 2) the artist is really good.

Also, going to Taupo for a day! Which probably isn't that exciting, but I'm always up for something I've never done before and doing it alone is always an adventure for me. I was just going to take a bus right up to Auckland but decided an 8 hour bus ride didn't sound appealing.. so I'm stopping in Taupo.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Constant Knot

short post --
I noticed something I really don't like about the kiwi accent is the way they say things like 'known' 'grown' etc.
they say it like 'know-en'. That really bothers me!
and the other day in my Food & Eating class, we were discussing risk and fears about food, and part of the lecture was about terrorist infiltration of food... and the lecturer went on to say something along the lines of '...but then terrorists attacked here.'
Which really surprised me because I expected her to say something like 'America' or 'London' or something... I thought this was strange. As far as I know (and I'm fairly certain I'm correct) there have been no terrorist attacks in New Zealand.. so essentially, kiwis should have no fear of terrorist bio-attacks? Strange.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Off by Heart

This past weekend was bizarre but awesome.
Friday I woke up hells of late for art class but went. Had lunch with Wiki first which was more than entertaining as I attempted to teach him Spanish. Then went to class for a bit, came back and chilled aaaaall night with Toia, Tiaki and Grant (for a bit). We got pizzas, chips and watched Mean Girls in Toia's room. Awesome night.

Saturday I went to town with Wiki to look for a dress (I'm going to a FORMAL DINNER for the military with him) and there was absolutely nothing. We walked all through the mall, through the square and found ... nothing. So we had lunch at a cafe off the square and chilled in a park for a bit. Then I bought Toia and Tiaki a box of Tui and left to do some homework with TREVOR! I don't know if he's reading this, but he's the best! The Lounge Crew (Jess #1, Mike, Emma, Nick, Brendan, Jess #2) picked me up from Trevor's to go to a flat warming party where we decided to be somewhat social and met some people. As we were leaving I saw this brown kid and assumed he was Maori so I said to him 'Ka kite!' to which he smiled and I said 'or is it Ina Hora?' and he said 'I'm not Maori!' I know how he feels.
We drove off to FERGUR KING and had a mean feed. I went to town after WITHOUT the Lounge Crew and met Toia, Shayna and Trevor at High Flyers. Danced till 3am when it closed and went home with Shayna, Jerrau (army kid) and a random South African dude. Needless to say, it was COMPLETELY random. We sat on the swingset that overlooks some part of Palmerston North and talked for a while then we all went to sleep (at around 5-ish).

Sunday, I woke up at 6:45am to go to Wellington. Got picked up by Wiki around 7:30am and had a great, early morning drive through the country. Walked around Wellington eating unhealthy food and shopping for a dress. Had a PERFECT DRESS experience as we went into the last shop and found a dress in black and a size too big that I liked.. but I asked if there was the same dress in purple and they said 'only in a size 8' which I thought might be too tight, but I'd give it a shot... and it was PERFECT. Successful trip. Then got Movenpick (YES) and sat in a park where the breeze was blowing, sun was shining, sausages were sizzling and reggae was playing. It was pure and utter comfort. Took a nap, got up and went to (Cafe Ice .. it's spelled some crazy way I don't remember) and I got a neat little gelato milkshake thingy. Walked back to the car and went to Wiki's house for a bit (more for Wiki to steal groceries). Then I DROVE ALL THE WAY HOME! Driving again for long distances felt so amazing. I was one with the road and rockin' it (even though it scared me half to death most of the time being on the wrong side of the road...). Made it home and did some homework and went to kapahaka and class today.
I am completely in love with New Zealand!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Time after Time

I'm really proud of myself for the budget I've been living by.
I was expecting to spend about US $50 a week and so far I've been living off of around US $26.
Great success.

My breakfasts are weet-bix with (whole) milk, a bit of yoghurt, and a banana.
lunches are either ham sandwiches or an apple, hard-boiled egg, muesli bar and wheat bread.
dinners include: bangers and mash w/ peas, steak and boiled potatoes/carrots w/ spinach or peas or both, chicken breast and rice w/ bok choy, or some meal with mince meat (this week it was spaghetti, which was not successful so I might move on to moco loco).
I bought ice cream once but I was trying to be frugal so I ended up with a really cheapie brand with ingredients like "animal and/or vegetable fats." Needless to say, it tasted like lucky charms (Zach and I came to this consensus) and that someone's grandfather was probably in the mix (Zach's realization).

I bought "girl guide biscuits" which are not nearly as delicious or entertaining as girl scout cookies. They come in two flavors - shortbread and shortbread dipped in chocolate. and the names of said biscuits? guide biscuits .. and guide choc biscuits. No thin mints!! As depressed as I was to find the enthusiastic little girl without such delicious things as thin mints, I still bought two packs (original and .. chocolate original). They're satisfying but nowhere near as nice as girl scout cookies.

Though this has little to nothing to do with New Zealand, it has to do with the fact that I cannot watch my regular tv shows .. regularly. I've only just gotten caught up on community and modern family, but am still missing out on Rupaul's Drag Race.

Can't think of anything else. Having trouble focusing on homework/reading.. but still getting it done! Worry not!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


The fact that I have no family, no life-long friends and no pancake mix in New Zealand is starting to hit me.
I'm missing my parents and have been dreaming of home. I'm extremely happy here but I keep thinking home is a drive away and I can get some Roscoe's chicken & waffles if I really wanted some. But, wait... no one here knows what chicken and waffles is...
As long as I'm busy I don't think about it. But, I'm not busy tonight. I should be.
But I can't focus on anything besides how far away I am and how little I have here. I'm starting a life from scratch, or from fragments of an old life. My expectations are constantly being changed and exceeded and let down.
'Can't I just sleep in my own bed for one night?'
My own bed. Where is my own bed? Thousands of miles away?
Is this bed here my own? Is it a bed to build a life around?
This all sounds rather silly as I type it out, but really... I guess it is rather silly. Just homesick, I guess. This is definitely typical behavior and I can't think of any other way to deal with it.
I've gotten so used to certain people and their way of being, and I get here it's like getting used to a whole new life. Well, it is a whole new life...
I'm not even making sense anymore.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

tangled up in blue

With sand between my toes, basking in the familiar warmth of a west coast sunset at an unfamiliar beach, home didn't feel so far.
I've gone to more beaches here in New Zealand than I have at home (that might be a lie.). The oceans are calmer and warmer. Less "maintained" and more rugged, black sand, driftwood beaches. They go on forever and are often void of people. My kind of beaches.
So far everything here has been good. better than good, even. FANTASTIC.
My housing is set up in one giant house and four blocks (blocks holding roughly 9 people each) and my block is full of really, really great people.

shoes are overrated here. Barefoot is the best option for most as they wander class to class, across a car park, or into a supermarket. I think this is one of the most fantastic things because it is the perfectly subtle way of showing how lax kiwis are. Following this, a lot of the people I've known here have little regard for things considered 'unhygienic' by Americans. Such as not washing fruits/vegetables, leaving things on dirty counters, not rinsing dishes when they have soap on them and just drying them directly, and I guess.. walking barefoot everywhere.

Classes have been requiring a lot of reading, but actual class time is nice because usually they're only an hour long and are usually with some pretty cool people. Lovin' my maori language class. I learned how to say Hello (Kia Ora) How are you? (Kei te pehea koe?) I'm good (Kei te pai) and I'm from Los Angeles (No Roa Angerea au). There's this thing called transliteration where you just make english names/words SOUND maori, since they have a different alphabet.. so Los Angeles = Roa Angerea.. but I kindof just made that up myself with my professor since there was no word for Los Angeles. I mean, I've learned other little phrases and tidbits but that's really all I remember off the top of my head... Plus, I've been going to kapa haka (...singing time?) on Mondays and Fridays and learning the chants and songs. I even learned one with moves (kinda like a hula). As well, making many maori friends (:

hmm.. Anything else? I've been getting used to things.. Slang, driving on the wrong side, meals... I still don't feel like I'm really in university, but I'm making an effort.. in between trips to the beach and laying in bed all day..