Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Knitting Fun

It's a tiny cup warmer:

Or an egg sweater!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Knittin Mittens

So I'm attempting to learn how to knit using double pointed needles because I'm determined to learn how to knit mittens! Any help would be much appreciated!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Monday, December 14, 2009

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Friday, December 4, 2009

The Spell of the Sensuous

excerpts from this book by David Abram:

"Today we participate almost exclusively with other humans and with our own human-made technologies. It is a precarious situation, given our age-old reciprocity with the many-voiced landscape. We still need that which is other than ourselves and our own creations. The simple premise of this book is that we are human only in contact, and conviviality, with what is not human.

Does such a premise imply that we must renounce all our complex technologies? It does not. But it does imply that we must renew our acquaintance with the sensuous world in which our techniques and technologies are all rooted. Without the oxygenating breath of the forests, without the clutch of gravity and the tumbled magic of river rapids, we have no distance from our technologies, no way of assessing their limitations, no way to keep ourselves from turning into them. We need to know the textures, the rhythms and tastes of the bodily world, and to distinguish readily between such tastes and those of our own invention. Direct sensuous reality, in all its more-than-human mystery, remains the sole solid touchstone for an experiential world now inundated with electronically-generated vistas and engineered pleasures; only in regular contact with the tangible ground and sky can we learn how to orient and to navigate in the multiple dimensions that now claim us."

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Is there anyone out there?

So, I've been wondering...am I just writing this out into cyberspace? Is anyone out there still reading this blog?

I'm just curious. Gimme a shout out if you're there.

speculating about her own importance in the whole shebang of things,

Monday, November 30, 2009

Music makes the work manageable


I really like this song for some reason. Everyone in the band just seems like they're having such a good time. Can I quit school and just make music?

this video/song is also really good:


crazy Swedish people...

Friday, November 20, 2009

Insomniac Haiku

Train whistle blowing
I lie sleepless in my bed
counting syllables

restless in this life
future choices churn within
focus on the now

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

"I speak Meteor"

My favorite part of getting up at 4am and driving to Carillon park to try to see some meteors: Aubrey attempting to 'call' the meteors to us.

Now you ask, did you actually see any meteors? Well, it was pretty cloudy so our chances were slim. Two out of the 5 of us saw one and I maybe saw one so...

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Love Leafs from Leonardo

There's this really wonderful sycamore tree right outside the art building on campus.
Sycamores are my favorite tree, so I named him Leonardo.
Yesterday, while walking past him I picked up one of his many beautiful fall leaves on the sidewalk. This was what came of that inspiration:

(I apologize for the blurriness, my camera was not cooperating)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Most Awesomest Creative Invention I've Seen in a While

Check this out!!
It's like all my dreams of puzzles and code breaking and presents wrapped into one!
Things like this make me really happy.


Sunday, November 8, 2009

It's all about BALANCE

Today I had a wonderful afternoon lunch with a really great friend. We talked a lot about how life is all about finding balance in the things that you do. And that what we really want to be when we grow up is happy. I think that if people recognize that all their decisions, even indecision, are choices that they make, and that they can always choose to choose something different, then maybe as a society we could choose to live in a different, happier, more balanced world. I think that the possibilities of choosing a different future are endless and it makes me truly happy inside to know that there are other people out there who aren't going to buy into the life of indecision and unhappiness.


Saturday, October 24, 2009

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Katie Trivia

I don't like olives, but I love tea. I wanted to be a paleontologist when I was a kid, then an astronaut. And now I just want to be happy. I've recently learned to love yellow and today I decided that bears are smart because they hibernate in the winter.

I had a love/hate relationship with oatmeal, but we've since worked out our differences. Once I dressed up as Annie Oakley for Halloween and another time as a pile of leaves. People always forget that I'm only 5'1''. The only bone I've ever broken was my nose in first grade.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Invasion of the Tiny Bats!!!

It has begun...

(bats courtesy of my mom, inspiration courtesy of "Color Me Katie" blog)

Friday, October 9, 2009

Chillin in Cbus

Not much going on right now. The GRE is over! Finally. And now I'm in Columbus visiting the one and only Patricia. We went to trivia night last night at this cafe which was super fun. It's interesting how people always think they're going to know the answers, but then never really do...
I brought my camera so hopefully I can get some pictures of me and Pat. Also, we're going to Northstar Cafe, which is one of my favorite restaurants ever! I'm sure this will mean photos of whatever deliciousness I eat for lunch. Then its back to ye olde Dayton for some serious cleaning and thesis productivity. That's all.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Yay for Tents!

GearFest was huge success and so much fun! I loved hanging out with all the River Stews and camping with them. I'm also excited because I bought a used tent for $40!!! Here's a picture of it. It's a two person, light backpacking-ish tent. Notice how it fits on my balcony... :D
that's all for now.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Views from Above

I'm so excited because I finally found the memory cards for my camera, so I can FINALLY start taking pictures again and posting them here.

This is my balcony outside my bedroom.

This is the view of downtown from the balcony.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


I was looking in my sketchbook this morning to work on drawing some conceptual sketches of an art project I might be working on, when I came across some expressive journaling notes I wrote this summer. Most of these were written to just get emotions and confusion out of my head, but looking back at them is just as important. Maybe sharing them here could help others as well...

-denial is not the answer. finding release in a balance of physical and emotional and artistic understanding that by repressing the erotic I repressed the spark that draws others

-finding ways to push yourself towards freedom of spirit. accepting that sexuality is individuality and there is no shame or wrong in understanding desire

-I am a social being and feeling disconnected and alone makes me depressed

-being alone does not have to be negative. it can be a time of renewal and reflection. use this time to balance, for upon the return of others, there is always the unknown. do not let yourself become unknown

-it is unhealthy to contain the creative erotic and by doing so I only hurt myself. expression doesn't fix everything but it creates a dynamic of change and possibility that would otherwise become stagnant and fester with negligence

-taking time for myself is just as important as fighting for change. I cannot burnout but must instead balance the worlds needs with my own

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


I'm not even going to try and catch up for this summer right now. Or appologize for not posting, since this is just an outlet for myself and not a commitment to updating my whereabouts (like it was when I traveled).
That being said, I'd like to share this bio I wrote about myself. Just because.

Katie Norris is self-proclaimed free-spirit and ginger (red-head). Academically, she is a senior undergraduate Environmental Science major interested in water. Katie is unsure of where she is going in life, just like everyone else, but trusts in the journey. On a practical note, she plans to attend grad school next year for Water Resources or Environmental Science. Some of Katie's passions include social and environmental justice, the earth, making and enjoying art (especially ceramics and photography), poetry, hammocks, bicycling, reading, laughing, hugging, making clothes, learning, cooking, gender issues, traveling, canoeing, and thinking.


Monday, June 8, 2009

New Year, New Look

So you might be thinking to yourself. It's not a new year. It's June...not January. Well, indeed you are correct. It is June. But, as my last post celebrated, it's been over a year since I started this blog and so I decided to experiment with a new look.

Lots has been going on, and because of that I've been neglecting posting. Sorry. Mostly it's been meetings and class and thesis work. And of course, cooking and baking with Alice. Yesterday we made yummy peanut soup!!!

I've been reading a lot of nonfiction lately, which is unusual for me. Mostly women's literature for my class, but also a good amount of feminist writings and some male perspectives as well.

Oh! I bought a road bike off craigslist. Her name is Luna. She's old but beautiful and we work just great together. There are a few things to fix still, but we're getting there. Maybe I'll post a picture of her. We're working up to a triathlon in the fall!

Lets see, what else...swing dancing has been great and I'd invite everyone to come out and try it at least once this summer.

Finally, if anyone knows someplace I can compost on or near campus, let me know. I just hate throwing away food scraps...

Enough for now.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009



Today is the one year anniversary of my blog. Crazy isn't it. I can hardly believe a year has past since I first typed out my thoughts down in the basement of Stuart Hall last summer. But, at the same time, I feel that I have come so far and grown so much in what feels like a short amount of time. I appreciate everyone who has taken some small time to read my thoughts on here and even if I never know that you read this it's nice to know that any of my friends and family can stay connected with me through this.
Hopefully my year long experiment in blogging might inspire you to do the same or if not, at the very least I hope to have gotten you thinking about something new.

All the best,
Your very own blogger,

Friday, May 15, 2009

New Apartment, New Summer, New Opportunities

I'm hoping to post some photos of my new apartment here soon, but I'll get to that eventually.
I really like the new place and living with Alice is great! Not only does she bake delicious vegan goodies (see: culinaryadventuresofthevegenerds.blogspot.com), but it's nice to have someone I love being with, around so we're not lonely. I have high hopes for this summer and that could be dangerous based on the disappointments of last summer but, nevertheless, I think it will be what I make it and I'm going to make it awesome! There's so much to do and see and hopefully new people to meet.

I also wanted to say that if you're in the Dayton area this summer (or not I guess, but willing to drive to Dayton) you might want to check out the Facebook group 'The Common Table' to see what sorts of events, etc will be going on this summer.


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Something for the Ladies

Ok, so I've never really understood why menstruation is such a socially taboo subject. And although I'm not going to tackle that right now, I do have something important to share with all the women out there who might be reading this blog.
I'd like to share with you an alternative to pads or tampons:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mooncup (A wikipedia article about menstrual cups)
http://www.keeper.com/ (a place to buy them in the US, this is where I bought mine, but please shop around, there are others).

It's just something to consider. Please don't immediately dismiss this as weird or gross or uncommon. It is not only safe (no risk of TSS), hypoallergenic, convenient (less stuff in your purse, traveling, etc), environmentally conscious (less waste), but...it can also save you money (it only costs about $37 at once rather than buying pads or tampons every month).

I've been very happy with mine, and although it takes a bit of time and practice to get used to, so did pads and tampons. If you have questions I'd be more than happy to talk.

Also, please pass this information along to other women you know. I feel like because we as a society choose not to talk about this subject we are stuck thinking that the only options we know are the only ones out there. Who knows, if you try something new, you might even like it!

Happy Periods (yeah...right) :D

Monday, April 27, 2009

End the University as We Know It?

My good friend Tim posted this article on Facebook recently and I found it very interesting.
Here's a link to the full article: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/27/opinion/27taylor.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1
but I'd like to highlight one point.

The author starts to talk about six ways that universities need to be restructured and rethought as we move forward in today's dynamic world. One of these suggestions ties in directly with what I'm trying to do in my interdisciplinary studies major. Sometimes it's good to know that other people out there understand your vision. Check it out:

"2. Abolish permanent departments, even for undergraduate education, and create problem-focused programs. These constantly evolving programs would have sunset clauses, and every seven years each one should be evaluated and either abolished, continued or significantly changed. It is possible to imagine a broad range of topics around which such zones of inquiry could be organized: Mind, Body, Law, Information, Networks, Language, Space, Time, Media, Money, Life and Water.

Consider, for example, a Water program. In the coming decades, water will become a more pressing problem than oil, and the quantity, quality and distribution of water will pose significant scientific, technological and ecological difficulties as well as serious political and economic challenges. These vexing practical problems cannot be adequately addressed without also considering important philosophical, religious and ethical issues. After all, beliefs shape practices as much as practices shape beliefs.

A Water program would bring together people in the humanities, arts, social and natural sciences with representatives from professional schools like medicine, law, business, engineering, social work, theology and architecture. Through the intersection of multiple perspectives and approaches, new theoretical insights will develop and unexpected practical solutions will emerge."

Now he might be a bit optimistic about how quickly and radically universities can change (they are sooo attached to the department model, at least UD is), but I don't see why we can't move towards more collaboration both formally and informally.
Something to think about and take back to your school at the very least.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

A Thought

I'm so glad that this has taken me so long
Cuz it's the journey that made me so strong
-Snow Patrol

I heard this again today while I was driving and I wanted to share it because I think it's really important to value every period of your life. I also truly believe that the journeys I've taken have given me the strength I have today and its even little things. Like, the first time I was alone in Brisbane in the airport and I had to find my own way into the city. It may seem like such a small step, but I'm different now that I have the confidence to travel alone.
Journeys...maybe take a moment to look around and see where you are on yours and what you've learned.

-thoughtfully yours

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Yeah, I party with rockstars....

Ok, so here's how it is:
I drove Guster in my car to a party at Drew's house where we proceeded to party with them, like 'no biggie' this happens every Sunday night.
It was so amazing though, pretty much surreal and an insane whirlwind of craziness.
The show was so rockin though because the Jaywalkers (that's Drew's band) opened and I was just so proud of them and that was definitely the best show they've ever played!
Then Wild Sweet Orange, a cool band from Alabama played and then Guster played.
Guster was such a fun band to listen to at a concert because they really had fun with it and kept trading instruments and stuff.
Then, through virtue of my coolness (and some volunteering and donating clothes) I snagged backstage passes to meet Guster after the show for myself and four friends.
That was way cool and we got some great photos with them and signatures, but then Drew was like, 'Katie, do you have room in your car I might need you to drive some ppl back to my place'. So i was like 'Sure, no problem'. Little did I know that he had invited Guster and Wild Sweet Orange back to his place for a little party/shindig. So we go out back to the tour buses and they're like, oh hey, can you drive two of the guys from Guster in your car over to the party? So I did and it was really cool cuz they were totally down to earth and friendly.
Surprisingly for a Sunday night there was a fair amount of students that showed up to hang out and Guster stayed for a while til they had to get back to the tour bus.
Overall it was one heck of a night and I can't imagine how we'll ever top that.
Moral of the story, always have amazing friends who turn into rockstars so they can introduce you to other rockstars.

p.s. see facebook for photos!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The cupcakes that inspired a blog

today I helped Alice and Margaret make vegan tiramisu cupcakes, which was really fun and delicious.
And from that Margaret was like "these are so good, I wish I had a food blog like I've always wanted so that I could put a photo of them on it and be cool like that"
A camera was found, the cupcake was photographed. (It will soon go on to be America's Next Top Model Cupcake).
Next ensued a creative period of brainstorming for blog names and eventually one was settled upon. It was fun, conveyed the foodiness of the blog and the fact that we are dorky all in one fell swoop.
Thus, the birth of a new blog entitled: Culinary Adventures of the Vege-Nerds.

We hope to all add to it as we continue to live together over the summer and through next school year. It's an experiment of shared cooking, friendship and fun. What could be better.

heres the link and feel free to share your recipes with us too


Thursday, April 2, 2009

Home Sweet Home

So, after over 20 hours of travel, I finally arrived home back to Cincinnati late last night.
I'll try to type some more tomorrow but today was mostly 'show and tell' day with my mom.
Can't wait to see everyone!!!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Homestretch....

Today is my last day in Brisbane, and outside the USofA for that matter. I fly out tomorrow and have an extra long April 1st because I'll be flying into the past...ooooh
I stop through Auckland (YAY! NZ once more for a short bit), then San Fran, Denver and finally Dayton.

Don't forget I'll be back April 1st at around 11:30pm if anyone wants to meet me at the Dayton airport.

Love you and see you soooooon!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Tat, Tat, TAT it UP!

Apparently I'm leaving Australia with quite the crazy bang.
First skydiving, then swiming with sharks and sea turtles and now...
a tattoo!

Yes, the long awaited study abroad tat has happened and I'm so excited about it. I really love it and it honestly didn't hurt bad at all. Thankfully though it only took about 20min so I wasn't enduring the stinging for long. There's a photo album on facebook (or the sidebar) but here's a photo of it pretty fresh ( I mean it's only 5hours old, just a baby):

You may be wondering about the rocks, yes, they're stacked rocks. It's called a cairn and it's a bit hard to explain the meaning to me but I'll give it a try. First, it's all about balance. Finding balance in my life and in everything I do. Cairns can also be used by travelers to show direction. So, it's about knowing that there's direction in my life even if I don't understand it yet. Sometimes, they're also used in memory of something or someone, and this one is partially in memory of this long journey that I've had. As for they brown/red color, I wanted it to be similar to henna and very earthy, but I also didn't want a really dark bold black tattoo.

There it is then and ya'll can see it in person in a few days. Esp if you come to see me at the airport! Please do, I really want to see all the people that are important to me, so of course my family, but I'd like to see some friends too if any of you are willing to drive...
If not, I promise to come visit UD soon or I'll see you over spring break if your in Cincy or close to it.

Miss you all and make sure to check out the new photo albums on facebook!!!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Hell Yeah I Just Went Skydiving!!!!!

As the title to the post explains, I just jumped out of a tiny (4person +pilot) plane over the great barrier reef at 14,000ft!!!!!!!
I also spray-dyed my hair red and blue before we went up and of course I bought the video so ya'll can watch it. I must put in a disclaimer though because right as we're jumping/falling out of the plane I yell the f-word really loud...
It was so fun though and I'm really glad I did it. We landed on the beach and it was sooo beautiful. I'll try to post some photos when we get back to Brisbane.

Also we were just in the outback two days ago and chilled with LOTS of kangaroos and I have pictures of that as well. We also saw kookaburas, an echidna and gliders. No platypus though cuz they are all a conspiracy!

I can't wait to come home and see everyone and if any of the Dayton folk want to meet me at the airport on Apr 1st around midnight you're more than welcome to. I won't be stopping to visit though.
Enough for now.
(skydiver extrordinaire!)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Waltzing Matilda in the Outback...Here I Come

Well, we're about to leave for the outback tomorrow and we'll be there for three days before we head over to the Great Barrier Reef! I'm excited about both of those and hope to post photos when I get back to Brisbane later.
This week we've just been taking ecology class and doing lots of homework : (
I've also been thinking and talking a lot about the road trip I want to take with my new friend Michelle. However, we're trying to find the best way to do it and how to make it as sustainable as possible, esp since we'll most likely be driving....thoughts?
Also, we'd like to have a purpose for our journey other than visiting all the people I know on the east coast but haven't figured that out either...
I'm also trying to figure out a thesis topic related to water, water issues, rivers, etc so if anyone has ideas I'd really appreciate any sort of dialogue about that.
Finally, if anyone wants anything from Australia, let me know before I leave.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


Hello All,
I hope everyone has a Happy St. Patrick's Day!
They seem to not really celebrate it much here in Australia, but...I think a bunch of us are going to find an Irish pub tonight. Too bad I don't like beer. Not.
Anyway, I could spend this post talking about all the stuff I saw in the rainforest, etc, but I'm not really feeling that right now. So if you're interested just give me a shout (or comment, w/e).
The only thing I did see that was cool were padamelons (sp?) or mini kangaroos. They were cute

I've been trying to figure out what this whole experience means and how much I've changed since doing this and it's weird knowing that I'm not the same anymore but not yet knowing what that means or how I should take this experience back to my other life and meld the two.
I don't want to come back and go back to what I was before but how do I fit in with everyone who hasn't changed? or if they have, will relationships with friends, etc be the same?
I have been missing everyone a lot lately and I think that's because I don't really like Brisbane/AU as much as I did NZ and I don't feel that connection with it. I mean, it's fun and all but not my place really. Too hot maybe.

Seriously though, I'd love to hear from everyone and I also want to make sure to hang out with everyone before people go off in different directions for summer to let me know what you've been up to and where you're going to be this summer.

Love from Oz,

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Rainforest Adventures

Hey All,
I'm back in Brisy but I have to run to class so I can't type much.
Just a quick update though that I've been to the rainforest and lived to see the world's most poisonous (sp?) spider!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


How sweet is that!?!
I was also really sick with nausea yesterday but I still went and it was amazing! It was such a good concert and they played so many good songs and they're just so fun and funny and I didn't realize the lead singer was so hot!
They also played my favorite song Green Eyes, which isn't really one of their most popular so I didn't think they'd play it, but they DID and it was soooooooooo wonderful. I recorded a video of it on my camera and I'll try to get that up here soon. Sigh... if you know how much I love that song you'd understand how excited I was to hear him sing it live. Also, if anyone ever sings that song TO me I will probably melt into a puddle and marry them (ok, maybe that's a bit extreme, but i really like it, cuz it's about me, i have green eyes).

As for other things, I'm not sure how I'm feeling towards Australia. I like it so far, but I think I need to get out of Brisbane and be done with this geography class and start to actually SEE some of the country.

Also, I'm trying to figure out what my plans are for this summer so if anyone has ideas let me know. I SHOULD work on my thesis, but...I can do that as long as I have internet. And, if you'd be interested in taking a road trip through the N. East and east coast of the U.S. let me know cuz I'm looking for a travel buddy to go and visit all the people I know there. And.. if you'd like to be on the itinerary of people to visit, let me know. So far the places I'd love to go are: Ithaca, NY to visit Tim; Burlington, VT to visit University of Vermont; Boston, MA; Hartford, CT; NYC; Washington, DC; Big Island, VA to visit Senia; Charlotte, NC to visit Melissa; Asheville, NC; Athens, GA to visit my UGA friends; Atlanta, GA; Chattanooga, TN; Knoxville, TN; and back to Ohio. A lot I know, but I'm feeling ambitious.

p.s. Where is everyone living next year???!!!!??? I'm so excited to hear where we're all going to be. Hell yeah we got College Park!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Surfin in Oz

So yesterday on our free day a bunch of us took the train from Brisbane to Surfers Paradise. It was so beautiful there, but also very crowded. Melissa and I rented a surf board and the waves were soooo powerful and much bigger then when I tried in NZ. It was still loads of fun though and I even stood up twice!!!!!!!
I've added some photos from the rest of NZ, spring break with Rick and Stacey in Auckland and Sydney and a bit of Australia so far.
I put the link on the left hand side so look for that. Also, there's waaaay more photos then I've put up so I'll be putting on a traveling slide show with commentary when I get back to the states.
Love you all!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Brisy and Spring Break

Ok, sorry for not updating. I was on spring break with Rick and Stacey and I just got into Brisbane a day or two ago and now I can get on at an internet cafe.

Traveling with them was sooo fun and I really had a great time. In Sydney we ate at this AMAZING (world's largest) revolving restaurant called Summit. It was on the 47th floor and it was probably the fanciest place I've ever eaten.

But now I'm in Brisy (Brisbane) and I'll be here for about a week, so I'll have time to come back and update longer.
It's weird to be back in school mode but...
I did buy this reallllly cute rainbow colorful dress and I hope to put up LOTS of photos soon so be looking for those.

Friday, February 27, 2009


So, I'm now on my spring break and hanging out with Rick and Stacey in Auckland. Yesterday we went repelling down a waterfall which was sooo fun. (Pictures to come).
Today is our last day in Auckland and tomorrow we fly to Sidney. Then on to Brisbane where I have to start back up with my group again.
Can't type too much now, but I'm still alive and having fun.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Avacados and Pistachios

Random title I know, but those are two of the foods that I've come to like on this trip so far. I know that they're not really NZ food, but still....
I'm pretty tired right now and I'm trying to apply for these summer research programs in Idaho or NY state so that's a bit stressful from the other side of the world. Anyhow, I'm soooo excited about spring break and I just cannot wait to see Rick and Stacey, they're supposedly in Christchurch right now.
I think that being away from everyone on this trip will be a much needed break for me. It's not that I don't get along with everyone, most people are nice and friendly, but I think I just need some space. Part of it is that the majority of the students here are really negative about almost everything we do here. They never want to listen to the lecturer's and are sometimes downright rude by ignoring them, talking during lectures or listening to ipods during lectures. Some also complain about anything that's work or hiking or boring, come on people, we're in FREAKING NEW ZEALAND!!!!!
Ok, enough ranting. I know I'm a nerd and like to learn as much as I can but....
I also cannot wait to show Rick and Stacey around Christchurch and share some of the really cool stuff I've been learning about NZ. I know I haven't been very good at putting a lot of that up on here but, maybe I'll just have a NZ mini-course or something when I get back...
Back to the summer apps.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Short Again

We've been moving around quite a bit, apparently my mom has a map with pins in all the places I've been so check that out.
Yesterday we got into Kaikoura and the rock beach here is sooo amazing. It's also one of those great places where the mountains are really close to the sea. Anyway, tomorrow we should be able to swim with dolphins! but we'll see.
Rick should be in Christchurch now but I haven't talked to him yet. I'll see him in two days and I"m soooo excited!

I'd love to hear what ya'll are up to back home so give me a shout out!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Traveling Again.

Hi all,
Just a quick update while i'm at a computer.
We're back to traveling again and it was sad to leave my homestay family. I'll try to post pictures later. Right now we're in Montueka (sp?) but anyway, we'll be in Abel Tasman kayaking tomorrow!!!!!!!!

Love you all,

Monday, February 16, 2009

Homework Doldrums

I'm coming up to my last day with my homestay family and sadly I have a huge paper to write so I can't really enjoy it. All this past week I've been in Global Issues/Intenational Affairs class so now my 3,500 word essay is due on Wed for that. It's interesting stuff but I must say I miss using my computer to type my papers instead of handwriting them. I just makes editing so much easier and faster.
Anyway, I have a few bits of news but nothing terribly interesting. I think I'm going to miss Christchurch, esp since I've had some crazy adventures here. (Ask me if you want the non-PG version of this). Also, the city has become pretty familiar and I like that. Today we went to the Antarctic Center which was cool (literally, we got to stand in a room that had windchills of 0degrees Celsius. We also saw penguins and learned a lot about Antarctica. Yesterday I got to be a construction worker with my host dad Nathan. I got to drive and operate a loader, one with the scoop on the front, and load sand into his truck. Then we drove that to the top of the hills near the city and Devon and I got to stand in the back and shovel the sand over an oil spill on the road. Later we went to the beach and got ice cream and then to this crazy/strange bar called the Wunderbar, in Lyttleton.
Tomorrow's a free day to basically write the paper and then we're off to the north part of the south island, which will hopefully be warm b/c it's been quite cool and windy here the past few days.
Oh, also, on Saturday I got to see the Crusaders vs. Chiefs rugby game which was SWEET! Rugby is awesome, and who knows, maybe I'll start to play with Alice, Margaret and Emma....or maybe I'll just enjoy the really muscle-y men!

Okie dokie. I guess all's been well but I must admit I have been missing some people back home. I think I just haven't been connecting or making as close of friends as I thought I would with the other students on the trip. I mean everyone's been really nice and stuff but I think I miss friends who know me. Also it seems like people on the trip don't really care about learning, or environmental issues, so I'm trying to figure out how my dorkyness fits in.

So sleepy now, which means I should get some sleep.
Love to everyone back at my homes,

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Be Prepared to Read (This is Your Warning that This will be a Long post)

First I'm sorry for not posting when I said I would yesterday. It's just been tough to find a long enough chunk of time to write all that has happened since I last posted.
Next, if you haven't checked out the photos I've posted on facebook (the link is on the left sidebar of this blog) I would HIGHLY recommend it because they will give you visuals of what I'm going to talk about.
After out stay and hike at Aoraki/Mt Cook we traveled to Te Anau. (By the way, I felt like I really connected with Aoraki and the mood and feel and atmosphere of the place. It was so beautiful and peaceful and just like I could really spend a longer time there and also find a place to meditate and just be for a time.)
Te Anau is just a small town that basically serves as the gateway to Milford Sound. The next day we traveled to Milford Sound, which is not actually a sound at all but a fiord. The boat cruise around the Fiord was nice and there was really cool cliffs and waterfalls and the mountains going right into the sea, but it just didnt resonate with me. Maybe it was too touristy or the fact that we didnt really interact with the place. Anyway, the following day we traveled to Queenstown. I guess I should mention that when I talk about traveling from one place to another we are just driving in a big coach bus since there about 30 of us including the professor, grad assistant and field guide. Now bus travel doesnt sound to bad in theory but I swear I cannot sit in those bus seats for more than and hour before I need to walk around or as I've now taken to, sitting up on the armrests to see above everyone's heads while knitting. Yes, I'm knitting a scarf from 100% NZ wool, in NZ!
Ok, on to Queenstown. This is a verrry touristy city, but still beautiful. It also seems to be the adventure, extreme, let's try to kill ourselves capital. Most of the people in my group decided to either bungy jump or sky dive during our free day in Queenstown, but I went hang gliding instead. This was sooo amazing and I'll have to find a way to post the pictures and video I bought from them. I also rode the gondola which was fun and then later that day I got the top cartilage of my ear pierced (others got nose and pierced).
After our time in Queenstown we left to head to Fox Glacier on the West Coast (and very wet western side of the southern alps). On the way we stopped at Fork Farm and got to learn about sheep farming. We also crossed over the fault line and I got to stand on both the Indo-Australian plate and the Pacific plate at the same time! The morning at Fox we woke up early and took a sunrise walk around Lake Matheson, which was really beautiful and peaceful since I mostly walked alone, for some time apart from the group. (I guess sometime I'll have to talk about the other students on the trip. But mostly they've been great, I'm starting to make some friends but its been slow going. I was surprised that there are not as many environmentally conscious people on the trip, but that's ok too)
Continuing though, we then took our hike to and on Fox Glacier, which was probably one of the most AMAZING things I've ever done ever. First we walked across this huge rock...area/desert thing until we got to the side of a huge steep hill covered in temperate rain forest (yes, rain forest next to a glacier). Next we proceeded to hike up 800+ steps until we were high enough to walk onto the top of the glacier. We got to put on crampons, which are strap on spikes for your boots (that were lent to us), and we also had sticks for balance. But actually being on the glacier was soooo incredibly awesome. It actually wasnt that cold at all, in fact it was colder next to the glacier than on top of it. The ice was sooo blue and it was fun to stomp around with the crampons.
It was really sad to leave the glacier and I would highly recommend it to anyone who has the opportunity to visit one.
The next day we rode on the bus again and stopped at a dairy farm as well as a town famous for lots of jade. We went through Arthur's Pass and finally ended up back in Christchurch. Here we met our homestay families who we've been staying with this week while we take our Global Issues class in the mornings. My host parents are so wonderful. There are actually three of us from the trip staying with them. Bev and Nathan have been welcoming and friendly and feeding us delicious food, so I'm glad we've had the chance to peek into a NZ home for a bit and I think I'll be sad to leave.
Today I went for a long (35min) bus ride out to Lincoln University to visit and see the campus and talk to some of the faculty about graduate studies there. It's much smaller (4,500 students) than I expected but could be a potential option for grad school esp with their new water initiative/research thing they've got going on.
So, again, I'm sorry this has had to be so long. Maybe I should have broken it up but I figure you'll either skim or just brave through it, either way, I wish all of you could be here with me. Hopefully I can talk to some of you soon and I can't wait to let you know how the second part of our adventure fares.
p.s. If you're interested in more details about any part of this just ask, I'd love to share more but I dont want to type too much.

Monday, February 9, 2009

She's Alive!

Hey Friends,
So I'm going to write a really long post later this evening (check back then), but i'm going to try to go to an internet cafe to post some photos (most likely on facebook, because flickr is stupid, but i will link the albums on this blog), so look for those.
But i just wanted to let everyone know that I'm still alive and having a wonderful time here in NZ. I think the longer I'm here the more I love it.
I do still love all of you but....
once you see my photos, you'll know why.
Until then,

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Aoraki and Fiords

So we've been doing some awesome traveling (well, the traveling by bus has been a bit boring) and the sights I've seen are amazing. I hope my pictures do it some justice. Two days ago we were in Glentanner Park and then Mt. Cook village where we hiked into Hooker Valley and up to Hooker Lake where we ate lunch. The mountains and glaciers were beyond beautiful and I wish I could find some way to explain it better. We walked through dry, scrubby plains where we saw lots of plants, which I now know some names of, and by fresh, cold, clear glacial rivers/streams. I got to drink from one of these! then lunch by Hooker Lake/Glacier! For most of the time Aoraki/Mt. Cook (Aoraki is the Maori name for it) was towering over us and I couldn't stop looking at how stunning it was. So then we had to drive for a loong time yesterday to get to Te Anau but we did stop at a windfarm on the way which was sweet. I've really enjoyed learning Maori terms and I would recommend looking up some of their stories about Tane and Aoraki and others. Today we took a boat cruise around Milford Sound, which is actually a fiord not a sound, but that was sweet and we saw seals!
Ok, I only have 1 min left on this computer so i have to go but i'll type later!

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Cities and Scenery

So I ended up having a pretty good birthday. I bought myself a really cute birthday dress and went out to dinner at this really yummy vegetarian restaurant called the Dux de Lux. I would recommend it if you're ever in Chirstchurch. Then yesterday we had our first and only test for Anthropology class which was fairly easy. I've also been doing some random gift shopping and bought myself a sweet purse along with a few things for other ppl. I haven't forgot about all of you ppl back home. Then last night we went to the Tamaki Heritage Center and got an interactive show about some very troubling times of Maori history, followed by a traditional hungi (sp?) meal. I'd heard mixed reviews about the food and personally I thought it was just ok. Not bad, but a bit bland. It's prepared by heating rocks in a earth pit and then burying the food for 6 hours.
Then today we drove out to Banks Peninsula and Hinewai reserve. The scenery was AMAZING and beautiful and hopefully later tonight I'll be able to post some pictures on my fliker acount. No promises though. We hiked around and ate lunch and then, disaster struck. I was walking with 3 other girls for our scavenger hunt of different plants when I got that feeling (girls you'll know what I'm talking about) and to make a long story short. I started my period in the middle of a forest. Great timing body. Really, I love you too. Now, I had been to the bathroom not an hour earlier so I know it was in the forest. Anyway, I did the outdoorsy thing and sucked it up and fixed the problem right there in the woods.
After hiking around for another hour we finally got back on the bus and headed out to Akaroa for a bit. I ate yummy fish and chips and HOKEY POKEY ice cream! Then took a nap on the drive back. Now I have to finish my essays for tomorrow and repack.
I probably won't be posting for a week since we'll be traveling in the woods, etc. So I hope all is well with you and talk to you later.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Hey All,
I'm about to go to bed but just wanted to let everyone know that it's my birthday way over here in New Zealand.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Hey Y'all (yes, I'm traveling with lots of ppl from Georgia so I'm allowed to say y'all)

Anyway, just a short update.
I've been pretty busy with class every morning this week. Yesterday we went to the 2009 World Busker's Festival in the evening. It was soo funny, and there were some amazing clown/mimes, acrobats, and just weird performers. I ate a yummy falafal pita from a Lebanese vendor and then a delicious dark chocolate banana crepe from a french vendor. They have quite a selection of food here in christchurch. Another busy day today but hopefully we'll get to go out and have some fun tonight for my birthday at midnight! Can't believe I'm going to be 21. How did I get so old? (and yes Pete, you're still older : D )
Well, I'm terribly sorry to run but I must get to class.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

First Day of Class

Unlike all you other unlucky bums ( : D ) today is my first official day of class this semester. This week I start (and finish the inclassroom part of) the Anthropology course I'm taking. Hopefully it will be pretty interesting. We're starting off looking at who were the people that first populated NZ and AU and then getting into some of their culture, etc.
I really Love Christchurch as a city, I is so walkable and there are not really any skyskrapers to get in the way of the sky. Everyone here is very friendly as well. It's almost like the local Kiwi's are always joking and relaxed and wanting to have a good time. Also, I still can't get used to the fact that the sun rises here at like 6:30am and doesn't set until 9:30pm. It makes for very long days. For all you bike ppl out there, Christchurch has lots of bike lanes and racks for everyone. Tons of great Asian food around as well, including Thai, Japanese, Chinese, etc...
There are trees everywhere (since it is the Garden City) and it doesn't smell like a city at all. It's also extremely clean, there's hardly any trash in/on the streets. Of course they drive on the left side of the road which is odd so remember to look RIGHT first before crossing. Also, at most intersections when the cross signal lights up it is a green walking person as opposed to a red walking person and when this happens all traffic stops and you can cross in any direction including diagonal. Pretty sweet.
I also love the accents here, which are different than Aussie accents (check it out on youtube if you want) and I also enjoy all the slang terms. Like an elevator is a lift, candies are called lollies, sandals are jandals, and cherrio is my favorite parting greeting.

So in the words of my Kiwi friends,
Cherrio and have a great day!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Surf's Up

So, I'm about to go grab some breakfast so this will be quick, but I wanted to let everyone know about my killer day yesterday.
A bunch of us decided to take the bus to Sumner beach yesterday and so I decided to go surfing! Yep, I just went out and took a two hour surf lesson and it rocked!
The waves were perfect for beginners.
I'd like to say that I was wicked good but, instead I'll just say that I had an awesome time. Hopefully, I'll get the chance to go back and rent a wetsuit and board to practice some more.
Today a few of us are going to check out a local Sunday market that has over 300 vendors. Should be pretty cool. This afternoon though our real school begins though so...ick.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


Hey Everyone,
I made it!!!!!!!!!!!
That alone is reason for excitement. After who knows how long I was traveling I finally made it here. I'm all checked in to my sweet hotel. (Hotel So, check it out: http://hotelso.co.nz/home)
Christchurch seems like a really cool, walkable city and we've already explored Cathedral Square a bit and saw a busker in action. (You'll have to look up and see what a busker is, you all are going to have to learn along with me)
Also, it's so warm here i LOVE it. I'm still settling in and trying to get to know everyone so we'll see how it all works out. I can't wait to start seeing some of the country though!
The plane food wasn't bad and i did sleep on the flight so that's good.
Talk to you all later!
p.s. Greetings from the FUTURE!!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

One Last Thing

I hope everyone is doing well and enjoying the new year. I'm so pumped by the inauguration today! I wanted to post one last thing before I left for my trip. (I fly out of Dayton tomorrow morning at 6am!!)
Anyway, I'm not sure when I'll be able to get to a computer over there so I'm going to have my mom comment on this post after I've called her to tell her I've arrived Christchurch, New Zealand. So check back here on Thursday sometime to see her update.

p.s. Don't forget the time difference between here and New Zealand. They are 18hrs ahead of Cincinnati/Dayton. So I'll actually be in the future when I get there, i.e. it is 9:20am of Wednesday there right now. Also, email or this blog is the cheapest way to contact me, but if you need to text is cheaper than calling. It's my same phone so same number. However, I do have Skype so if I can get that at an internet cafe then we might be able to set up a time to chat. My skype name is norris.kg
talk to you later!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Anyone else freaking out a bit?

So I'm leaving in two days!
I still have a few things to do before I leave but its creeping up on me.
I'm SOOO excited but I think I'll be better once I'm actually in New Zealand. A bit nervous of course but that's to be expected.
Anyway, just wanted to keep everyone up to date.
If I don't get a chance to post tomorrow, or Tuesday...
I'll be typing to you next from the southern hemisphere, dun dun duhhh!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

One Week Countdown!

I can hardly believe that one week from today I will be in San Fransisco traveling on my way to New Zealand!!!!!
There is still so much to do before I leave but I think I'll be ready.
Here is a photo of all my stuff that I'm taking. This is supposed to last me for 10 weeks...How, I don't know, but it'll be an adventure.
And here's my backpack

I'm starting to get very excited. I'm hoping to update as much as possible while I'm away and possibly post photos as well. I think I might get a Fliker or Picasa account and just have a slideshow on this blog. Thoughts?
Also, I do have Skype now so if anyone wants to try and talk to me when I'm at an internet cafe we can work that out.
Finally, to answer all of the questions I've been getting:
Yes, I will see some of the places that they filmed Lord of the Rings, and yes I will take pictures.
No, I do not think I will see Flight of the Conchords when I'm there.
No, when I'm in Australia I will not be able to see Ayers Rock.

In the Maori language,

e noho rā


Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Something I Wrote in November

Learning to Love Yellow:
Yesterday, I learned to love yellow. For twenty years I've always been drawn to all of nature's colors except yellow. Now I didn't hate it, I just didn't like or appreciate it. And who would have thought that all it took was onions. Well, onion peels that is. I learned how to use natural dyes to color fabrics and after boiling onion peels and soaking the fabric what should appear, but a beautiful, rich, warm, lovable yellow. The tote bag that now sports this enticing shade of the previously unloved color is a continual reminder: Not only can I learn to love yellow, but I can find a happy moment of each day. So celebrate each day and never contain those incandescently happy smiles.