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!