Thursday, April 7, 2011

the last three weeks

So once again I am here apologizing for taking so long to write another blog post and because it has been over a month this one is probably going to be pretty long. So this time three weeks ago I was in a marine ecology class, taught by a professor from Westmont who was absolutely wonderful. We spent a ton of time out at the tide pools, which was really fun. We also had the opportunity to see sperm whales and blue penguins that were also amazing. That Sunday we had a community night that I planned, along with Kerry and Gina two girls who are in my small group. We had a murder mystery dinner that was so fun. We made up characters for each of the students and told them to have alliances and fights with certain characters. They received this information through invitations so everything was a secret to the others. It was pretty great. That week was also Stacy’s birthday. She is a Japanese student from Hawaii so naturally we had a party revolved around making sushi! It was great; we were split into teams and made rolls that were judged based on taste, appearance, and Staciness and my group one which was pretty cool.

On Saturday afternoon four friends and I: Jaci, Travis, Max, and Josh left for spring break. We spent 13 hours traveling to Te Anau, we arrived at the rental house at 1:30 am. The next day we slept in and went to check out the town and find out about some day hikes. We spent four nights in Te Anau, in Monday we hiked 22 miles on the Kepler track needless to say my feet are still swollen, but it was so worth it and absolutely beautiful. Tuesday we did the Key Stone Summit track which took about three hours, at the top we were surrounded by mountains I felt like I was in Lord of the Rings it was so beautiful. We had lunch at the top and then headed down. Once we got to the car we headed for Milford Sound we took a ton of pictures there, got eaten alive by sand flies. Then we headed back three hours to Te Anau making short stops along the way. Wednesday we left and headed to Queenstown, which turned out to be one of the coolest cities. On Thursday we made our way out for the Routeburn Track we planned on hiking to eight-hour days. But the day in was all up hill and at the top of the mountain we were in 100 kilometer winds and pouring rain, so we stayed the night in the emergency shelter. We could see our breath inside at about 5 o’clock so we played rummy in our sleeping bags and slept huddled together. The next morning we got up and did a sunrise hike to the summit. It was absolutely BEAUTIFUL! We saw glacial lakes, pink skies, and freshly snow covered mountains. After the sun rose we headed back down the way we came doing the hike that took us 6 hours up hill in 3 ½ on the way down. That night we went to the Fergburger, which was such a great reward. We all spent Sunday night at the convent sharing stories with each other about our spring break adventures.

I am not taking the environmental literature class that is going on this week. So Jaci, Travis, and I were going to go up north but there was a change of plans, which worked out for the best, because I was so dead after last week. This week I have spent a lot of time in the kitchen helping prepare meals for those in class. Jaci and I are making a recipe book as our betterment project so we’ve been typing out recipes. I’ve also been crocheting and playing a lot of ping pong. Overall this week has been great! Now I am beginning to prepare for terrestrial ecology, which starts on Sunday. We are going to be heading to the west coast for this class, and it
will involve a lot of hiking and for part of it we will be living in a Maori village.
In these past few weeks I have had a blast but I am definitely starting to get a little homesick. I can’t wait to see you all and be able to explain these stories in person and along with pictures.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


Samoa was really amazing and there was so much that happened that there is no way that I could express it all in a blog so I am just going to hit the highlights. Our group got to Apia (the capital city of Western Samoa) and we spent two days there. We went on a hike in a torrential downpour, but that honestly made it so much more fun. We also spent a lot of time at the market getting lava lavas (a wrap that males and females have to wear that goes past your knees at all times) and souvenirs’.

Then we went Safua (a village on the island of Savaii), we stayed at a hotel were the rooms were traditional style huts called Falas. The food was great and the people were amazing. While there we took tours to lava fields, a waterfall and swimming hole, rainforests, and the most westerly point. All of which were amazing!

Our last four days were spent in Fanga village with host families. Each of us had such different experiences based on the level of English the families new and their wealth. The hardest part for me was the food, it is no wonder Samoan people are known for their size because the staples were: top ramin, hot dogs, spam, deep fried pancake batter balls, and coconuts. But our family did speak very good English and we were able to spend more time with them than the other groups because of that. That’s definitely the short version but I hope that it gives some idea of what we were able to do.


I am going to explain the long process of washing clothes CCSP style. On the side of the house there is an old bathtub on top of it they have built a counter with two sinks that drain into the bathtub. One sink you fill with detergent and water (from the hose) the other sink is filled with clean water. You scrub your clothes with a
washboard; yes you read correct a WASHBOARD! Then you rinse them off in the other sink and ring them out with something that looks like two connected rolling pins. Then you hang them on the line and pray it doesn’t rain. When that is complete you get on a bike that has a pump connected to it, the tub and a hose used to water the gardens. You have to bike for about five minutes to empty out the bathtub and get that water into the hose to water the gardens. This process takes about two hours. Needless to say, today I am opting to bike 10 minutes with a backpack full of clothes to the laundry mat.


Willy and Inga were Tracy and I’s home stay parents. They are a Dutch couple in there early 60s. They love to laugh, learn new hobbies, tell stories, and play Rummikub. They took us on a hike, to play minnie golf, to church with them and to go shooting.

I was definitely never hungry, they enjoy every tea time possible. Every day we would wake up and have breakfast, about an hour later we would have morning tea (usually toast, cheese, fruit, and coffee), then about two hours later we would have lunch, next came afternoon tea (similar to morning tea), and a few hours later dinner which was followed by a full dessert; I have never been so full in my life.

The high light of the weekend was probably going shooting. We went with Willy and some of his friends so Tracy and I got to try five types of pistols and each shot six rounds. Tracy is a much better shot than I am but we both had a great time. We plan on staying in close contact with them while we are in New Zealand.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Travel Day

Today has been a crazy exciting and emotionally draining day. I said bye to my parents at the airport at 10:30 pm, did the whole LAX deal and finally got to my gate. I was so happy to find almost everyone from the program, and we were all seated in two rows on the flight so I got to know the people I was sitting next to pretty well early on.

Fourteen hours later we arrived in Auckland where my tent and boots had to be taken out of my very carefully packed luggage for inspection, but thankfully some of the group waited for me. We were running late to get our luggage rechecked for the flight to Christchurch, but we made it just in time for boarding!

When we landed in Christchurch we found the CCSP staff waiting to great us with some delicious muffins. Then we loaded up the vans to head off on our drive to the convent. The country was a lot dryer than I anticipated, but the staff kept reminding us that it is their dry season and that it will look much different by the time we leave.

Seeing Kaikoura made me so excited! It is even more beautiful than I expected, the ocean surrounds the town but you still see Fyfe Mountain. They took us to South Bay (a beach on the way to the convent) were we had a picnic dinner of fish and chips, dad you would have been so jealous.

But none of this beats the campus; I never would have thought that I would live in a place so beautiful. The building was built in 1911, so each room is different and has its own unique touches. Roses, fruit trees, and local flowers surround the campus; and it smells amazing. There is a basketball hoop, volleyball net, hammocks, and a beautiful back patio that allows us to enjoy the wonderful yard and a view of the mountains.

So basically I love it here, the people so far are great, and I can’t wait to see what adventures I am going to encounter!

First Week

This week has been crazy, we’ve been going through orientation stuff about classes, safety, and rules. But we’ve also had many opportunities to experience Kaikoura. Unfortunately the first few days were really rainy, but it gave us a chance to play games (extreme Uno and Dutch Blitz) as well as get to know each other a lot better. I’ve gotten to know the small town pretty quickly because we mainly get around on bikes it’s hard to miss anything.

On Sunday we split up to go to different churches, which was an experience but the people there were all great and they ended up praying for the group of students that went and our families. Later that day we had a huge barbe (bbq) for anyone from the community to come to. It was great to get to know some of the families; Kiwi’s are really easy to talk to! And I even met a teacher who offered for me to work in class while I’m here.

Monday we went to the recycling center/ thrift store. Kaikoura is known for its environmentally friendly practices. So it was cool to be able to see how much they recycle. After that we went on a hike around the peninsula it was absolutely beautiful, and we all got extremely sunburned. We have been learning a lot about native plants and animals and going out and being able to see some of them was very helpful. After tea (dinner) two men from the local Maori community came to the convent to talk to us about their culture.

Today, 10/25 was another gorgeous day! We went to the Top’s sheep farm in the morning. Which is this old couples farm which consists of 4,000 acres, 3,000 sheep, 8 dogs, 6 chickens, 2 cats, 1 horse, and some geese and goldfish. New Zealand is known for its abundance of sheep right now the ratio is 4:1, so this really was part of the experience. Later in the day we went to the Mari (where the Maori community resides). We got to participate in a tribal welcoming, then they taught us about their meeting house and told us some of their tribal tales; unfortunately we weren’t allowed to bring cameras here but I still got some great memories. After tea we watched Whale Rider, which was really cool after experiencing the Maori culture.

Sorry it’s taken me so long to post. The internet is slow and I have to pay for it by the hour so I will be writing throughout the week and then posting them all on the same day. 

Friday, January 28, 2011

My Apologies

Hello Everyone,
I'm sorry that it has taken me so long to post anything! Orientation has been extremely packed and it is difficult to get internet. I have been writing about my time so far on my laptop with the intentions of copying and pasting as soon as got internet but I am at a hostile and have internet but not my laptop so I am just going to fill you in on this weekend and post the other stuff later.

We had a free three day weekend before classes started so my friend Korrie and I made our way to Christchurch and then Akaroa and now we are back in Christchurch for the night. We are staying in a hostile and it has been really fun getting to know people from other places, but I think next time I'd prefer to camp, it's weird not having your own space and you still have to carry everything with you during the day anyway.But it's been a good experience so far.

Anyway our main time has been spent in Akaroa which is a small beach town with a lot of cute shops, it was pretty great. While we there we also got the opportunity to swim with New Zealand native hector dolphins. They are small and very rare, so it was really exciting being able to swim with them. Unfortunately, they were so fast that I didn't get any good pictures of them but the memories are still there.

Tomorrow we plan to do some shopping and there is a street performers festival in town that we are planning on checking out before heading back to Kaikoura. I am feeling ready to back to my new home and excited to catch up with everyone else.

I have made some really good friends within the program and that has made the transition fairly easy. Korrie is from Pennsylvania she runs track and cross country at her college and she is really sweet. Jaci is my roommate, she is from New Jersey and she is an art major we bonded pretty quickly over that and we both have a pretty goofy side. Travis is from Michigan and he is hilarious he is also Jaci's boyfriend which has made me miss Ross but they are both great. There's also Max who is from Canada, Mathias from Eugene, Stacy from Hawaii, Tracy and Carey from Ohio, Sara from Michigan, and Sierra from California, and Josh from Pennsylvania. This group has come together quickly to make a pretty great Whanau (family in Moari) which has been great!

Sorry for my bad grammar and any misspellings I didn't have time to proof and my internet time is up, I'll try and be in touch more often. 
Older Posts Home