I watched most of the games online but when I got the opportunity to go to one of the games with Steph and Dan, I took it and it was so worth it! We had the choice to either have the cheaper tickets or tickets that were 10$ more and have the chance of getting better seats so we took that latter option and ended up getting front row tickets to the game with England vs Georgia which was so cool to see! Games atmospheres are a bit different here but being at a RWC game was definitely cool and it was crazy to see how big these rugby men (and how good looking they are ) up close.
Archive for the ‘Kelsey in New Zealand’ Category
After the tiny river debacle we started setting up the tents and ran into another problem. One of the two tents that we brought required 3 poles, of which we only had 1. So instead of setting of the tent in the grass by itself, we were forced to place it in between 4 trees so conveniently placed in a cluster so once again we handed the reigns off to the boys to do their fancy work and the tent ended up looking like this…
In order to actually get in the tent you had to crawl on your stomach and slip up into it but it worked fine for the whole weekend and we were lucky that we didn’t have to do that for both tents! After the tents were set up it was time to gather some firewood and sit by the fire to relax before our planned day the next day. Throughout the night more and more people showed up that were friends with Dan’s friend who we met up with so by the time we went to bed it was a party out on the campground with people everywhere and music thumping. We managed to get a few hours of sleep before getting woken up by the early bird campers and the sunrise.
After being there for a bit we decided to go back to the campsite to have an early lunch before heading out on the ocean for some more activities. Lunch consisted of the Paua that the boys got which I thought was pretty gross (VERY fishy tasting) but the boys loved it. After lunch we all got wetsuits on in preparation to go out on the kayak and hopefully get a bit of fishing in. It was me and Dan to go first since Dan has the most experience and I called dibs. We carried the kayak out there to about waste deep and Dan is giving me this worried look and says that he’s not sure we should be attempting it and we could try later, to which I replied that it’s totally fine and I didn’t feel like dying today anyways. But knowing both my stubborn personality and Dan’s adventurous personality, we decided to just go for it anyways with his warning that I will be doused in the front seat and that I shouldn’t panic if it seems as though we’re going to flip. We walked the kayak back out to about waste deep and I waited for Dan’s signal to hop in the kayak, missed the first time but eventually got settled in and started paddling for my life. The waves coming at us were about 4 feet taller than I was sitting in the kayak and were pretty scary so every time one came up Dan yelled “stop paddling and lean forward!” to which I did for about 7 or so waves. We had one last wave to go before we were pretty much in the open sea and it was huge but I did what I was supposed to and tucked my paddle in, leaned as forward as I could go in that tight wetsuit and all I hear from Dan in the back is “Oh shit I’m going over!” to which I turn and see him flying off the side of the kayak. He pops back up between waves and me not knowing what to do in this situation just staying in the kayak and him yelling “you’re going over on this one!” and sure enough, the next wave, despite my efforts to stay in I was thrown off the side and got tossed around a bit with the kayak rolling over top of me and finally popping up to see the paddles and kayak floating about 10 feet from me and Dan frantically looking for me. I wasn’t hurt one bit but I was a wee bit shaken up from it so Dan just grabbed my hand, shoved the paddles in my other hand and dragged me and kayak back to land. After reassuring everyone that we were all good, we just had to laugh and say “THAT WAS SO AWESOME” and continue to retell the story from our point of view. Unfortunately no one else tried to go out on the kayak because the waves were just too strong, we instead grabbed the surfboards and rugby ball and played around for a bit on the beach and in the water despite the sun not being out at all, it was still fun.
Sunday morning we all woke up to watch the sunrise, which was gorgeous, and had some breakfast before taking down the makeshift tent and normal tent and packing up the car again. Once the car was all packed up again the boys had the idea of checking out some other beaches and hot spots before heading back to Dunedin. We headed down to see Parakanui Falls, which was a short walk and a waterfall. We then stopped at this ropes course that the boys were talking up which ended up being a lot of fun. We were just playing around before we started at the beginning because there was no regulation of it and it was pretty well hidden in the woods. It included us walking on tightropes about 20 feet off the ground, climbing ladders, sliding down poles, balancing, swinging on ropes and sliding through wooden triangles (my favourite, NOT) and many other activities on this old ropes course. After completing many of the activities we got back in the car, did some “donuts” on the beach (which was hilarious with 5 people in the car) and stopped at one more beach and Nugget Point and saw the gorgeous lighthouse and rock formations before heading home.
WARNING: THIS POST IS VERY LONG. GET A SNACK BEFORE READING. Our “spring break” (if you said that out loud around other kiwi students they would laugh, it’s just “school break” or “holiday”) was from August 26- September 5. Two of my roommates and I decided that instead of heading off to a tropical island that we would stay and try and explore as much of the South Island as we could. On Sunday the 28th we got on a bus at 1:30p and headed to Te Anau for the night and stayed at the YHA Backpackers. We didn’t get to see much of Te Anau before the sun went down over the mountains but what we did see that night was absolutely beautiful. The night in the hostel we just relaxed and watched some free movies (it was SUCH a nice hostel!) before our big week.
We set up our surfing trip with our new friend Dan (who was our guide from the ski trip I talked about last weekend) and we rented some wetsuits from the Unipol recreation centre on campus and Dan hooked us up with some free surfboards. I woke up at 7:45 (after pressing the snooze a few times of course) and ate some breakfast before Victoria got here and we struggled to pick what clothes to wear underneath our wetsuits and struggled to get them on. Once we were ready, Dan came to pick us up and we headed through the windy roads in the hills to get to Long Beach because that’s where Dan said the waves would be the smallest.
Little did I know the adventure wasn’t done! Turns out my wetsuit zipper was like broken or something and I was stuck in my wetsuit for a good 10 minutes while Tor and Dan tried everything in their powers to get me out, including yanking, breaking a shell and manoeuvring Dan’s car keys to break me loose of the wetsuit haha. It was soo nice to get out of that wetsuit and into some dry clothes which actually made us realize how nice it was outside. Which made it confusing to think about the people who were at the beach with us (not many) in winter coats! But they were also watching us swim in the ocean so that probably made it a bit colder for them haha.
I’ve already made it to the one-month mark, which seriously blows my mind. The days here are flying by faster than I ever thought they would. I’ve already done SO many amazing things, and I haven’t even done the coolest things on my list of things to do!
I had to do an assignment for a class I’m taking through the U that is all about reflecting on your experience and talking about the ups and downs that come along with “culture shock.” Culture shock is defined as having a “Honeymoon” stage where everything is great and you have no complaints, a “Frustrated/Down” stage where you can’t stop comparing your new culture to one that you’re familiar with and usually the familiar culture is perceived as “better”, the “Adjustment” stage where you’re finally getting used to how things work and rarely compare to home, then finally there is the “Mastery” stage where you are fully comfortable in the no-longer new surroundings and act as if this was your home culture. In the assignment we had to describe how we’ve been feeling within the first month and which stages that we may call ourselves in at the moment. I said that I don’t think that culture shock is a process that you continue to go over just once, I think it’s a process that could last months or it could all be in one day. If I were to put myself in any stage at this moment it would be the Adjustment stage because I’m finally starting to get the hang of this crazy place!
Honestly though, I could not have been doing this well here if I didn’t have such great support at home from family and friends. It means the world to me when people pop in and ask how I’m doing and say that they love my pictures/blog etc.
It has already been a wild ride and I haven’t even gone on my upcoming ski trip or weeklong backpacking trip! Keep looking for pictures/blog posts, I’m going to try my best to keep up!
Another week (and a half!) of classes has flown by and I’m starting to really get in the groove of everything. It’s nice because here you have options besides buying the textbook because you can use them at the library for an hour and a half at a time, it’s great! So far I haven’t had any problems with going to the library (except for motivation to leave the house..). I decided to participate in a paying research study to get some extra moola (paying research studies are rare!) On Thursday I did my first day of it and it was harder than expected but it’s for a good cause and I’ll get $125NZD for doing it! Booyah!
Thursday night we decided to go to town but going at 10pm proved to be too early so in our attempt to waste time until the bars picked up, we went into a bar that had a band playing live music. The band was actually pretty good and it made me miss going to see Chester Bay and jamming out. After listening to them and watching some rad Michael Jackson music videos that were playing on the TVs we finally met up with my roommates and when to a bar named “Metro.” There wasn’t anyone there really when we first got there but it soon picked up and we danced the night away! That’s something that’s very unique (at least it’s different to what we do at home!) about Dunedin, they only go out on Thursdays and Saturdays and they usually don’t start going out until about 11:30p-12a. It’s crazy! And usually by the time everyone gets there, I’m ready to go home!
Friday was the All Blacks game that we had bought tickets for a few weeks ago. The All Blacks are the New Zealand professional rugby team that will be participating in the Rugby World Cup in a few weeks and this was a rare opportunity to see them and not pay ridiculous prices for it! We had a cab reserved for 6:40p to pick us all up at Suzy’s house. Well 6:40 rolled around, then 6:50, then 7:00. We called the cab company and they said there is nothing they could do for us and that our cab wouldn’t be there any time soon, so after the typical American backlash we had to find another ride to the stadium because if we were to walk we wouldn’t see the whole first half. To our luck Suzy’s kiwihost offered to take us there but we had to go in two groups. I was in the first group to get there with Anna, Emmett and Lauren. I realized almost right after we got there that I had the camera batter that wasn’t charged and I forgot the other one so I called back to the second group to tell them to go and get the other one from my house but they didn’t want to so needless to say I was upset about not being able to get any pictures from the game. The game was a lot different than what I thought it was going to be. Throughout the game it was very quiet compared to any pro sports team in America. The one time that the whole stadium got excited (apart from when the All Blacks scored) was when they did the wave, which was much more exciting that normal because as soon as it got to the student section, they all threw up their green plastic beer bottles. It went around about 4 or 5 times and each time there were more and more bottles being thrown in the air. From the sitting section, it was a fun sight! The All Blacks ended up winning 60-14, so it was quite the blowout!
On Saturday we were going to go see the penguins but the plans were not very well planned out so we scratched that plan and ended up going to the reservoir in the hills. It was absolutely beautiful and the lake reminded me a lot of home. The trails went on forever but we left with enough time to get back before sunset. I will definitely be going back to take some better pictures during the day!
On Saturday night we all got together to celebrate Victoria’s birthday (which wasn’t until Sunday but who parties on a Sunday?) We had some cake and sat around until it was the acceptable time to go out to the bars. We first went to Malbas (a hip bar with a fireplace and about 02938402398 different rooms/bars), but we didn’t stay long because the DJ was playing really lame music and we ended up at Monkey Bar again and stayed there the remainder of the night.
Sunday morning I wake up and walk downstairs to SNOW!
It was so great! My roommates and I just sat in the lounge all afternoon and watched the snow pile up in our tiny lawn and even going outside at one point to catch a few snowflakes in our mouths. I had to go to the grocery store and I asked if anyone else wanted to join the flat shopping time but no one else (especially my kiwihost!) wanted to venture out into the snow. After my very windy trip to the grocery store, it was time for our weekly dinner at Anna’s house. We had tomato soup and grilled cheese and Anna made pear-apple-cranberry cobbler that was freaking delicious.
Monday morning I woke to even more snow and my kiwihost said this was the most snow she’s ever seen, which is funny because you could still see grass blades sticking up (I’m pretty sure we only got around an inch of snow). A lot of NZ students were saying that it was a snow day but I didn’t trust that just because snow is rare here. Well I went to my first class and after we all sat down, someone finally checked their e-mail and we figured out that our class was cancelled because the professor couldn’t get onto campus. My second class was still on only because our professor had a pre-recorded lecture ready. Everything about the snow, in my Minnesota mind, was hilarious. People were walking around (in their Converse tennis shoes) as if the ground was covered in ice and that any wrong move they were going to fall to their death. Then there is me, walking around in my hiking shoes in NORMAL strides, and even slightly faster, and they are looking at me like I’m walking on water! I couldn’t help but giggle while I was walking around. Even the cars had put their freaking snow chain tires on, when the snow was melting before their eyes! Now the snow is all gone and just a funny memory…
So what people keep telling me is that I came down here to study (they obviously haven’t seen these gorgeous landscapes!) and so I guess between all my adventures I have to take some classes!
Yesterday (11 July) was my first day of classes in New Zealand and I had only 2 classes and was done by noon. My first class was Movement Analysis and Control (essentially biomechanics). I soon found another student I had met during course approval, so I sat by him and the professor seemed very personable and funny. It seems as though the course will be focused heavily on watching sports and analysing them so that should be super interesting. From what I’ve heard of the biomechanics class back at home, they don’t really focus much on applying their concepts to sports, so I’m glad I can get a different perspective here.
My second class was Motor Control, which I was/am nervous about because one of the prerequisites for the class is my Movement Analysis and Control class (see above) so I was shaking in my boots the whole class hoping that I could talk to the professor after class about my situation. I met some other kiwis in class that seem pretty nice, and they love to talk in a southern accent, which is hilarious to hear. I did get to talk to my professor after class and he insisted that I should be able to handle the class while taking the prereq.
After classes us girl went to the University gym (UniPol) to do our workout with Anna (she’s pretty tough). This was our second time at the gym and most of our time is spent in the weight room, which proves to gain us a lot of weird looks! Apparently at this particular gym, it is rare to see fit women in the weight room doing actual hard workouts and the guys in there have no problem showing their disbelief on their face by blatantly staring at us the whole time. It’s funny though so it doesn’t bother us. After relaxing for a bit and skyping mom, dad, and Kyle my kiwi-host made homemade pumpkin soup! I’m not going to lie, I was a bit nervous because I had never tried pumpkin soup before, but I ended up absolutely loving it! I got the recipe so when I come home I can make it for everyone ☺
Soon enough it was the second day of classes, but lucky me didn’t have any classes until noon! My first class of the day was Maori Society, which is a class all about the indigenous people of New Zealand and their culture. The class doesn’t count towards my major or anything but I thought it was a good opportunity to learn more about the people I was interacting with while abroad. It ended up reminding me of home university because there were about 500 people and the room was packed! It should be an interesting class and I’m taking it with friends so it’s even better!
In between classes, I decided to check out the library and get my internet figured out so I could use up all the school’s internet gb’s and their power while I charge my computer! Once I got all that figured out I went to the science library where one of my text books was being reserved so I could do some assigned reading. Then it was time for my second/final class of the day, which was History of Sport. I had taken some course material before on sport history so I’m not too worried about this class. The majority of the material is on the Olympics so it should be interesting to look at the Olympics as a study material and analysing it rather than just cheering on our country!
And those are the 4 classes that I’ll be taking throughout the semester.
Something crazy that happened today was the weather! I woke up to pouring rain outside, and since right outside my window is a roof, it was pretty loud! I then checked my facebook and my friend Anna messaged us saying that there was a red sunrise that morning and according to her kiwi-host, that meant some crazy weather was on the way! I just thought it would be raining all day, but little did I know it was much more! By the time I was ready for class, the rain had cleared and it was beautifully sunny outside but the wind snuck it’s way through every layer I had on. The classroom was warm so I had an hour to warm up. It was still sunny when I went home to grab some lunch before going to the library. In the time it took me to warm up some leftover pumpkin soup, and eat it. It was pouring outside again, but not just any rain, it was sleeting and slightly hailing. A couple minutes later I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw SNOW. Yes, snow in July! It was crazy! Me and my kiwi-host just danced around the lounge laughing and peering out the window because we couldn’t believe it was actually snowing! But it didn’t last long because by the time I got to the library, it was sunny again! It was sunny for most of the afternoon after that but around 4 or 5pm it started its rain/snow deal but this time it was less exciting and more cold in the house! Apparently “Red sky in the morning, sailor’s warning” because it means that moisture is hanging in the air. What a day!
Hopefully it stays warm enough for me tonight in my bed with my 27 layers! Why did I leave summer again?
First couple of days in Dunedin:
Leaving the warmth of the KiwiPaka is something I would later miss very very much but at the time we were all very excited to finally get to our home university town! There were two different flight times and I was put on the later flight time so we were all getting ready to go through security, getting rid of our food and pouring out our water (others were either pouring out their wine or drinking it…). We get to the airport and we get up to the lane, the ticket attendant asks us our name, gives us our tickets and points to where our gate was (there were only 4 in the whole airport) and that was it! No security, no ID checking, nothing! And my favourite part was that instead of walking through a windy tunnel to get on the plane, we got to walk outside and take the stairs up to the plane! Not many other people were excited about this, but I sure was! We had a layover in Wellington, where we found some random free wi-fi (see earlier post) and spent most of it checking our facebook, e-mail and writing blog posts! Another 2hr flight and we were finally in Dunedin! The airport was in the middle of mountains and we were just in awe of how beautiful it was. We were driven in a taxi to our flat and that was it, we were finally on our own!
My house is so cute and even closer to campus than my apartment in Minneapolis is (I didn’t think I could get any closer!). It is a 4 bedroom house, with 3 of them upstairs (including mine) and one downstairs. There is just one bathroom (that is split between the toilet room and the shower room), a laundry room upstairs with the bedrooms. Downstairs there is a cupboard under the stairs (Harry Potter anyone?), and the kitchen and lounge area. We have 2 leather couches and one fabric couch, a TV and DVD player and one closet. The kitchen is pretty small but it hasn’t been a problem because we have a pretty big pantry closet. Unfortunately my “flat” (what they call student houses here) is about a 5-7min walk from most of my friends so we have to really plan our meet-ups and I’m usually the one who has to walk in the cold, but it’s also nice because I’m really close to campus and far away from all the crazy party flats.
The first couple of days were pretty busy with orientations and then us girls going into town to check out the shops and restaurants (a lot of delicious Indian food has been eaten!). We learned very fast that Dunedin was much colder than it was on the North Island, so much of our first purchases included: extra blankets, thick socks and thermal shirts. We made a joke that we no longer care if we look “cute” we just care if we stay warm! The nights were, to put it lightly, miserable. The first few nights I wore 2 pairs of leggings, sweatpants, 2 pairs of socks, thermal long sleeve shirts, another long sleeve shirt and a sweatshirt and sometimes with a scarf, and I would still be shivering. I realized after the 3rd night that I didn’t have a personal heater that I was supposed to have, so I went to the office and got one for the rest of the semester. I am still getting used to the cold but it’s getting better.
The university really helps the new international students meet others and do fun things so they set up a few things for all of us to do for free. The first was they set up an international meeting at a bar downtown in Dunedin, so a few of me and other AustraLearn girls went about an hour late and about an hour later we were all yawning and went home around 10pm. The next day we had tickets for a train ride through the mountains, which was SO so beautiful. After the ride they gave us NZ’s version of a “BBQ” which is really just coleslaw, salad and meet that was made on the grill with ketchup and mustard on the side. Nonetheless, it was delicious! Saturday morning we decided to check out the Dunedin Farmers’ Market, which is supposedly to be the best farmers’ market in NZ, and it was so interesting. Since it’s winter here, not much is in season besides like apples but other things included; broccoli, potatoes, onions, honey, pears, all kinds of meat, bread and various other food stands where you could get everything from waffles and crepes to fried tofu. My friend Anna got this steamed bun that she let us try and they’re super good so I plan on going back next Saturday to get a package of them for cheap and freeze them for dinners later!
Always a new adventure in New Zealand!