Archive for the ‘Lindsay in New Zealand’ Category

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Lindsay: Update

September 19, 2010

I’ve been quite busy with school lately. Maori Society and Culture is especially hard for me. I’ve gotten pretty good marks in my two literature classes though.

The thing about being here is that I feel like it has put more of an emphasis on all the things I don’t know. Back home I spend so much time thinking about the things I do know and here it seems the opposite. Being in a different country really brings into focus how little I know about the world.

I do have some things to look forward to in the next few weeks. It looks like I’m going to be able to visit my other internet-friend, Carly, in Brisbane, Australia for a weekend. I met her the exact same way I met Nav: Lord of the Rings Online. People would be surprised at how close of friends one can make on the internet. Yes, there are some bad, mean people on the internet but for the most part people are nice and it’s just a matter of finding them.

As to the picture at the top of this post: I have grown quite fond of Gingerbeer. It is quite different from Gingerale (Gingerale is much dryer) and is, I would say, sweeter. I have also noticed that they use real sugar in most of the food here. No sucrose/dextrose/whateverose in the ingredients. Just sugar.

Tomorrow night, myself and two of the other girls on my floor of my building are having a dessert night and watching one of the Lord of the Rings movies. Two weeks ago we also had a dessert night and ordered pizzas. I’m wondering if anyone is planning on having some kind of party for Halloween. That would be interesting.

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Lindsay: battling homesickness

September 13, 2010

I’m sorry for not writing for so long, but I promises I have some good reasons.

The week after I wrote last I was pretty sick. I had a sore throat and flu-like symptoms. It was no fun. I drank a lot of hot lemonade and this medicine called Lemsip, which is a powder you dissolve in hot water and drink. It also had a lemony flavor.

At the end of my last week of break I also started battling a strong case of home sickness. I’m at the half-way point of my stay here. To be honest, I didn’t expect to be so homesick. I’ve wanted to go home from places before sure, but there is a distinct difference, I feel, between just not enjoying yourself and wanting to go home and homesickness. For example, I have been longing for certain things from home that are not available here. A lot of the differences between New Zealand and America aren’t things I can really put my finger on. It’s kind of an atmospheric and attitude difference I guess. I’m not saying I don’t like New Zealand. I love it. But this is the longest I have ever been away from home, my parents and my country.

I think the thing I am looking forward to the most when I get home is cooking. I am going to cook like there is no tomorrow. I have made a huge collection of recipes I have found online in my spare time. I just want to cook everything!

So for the past week I have been working quite hard on school assignments and battling homesickness. School is harder for me here. Back home I know the routine. I know where everything is, the rules, the standards, etc. Things are different here. And there is always an assumed amount of New Zealand knowledge in assignments that I just don’t have.

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Lindsay: Te Papa museum & farmer’s market

August 16, 2010

This past Sunday I went out with my friend, Jamie, to the Te Papa museum and to the farmer’s market.

Te Papa is the nation museum of New Zealand. It’s full of everything: marine life, art, Maori culture and history, migrant history, etc. We only explored a portion because as we went further and further we realized how huge it was. I couldn’t take pictures in a lot of the exhibits, unfortunately.

We saw the native animals part of the museum, where they have a huge sperm whale skeleton hanging from the ceiling. I tried to take some pictures but it was too dark and they didn’t turn out very well. We also saw a large portion of the Maori section and some of the Pacific Islanders section. We walked around the art exhibit and the current exhibit: Paper Skin, the art of tapa cloth making. For those who don’t know, tapa cloth is a type of cloth made in the Pacific from the bark of a tree (can’t remember what kind) and is beaten to a pulp and smoothed out. It can take a very very long time to make a suitably sized piece of tapa cloth. Thank you, cultural anthropology class.

After we were done in the museum we walked to the other side of the building where they have the Sunday farmer’s market. The farmer’s market is pretty much my favorite thing to go to in Wellington. They have seemingly endless stalls of fresh fruits and vegetables, all for incredibly cheap. I got 8 mandarins, 6 tomatoes and 4 apples for a grand total of $5 NZD. How amazing is that?! Besides fruit and veges, they have other artisan food stands. For example they have fresh sausages and lamb and other meats, homemade peanut butter, jams and preserves, all kinds of honey (New Zealand honey is great!), fudge (I bought a stick of creme brulee fudge. SO tasty), it goes on and on. They also have food stands selling food ready to eat. They have all sorts. Indian food, German food, Chinese, even a Mexican food stand! There’s a stand that sells different kinds of stuffed churros (like chocolate or caramel) and coffee. Jamie and I got some roti lamb wraps from the cheapest Indian stand. A bit spicy but very good. We’ve decided we are going to go to the farmer’s market much more often. Also since Jamie lives in a flat, she’s invited me to come over a cook whenever I want to use her kitchen! So maybe next time we go to the farmer’s market I’ll just get ingredients and cook dinner for her and her flat mates.

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Lindsay: Maori Culture

July 27, 2010

I have my first test tomorrow! It’s for my ENGL112 class: Literature and Theatre of Aotearoa. I will either be writing on the play we read, and what remains, by Miria George or one of the many poems we read by Hone Tuwhare. I think I will probably write about and what remains because I don’t do so well with poems. At least with the play there is a story line with a theme that I can recognize. Poetry is often beyond me, although some of it is very interesting once you learn the author’s meaning behind it.

This week is also Te Wiki o te Reo Maori (Maori Language Week). And the theme is food! Something I can totally get behind. So for this week I am making use of the 100 Maori Words Ever New Zealander Should Know, mostly because I know even less than the average New Zealander.

Speaking of Maori, there is something very interesting that I have noticed about the Pakeha/Maori relationship, especially when thinking about the Native American relationship with people in the States. New Zealand seems to pride itself on its ‘bi-cultural foundation’. Everything seems to have an English name here and a Maori name. Especially everything on campus. I have noticed that every single Lecture hall has the typical “Kirk LT 301″ kind of name and underneath there is the Maori name. Or for example, the Maori name for Victoria University is Te Whare Wananga o te Upoko o te Ika a Maui. I don’t think any Universities in the States have any kind of Native American language names for everything.

Although Maori here have had many problems with retaining or regaining land that was promised to them in the Treaty of Waitangi, they are much better off than the Native Americans. It seems like the Native American’s biggest contribution to American culture is place names (and people frequently don’t even know which Native American language they come from) and kitschy tourist shops and attractions in the west. And casinos. Here however, Maori culture seems to be greatly respected. There are even Maori immersion schools all the way from Pre-school to High school for Maori children to learn their language.

On a more personal note, I am going traveling this weekend! Friday morning I am taking a taxi to the Wellington Airport and taking my flight to Gisborne. I’m really excited. Probably my favorite thing about my Australearn week was being able to sit in the car and look out the window. That’s one of my favorite things about any road trip. It’s probably even more so because the landscape here is so much different. So I get to just stare out the window for an hour! It sounds boring but I’m really excited. And it’s an Air New Zealand flight, so it has great service.

Another thing I have been doing lately is gathering recipes. As I talked about last time, I’ve been kind of struggling through the dorm food and I miss American food. So I have taken to looking through recipe and food sites in my spare time and making a collection of recipes I’d like to make when I get home.

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Lindsay: Three weeks in

July 19, 2010

Cable Car!

I have also survived my first week of classes. School is pretty normal really. Nothing too terribly different, except that sometimes I feel I have some catching up to do in terms of New Zealand politics and history. Been reading a lot of Wikipedia articles to try and counter that. My books were a lot more expensive than I thought they would be. But in general, school is pretty good. I turned in my first assignment today. It’s pretty cool because for my two literature classes I have the same teacher. It’s also kind of different here because you don’t call your teachers Mrs. Whatever or Mr. Whatever. You call them by their first names. Definitely something that will take some getting use to.

The food in the dining hall is alright. It has its good days and bad days. I don’t think they understand the concept of Mexican food but they keep trying to make it anyway. I had some really weird nachos the other day. The chips were cheese flavored chips (the nachoes didn’t actually have cheese on them) and the meat had green beans and carrots mixed into it. So weird! Also I had an ‘enchilada’ last night that was just… weird. They ran out of chicken enchiladas so I had to have a vegetarian one. It was a bizarre mix of potatoes, rice, broccoli, peas, carrots and green beans. And the sauce wasn’t Mexican tasting at all. It was like a kind of spicy spaghetti sauce. Tonight is suppose to be Hawaiian food night with pizza, so hopefully they do a better job with that (how can you mess up ham and pineapple?)

With being sick all weekend, I began to miss home a lot and feel pretty terrible in general. Everyone has their ‘culture shock’ period of time when they go abroad, and apparently will often times ‘boycott’ a part of the culture that just starts to get to them. I learned this during our International Students Orientation day. A Canadian woman and an American woman talked to us about their experiences. The American said during her boycott phase, she just couldn’t stand to hear the kiwi accent anymore. The Canadian talked about when she was in Japan for a year, she started to refuse to eat rice. I think my problem is going to be/is currently food. It is probably just a matter of “This dorm food sucks and it’s started to get on my nerves”. I hope so anyway. This weekend since all I could do really was sit in and be sick and miserable I started craving American food so bad. It didn’t help some of my friends were putting pictures of Steak N Shake food on Facebook.

So today since it was fairly nice out for the first time this weekend, and I was feeling a bit better I decided to take the cable car into town and feed my craving for American food. That’s right: McDonalds. Luckily, there is one right next to the Lambton Quay Station where the cable car lets off. Unsurprisingly, my typical order was very confusing. “Two double cheeseburgers with ketchup only” is confusing for a few reasons.

  • Apparently, they mostly call it ‘tomato sauce’ instead of ketchup
  • The girl thought I meant a bun with just cheese and tomato sauce on it

Cheeseburger craving, solved.

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Lindsay: In Wellington

July 9, 2010

These past few days since arriving have been pretty quiet for the most part. People have been slowly arriving at Te Puni and I notice with every meal that the line for food is longer. Really I just thought I’d post a small update with what I’ve been doing and some random things I’ve noticed about New Zealand.

We had our International Student orientation, which wasn’t a whole lot of new information if you had actually been looking into how Vic worked prior to arriving. It was mostly just general ‘new to uni’ type information (What the college can do for you, general rules, etc) and some random stuff about Kiwi culture and adjusting to a new culture that we had already heard through AustraLearn and that I had heard through the University of Minnesota before as well.

We did get to enrol (Hehehe, Kiwi spelling) in our ‘papers’ which was nice. I feel like I’m the only one who took the time before enroling online to make sure my classes didn’t overlap or conflict with one another. Of all the people I know I had the smoothest enrolment process here. I had only registered for the classes I intended to take and didn’t have to go about signing up for new ones or dropping some. So for anyone looking to study abroad at Vic: Take the time to pay attention to the times listed on the website when you look at classes. It will save you having to deal with that headache while you’re in a new country wanting to go out and have fun.

All the AustraLearn kids got together for a potluck dinner and we invited other people as well, mostly other international students. I met some British kids there which was nice because between us we were able to figure out what was uniquely Kiwi or what aspects of Kiwi life were more European/British.

Besides that, there hasn’t been much exciting going on. Took a day off to just lay around as it has mostly been GO GO GO for two weeks and having to absorb all the new stuff on my own is overwhelming some times. So it was nice to just relax a bit.

Tomorrow I will be doing my first load of laundry here. The forecast for Sunday is looking pretty good so I am probably going to go into town and walk around a bit. I have been having troubles finding clothes hangers (who knew!) and a good quality ceramic mug, but I have been told that I should go to a store called Briscoes and they will have both of these things. It kind of sounds like a Bed Bath and Beyond (although they also have those here for some reason).

On to the random things I’ve noticed in New Zealand…

  • A majority of the roofs here are corrugated iron while some are Spanish tiles. However, I have probably seen only a handful of regular shingled roofs. I assume it’s because of the difference in weather patterns, but it is still quite interesting.
  • While in American high school or college dining halls, it is considered odd and awkward to just randomly sit with a group of people you don’t know, here it seems to be the norm. I was looked at a bit funny when I asked if I could sit next to someone. I guess it’s just normal to all sit in a big group of people unless you already have a group of friends with you, in which case you might sit farther away.
  • Some things that us Americans take for granted as being sold everywhere, are not sold everywhere. Finding clothes hangers has been my mission since arriving and only now have I found out where to get them.
  • Meat flavored chips! Kiwi chip flavorings are much more adventurous than our own in America. Today at the store I saw: Chicken; Tomato and Mozzarella; Lamb with Mint; Chili with Sourcream; and Lime with Pepper.
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