A Travellerspoint blog

Geothermalness! (end of Jan - Part 2)

semi-overcast 22 °C

On Wednesday I made my way to West Coast Swing dancing on the North Shore. It was really far, like an hour bus ride, but Brenda kindly offered to drive me there. I caught a taxi back, but unfortunately I think I need to get a ride for it to be feasible. The class was actually really awesome. Everyone could tell I was a dancer of some sort. It was a lot of fun. Too bad it's so far away... :(

Over the past week, this guy I met at the D&D game with Courtney and Evan, had been texting Courtney about me, and I had been doing the same about him... he was really cute. Nice eyes. :P Anyways, he finally worked up the courage, got my number from Courtney, and texted me himself. His name is Joel... and we went out for drinks (first date!) after the game on Thursday! It was great! We hit it off waaaayyy better than I expected. Downside is that he's 31 and separated with kids. But really, that doesn't bother me that much. There were sparks. And yes, I KNOW I'm not supposed to fall for anyone here, mom! Haha, but I'm not going to avoid opportunities. We went for sake, then beers... and live music and Guinness... I didn't get home until 4am! But it was worth it. He kept saying how he didn't want a relationship, but really would like to take me on a second date, and I figured that's fine -- I enjoy spending time with him, and I'm not going to do anything I'll regret. Period.

On Friday I went shopping and got ready for my weekend trip to Rotorua with Courtney and Evan! I was feeling kinda tired (obviously). Joel texted me after he was done work saying his plans for the evening got cancelled, so would I like to go see a movie? We went and had pizza then went to see King's Speech. It was good -- witty. It was raining when we got out. Then we went and bought some cheap wine and headed back to my place where we listened to music and talked on the floor of the living room until all hours of the night, with the rain pouring down outside. :D :D It was great! He was genuinely interested in me, and I taught him basics in a number of dances. Because of his martial arts training, Joel is actually a REALLY good natural lead... maybe I can teach him more! :) So excited. He really liked the idea of WCS too! By the end of our second date we were getting along so well that Joel changed his mind -- I guess I'm in a relationship now. :P

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On Saturday, Evan and Courtney and I packed up and drove to Rotorua. It was my first time out of the city, really, and it was so neat! Lots of llamas, sheep, cows, etc. This country is crazy beautiful! There are so many hills and valleys and little nooks and crannies. Haha, Evan and I were talking about how it seems like New Zealand has a much higher frequency than North America. :P The first stop on our way into Rotorua was ZORB (of course!). SOOOOOOO much fun! You jump inside this giant ball with a little bit of water in it and then roll down the hill. It's like a crazy waterslide, but not a slide... ya. :D Next stop was Hell's Gate with is a geothermal park and spa. As soon as we got out of the car, the smell of sulphur made me gag. Oh wonderful. ALL of Rotorua smelt like sulphur! Yuck. Anyways, I got used to it... First we went on a walk around the park: lots of bubbling mud and sulphur lined steam vents. The Maori used to consider the hot water pools caused in this geothermal area sacred, and used to use them for cooking food. (How handy is that!?!?! Naturally boiling water!) Afterwards we went to the spa area where we got to soak in a mineral pool, and then a mud bath! The mud was really fine-grained and kinda reminded me of bentonite, but darker. It's supposed to cure all ailments or something ridiculous like that so we spent twenty minutes turning each other into mud-creatures. :P Lol.

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After camping at the Holiday Park, and waking up with very very cold feet, we went to Wia-O-Tapu Geothermal Wonderland. :) This one was famous for the Champagne Pool -- which has stunning colourful edges caused by arsenic deposits! So cool. All the bubbling water, mud, crystallized minerals, etc. was so cool! I'm such a geology nerd. :P I definitely need to read more about things like this. I'm sooooo thankful for Courtney doing such an amazing job planning out this weekend!

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Sunday evening we went to Rotorua Skyline Skyrides. We took the sky Gondola up the hill and Courtney was very scared (heights) but made it! Once we were at the top Evan and I went luging -- not like the winter sport we have at home -- it was like riding GT toboggans, that had wheels, down a concrete race track and then taking a ski lift back up again. So cool! We also went on the sky swing. OMG. Best ride ever!!!!!!!!! Very very scary though. You get lifted up until you're facing the ground, torso parallel to it, being held in by just the restraining device, and then you get to pull a cord which releases the swing forward and you fly out over a beautiful view of Rotorua. It's crazy! As we were being raised I was swearing and freaking out -- and then Evan says "Okay, ready?" and pulls the cord. BEFORE giving me a chance to answer. Bugger! Haha. We've got the DVD. :P Somehow we randomly drove to Taupo for dinner that night, and found a "Forest of Screams" along the way, which was really just a bunch of rusting vehicles and tarps and dolls scattered around. Lol.

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Monday we checked out of our campground and drove through the Hidden Valley to Orakei Korako Geothermal Park. It was definitely the best one! The park is on an island, so you have to take a boat to get across to it. There are beautiful silica rock flats, crazy vegetation, gurgling mud pools, gysers, steam vents... soooo COOL! Lol or hot... :P I was hyper so I spent a couple hours running around the park talking geology-nerd-speak, pretending to be a raptor in Jurassic Park, making jokes about how volcanoes get me hot... etc. We saw someone undies beside the path at one point... like really?!?!?! Haha, so funny. Even in the dense bush you could hear mud pools gurgling and bubbling all around. One of the highlights was Ruatapu Cave (or Aladdin's Cave if you prefer) which is 120ft deep and ends with the pool of mirrors -- a still, clear, hot water pool. It was beautiful. :D

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And of course, being as childish as we are... (and because Courtney enjoyed the fact that Evan and I were so eager to pose for ridiculous photos...)

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Posted by mtlewis 14:07 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Cannibalistic maggots with shiny shit (end of Jan - Part 1)

rain 24 °C

It's been about two weeks since I wrote, and I don't have all the pics for this last week, so I'm gonna do this entry in two parts.

Dance is great. I've been doing a lot of it. My regular day consists of taking the bus into CBD (Central Business District) around 9am, going to a course on proper research technique at the school or reading papers. Generally I hang around in CBD until dance starts on Monday or Tuesday nights. Wednesday has been my rest night, but West Coast Swing starts soon... I hope I can find a ride. :S On Thursdays, Courtney and Evan are teaching me how to play D&D. :D Yes, I know it's super geeky. I love it! I had such a great time, and the people there are so much fun. We play for about 3 hrs every Thursday now, so that evening's taken up. I'm gonna try and convince them to go to Karaoke at 9pm (after the game).... we'll see. :P Below are some random pics on my way to an awesome weekend adventure.

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On Saturday Jan 22 I travelled to Waitomo Glowworm Caves and went on a 5 hour Black Water Rafting tour! OMG IT WAS AMAZING! First they got the group of us suited up and pumped for the adventure. I met this really nice man named Lars who works as a Project Manager north of Auckland. He gave me his card and told me that I could come stay with him and his wife when I venture up north. Once we got to the cave entrance, we practiced abesailing (ie. repelling) on the ground before going in. Then we abesailed down into the cave one at a time. It was so cool! You started out dangling over this hole in the ground, which you eventually had to squeeze through, and then make your way down about 30m in pitch blackness. My eyes didn't adjust right away, so even the headlamp didn't help much. You had no idea where the bottom was or anything. Once safely inside the cave the guides told us to turn our headlamps off. By the time everyone was down, our eyes had adjusted and above us we could see tiny blue-green stars: my first glimpse at glowworms!

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Inside the caves we spent about three hours exploring. We had to walk along crazy crevices deep into the cave system and then take a zip line into the darkness to get down to a ledge above the water. It was so cool! The guide attached me to the zip line, told me to put your feet on specific ledges, and then let go. For about 30 seconds (which seems like forever when you're going that fast), I was sailing through the darkness, not knowing where the end of the zip line was, and all I could see around me and above were millions upon millions of glowworms. It was the most beautiful experience I've had here so far. Stunning.

Next we got a snack (they were so prepared!) and we jumped down with our tubes into the freezing cold water. It wasn't really black water rafting like I expected, but with all the other neat stuff we did, I didn't mind. It was more just floating or paddling around under the glowworm stars. We were in a cave system known as the Ruakuri cave meaning "den of dogs" because a young Maori boy discovered it when he was hunting and attacked by a pack of wild dogs that lived in the cave. The Maori tribe proceeded to kill the pack and claim the cave for themselves as a natural wonder.

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The guides also told us the TRUE story of the glowworms: they're not actually worms. They're maggots. Maggots that turn into a particular type of gnat that, due to some sort of design flaw, has no way to eat. Basically the maggots live in the "glowworm" stage for 6-8 months in which they only need to eat 2-3 times. They eat by sending down long sticky fibers that catch insects. Once they turn into gnats, with no way to eat, they have only one purpose in life: sex. So they reproduce, and the female goes off to lay her eggs. She lays them in clutches of 20-30 eggs (she has about 200) because the first ones hatched will eat the others as their first meal. Mmmmm maggot omelet. The adult gnats fly around for a maximum of 2 days before they either die of starvation... or, more common, they get caught in the feeding fibers of the "glowworms" and digested by their young. Additionally, the bioluminescence of these maggots is not their bodies but rather their excrement. It serves the dual purpose of attracting prey to the fibers. Hence, the guides have lovingly nicknamed the glowworms "cannibalistic maggots with shiny shit".

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We spent our time climbing through these caves, sometimes swimming, tubing, climbing through holes in the rock, finding whale bones and various other fossils that would usually be part of the ocean floor, but the caves were formed when the ocean floor was basically shoved up into New Zealand. The group was great. We even met an eel, Cecil, that is not a cave eel but for some reason likes to live in a specific sheltered pool in the cave (either that or it can't find it's way back out). At the end of the adventure we had to climb up two waterfalls. The first one was basically hanging from the ceiling and the guides told us where to put our feet so that we could climb around the wall near it, then kinda leap into the mouth of the waterfall in order to get up there. It was so much fun. The last waterfall took us out into a beautiful forest, above ground. WE DID IT! :) Haha. Then we went for hot soup and bagels. Sweet as, bro. :P

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On Sunday January 23 it was POURING outside. I booked a surfing lesson, and when I called the guide in the morning to confirm it was still on despite the storm, he said that it was actually amazing conditions for beginners at Piha (one of the best surf beaches around Auckland). The storm and offshore winds caused the waves to be only about 2ft high instead of the regular 6ft, and the group consisted of only 5 of us girls, all around the same age. Lol, I was the worst in the group, but that's okay, I had fun. We spent 2hrs learning to surf, had lunch, then 2 more hrs before driving back to Auckland. I was exhausted! My abs were sore from the cave adventure the day before, and after surfing I didn't think my body was ever going to forgive me! Still, sooooo much fun.

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Monday I finally got to start in the lab! Yes! :) So far it's just getting to know the equipment, but that's okay.

Posted by mtlewis 01:54 Archived in New Zealand Comments (3)

Week 2

semi-overcast 23 °C

So I've been here for 2 weeks and I still love it! Auckland is an amazing place. Even when the weather's crappy it's still beautiful. I'm settling in. I bought myself two low tables, one holds my books and the other is my nightstand. (Mommy, you'll love them! They've got tiled tops.) I also bought a guitar. Now all I need is a desk, chair, and a bike so I can bike around Waiheke Island. (It's supposed to be awesome to cycle around.) :) I'm even starting to pick up some kiwi slang: "Sweet as." or "Sweet as, bro.", and "Na night." And yes, the locals do say those things all the time. :P

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On Tuesday, Evan and Courtney (my new friends :P ), took me to Mission Bay, which is a popular beach in Auckland. It's not the most beautiful beach, but it's easy to get to. You can see a great view of Rangitoto (newest volcanic island in Auckland region, only 700 years old!) and the city center. We played on the beach and built a sand-lump with hotels for invisible people. :) It was a lot of fun. We swam in the ocean and I discovered a new stress-reliever: there's this seaweed that looks like a bunch of green grapes all on one string, but the balls are hollow and thick-walled, so you can pop them like bubble wrap! But better! Haha. Then we went for lunch and dessert at a really good italian restaurant along the Mission Bay restaurant strip.

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The rest of the week I spent doing work (right now work just involves reading papers in coffee shops :) it's wonderful). I walked around a little, went to a movie, explored a reserve near my house, bought furniture, etc. Thursday night I started dance! It's great! Everyone is very friendly and interested in the Canadian girl. The teachers are really good! The teaching system is a little different here -- they only have one beginner social class, and then it goes right into bronze, then silver, etc., so I didn't know what level to start in. I went to the bronze class and asked the teacher to keep his eye on my dancing/improvement to help me figure out which level to take. The classes are 24 weeks each, so lots of time! Also, if you pay for silver, for example, you can go to any or all of the 3 silver classes in the week, PLUS all the bronze, and beginner social classes you want! It's a nice system, so it's only one price for as much dancing per week as you want. Which is actually really good, because it's expensive, so I'm gonna be going to a lot of classes. :) Anyways, the way it's taught here is that in Bronze, which is kinda like a cross between Pre-Bronze and Bronze at home, they focus on moves unless the technique is SUPER important to doing the move correctly (ie. Samba). And in Silver they focus more on technique, and a few more moves.

After two Bronze classes (I went to one last night, Monday, as well), both teachers decided that although I don't know all the moves for Bronze, my attention to detail and questions about technique and leading are more than good enough for Silver! So I tried it, and although it's challenging, I pick up things well and I can do it. There's only about 10-15 people per class, so it's very personal and I get a lot of help. I LOVE IT! So I'm taking Silver and Bronze here!!!!! At home I think it translates to taking Pre-Bronze, Bronze, and a bit of Silver since they have a level between Gold and Silver called Silver Star. The leads are a bit different here, and they don't let me go very far left :( that's just they way they teach it (more social, less competitive I guess), so I'm gonna need some adjustment when I get home, but I'm looking at it as good following practice!

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Saturday I bought my guitar and had to haul it around on my back all day while I went to Auckland Domain, Wintergardens, and the Museum. (It wasn't worth the bus fare to go home and then come back.) The Domain was beautiful! And the Wintergardens were absolutely stunning. It was super romantic, so I got a little down, but it was also the most beautiful place in the world! So I think the awe overtook the sadness and I was fine.

(Below: The artsy-fartsy pic of the sunflowers was taken specifically for Jacquie.)

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I ate my lunch with the ducks and by the time I got to the museum, I only had an hour before it closed. I put my guitar in the bag check and entrance is by donation, so they told me to just go in since I didn't have much time. I went through the kids interactive section and then straight to the volcano room. Of course! :) They had a house that simulated what would happen if Rangitoto erupted. It was frightening. They even have a sign warning you when you enter that the simulation is disturbing to some. I discovered cool rocks and facts and things and had a great time. lol. :P They have a library at the museum that you can go into and read from during business hours, so I might have to go searching for more NZ specific volcano info.

(Below: The picture of the elephant is a real (taxidermy) elephant! And yes, the fish in the jar are dead baby sharks. There were all sorts of preserved animals in jars, including a gecko which made me sad. :( I miss you Gus! Lol, the rest of them were cool! The picture of the map is a picture of all 48 volcanoes in Auckland alone. :P)

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On Sunday, Evan and I took the morning ferry to Rangitoto and spent the whole day on the VOLCANO! Sooooo much fun! We took a long hike around the left side from the harbour and up to the summit, then down into the lava caves and back to the ferry. I didn't get to see the right side of the island because we were sooooo exhausted by 3pm that we just wanted to go back. Not to mention sunburnt, despite layers of sunscreen. I had a great time. I'm glad that Evan came with me, we talked about all sorts of things including what we miss from North America (Evan's from the USA, but don't worry, he's a nice American :P). I'm pretty upset with the fact that NO ONE here knows what perogies are! And you have to search forever to find dill pickles! Jeez.

(Below: In the photo of me at the summit you can see the crater of Rangitoto in the background, the picture doesn't do it justice. It was sooo steep and crazy big. Very cool. The last pic below is of a huge lava cave that we didn't go into. I wanted to climb down into it, but it was about 5ft deep at the shallowest part and I wouldn't have been able to lift my body out again at that angle. If I go with Dad I'll make sure we bring ropes so we can go explore it without getting stuck!)

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Today I'm working in Starbucks on Queens St. (my new favorite hang out), watching the rain come down. It's still +22 outside, and the rain is a refreshing change. I'm glad I have research work to do, so I don't feel upset about not being able to do anything productive outside today. I have Bronze and Silver class tonight, so 3hrs of dancing, just like last night. :S I think tonight's Quickstep and Rumba, so that's exciting!

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Yesterday I finally got to meet Bruce. He's really nice. I talked to Heide and Bruce about staying for 8 months and they said sure. So now I'll get to see this Turbidity Current project almost to completion! The only thing I'll really miss is the final presentations. I'm very excited. The research I'm doing and things I'm learning are already interesting me, and I haven't even got to the experiment stuff yet! It's great. Plus, turbidity currents combine my interests in Hydrology and Geology! PLUS there's huge engineering applications all over the world, even in Canada -- on both sides of the country. :P This is a great experience, and I'm gonna come out of it as an expert in Turbidity Currents, with a published research paper, all during my UNDERGRAD degree! :) Bazinga!

Posted by mtlewis 19:47 Archived in New Zealand Comments (1)

So the great thing is (settling in)

semi-overcast 23 °C

I moved into my new house on Saturday morning and immediately felt exhausted and relieved. Dave, Brenda, and Italo (and Hachi!) welcomed me into their home and I was sooooo happy to finally belong somewhere. I didn't realize how much staying in a hostel made me feel displaced and lonely. I'm still lonely -- I spend a lot of time sitting in coffee shops or pub decks reading my book, or going to movies alone so I don't have to face spending a weekend night in my room. But I'll make friends, I'll fall into the groove of things here. I'm allowing a little bit more re-invention of myself since it's kind of like a fresh start, so I'm being very careful about how I talk to people. Once I get into the habit of it, I'll be exactly who I want to be. :) It's amazing how much going through depression affected me. My whole outlook is different, and I find more and more moments to congratulate myself for my positive thoughts, or for enjoying those moments of loneliness because later I may wish for them. My New Years Resolution, made 30 seconds before midnight, and told only to Catherine so far, lol, because she was sitting beside me on the couch at the time, is to not let myself fall back into depression. And this last week I've been tested beyond belief. I'm passing. And I'm letting myself believe that I'm actually out of it, for good.

Anyways, my new home is fantastic. It's beautiful, and the roomies are nice. Nothing close to as awesome as the previous ones though. :P It's great having a dog, and a piano, and a balcony...

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So the great thing about NZ money is that there's no such thing as pennies or nickels! The coins are 10 (bronze), 20 (silver), 50 (larger silver), 1.00 (gold), and 2.00 (larger gold). It's really easy for calculations and such. AND their bills are all different coulored too! 5 is bronze, 10 is blue, 20 is green... it's great. :) Reminds me of home... :P

Speaking of home, the other day a girl recognized my necklace! Seriously, most people in Canada don't know that it's an Inukshuk, but someone on the other side of the world knew. She was an oriental girl that I was buying water from in a convenient store and she recognized it as the logo for the Vancouver Winter Olympics, but hey, good enough. :D I also saw a remedy coffee the other day! haha.

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I've been looking at menus and trying to notice what is considered "local" food here and different from Canada. So far I've noticed that their obsession with kebabs is the same thing as Canada's (or at least Edmonton's) apparent obsession with donairs. Also, the kiwis are really big on something called a char-grilled vegetable salad which is absolutely amazing! Grilled sweet potato, potato, tomato, courgette (i.e. zucchini), pumpkin, etc. served on a bed or greens with fresh feta cheese, balsamic vinaigrette, and some sort of garlic creamy dressing. (YUMMMM) There is also a lot of pies. Not apple pies, not dessert -- meat pies and vegetables pies, etc. Lastly, they eat a lot of avocado (compared to Canadians). For example, they don't have BLTs, they have BLATs (Bacon, Lettuce, Avocado, and Tomato), and that is normal. Lots of the sandwiches and wraps include avocado. And of course, the seafood is so fresh it's almost still wriggling. :P Soooo good. :) I bet they have amazing sushi here, too bad I don't really like it. Maybe I'll try some in a week or two.

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Anyways, so after moving in I just lazed about for the rest of the day -- bought a few things for my room, read my book, and went to a movie. (The Tourist is a crappy movie, do not pay money to see it! gawd.) Then on Sunday I explored the neighborhood (so nice!) and went to the Auckland Fish Market by the harbor. It was amazing! Tons of fresh butchered fish heads, haha, live eels, the whole kit-n-kaboodle. Lol. There were lots of places serving fresh seafood and a marketplace type area with raw freshly marinated and packaged fish. I found an area with and outdoor bbq and salad bar, ordered the snapper, which was amazing, and sat down to listen to some live cool jazz and enjoy the cool weather (ie. felt like 22 instead of 35, the kiwis kept saying it was good weather).

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Sunday evening I made some friends! After the fish market I got some ice cream and sat under a tree in a park near the movie theatre on Queen St to read my book. A guy and his girlfriend were sitting near me, and commented on how good my ice cream looked. After they went and got some they came back and we started talking about sci fi novels, New Zealand, Canada, etc. Evan is from the USA and Courtney is a local and now they live in an apartment on Queen St. We exchanged numbers and they're taking me to the beach tomorrow! Yay! They're so nice. I'm excited. :D They told me to bring my togs, jandles, and towel for tomorrow... :S I had to ask someone what it meant: togs = swimsuit, jandles = flip flops. First encounter with kiwi slang. :)

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Today (monday) was my first day at work! I didn't need to meet Heide until 1pm, so I took my time getting ready. I went to Habitual Fix for lunch which is a legendary fresh/healthy food place in New Zealand. And I have to say, it was LEGEN - DARY! I got a BLAT sandwich. Haha. Good stuff! Heide showed me around the university and we got some paperwork done. Bruce wasn't there, so I'll have to wait to meet him. I won't start any real work until next week since Heide wants to get a project set up for me. I mentioned that I was interested in Geology and she said she'd try to get me a project working on turbidity currents with the geology department! So exciting! She's super nice and told me that if I want a week off anytime to go see the country or anything, it's not a problem. :) I'm going to be practically working on my own stuff, so it's all up to me to work out a time schedule. I don't go in again until Wednesday at 2pm for my safety training. Afterwards I had time, so I went to the aquarium! Haha, the penguins were so cute. :P

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Then I went and bought a new bathing suit and board shorts, since I needed them for tomorrow, and the selection is crazy here (obviously). When I got home my new roomies and I played a card game called shit-head (lol) and bonded over jack-n-coke. :D It was a lot of fun. I definitely fit in here. Haha the boys are playing some sort of medieval dueling game with a wii or something right now -- they look so funny jumping around waving their arms, Brenda and I are just sitting here laughing at them. This is good. I'm proud of myself... I'm going to be alright.

:)

Posted by mtlewis 02:07 Archived in New Zealand Comments (5)

Searching for a home...

semi-overcast 25 °C

Okay, so I'm here in NZ, staying at a hostel (which is actually really nice) and searching for a place to stay. All the apartments in the city center are small and cramped and messy... and all the houses are nice but too far away. :( So far it's kinda depressing. I'm lonely and busy stressing over a place to live. I can't seem to enjoy myself. Well, that's not true -- if I've learnt anything from being depressed, it's how to get myself out of it. Like getting a Dirty Chai and letting the caffeine work it's magic, or listening to a really good song while I'm walking, or quickstepping down the sidewalk and laughing at the people who look at me like I'm crazy. Or skipping. Or humming some random tune I make up on the spot. Haha, people must think I'm insane. :P I'm finding my ways to stay out of "it".
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I discovered the Venti Iced Dirty Chai. How cool is that?!?! Haha, it's keeping me alive right now. Except that ordering it involves a lot of work. Usually I have to say "venti iced chai latte with two shots of espresso" and then the barista looks at me like I'm crazy and charges me an outrageous amount of money. I miss Java Jive, where a dirty chai is actually on their menu and therefore only costs 4.50 instead of 7.50!

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(Haha, the last two photos above are a little square I found with a GIANT countdown clock for the Rugby World Cup 2011. :P Kiwis love their rugby.)

Lol, now that's out of my system, I guess I'll actually write about Auckland.

First Impressions: AWESEOM! (haha, and no, that's not a typo :P ... inside jk) It's beautiful. Kiwis like their coffee so there is a good coffee shop every block, and an internet cafe or two (mostly for gaming, like WOW). Every block is like a multistory labyrinth of shops and courtyards and secret benches and outdoor pubs to be discovered. It's great. Exploring here is sooooo much fun. There's a lot of oriental shops and turkish food (ie. "kebabs"). Sky City Tower is very cool. I need to go up it. It's something like 330m high and is the tallest structure in the southern hemisphere... they offer sky-jumps and sky-walks for the daring ones. But I think I'd rather jump off a cliff instead of a building for my first time. :) As my guide book says, it "looks like a giant hypodermic giving a fix to the heavens." Haha, I love this guide book. I'm not sure if mom read it before she bought it for me for Christmas, but it's really quirky. All sorts of witty smart-ass comments. It's like my own personal Hitchhikers Guide to New Zealand. :P

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Second Impressions: Tiring. It's hot, humid, and hilly. (ahahaha alliteration) Haha I think this blog keeps me entertained more than it will anyone who chooses to read it. Lol. I've also found internet here is really expensive. Today I found a homeless person who, instead of just sitting there looking pitiful and asking for change, he was drawing a beautiful pen and ink design. It was amazing. He was the first homeless person I really admired. He had talent and was doing whatever he could for the money. It was inspiring.

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Yesterday I did something I shouldn't have... I checked out the campus. Like talked to the registrar and looked at how easy it would be to finish my studies here. I know I know. I wouldn't even have checked if Mom and Chris didn't keep mentioning it!!!! Jeez. Anyways, the campus is the most beautiful place I've ever been. It has an architecturally stunning Clock Tower, and a big green park with huge trees right beside it. The engineering building is fantastic. Especially compared to NREF (yuck!) It's made of glass and steel, very modern, but almost all windows so from the inside, you feel like you're outside (almost). The common area has comfy benches and nice places to sit and study and LOTS of natural light coming in. (Stupid NREF, all concrete and crap... no wonder I get depressed there!) But the best part was the Engineering Resource Library. It's right at the front of the building so an entire wall is window. Highlights: A shelf with bins full of K'nex and Zoom (another building set kinda like K'nex)! :) Anyone can just go and build things whenever they want. And if you don't want to take it apart, you can set it on the windowsill! It's amazing! Also, there's a group of computer specifically reserved for playing Civilization IV, Sim City societies, SimCity, or Imperium Romanum!!!!!!!!!!!!! OMG, I'm in love. A school that actually recognizes Civ4 as a learning tool for Civil Engineers! TAKE THAT MOM! lol. :P

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IMPORTANT UPDATE: I FOUND A PLACE TO LIVE!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by mtlewis 12:44 Archived in New Zealand Comments (4)

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