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A long time coming…

Wow. It’s been awhile since I’ve even considered having the time and resources (including energy) to sit down and write another section of this blog. Ever since heading out from Massey in November I’ve been on a continuous journey of fun and randomness that will be hard to recapture in words. I’ve meet hundreds of people, seen thousands of things, and grown in a million different ways as a person. I’ll try to rehash some of each of these in the next week or so as I post a few blogs to sum-up some of my Kiwi Summer experiences.

Also a shoutout to everyone from Chicago and Springstead. It’s inconceivably shaped me into who I am and everyone i know has had a part in that. so thank you guys, and only 4 months unil i get to see you all again!

A Long, Long Time ago…… (sometime in Mid-Novemeber 2012) (A)

The Lochlan festivities had come to an end, after a great 18th birthday party for Angus and about a a week and a half stay by 3 visitors (Jack, Lexi, and myself), it was time to give Bill and Sandra (lochie’s parents) *Insert bill and sandy picture** their house back to non-chaotic order. So Jack jumped on a NakedBus (not actually naked, just what its called for some weird, kiwi reason) to visit a friend in Napier (North Island east coast), Lexi left a few days later back to Palmerston North, and I booked what would be my only paid bus fair for the rest of summer up to Paihia. I didn’t know anyone up there but was recommended to head that way since i was already north and it just made sense.

Paihia (B)

Paihia was a decent joint. It was more a party city with the majority of activites revolving around drinking that night or expsenive day trips out to kayak and other things. So when i arrived it was like 9 p.m. and just headed into a hostel called Mousetrap. It was a 4 sotry building that was defiantly someones home at some point, because everything was really cozy and what not. I pretty much knocked out right when i got there, and awoke in the morning to a rainstorm. I quickly ran to go get some snacks from a store, walked upstaires to the long with a sheltered balchonly, and found a good book to read. I hadn’t actually read a book since 8th grade for pure pleasue, and I doubt I actually read many between 13 and 19. Anyways I started Bad Luck and Trouble, featuring the character Jack Reacher. I wouldn’t normally mention this, but I was amazed to see it’s been made into a movie and came out a few weeks later. Anyways i got really drawn into it and finsihed the whole thing in the matter of 3 or 4 days.

The next day I went on a hike to some waterfalls near by and saw the orginal place of the Treaty of Whitianga. This was the orginal treaty between the european settlers and the Maori people. There is a lot of contreversey around it since the english and maori versions had some serious translation issues that present issues right to this very day. It includes things like who actually owns the land (and even the wind on recent claims for green energy), how the goverment would work, and settelement rights.

Keri Keri & Back to Auckland (C)

I began my hitchhiking of summer from there. I had a friend Cindy who lived about 40 minutes north of Paihia and I went up to visit her. We took a sweet trip out to the native kauri forests. These trees are reallysacred to the Maoris. The largest native tree in NZ is called Tane Mahuta. It’s estimated to be over 2,500 years old and it is absolutely massive. Tane Mahuta means “lord of the forest” and according to the Maoricreation myth, Tāne is the son of Ranginui the sky father and Papatuanuku the earth mother.

Anyways i headed back down to Auckland on Crate Day. This is seriously a public holiday in NZ where everyone gets their own crate of beer and drink it over the course of the day. I ended up achieving this over the course of 4 rides and the rest of the night. Everyone I got a ride with had a beer with me on the ride down. Oh and on a side note, my Ipod fell out of my pocket during one of these rides, and as a direct testament to how nice and welcoming Kiwis are, he got ahold of me through some things we had talked about and got my address to mail it back to me! I couldn’t of been happier when i got his email about a week later.

In Auckland, I meet up with my friend Lloyd from Massey and went out with him that night and drove back the next day.

Taranaki (D)

We pulled up to Lloyds house in the late afternoon and I swear my jaw dropped. His house is on the highest ground of New Plymouth and has huge glass windows, and a great view over rolling hills. His parents had owned a farm (which is the biggest industry in NZ) and had sold it off and bought this land and built the house brand new. Jack ended up showing up that night from Napier also so it was us three there for a week alone while llyods parents had gone north for his brothers holiday from school.

We spent the next week just doing a ton of adventures and wandering around New Plymouth. Llyod worked everyday from 6 am to 4 pm so Jack and me would workout, rip around the hills on a motorbike and ATV or go meet up with my good friend Anthony from uni. We would walk about 20 minutes into town and just wander around checking everything out. I picked up two more books from a secondhand book store and even talked with a buddist monk about life for 2 hours since it was raining and we had no plans to be anywhere. He had a lot of really cool insights, including how yoga started! We went to the local pool that had a huge diving board and I finally mastered my ganor (back flip while moving forward) off both a small and high dive! I had always been to afraid to just go for it for years and I had just been in such a mode of pushing limits so it was really, really satisfing to finally get over that fear.

So after a week of shananigans, Jack headed up to Mt. Manganui and than to Lochies again to fly back home. He’s back in Arizona now and I’m sure ill be doing a road trip out there at some point next year to visit. Before leaving, I did get to meet Mr. and Mrs. Lloyd and even cooked them Angie Gloria’s famous Vodka Pasta as a thank you for letting me stay there. Ive put a few photos and one really funny one. Jack has been collecting photos for a year that he calls “Ass Pics”. He basically takes photos from behind with hilarious or awesome backrounds and is going to make a calender of them and send them to his friends.

Palmerston North (E)

I headed back down to Palmy to collect my Ipod and i figured that i would go there for a day or two to sort out where I was heading next. When I got there, I ended up staying at my friend Lauren’s house. She wasn’t actually there yet but all of her flatmates and around 10 other people were there for a friends 21st birthday party. I got there around midnight and meet everyone when they stumbled back from town and had some pretty hilarious conversations. We all ended up just having a cool weekend where we invented the game of Crolleyball. The best I can describe it as is a mixture of cricket, dodgeball, and volleyball. The rules were pretty much made up as we went along. You operated within a small rectangular field in teams of two when batting, in which you than hit the ‘bowled’ soccer ball. You than had to run while everyone in the outfield volleyed the ball until finally trying to hit them and get them out.

we also headed to the Manawatu Gorge to swim in the river. We drifted quickly with the stream and buried Lauren’s flatmate Suveen in rocks with a hilarious breakout video (ask me to see it or its on my facebook).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wellington (F)

I had really gotten along Phil, a mate of Suveens, that weekend and he invited me to come down and check out Wellington. It was a gorgeous two days out and we went down to the main wharf and check out the city. Wellington is the capital of New Zealand and has a lot of amazing little suburbs in all the coves at the bottom of the North Island. The main wharf has a lot of awesome stuff around like public beanbag chairs, crokay, and ziplines! Seriously the playgrounds here don’t even care about making these playgrounds over safe. They have ziplines, higher climbs, and even bmx trails.

We even went swimming just a block from the main bit of town. There were hundreds of Jellyfish in the water but they didnt sting you. It was really creepy to swim in though since you’d unexpectingly hit a squishy blob. :p

Palmerston again and out to Clevedon (G)

After 2 days around Wellington, i headed back up to meet up with my friend Dan. I’m not sure if i’ve mentioned him before but he lived in the middle of Palmerston North in one of the coolest flats i had been in. It was absolutely massive and went over 4 stores in the square with only him and two other mates, Rich & Shroom (nicknamed that since he never left his room). They all play in a band together and are just really intresting people who know alot about movies, music, art, and just everything you can imagine. Anyways this was Nostradamus’ prediction for the end of the world and he had a buddy throwing a party since if the world is going to end, I better enjoy the last few hours!

The people lived in a little town about an hour outside of town. The main peoples house was really random and had a lot going on. They had huge paper mache animals for floats/parades. One of the really cool things they had was this van with a big map of the world on on side. They then had all the lines of where they had driven which started in Scotland and ended in New Zealand. Random little tidbit but it was just really cool to me.

After some relaxing we than had the biggest fire i have ever seen. There had to be nearly 30 full sized trees in there and even more random bits from all around. If the world wasn’t already going to end that night, we had defiantly made it a possibility.

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Well I’ll be posting the next bit very soon so defiantly check back whenever you have to kill a few hours at work or get snowed in!

A Sum Up from Break Until Now!

I’m writing this blog now while in my friend Lochie Watson’s house in Clevedon, New Zealand. (well that was the plan but it took awhile to get it posted) I’ve already begun my summer break and am on track to have a fun/crazy break. But it’s been awhile since i’ve updated so ill cover a few of the things i’ve been up to since than.

Transfered Halls

When I originally got here, I was in a self catered hall named Tararua. It was a really nice room (bigger than most with a king twin bed), but it was more for older students. We didn’t really know what halls were like when we put in our requests so I just went with a cheaper one that I wouldn’t have to be on a meal plan again. But anyways, I got pretty sick of not having people to hang out with later on at night since i only had 5 roommates: a couple, a non-english speaking chinese girl, and two others who were not very talkative. I had been hanging out in the hall close by a lot and had really started to become friends with the guys there so I decided to finally change. I wasn’t trying to get on the meal plan, but it was required and the administration was not budging on that so I eventually just decided to go on it. This ended up in my benefit since I saved a ton of time from not having to cook and the meal plan food was actually pretty delicious.

My new hall was now Walter Dyer Hall and was really awesome. It took awhile to feel part of it since everyone had been living together for 3/4 of a year but all “the boys” were really welcoming and I have some really good friends now. I’m actually writing this from Lochie’s house right now, one of the gingers of Wally D that I meet.

Over this summer, I plan to get around to visit everyone of the boys (there’s about 12 of them) and see what their home towns are like. It’s also really cool since I get to meet their families and really see NZ from a local perspective.

Separated Shoulder

Well injures are really only a matter of time with the amount of stuff I get up to. This one came on Mt. Ruapehu while I was snowboarding. We had decided to take off school for a mid-week ski session and headed up early on a sunny, Wednesday morning. I was cruising down the mountain when a little kid cut in front of me and i had to take a sharp right. I caught my edge and left shoulder plowed into a patch of ice. Instantly, I knew i had separated it. I had separated my right shoulder a few years ago so I knew what it would feel like. I held up my arm and snowboarded down the rest of the mountain to the clinic on the hill. An X-ray, a ton of pain pills, and an hour later, It was confirmed that I had a 3rd degree (highest possible) separation. It will never go fully back into place, but it ended up taking about 3-4 weeks to recover (supposed to take 2 months).

Mangatainoka Hot Pools

This was a trip I did in early October with the University Alpine Club and a few friends. 4 people from my new Hall came along: Doyle, Jack, Shaggy, and Ben. Attached is a map of what route we took which took about 4 hours to walk from one end to the other.

So this tramp was a really fun one, you were always walking along the river or tramping into the woods to weave back to it. When we finally arrived at the campsite, I saw about the most impressive thing ever. At the end of a long wooden deck was two big tubs built into a circle decking. These were being

filled by a long pvc pipe with a rain catcher collecting water from a natural hot spring running down the nearby hill. The spring was perfectly far away so that the hot tubs were filled with just hot enough water.

We set up camp nearby and started dinner. We had been told to bring a gourmet dinner in with us to make the tramp a little more fun. So in the middle of the woods, I enjoyed two steaks and a burger! Couldn’t of been more satisfied…

We than had a good night full of laughs, whiskey, a bonfire, and plently of time soaking in the hot tubes.

Halloween

A true American holiday. How could you not spend it with Americans? Massey has about 30 American (and a few from other places) exchange students. We all meet up and headed over to a one of the exchange students flats in town. As you could expect, it was basically just a bigger than normal party but I figured i’d put what I dressed as (Mad Scientist)

Finals (and beach break)

Well time finally came around after recovering from Halloween to start studying for finals. I had 4 finals, more than the average for most students (2 or 3). I spent the next week between intense isolation in a tiny, 1 person study room in the library or taking a break up in Wally D with everyone. I had four classes this semester: Economics, Fundamentals of Finance, Aviation Studies, and Physics (electromagnetism).

I was already prepared for Econ and Finance so those were better. On the other hand, Physics and Aviation were much harder. I had taken a bad tendency to take Fridays off of Physics so I was defiantly not up to date with my work. I knew Aviation was going to be difficult no matter what amount of study I had done. I took this paper as a distance learner and did do alot of research but it was hard to know what they would want you to know despite the study guides.

Very much contrast to Michigan Tech, our study breaks here consisted of going to the beach to play frisbee , soccer, and swim in the Tasman Sea! It was me and 15 or so Kiwi’s there which was a really cool thing to finally be the only American by a large proportion.

All my tests went well, other than Physics. but its based of the average test scores, which was defiantly below what I figured I scored from asking around. Surprisingly, Aviation went the best. I knew everything but one answer so I was ecstatic about that!

Bonfires

Summer had begun!!!! I had nothing but 3 months of traveling, music festivals, and good times ahead. These next 5 days or so were the best way I could have asked to start it off. All the Wally D crew would just hand around, sun tan, drink, and just indulge in summertime. We would get a swap-a-crat (our version of kegs since Alcohol is ridiculously expensive here) which are pictured below

A few nights we would all take trips out by a little river and have a big bonfire, sing some songs, and just relax with no stress. Heres a few photos of the Bonfires we had.

Last Night in Wally

This was it. For me and Jack, it had only been a semester living with all the Wally D boys who were pretty much like brothers now, but for them it had been a whole year. We all just hung out and tossed the frisbee around and just chilled outside with everyone until dinner. After dinner, a bunch of us piled into cars and drove up to a lookout point over Palmerston North that we had heard about; It was an awesome view that gave even Palmy the illusion of being big. We all had an awesome time pre-gaming there, singing throwback songs, and just enjoying everyones company. After a few hours (and a security guard letting us stay and drink for an hour after closing), we headed back to Wally before the final night out on town. No point in explaining what happened in town since its a night out on the town but heres a few photos of our last night!

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Wellington Trip

My boy Pedro had invited me down to chill with his friends down in Wellington for the night, but I had been lazy getting started all day so i was debating even going since it was 9 p.m. After some discussion, I decided that it would come down to a coin flip. Heads: Stay in Palmy, Tails: Wellington. Well, tails landed and I went on my way. I skated into town and about 10 km outa town since i couldn’t get picked up. I finally got three consecutive rides to levin (about an 1.5 hours along the way of my 2.5 hour trip). I was doing pretty good and was set to arrive by 12:30 p.m. (plenty of time to party). This is where things went wrong. I couldn’t get a ride out of Levin for about 25 minutes so i figured id start skating so that i was at least covering some ground. Well i ended up skating out of Levin and 25 km past that on semi-smooth gravel and in total darkness since the street lamps went away. This made it impossible to get picked up since I was now a tall guy trying to hitchhike near midnight on a dark stretch road. I finally got picked up by an older lady who turned around when she saw my desperate attempts at hitching. I got another 30 minutes along the way and was finally at a gas station. After some gas station food (which is delicious in this country), I had a sign reading “Wellington” under the gas station lights. A trucker heading to Wellington gave me my final ride along the way.

This was by no means the end of my journey, just the end of my car travels. I called my friend Pedro who map quested where I was to the house to give me directions since they didn’t have a car they could use. In complete contrast to what I was told, this journey was estimated to take over an hour to walk. AFter a extremely complex set of directions, walking up a hill that had to be over 500 meters in evaluation change, and the most hidden driveway ever, I finally arrived. We spent the night drinking and whatnot, watching odd cartoon shows ive never seen but everyone else seemed to have a wide knowledge of, and checking the house out. It was a massive house that even had a lookout tower, but the people who lived in it were far from rich. It was in a really far off location and they got a hell of a deal for it. It was an insane house with awesome roommates (everything from carnies to sculptures) with intricate murals painted upon all the walls. Even the ceilings had an overloaded amount of detail to it. I wish i had my camera so i could show you, but it had fallen out of my backpack i had packed right before i left my room.

Anyways we chilled around NewTown, Wellington for a two days (Pedro missed his flight out that day from too much partying). New Town is an awesome little town that i’d highly recommend visiting if you ever find yourself in the Land of the Hobbits. It reminded me of a Caribbean market with all the stores outside and the bright colors with the bay in sight. There were cafes all over, book shops, and cool thrift shop sort of stores.

Campus to Ourselves

When I got back to Massey, it was pretty clear I was one of the only ones there. Exams had finished up and everyone had headed home for summer break. Franny (my Residential Adviser), jack, and me where the only people left in Walter Dyer so we had a blast teh last few days. Everyone left all their food when they went back home so for the rest of the week, we ate like kings and had campus to ourselves. This also meant that we could go visit all the other R.A.s and have a common area all to ourselves with all the food pilaging privileges there also. It was like being a little kid and having a clubhouse everywhere you went. The dinner plans were even amazing since they were only cooking for the R.A.s and us.

Hitchhiked to Auckland/ Lochie Residence

Well my lease had run up for my dorm so i had to head out to my first destination of summer. My friend Lochie said I could store my luggage that i wasn’t going to take with me on my travels at his house, so i packed up my bags and got out my “Headin North” hitchiking sign. 3 rides, 7 hours, and no money poorer, I arrived in Papakura. Lochie and his dad picked me up and brought me back to his place.

His house is a quaint little cottage like house in Clevdon near Auckland. They had set up a huge tent for me, and jack was coming for a few days before this flight out of Auckland, to stay in. This was all good with em since it was even bigger than my room at Massey!

It was kind of funny being there though since there was 3 international people staying there (me, jack, and lexi) and Lochie had to work during the week.  This just meant that i got to know his two brothers Angus (18) and Baxter (16) better. Angus is a lot more laid back and reserved than Lochie was. On the other hand, Baxter was what most would call a “punk”. I loved the kid but he defiantly liked to push the limits on everything. His mom, Sandra, was a really cool person and reminded me a bit of my mom! not so much in looks but the way she partied when the time was right (haha). His dad was alot like Papa George in that he would kick the shit about old stories and loved to show some old photos and share a few beers with you. Anyways, i spent the week just getting to know Lochies family and helpign set up for Angus’s 18th birthday party. This means alot more than in teh sattes since 18 is the legal drinking age here! So since we had 3 Americans staying for the party, we decided itd be fitting to make him a Beer Pong table completely out of scraps laying around! heres a few photos of the construction of it.

Other than these we traveled around and got to see a few cool things around the area so ill just include a few of these photos.

Well there you have it! I still have a few things to update you on but I really can’t type or spend much more time on the computer today so I’ll leave it with that. Miss you all and send everyone my best wishes these holidays.

P.s. A little update on Michelle

As most of you know my sister has had to go through a lot of surgeries and time in the hospital since I’ve been gone. I just wanted to let anyone who isn’t in direct contact with my family know that she is doing alot better now and is back at home! I keep her in my thoughts all the time over here and am hoping the best for a speedy recovery and an enjoyable, hospital-free time over the holidays! Love ya Michelle.

Springbreak Pt. 2

So last time I left off I was standing on the corner of a street in Wanaka holding this sign

Saturday, September 1st

Anyways, me and Jack quickly got picked up by a 30 year old guy who was on his way to pick up his friend from the Queenstown Airport. The really cool thing about getting to see this was that these guys had been great friends until they turned 20 and both moved. From that point on, they had not seen each other and were about to reunite for the first time. It was really awesome getting to see a friendship rekindled after all that time and the stories they were rehashing on were hilarious.

Well the guy dropped us off right in downtown Queenstown and we were on the search for a place to stay. We ended up going to stay where our friends Pedro and Adam were staying (fellow study abroad students from Palmerston North). The whole town was buzzing with activity and people were walking in and out fo stores with all their snow gear just like a Colorado ski town.

We ended up spending out first night at a hostel called Absoloot Value Accommodation (and no i didn’t just spell that wrong haha). It was yet again another awesome hostel to stay at. They had a good kitchen, were right on the lake, and best of all: they had a billard room with big bean bag chairs all over. At this point, I hadn’t slept for more than 6 hours at a time and drank everyday for a week so as you could imagine, I was exhausted. So since it was still before check in time, these bean bag chairs ended up being my bed for the next 5 hours.

When I awoke, my friends pedro and adam had gone to The World Bar and signed us all up for a bar crawl. That was probably the last thing i wanted to do at the moment, but it was their last night in Queenstown so I figured id go with them. This was my first Bar Crawl i’ve ever

done and oh man was it awesome. You got a free shot at each bar you went to and drink specials, beside just the fun chaos that comes from 25 drunk people moving in one large group. Ohh and and extra little bit of surprise to add to this awesome night: when we all gathered to begin the bar crawl, I looked across the crowd and knew I had seen this girl before. It turned out to be Megan Leahry (pictured below) from my GlobaLinks orientation group along with 2 other people.

We went to a total of 5 bars, including the famous ice bar. You had to suit up in a big furry jacket before heading into the small, icy room. There were really cool ice sculptures in the bar, including the entire bar being built of ice. I put some photos below of inside the bar. If anyone reading this ever makes it out to here, I’d say you could skip the Ice Bar or at least just do it on a Bar Crawl. Normal price to get in is 20$ whereas the entire pub crawl costs 15$ and included it, and you don’t even get a drink included with that (each drinks like 7$). But in saying that, it was a really cool thing to do.

Sunday, September 2nd

The next day after some much needed sleep, I decided with a few other of my friends down in Queenstown from Wanaka and a few GlobaLinks people that we were going to hike up the mountain that overlooks the town. The usual way to get up is the gondola at the

bottom but seeing as I was already running low on money and i needed to work off some serious sluggish feeling, we hiked it. Two hours later, I was awarded with the most beautiful scenery i’ve seen since stepping foot into this country.

Beside this awesome view, there was an awesome cafe and bar up at the top of the mountain. Oh and if that wasn’t enough, theres a go-karting track up there too. Don’t believe me? Heres proof.

So we ended up getting to hope onto the gondola for free on the way back down following an awesome go-kart ad relaxing beer. We ended up going out that night but i’ll spare you all (specifically my mother) from reading more about the abusive two weeks on my liver.

Monday, September 3rd

We started off the day witha little stroll around town and ran into some more GlobaLinks and Palmerston North people (at this point I was starting to feel like a local since I kept saying hi to everyone around town). Upon talking to a few people about their hostels, we decided to move over to Nomads Backpackers. This would later prove to be one of the best decisions we’d make on the trip. This place had everything: comfy leather sofas next to a fireplace, a good view, a movie room full of beanbag chairs, great rooms, and for the same price as the last hostel, they even cooked you breakfast and dinner! Plus the hostel workers were extremely cheerful and active.

The cool thing about this was Pedro decided to stay, so it was me, Jack, and Pedro as the three amigos for the rest of Queenstown. This would come in handy as we ended up hanging out with three English girls who were on a trip around the world. They were on a 150 day vacation and had already worked their way from England to New Zealand heading east. To answer whats on most peoples minds most likely, none of us ended up “pairing up”. It was just a really cool group to spend the remaining four days with.

Below are some pictures of the girls and Nomads.

Tuesday, September 4th

The day consisted of just touring around, doing a bar crawl, and watching my musically gifted friend Pedro busk on the street. On average, he paid for his accommodation and his drinks and food for the night. Now thats some serious motivation to learn guitar if i’ve ever heard it.

After the past days activities, me and Jack decided we needed a real workout. This would result in probably the hardest workout i’ve ever done. You know that mountain it took us 2 hours to walk up? Well within 35 minutes, we had got to the top of the mountain and did 200 pushups and 200 situps. When that was finally over, we were rewarded with a rainbow and some more go-karting when we got to the top so it was defiantly worth it.

That night there was an open mic night at a bar down the street and Pedro wanted to check it out. Besides him rocking the stage, it was a really cool night since we got to see a bunch of local artists perform. The guy playing the accordion was from France and was insane on that thing. The two made a great pair.

Wednesday, September 5th

I sat up in my bed and knew right away: my time in Queenstown was at an end. I just had this urge to get on the road again and it was only 3 day until the All Blacks Rugby game in Wellington, which would take at least a whole day of traveling to get there. Pedro and Jack still wanted to stay another night or two so we said goodbye and I started off on my own adventure. I packed up my dirty laundry and what not to head off.

I go through alot of town names in the next bit so heres the picture from the last blog to help figure out my path!

I walked down to the main intersection with a sign reading “Dunedin” in hand. I had planned to go there for school when I originally was researching New Zealand so I wanted to check it out. In the matter of seconds, I got a ride to the next main intersection from some Brazilians who had moved here. Than in about 4 minutes, I was on the road again with a gardner who was heading an hour along the way to the town of Comwell. Along the way, he had to stop and drop off some plants so I helped him out and we continued on our way. A carpetnder than gave me another half hour ride to the town of Alexandria (again no longer than 5 min waiting on the side of the road). A cool little thing about this town was they built a giant clock onto a mountain face so you would always be able to tell the time!

My final ride came 10 minutes after being dropped off in Alexandria from a mechanic named Sam Turner. It was a 3-4 hour ride from there so we really got into talking about a ton of stuff other than the initial ”where you from? what’re you doin in New Zealand? etc…” questions that I had had with the other rides. We got into a really in depth discussion of hunting since I mentioned my dad and uncle were coming out here in June to hunt. There is a huge wild boar issue in NZ and therefor you are allowed to hunt them pretty extensively, which Sam did every other weekend. The way you hunt for wild boars is to have your dogs run up and distract the boar while you sneak up behind it. You than grab its legs, flip it over, and stab it in the throat with a knife (the most vulnerable place on the boar);  We were actually talking so much and getting along so well that he offered up some dinner (wild boar who woulda known?) and a couch to sleep on. The dinner was awesome and I finally got a nights rest that I didn’t have to pay for!

Thursday, September 6th

The next day Sam dropped me off in town and I went to Central Backpacker’s Hostel. Little did I now, but I knew 5 people staying there: the Americans i knew on that pub crawl, and my friend Kayla from Massey Uni. It was pretty cool to run into them and I jumped in on some of their plans they had. I started off my day by visiting the Cadbury Chocolate factory, which of course meant I got a ton of free chocolate.

The other half of the day was much more fun though. Kayla and 3 french people were driving out to the Otago Peninsula to see some NZ wild life. We saw some Albatross at a reserve and than headed over to Sandfly Beach. Other than tons of sandfly’s, the beach was home to one more animal: Sea Lions! They were scattered all over the beach and I got to come right up close to them!  It’s actually hilarious how lazy these animals are; they wait for the tide to rise and carry them out. We stayed their until sunset but got tired of waiting to see them return to sea.


Friday, September 7th

Well it was about time to finally start my trip all the way from the south end of the south island to the top. I needed to get there and across to Wellington on the ferry within a day and a half. The entire ride if you were to not stop at all would take a total of 12 hours and another 4 on the ferry, so I had quite the trip ahead of me still. I figured I simply needed to go north, so the picture below is the sign I used the rest of the way. Simples always better, and a smiley face always helps :]

I packed my bag up again, which was starting to get a little old, and started walking towards the main intersection. As I crossed the 1st road, I was started by a car horn. I thought i was getting yelled at but it turned out to be my ride for the next 6 hours. Glenn was a 40 year old man on the way to his house in Christchurch so he figured he would share the ride. When we stopped at the gas station, he refused to take gas money and even came out with a coffe for me! The relentless generosity of Kiwi’s still gets me every time. We talked a lot the ride up about how I was traveling light and using as little money as possible and my plans over summer. When he dropped me off, he got out of the car, shook my hand, and than handed me a bag and jumped back in his car. When I opened the bag, I looked down to 20 dollars, a bag of fruit, and his business card for future rides if i’m ever traveling between the cities again!

This would than be the longest i’d have to wait for hitchhiking since being in NZ, a grand total of: 30 minutes. A trucker gave me a ride to about 30 minutes from the ferry and i saw the funniest late night shenanigans i’ve ever seen. While waiting in line at McDonalds at 1 a.m. in the morning, the obviously drunk man in front of me was ordering when two cops came in and stood on ether side of me looking at him. They knew this 20 something year old by name and than proceeded to make what has to be the most casual drunk driving arrest i’ve ever seen. They had a normal conversation with him until he got his food (5 big macs and 2 fries), got his keys off of him, one cop drove his car while the other sat in the backseat with him, and drove off. Needless to say, made my night 10 times better!

Sittin outside a gas station, I got another ride to the ferry from another guy and strolled up to the ferry. It was about 2 am whenI got there and the graveyard ship was headin out soon. It turned out that only truckers and the crew were allowed on the ship, but after a few minutes chatting with Dallas (one of the ferry crew), I was allowed on. When he went to charge me the 60$, he messed up the transaction, but he just looked up at me, winked, and stamped the “paid” sign onto my ticket. He even gave me a commercial driver’s cabin to sleep in!

Saturday, September 8th

That morning I walked off the ferry and into the capital of New Zealand: Wellington. Now i’m from Chicago, the windy city, but the wind here makes it look calmer than Springstead Lake. I walked, or more got pushed, all the way to the Nomads backpackers in Wellington. As the day went on, all the study abroad students (around 25 of us) from Massey arrived to attend the All Blacks Rugby game. We all caught up on the crazy adventure stories from everyones Springbreak trips over a few drinks at the bar. We than joined the mob storming through the streets towards the stadium and watched the All Blacks storm to victory over Argentina! It was a perfect way to cap off the break.

Sunday, September 9th

After one last hitchhiking experience, I was home safe! I could hardely believe the events of the past weeks and than slept from 5 p.m until 5 p.m. the next day. I swear i was so tired I didnt move a muscle for that 24 hours.

So there it is! Over 2,600 words later, i’ve summed up most my trip. Theres plenty more stories to be told, but i’ll leave those for when I’m back in the states!

Thanks for reading :)

How to comment/ New Post comming this week

Hey i’ve heard from mi Madre that a few people were wondering how to comment on the posts i’ve put up.

To comment, simply click the title of my post and it will bring you to a new page where you can comment at the bottom. I did switch up the layout of my blog so sorry for any confusion that may have happened with that.

On a side not, i’ll be doing my best to upload the next part of my springbreak trip to all of you soon!

My Springbreak Adventure (pt 1)

Hey everyone!

and when I’ve said everyone in the past I had no idea how many people were actually reading this. I’ve heard everyone from Kimmy up north to Wes are reading up on what i’ve been up to. It’s really cool to know that and thank you all for reading.

But anyways, I’ve got alot to catch everyone up on! I’ve been pretty busy before break (which began on the 24th of August) working on getting caught up on school work. We had midsemester tests and i’ve been spending a little more time outside than in the library, but who could blame me. Regardless, midsemester tests went well and I left to begin my adventure on the last day of classes.

I hadn’t made any plans for break until about a week and a half before it began. As I mentioned in a previous post, I’m an active member of the University Alpine and Ski Club. At the weekly Monday meeting, the club leader brought up the opportunity for us to compete in the Uni Snow Games. These games consisted of all the colleges in New Zealand meeting up in the south island to compete in a similar fashion to the Winter Olympics. There was Slalom skiing, Snowboard racing, Half-pipe, Slope Style, and a Big Air competition. This sounded like the exact thing I wanted to do so I was instantly signed up.

The only issue was that it was going to cost about 800$ total. This is a reasonable price for a week of snowboarding, food, accommodation, and travel around. But I had heard someone mention the volunteer team winning the quiz night last year and it triggered an idea. So I went back and looked up the program who was running the games and called the Head Coordinator, Peter McDonald. I asked him if there was a possibility to volunteer. This has to be one of the best things ive ever done in my life. In return for an hour or two of work per day, I was going to get free rentals, lift passes, a jacket, 3 T-shirts, accommodation, and lunchs on the Mountain! I couldn’t believe my ears when I heard about this. Oh and he then mentioned he needed more people so I was able to get my good friend Jack and Kayla both in on this great deal.

So i booked my ticket (my only cost other than booze for the 1st week of springbreak) and I had my only plans for break. I looked up a few travel options after we were done in Wanaka but we made no definite plans.

Below is the map of the eventual route that we ended up taking.

Friday, August 25th

We woke up Friday morning with a flight out at 12:55 but it was still a close call to making the flight. In New Zealand, the big nights out are on Thursday and Saturday so we had gone out and had a little to long of a night for having to travel the next day. We missed the bus out town and had to take a taxi but eventually got there with time to spare.

I have to take a section out of this to really emphasize how big of a culture shock I had entering this airport. I simply walked in with an electronic ticket, put my bag through with no security check, walked right up to my gate to depart (a total of 100 feet from the front door) and walked out onto the plane without ever showing my passport. I swear this country is the most trusting place on the planet.

DSCF0472 (click the link)

Anyways, two hours later we landed in Christchurch and took the bus over to a hostel. The hostel was a nice little place named Tranquile Lodge and was basically a really long house with a few social rooms and two kitchens. Upon arriving, we went out to tour around the city for a little bit. In the last two years, Christchurch has been destroyed by two massive earthquakes and is still very much in recovery. The worst part is that the earthquakes hit the center of the city so all the major attractions were basically reduced to ruble. So when we were walking around the city and asked people for a place to eat, locals barely even knew what was still standing. We ended up eating at this really sweet little pop up bar/restaurant called Smash Palace. It was really awesome and the guys who owned it sat down and talked to us about everywhere theve set up for 6 months at a time over the past few years. I included a picture below (the panormaic messed up a bit haha)

Anyways, when we got back to the hostel at around 6:30 pm, Me and Jack sat down on our beds and instantly passed out, both exhausted from the night before. We  woke up for an hour at Midnight and made some pasta before going right back to bed.

Saturday, August 26th

We woke up pretty early and headed into town to catch the NakedBus to Wanaka for the Uni Snow Games. Thats the big Greyhound sort of company here who was really cheap faires for travel around NZ. But anyways, below are a few photos of the lake we stopped at along the way!

We arrivived in Wanaka around 4 pm with almost no directions of what to do next other than we were staying at a place called base. We eventually found our new home for the week, XBase. The best part of it all was we walked up and said to the lady at the front “Hey i think I have free accommodation for volunteer for the Snow Games” and we got handed a key!

Xbase has to be one of the best hostels anywhere in the country. This place is top of line. There is a comfy movie room with a ton of couches, a fully loaded kitchen with a sweet patio and enough refrigerator and freezer room for everyone. Beyond just the common areas, our room was awesome. I have attached the picture below and if you can’t tell, they even gave each person a lockable cage under the bed to store stuff. This is totally unnecessary here since everyone is really trusting but it was still nice to have. But the real icing on the cake was the bar downstairs. The Hostel literally owned the Mint Bar below and there was free pool, some of the best food i’ve had since being here, and awesome staff. Honestly, after 3 hours of being there, I knew it couldn’t get any better than this.

Around 8 pm every night, the bartender would go around and round up everyone into the bar to play killer pool. Its a billard game thats really fun with a whole crew of people. But anyways, we ended up getting a bit roudier than anticipated and went to bed with a big day of unknown activity ahead.

Sunday, August 27th

We were a bit slow getting up from the night before, which turned into a pretty common theme for the week haha. We were up, dressed, and outside waiting to meet the other volunteers all within 15 minutes. We hopped into the car and meet Jeremy and Holly. They are 21 year olds who work together in Austrilia and were both really chill people. We headed over to the rental shop, picked up our gear (which was 50% off since we were volenteers!) and headed up to the mountain.

I don’t think I can put into words how amazing the view was, so i’ll just post the picture from the top of Treble Cone Mountain.

I can confidently say thats the best photo i’ve ever taken.

But beyond the awesome view, I got hooked up with my free hoodie and tshirts, along with a view other goodies they gave us. We were still preety confused as to what exactly the volenteer work would entail, but it soon became very clear. Peter (the head coordinator) turned out to be a really laid-back, and extremely unorganized, dude. So unorganized that when we asked him what we should do, he told us to just ride the mountain for a few laps. It would end up that my total time spent working for all of the rewards: 1 hour. Now i need to stress this, I literally was only needed for one hour on one of the days for work all week. So my week consisted of just straight snowboarding, relaxing, and partying.

Best.Week.Ever.

Monday-Wednesday, August 29th

This was the duration of the snow games. I got a ton of great days of riding in at Treble Cone and Cardrona Mountains, including the steepest terrain i’ve ever snowboarded. Everyone at these games were really interesting and cool people from all over New Zealand. As the kiwis (New Zealanders) say it “Sweet As”. Below in the gallery are alot more of the photos but heres a funny video of our shenanigans after the day on the mountain.

Ridin the roof rack

Thursday, August 30th

After 4 days of snowboarding, by knees needed a bit of a day off and Jack, Levi ( who was staying in the same room as us and is from Colorado), and me rented bikes to take a ride around Lake Wanaka. Even in the mist of winter here, it was so nice out all you needed was shorts and a T-shirt. As i’m sure you guessed by now, below are some photos of the bike trip. We ended up biking close to 20k from the best lake view i’ve laid eyes on to backroads that made me feel like I was riding down a road in Northern Wisconsin.

1st Big Change from Studying Abroad

On this ride, we all got talking and I began to realize something about myself. While I have been doing well in Engineering, it dosen’t make me happy doing it; I want a more versatile degree that allows me to be outdoors and easily travel. While I shall always have the self-curiosity and drive to design and create devices myself, I do not want to do this as a carear.

I have been giving a few other Majors consideration and am currently looking into something with Business and/or hotel management or something Econ/Finance related. I am in two papers right now for these subjects and could not be more intrigued everyday in class. It also helps that this major would still allow me to use my skills in Mathematics and problem solving. So it’s still very much up in the air, I believe I shall be switching majors.

Friday, August 31st

We woke up this morning and just knew right away it was time to move on from Wanaka. While I absolutely love this town, we had spent nearly a week there of our two week break and felt we needed to get out and see the rest of the south island. Me and Jack threw our cloths in our bags, said our goodbyes and exchanged contact info with all our new friends, and started our journey on.

So there ya have it, the first part of my spring break story with much, much, much more to come. Sorry if I dragged it out but I know that in a few years when I go to read back on this, I’m going to want to remember every second of this unbelievable trip.

Sendin’ some love out from New Zealand,

-Nick

Waitin out

Hey everyone,
im on a crazy adventure through the south island with way too much to type out at the moment but I got tons of pictures and alot to tell about. So hold out and ill be trying to update this ASAP!

Surf to Snow in 1 weekend.

Wednesday: This was club day. All the clubs of Massey University set up shop in the middle of campus and gave out little sheets of all the info. The clubs here are amazing, they have so many trips planned and equipment that you can rent. The other amazing thing is that each club has a Facebook page that you can post on if you want to try to jump in with others on a trip or get people to join yours! Here are the two main clubs I joined…

Alpine Club: This is the hiking, rock climbing, and general outdoor adventure club. They have tons of hikes set up, even one that you pack fancy cloths and have a “Ball in the Bush”. They have full equipment packs that you can rent out for 20 bucks (gas stoves, harnesses, etc…), but you rarely have to pay that since club members are more than willing to lend out their stuff as long as you return it. I will be attending the AIC 1 training, which is a skill building weekend to help you ice climb and much more.

Surf N’ Snow Club: Best Club Ever. Period. The club fees are 10 dollars. After paying this, we are free to rent, at any time, surfboards, snowboards, skis, ski clothing, goggles, longboards, wetsuits, and even more. Beyond just the eqeipment, there are always

Thursday: After joining the two groups on facebook, I posted online to see if anyone was doing any trips that upcoming weekend. In the matter of hours, I had not only reserved me and my friend Jon a seat in a car to go surf the next morning, we also had two seats in a van to head to Mt. Ruapehu on a snowboarding mission! We headed over to Bob’s house to pick up the surfboards and Jon’s snowboard/gear (I had brought mine over). Below is a picture of how Bob’s garage looked……I someday wish to have a fraction of what was in there…….

Friday: Surfing near Mt. Taranaki It was about 5:30 in the morning when I woke up. The sun was barely starting to show as Jon and me headed out to our newly acquired Kiwi friend’s, Elaine, car. It was Jon, Elaine, two other guys ( i forget their names now), and me in the car to head up. The whole west coast of the North Island is known for its amazing surfing. This is exemplified on the highway signs, having literally the words “Surf Highway” printed on them. It was about 8 a.m. when we finally arrived at the car park. We were the first crew there and I was pretty excited to get my surfing carear on its way. We all put on our wetsuits (since the water is a bit cold considering it’s winter here) and headed down to the rocks. This is the scene I looked upon about to begin surfing….

I can’t really describe how intense the next few hours were. I struggled to paddle my way over the 6-7 foot waves, which dosen’t sound that intense until your trying to paddle a huge board over them. I’ll give everyone a basic run down of how you begin to “ride the wave”. Waves come through in “sets” which are basically 5-8 waves in a row that are rather large. You generally attempt to ride one of the mid ro last waves of the set. You align yourself right about where the wave starts to “break” (start caving down). When you chose your wave, you begin to paddle, chest on the board, the same direction the wave is moving. You hold the “rails” (side of the board), and stabilize as the wave carries you forward. After you get moving, you pop off the board and onto your feet. Now what Elaine forgot to mention is that you usually begin on around 3 foot waves. After a few hours of trying, I had successfully poped to my feet, but I still had yet to ride a wave. Feeing exhausted, Elaine, Jon, and I decided to head into town to get something hot to drink. We stopped at a little place called Cafe 45. The guy who owned the place told us that he would whip us up some awesome hot chocolates and to feel free to go next door to the grocery store and bring over a snack if we wanted. The awesome thing about people here is that they are so open to everyone and are honestly just happy with what they are doing. The owner sent us around back, where we sat basically on his patio and he brought us out our hot chocolates. Heres a picture of what the place looked like…

Feeling refreshed, we headed back to the surf. I instantly went out and paddeled my hardest I could, trying to catch wave after wave. The tides were changing so the waves got bigger, causing me to get flipped more and more as I tried to paddle my way against them. This is where you should probably stop reading Mom….. So here came the scary part. When I tried to catch a wave in one time, I got going pretty well but then got up and tried to turn. The edge of the board caught and flipped me and the board over. This would not normally be an issue, but the leash that connected the board to my leg tore off. This meant that I was left, out of breath and disorientated in the beginning of a set of waves. I got tossed like a rag doll by the first wave and barely got my head above water to catch my breath before the second one pounded on me. This was already bad enough, but as the second wave hit me, my wet suit unzipped in the back. It filled a bit with water, causing me to get dragged down a bit. I had a moment of panic, and I quickly took action. I saw the fourth wave coming and took a deep breath, than dove under the water. This meant i didn’t get tossed by the wave as much and while I was underwater, I pulled my wetsuit back up. I then repeated this process of deeep breath and diving under until the set passed. I than made my way into shore and decided to call it a day. The bright side: my board was already there waiting for me :]

So despite a lackluster performance and quite the scare, I can’t wait to get out and surf again! (next time with a better leash)

We packed up the car and headed back to Palmy to rest up for the next day..

Saturday: Snowboarding Mt. Ruapehu.

I don’t think i’ve ever woken up so sore. I could barely lift my arms from surfing to turn of the 5:30 alarm on my phone waking me up to go snowboarding. My friend Jack, from Arizona, was knocking on my door since we were taking the same car up there. It turned out that things got mixed up on who was in what cars since there were 13 of us going up there. This meant me and jack got two whole benchs in the van! I took this time to sleep the whole 2 hour ride up there. Heres a picture i snapped when we were stopped for a quick snack

We got to the mountain, which is actually an active volcano, and strapped up for the day! The snow base on the trails was pretty decent but there was not much coverage on the mountain other than that. The terrain park (grinds and jumps) was small but well set up and I landed a few good 360′s and grabs off the jumps. I can’t wait to get back out there and start going for new tricks! This is the whole group minus Ben, who was taking the photo. After this, we went down to an awesome wooden ski bar and had some 2 for 1 coronas to finish it up.

Below are all the photos I have of the weekend, Please comment on which ones you like the most :]

Love and miss you all!

Manawatu Gorge Hike

Weekend of July 20th: The Manawatu Gorge Hike

This weekend started off really slow, I just spent Friday messing around in Palmerston North and around campus. The next morning, my hall had set up a trip to the farmer’s market at 8 a.m. in the morning. My two flatmates (mary & grant), my friend (Jon), and me all went to check it out. I ended up just picking up some Downunder Honey (New zealand is known to have excellent honey), toffe cookies, and some little clementines. When we got back to my flat, me and Jon had a lot of energy so we decided to set out on a quest that would almost leave us strand in the smallest hicktown of New Zealand, but i’m getting ahead of myself.

So we had heard of this scenic hike across the Manawatu Gorge about 10 miles away, or 14.7 km as they use here! Me and Jon packed up the backpack that my Uncle Nick gave me when I was coming here with some water, the clementines, a couple sandwiches, the cookies, some warm cloths and a bathing suit incase we found somewhere to jump in the water. So we walked right out my front door and began our journey out to the Gorge. We walked across the whole campus and saw our track field, the equestrian fields (my school has an excellent vet program), and the nearby rugby center. We probably walked about 8 miles before hitching a ride with a passing by car. The guy’s name was Nick actually, and he was a weapons engineer for the New Zealand Army! He kindly dropped us off right at the start of the trail and we began! Below are a few pictures of our walk to the Gorge.

So we finally arrived at the Gorge and began our hike through the hills. New Zealand has such an awesome mixture of trees, rangin from birch trees to trees that look palm trees. One of the reasons for this is that New Zealand has been isolated as an island and immune to invasive species for so long that the natural vegetation is extremely unique. The hike was 10 Km long (one way) and included tons of views. Below are all the photos taken along the way and from the scenic viewpoints.

We had made it to the other side of the Gorge and were pretty exhausted! So of course, this is where our plan went haywire. It turns out the highway that goes through the Gorge had been closed due to a landslide earlier in the year. This meant nearly no traffic passed by, making hitchhiking back to Palmerston North quite an issue. Jon and me got the word from a farmer that the detour was up ahead, just outside the town of Woodsville. Now incase you ever find yourself in New Zealand, Woodsville is defiantly a town you can cross of your list of places to visit. This town was so small that there was one hotel (which by some extreme misfortune was booked out) and no possible taxi service. It was around 6 p.m. when we stumbled into Woodsville. This was after we spent 1 & 1/2 hours attempting to hitchhike by the detour. We went from place to place attempting to find someone who could drive us to Palmerston North or knew someone who could. Miraculously, there was an 18 year old girl working behind the counter of a Fish N’ Chips shop said that if we waited until 8 p.m., she could drive us to Palmy!! We attempeted to find a ride earlier, and you can enjoy the desprate look upon my face in the picture below!

Hearing this news, me and Jon decided to go to a local pub and have a few beers until we could get a ride. Now everyone who walked into this place knew every persons name. I swear, we had walked into the bar from Cheers. But anyways, it was getting close to 8 so we headed down to the Fish N Chips shop. When we walked in, we found a diffrent girl behind the counter. She then informed us that the past girl had been told she couldnt drive us to Palmy by her parents. A lie or not, this meant no ride back for us and nowhere to stay in Woodsville. Upon hearing this news, I instantly ran outside and held up my cardboard sign to two cars passing by. They continued on their way, and i dropped my head in disappointment. That when I heard the best words I could have possibily heard at that point in time “Hey, Where ya Headin?”. I soon found out my saviors voice belonged to a man in his midfourties named Charlie. He was on his way through Palmy and gave me and Jon a ride.

We got back, free of charge since Charlie wouldn’t accept any money from us, and even have a fishing guide if we ever make it by Mt. Taranaki!

Oh and we made it back in time to go out on the town with everyone that night!

First Day of Classes and Catching Up!

So today officially marked the end of my summer. I began classes at 9 a.m. this morning with my Fundamentals of Finance class. So far the style of classes is very different from the USA.

To begin with I have multiple times that i can go to the lectures so that i can adjust my schedule to fit in the rest of my classes. Other than that, there is absolutely no homework. All of my classes have two tests that total 40% of my total grade and a final exam for 60% of my grade. The only nice part of the finals is that we get a whole extra week off to revise for our classes (which are referred to as papers here).

So sorry i haven’t updated this blog in awhile, its been a crazy couple of weeks trying to get adjusted. Beyond the issue of finding the time to update this, until i got to university it was extremely hard to get access to the internet. Theres no free wifi anywhere and it costs about 4$ for only a half hour of internet.

But enough complaining! As for what ive actually been doing ill just make a list then expand on them lower down.

1. Had my first legal beer!……. legal being the keyword….. (1st picture)

2. Played my first game of touch rugby, and won! (we played right where the second picture was taken)

3. Performed the Haka

4. Went whitewater rafting

5. Went to the hot pools

6. Caved!

7. Orientation and learning Palmerston North

8. My Flat!

Now to expand on a few of those things:

2. On the way to where we played rugby, we did pass by the shire from Lord of the Rings (although i didnt get to see it). But on the bright side we stopped in town and i took a picture next to the Hobbiton sign with a small golem statue.

3. The Haka is the traditional war dance of the Maori people. The national rugby team, The All Blacks, perform this   dance before every game as a way to show how fierce they are to their opponents. To see the haka performed, click on the link attached the the all blacks above. I also have a picture of how they had us all dress up for it!

You have to imagine how funny it was having 60 americans attempt to do the Haka but it was pretty awesome     when everyone got into it and was shouting out the words.

4. This was a pretty crazy experience. I only included one photo of the rafting but make sure to check back b/c ill upload the rest later on. Anyways, I have officially rafted the largest commercially rafted waterfall in all of the southern hemisphere! The waterfall was about 24 vertical feet at about a 70 degree angle. While my raft didnt flip, a few of my friends did get launched out of theirs! But other than that we went down around 4 or 5 more waterfalls and it was just a blast with the tour guides having so much energy!

5. I don’t know why these arent more popular around the USA. They are basically pools that are slightly cooler than a hot tub. Its super relaxing to just sit and absorb all the minerals that are infused into each pool. The pool are generally heated by using all the geothermal energy from the underlying volcanos around New Zealand.

6. This was defiantly the most physically intense thing i’ve done since i’ve been in New Zealand. Caving is basically repelling into caves right outside the city of Rotorua. The very first opening we went down was about 120 feet down and then we continued down waterfalls to about 500 feet underground. The caves were pretty big but there were parts that you little had to army crawl through (see pictures below). Oh and to top the whole experience off, it was my birthday!

7. Orientation was pretty easy b/c i had memorized the entire campus (picture of center court below) before i even went to the first day and it was just some basic information other than that. Oh i almost forgot, we got to go see all the farms that Massey owns for its Food Engineering Program. We got to see Shepard dogs in action, as you can see in the pictures below! Palmerston North has been nice so far, with tons of little sushi and cafe places around to enjoy on a trip into down. It awesome being a student here b/c that entitles us to free bus rides to and around town. Ive got my phone here set up and even got my fridge stacked with groceries. Im even learnign to make some pretty good food, as the stirfry pictures show above. The night life should be pretty awesome to since they have late night buses to and from town for only Massey students on thursdays and Saturdays (apparently Friday isn’t a big party night here)

8. I HAVE SPACE! This is so crazy compared to my dorm room last year. I have a single room in a flat thats 12 by 12 and then share a kitchen and common area with 5 other people. (see the picture of my flat down below) One roommate is Chena (21), he’s a canadian that moved to new zealand a long time ago. He is also the one in my pictures from my meal Moses (22) is next to me and i haven’t gotten to know him much but all i know is he plays soccer and is from Zimbabwe. Two of my other roommates, Mary and Grant, are a couple (20 & 19) from Kentucky. My final roommate is an Asian who dosent speak english but apparently im supposed to call her Vivian hahaha.

Enjoy the pictures and please leave a comment to let me know what you think or wanna know more about!

Rotorua

Hey Everyone,
i’m in rotorua which is just south of Auckland. Its been a blast getting to know all the people on the briding cultures program, which is about 60 kids total. So far weve toured auckland, spent a day playing rugby, and learned the Haka. The haka is thne traditonal war dance that the national rugby team (The All Blacks) perform before each game.

One of the wierdest things outhere is how expensive internet is. It costs about 3 NZ dollars to get only an hour of internet and everything is pretty slow even then. FOr this reason, i won’t be uploading any photos until i get to school and setteled in.

I’m missing everyione but im having a blast and i’ll be posting another blog in a day or two.

Haere rā!

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