“Studying” at Uni 

The whole purpose of coming here is to study abroad.  Key word: study.  But honestly, I’ve been doing very little of that.  The best part about it is… It doesn’t really matter. 

By that, I mean I’m still going to pass all my classes and get great grades I just have to put in a lot less work.  The schooling system in New Zealand is significantly more lax than it is in the states.  For example: 

1. Class is not compulsory… Ever. 

2. All the lectures are put online so if you choose not to go to class you can listen to them on your own time.  Or not.  

3. We have an average of 2-3 assignments due for each class over the entire semester.  This includes the final. Most classes don’t have midterms. 

4. Which may seem scary, but my first paper is only three pages long. The prompt was basically to demonstrate that you know how to organize a paper… Really? 

5. The tests? You know exactly what is going to be on them. This is because they give you the questions throughout the semester. Literally, they say “I’m going to ask you this exact question on the final.”

6.  Our mid semester break is two weeks long instead of one. WHAT WHAT!! 

7. We also get a study week instead of a study… Weekend? Basically, another time for me to visit the South Island instead of study.  

8. We call it ‘uni’ here, not college (that’s what high school is called). 

9. You are generally on first name basis with all your professors. Or just ‘hey teach.’ Not really though.  I think that might still be rude. 

10. But you don’t call them professors…. There are different rankings of teachers: lecturers, assistant lecturers…  Other people who stand in front of the classroom and talk at you…. I haven’t quite figured out the rankings yet.  

11. Since you know what’s going to be on the final, you really don’t even have to do all the readings. Unless you’re genuinely interested in the topic. Or you’re a nerd (guilty as charged). 

In addition, Americans have an interesting reputation in the classroom.  I’m assuming it’s because we are all used to a much more strict and challenging school system.  I was in my Food and Eating class the other day (Yes, I am getting credit for this) and noticed a fellow American wasn’t in attendance.  She was supposed to be doing a presentation that day, so the teacher obviously noticed. 

She let us know that the student had emailed her and told her she was sick.  Her response was “I know she’s not lying because she’s American.  And Americans never miss class. So she must be really sick.” 

Later that night I went to meet up with a club on campus.  We were going hiking and not surprisingly the ‘sick’ student was there! The naivety of my professor blows my mind…

I’m off to climb an active volcano for the weekend! I’ll have pictures next week 🙂  

Oh and since I’m sure you don’t really want pictures of uni, here are some from our trip to Auckland this past weekend:





A park that is in a volcanic crater



Full Disclosure: The Truth About Paradise 

I’m on the overnight naked bus heading to Auckland for the weekend, jamming out to Fugazi’s album 13 songs. 

I’ve noticed my past few blogs have all been about some of the horror stories I’ve had since arriving.  I mean, I should be talking about all the incredible things that have been happening (which is… beyond belief, really).  But where’s the fun in that? So instead of looking on the bright side of things I think I will stick to my method so far and discuss everything that’s awful about New Zealand.  Its important you guys don’t get the wrong impression. Here goes… 

The wifi sucks.

I mean really sucks. Sometimes when I’m on skype my calls get dropped.   YEAH! It’s that bad. 

There you have it! That’s the extensive list of everything awful about New Zealand. 

What is really incredible is last night during the full moon we went swimming in a local river (with multiple waterfalls) and I didn’t have to worry about water snakes… because snakes were never introduced in New Zealand.  The hike to the river was lit up with glow worms, which was really magical. 



 In addition, there are no venomous spiders, scorpions, snakes or deadly land mammals.  Unless you get trampled by a herd of sheep, you’re pretty safe. And if you have a fear of flightless birds I guess it can be pretty scary here.  But other than that, there is really nothing dangerous here.  The people aren’t every scary.  You aren’t allowed to carry around  pocket knives, guns or even pepper spray.  However, I’m sure the majority of American women still hide it in their purses (it’s pink, so maybe no one will know what it is).  



On the bus ride up to the wind mill farm we asked some kiwis to come up with some things that are bad about New Zealand. They really struggled and setteld upon the active volcano that is about 1000 years overdue to erupt. There are no signs that this will occur any time soon. 



So, really the worst thing about New Zealand is that people generally don’t know how good they have it here.  I can live with that.  



What’s That Mexican Doing? 

I’ve been jamming out to Clap Your Hands Say Yeah! this week.  It’s been awhile, I’m feeling nostalgic.  Check them out though, once you get past his weird voice it’s pretty happy stuff. 

This past weekend my flat mate and I decided to take the `Naked` bus down to Wellington to check out the night life since Palmy is kind of lacking one.  Their logo is something along the lines of “ride naked!” We weren’t required to take our clothes off which was a relief. 



We arrived pretty early so we decided to grab some food at a restaurant that exclaimed “What’s that Mexican doing?” And in fact, we did find out what that Mexican was doing when he chased us out of the resturant to ask if we wanted to have drinks with him. 



Before heading out we went back to our friends dorm room.  It was about ten o’ clock at this point.  We walked in and were immediately stopped by the meanest Kiwi I’ve come across.  Which isn’t really that mean…   He wouldn’t let us come in because we didn’t have guest passes. So we had to wait around for some other bloke to decide if we were allowed to come in or if we were going to have to hit the road. 

So, instead of taking the risk of being denied a silly guest pass, we decided to take matters into our own hands.  We snuck up the stairs while the securiy guard was scolding some kids for having an open container.  We were relieved to have made it to the room without getting chased.  The relief lasted about three minutes until there was a knock at the door.. The security guard legit hunted us down and told us to pack our bags and get out.  

Thankfully I have friends who are sweet talkers, because my sassiness doesn’t help much in instances like this.  They talked him down and somehow found out he had a daughter… so they went for the achilles heel of any  parent…. “How would you feel if your daughter got kicked to the streets in a city she didn’t know?” It was over, he melted like butter and decided to let us stay. 





A little shaken up, we decided to head out to Cuba street to grab a drink or two.  Since the drinking age is eighteen here, my twenty year old flat mate was able to come out with us which is great! Something we noticed almost instantly is how even though a significant amount of people were walking around drunk they were all very tame.  

No one was belligerent, we didn’t see a single person throwing up on the sidewalk or being carried home with heels in hand.  I’ve heard this practice is pretty much limited to U.S.  citizens which is unfortunate. Drinking doesn’t seem to have the stigma as it does in the states.  Getting drunk doesn’t entail forgetting your entire night and hooking up with coyote ugly. 



 Instead we hung out at a nineties bar, danced to Spice Girls and took jelly donut shots…. And no one around us seemed to be making a fool of themselves.  Well, except me.  My dancing in and of itself is enough to be embarassed about.  This is probably why someone bought me a drink then ran away. 

I hope you all are enjoying your snow! It was a little chilly here this morning as well… I had to wear pants.  Don’t worry though, around ten am I was able to switch back to shorts.  

Kiwi Deficient 

Image

Hey everyone! 

I’ve officially been here a week and a half, but it feels like I’ve been here forever.  I’ve had a couple flat mates move in, so my creaking house is freaking me out a little less.  I’ve met so many wonderful people this week during orientation and have been reunited with my shin splints.  We’ve been doing so many outdoor activites that require running and my competitive spirit wouldn’t let me sit out.  Deep down I knew we would never be separated; good `ole shin splints and I are in it for the long haul. So my crippling pain has left me sedentary for the evening, but I am not without my old pal, ice pack.  We are currently enjoying some locally brewed New Zealand IPA and delicious New Zealand chocolate. 🍻



In fact, food has become an even bigger part of my life.  When I settled in I realized how much free time I was really going to have without a job or a heavy course load.  This free time has left me inspired to try my hand at cooking.  I know… some of you are gasping and are probably afraid for my life.  Let me assure you, I haven’t caught the house on fire… YET.  In addition, none of my food has come alive and eaten me, either. I’m actually quite enjoying it and have made a couple edible dishes.  Such as this one: 



It surprisingly easy to make! Here’s the recipe if you want to give it a try: 

http://www.thecandidappetite.com/2013/10/14/potato-tacos/

The tough thing about where I live is that in order to get to my flat you must climb a ton of stairs.  Which, I really don’t mind under normal circumstances.  The problem is that I’ve had to buy mass amounts of groceries since I was starting from scratch. I can only carry so much, so I’ve had to make quite a few trips to the grocery store. I’ve definitely bought a lot less beer because of those stairs… Anyway, when I go to the market I’ve made it a point to only buy local produce. There’s quite a bit, my choices are not limited.  However, there was one fruit I was looking forward to getting my fix of more than anything: kiwi.   Heres the catch.  They are all imported from Italy.  WHAT?! WHAT IS THIS?! I refuse to buy them. I’m sure I’m just being stubborn… Either way, I’m outraged and kiwi deficient.  The good news? This is the worst thing I’ve found about New  Zealand.  I think I’m doing alright.  

As you can imagine, there is so much interesting food here. It doesn’t vary vastly from the US, but there are subtle charming differences. For instance, they put eggs on everything.  You want a BLT? Put an egg on it. How about a ceasar salad? Put an egg on it. Anyone up for an egg sandwhich? Put another egg on it.  The weirdest thing about the eggs is how orange the yolks are. And no one  refrigerates  them! In the grocery store, they are just on a shelf. 





So far, I’ve really enjoyed most of the food Ive tried. I like eggs, so that is in my favor… However, there is one food they’ve definitely messed up. Pretty badly.  I’m convinced someone was playing a practical joke on the kiwis when they gave them this recipe.  



Thats a hot dog.  

There are really no words for this.  

And yes, it does in fact taste as bad as it looks.

With that, I’m going to go soak up some New Zealand summer sun! 🌅 Until next week… 









New Zealand Week One

Hey everyone! Thanks for taking the time to read this! Ive never blogged before, but there are so many interestng things happening right now and I want to share them with all of you! My only request is that if you get a chance I would really like to hear what is happening in your life.  I dont have the best means of communication seeing as the wifi here really is as bad as you would expect.  But, regardless I would really appreciate hearing from each and every one of you! 

It has been an interesting journey thus far, and I am loving every minute of it! I arrived four days ago and have spent this time familiarizing myself with my new campus and the town of Palmerston North.  The weather has been absolutely gorgeous; ranging from  65 to 70 degrees F (Of coure, they measure it in C which has been a struggle to translate but I am getting better at it). It has been sunny every single day with no humidity, but so incredibly windy! Sometimes it is a challenge to keep my balance.  Since I managed to leave my phone in the car when I was dropped off at the airport, I havent been able to take many pictures of the beautiful scenery.  I will attach a couple I took with my ipad on the bus from the airportto campus though they arent great quality.  I promise better ones next week.  

I just moved into my flat yesterday and have had the house to myself. Its a bit of a walk to campus, about ten minutes through a wooded area with a river and really interesting wildlife.  Mostly I have seen and heard birds that Im unfamiliar with. In addition to that, cows and goats run wild here! I had to double take when I saw a field filled with cows and no fence, as well as when the car I was in almost ran over a free roaming goat.  Anyway, I love my flat! The weirdest thing is that I have my own hand basin aka sink in my room.  Its pretty brilliant, though. Ill never have to wait for the bathroom to brush my teeth, nor have to haul all my bathroom things around. America should really catch on.  

Unfortunately my bike hasnt come in yet, but I have manged to keep busy.  The campus is pretty huge, especially compared to Goucher.  Twenty thousand people compared to around two? The campus is fairly large as well, we even have a duck pond! I spent an entire day waking around finding where my classes will be and feeling out the layout.  The second day I caught the bus into downtown, walked around and managed to get lost.  I had my first meal out at a cute cafe called Moxies. I learned that Kiwis dont tip, and eat everything with a fork and knife.  That is definitely going to be a struggle because a fork and shovel are basically interchangeable in my mind. I also checked out a book store, bike shop and lots of second hand stores.  

Ive got a couple more days to be wild and free until orientation starts on Monday.  Im excited to meet some local people! I managed to meet one of the strangest people… well, ever on my first day here.  Once the bus dropped me off at campus I was totally lost and had to ask a car that was driving by where I needed to go.  It ended up being pretty far away, so he gave me a ride.  He dropped me off at campus security who then helped me figure out what to do.  It was one guy in particular, Hector who helped me out.  I am so grateful for the help, he even offered to show me around campus and even town.  Naturally, I said abolutely and gave him my email.  

A couple days later, he picked me up and helped me move my things to my flat.  Afterwards, we drove to a park and the beach.  This is when things started getting weird.  He made it known that it is on his bucketlist to kiss an American girl, to which I responded “Well, you should probaby go to America, then.” In additon, he found it necessarry to inform me how `perfect` I am and how I am `everything he has been looking for` based solely on the fact that I dont enjoy clubbing.  Some other fun facts I learned about him after knowing him for two hours were that he lost his virginity at nineteen and that his last relationship failed because his girlfriend cheated on him and punched him.  I think it is impossible to put into words how uncomfortable hearing these things made me feel.  Which is pretty difficult for me, not a lot of things make me uncomfortable.  He invited me to stick around for longer than six months so that he could take me to fiji, and asked me about my relationship status. I quite clearly let him know I was not interested in him, to which he felt it necessary to remind me I could `still have fun.` When we got to the beach he asked me to give him a massage because he was sore.  I recommended a massage therapist and told him that it was time for him to drive me back to campus.  At the end of the seemingly forever thirty minute drive back to campus, he asked if he shall come inside… I quickly resonded nope! ran inside and locked the door behind me. I hope you can find as much humor in this as I do. 

With that, this blog has been fueled by the new album This is all yours by alt-j.  Its fantastic, if you havent had the chance to listen.