It has been awhile since my last post and I apologize if anyone was waiting patiently for me to write something new. The past few weeks have been filled with mostly academic work and lots of rowing. My mid-semester break started yesterday, Good Friday and in fact I am leaving to start my break in Sydney in just a few hours. My sheer excitement to get to Australia has left me sleepless, leaving me plenty of time to write a new post.
My plans for break have me heading to Sydney today, Saturday the 3rd and staying until Wednesday the 7th. I'm traveling with another American who I had previously gone to the South Island with. We're staying in what looks like the quaintest hostel Sydney had to offer. Situated nicely between Bondi Beach, the Opera House, and downtown, we'll hopefully get to see all the major hotspots. I'm also secretly really looking forward to holding a Koala Bear.
On Wednesday I'm leaving in the morning to go all the way to Tokyo, Japan to visit Tiina! After all the years she's been there, someone from our clan is finally getting to see her there. I'm absolutely thrilled about this. I'm going to Asia?! That sounds pretty wild to me. I'll be there for ten days, as I head back to New Zealand on April 17th. It's a pretty nice size break we have, two weeks. We had 5 weeks of class, this two week break, and then 7 weeks of class remaining. After checking my calendar I realize that I have just ten weeks left in New Zealand. I get a little choked up thinking about that, as there is still so much to do and see. My younger sister, Keri and her friend Zoe (from UF and Naples) are coming over to visit me May 11th-25th. I'm very excited that she'll get to make it over here, I know she'll love this country as much as I do. I'm hoping that when they are here we can road trip up around the north island to places such as Lake Taupo and Rotorua. Keri and Zoe both want to go bungee jumping, so i'll have to work that into the trip as well. I think I'll stay on solid ground for that little endevour.
Seeing as break just started, I had several papers due before I started vacation. I cooped myself up in the library for the past two weeks in an attempt to get those all done before I left for my travels. I'm not much of a procrastinator (good habit picked up from rowing), so it wasn't a problem staying on top of everything. My classes are all going really well. Particularly the media in new zealand class has helped me learn so much about kiwi culture.
I have kept up with rowing, although the season will end next week after they attend Uni Games in Dunedin. There is a club team (Wellington Rowing Club) which starts training after the semester break that I may decide to join. The past few weeks with the team has gained me several close Kiwi friends and even a trip north to Wanganui where we went to a training camp. Last weekend we drove two hours north on Friday afternoon and stayed at the Union Boathouse in Wanganui for two nights and trained on the river which runs through the town. The room that the 50+ rowers stayed in looked something like a high school gym with hurricane victims. Luckily I shared an air mattress with my friend Jess in a semi-quiet corner. We spent all of Saturday rowing, going out three times on the water. Where we were was very sunny and warm, which was a nice change from the cooler weather here in Wellington. On Saturday night the team had their traditional toga party, pretty self-explanatory, in the boathouse that we were staying at. This tradition also included the "novice team initiation" which I won't go into too much detail with other than the boys ate some raw eggs. Sunday we went out on the water again twice and then headed back to Wellington that evening. I think with rowing I have made more Kiwi friends here than American friends. I guess this is probably a good thing and honestly I have loved it! A few of the girls on my team want to take me to the Northern tip of the North Island after classes end. Most of them haven't even seen that area and I think they're using me, the American tourist, as an excuse to go there.
It's 6:40 am here and my flight to Sydney leaves in a few hours, so I better finishing packing! I'll give an update from Sydney! Hope everyone is well back in the USA!