Showing posts from 2009

First rainy day in a while.

Have a day off from work today and it's raining. Yesterday I worked from 8AM til 6:30PM and of course it was a beautiful day that I missed out on. The forecast today shows rain with a high of 20 degrees C. It's fairly humid as well. So I guess today is a good day to clean up the apartment.
Christmas was definitely not what I was used to and it made me a little bit homesick. I worked Christmas Eve for 11 hours and when I got home I finished baking sugar cookies and made some oyster stew while I had "It's a Wonderful Life" playing on my laptop. My flatmates had disappeared for the night, so I went up to St.Paul's Anglican church on Symonds Street for mass at 11. I was there alone, but I managed to sit next to a nice lady who was also there alone.
The service had the same carols as the service that we have at the cathedral in Detroit; however, the lyrics to "Angels We Have Heard On High" were different. Instead of singing "Gloria" they sing &…

Here Comes Santa Clause

Photo 1: The flowers in Albert Park. Photo 2: The Christmastime landmark in Auckland, the Whitcoull's Santa and Reindeer. Luckily this year he doesn't wink and his finger doesn't move.

Just not the same.

People just don't celebrate Christmas as much as we do in the northern hemisphere. The typical Kiwi Christmas is a BBQ at the beach. I have tried my best to maintain the Christmas spirit like that which is expressed back home. I have made gingerbread cookies, turn on the Christmas tree every evening, watch the classic Christmas movies, and five hours worth of Christmas music on my iPod. My flatmates think it is so weird that I'm doing all of this. Really different for them I guess.

What Santa Does in New Zealand


Getting Brown

Had some days off from work at Kathmandu so I'm enjoying the nice weather while I have the time off. Wednesday I went to Mission Bay with Scylla (Brazilian) to visit Eike (German) at his work. He let us go out on the paddle boat for free and we got to get tan. That night I got an email from a local whale watching company that they are hiring. So I gave them my resume and I hope to hear back from them soon. Getting a job for that company would not only be fun, but look good for a start on my resume.
Today I walked along the harbor to the different marinas to price out scuba certification. I saw a penguin swimming alongside where I was walking. It was really cool. I almost always see some sort of marine animal when I walk along the harbor; usually jellyfish and now penguin. Later, I went to Muriwai with Eike and Frank. The waves weren't too huge, but enough for me to body surf and have fun on the boogie board.
It's now 9:35PM and I'm cooking some corned beef that should l…

Is it really December?

It is 22.5 degrees C, so 72 degrees F here and yet it's December 3rd. On Queen Street there is a huge Santa and reindeer on the side of a building. It is creepy even though last year it winked and the finger moved. It doesn't feel like Christmas. I'm trying to get more in the holiday spirit, but it's hard with the summer weather. I play some Christmas music and my flatmates yell at me that it's still too early and last night I watched "Christmas Vacation."
The other night my flatmates and I went to Danny Doolan's, a bar that has live music. The next morning I found out that about a half hour after I went back home Green Day grabbed a guitar and played. I'm not sure if I believe it or not, but if it's really true then I was probably inches away from them and didn't even realize it.

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving from New Zealand. Technically it was yesterday for me over here, but I was working and I work today as well. Yesterday my Thanksgiving feast was a bowl of spaghetti. Thank you for the skype session, family. It was a great way to start my day :)

Muriwai and Flatmates

Sunday morning at 3AM, Sawyer left for Australia for two weeks before he heads back to South Korea for his "study abroad" excursion. Tomorrow morning we get the new addition to our family, Mike from Minnesota. I have been working at Kathmandu for about a month now and feel like I am fitting in nicely.
Tuesday was Eike's birthday and we both had work off, so Beau, Dominic, Eike and I went to Muriwai beach. It started out a little cloudy, but after probably 30 minutes to an hour the sun was out and giving Eike the second warmest birthday he has ever had. Sadly a lot of our friends have already started traveling around New Zealand and the South Pacific, so it was just the four of us on his birthday.
I am very excited to continue earning money and seeing Marius in January. The following pictures are from Eike's Birthday/Beach Day.

Summer Vacation!

I just got home from my last exam and it already feels weird. I haven't had summer vacation in quite some time and I don't know what I'll do with the rest of the time I'm not using working! Oh well, time to find out I guess.

Exam Season

Well, it arrives again...exam period. I don't have my first exam until November 5, but nonetheless I'm in the library studying away. I work Wednesdays and Saturdays until my exams are done. It's not too bad so far. I've been figuring out where things are and attempting to sell the overpriced camping gear to unsuspecting tourists and weary locals. After seven hours of work on the best Saturday this season, I did some studying on Sunday and then went for a walk to Mission Bay with my flatmates. The day was mostly cloudy, but occasionally the sun would split the clouds for a short time before hiding again. I'm now stuck studying, but luckily the weather isn't the nicest anyways.
[Picture 1 - Engineering building, right, on Symonds Street. My preferred location of study] [Picture 2 - Mission Bay, 1.5-2 hour walk from home]


Borghild and Me at the Snagon gig. A really fun show!
This is what happens when you leave your room for five minutes. The sofa cushions get stacked in front of your door.

Soccer, Fish, and a Light Show

Last weekend I played some soccer in the Domain with some friends. It was good as usual. I got drilled with the ball three times at near point-blank by a German. I told him it didn't hurt, but really it did sting a little.

Friday I bought some pet fish! The first pet store we went to only had different kinds of gold fish and a poor selection of bowls, but I grabbed the pebbles and picked out the fish I wanted. However, the lady wouldn't sell it to me since I didn't have my aquarium set up yet. We left and went out to another store. It was strictly a fish store and there was so much more of a selection. I bought a little plastic tank, food, and six fish. Five of them are X-Ray Tetras (one has black eyes, so I named him Stevie Wonder) and the last one is a Pleco (I named him Norman). They like the tranquility of my room, but when I bring them out to the living room they get pretty scared when my flatmate Sawyer taps on the tank. I have to explain to them how it hurts them.


Finding Nemo at the Aquarium

This week has been full of earthquakes and tsunami warnings. Samoa suffered from a devastating tsunami, caused by a quake, which killed 104 people. The small island nation is receiving aid from it's southern neighbor, New Zealand. A few days later Vanuatu also had a tsunami. Both of these natural disasters caused Auckland Regional Council to call a tsunami warning. Residents were advised to stay off the beaches. The tsunami must have only been a few centimeters for us, because it didn't even make the news.
Yesterday, Borghild and I went to Kelly Tarlton's Antarctic Encounter Underwater World. It's pretty small, but we still managed to spend about 90 minutes there. Megalodon, the monster prehistoric shark was the featured display. For the Antarctic portion of Kelly Tarlton's you hop into theme park-styled snow cats and are taken around the small penguin exhibit. The aquarium has two types of penguins, King and Gentoo. To see the sharks, sting rays, turtles, and fish…

The Countdown

Things are beginning to wrap up here at uni. I had my presentation last week and I stuck the landing! Nailed it! This weekend I've been buried in my new essay about Antarctic Tourism and another assignment regarding graphs. Luckily, it's raining today so I'll be able to focus a bit better.
It was pretty awesome waking up this morning and seeing that Michigan State beat University of Michigan 26-20. I wonder if MSU did the haka? My flatmates have a little trouble understanding why a college football game would make network television.
There are officially only three weeks of lectures left and then only three weeks after that until end of exams. It's crunch time!

Thanksgiving in September

Saturday I had friends over and we cooked a quick version of Thanksgiving foods. I made apple pie, mashed potatoes, savory (Beaner's) beans, stuffing, and gravy. Instead of spending five hours cooking a turkey, we opted for the quick and convenient choice of buying roasted chicken from the grocery store. I was surprised to discover that New Zealand lacks canned pumpkin, so there was no pumpkin pie. I found this so strange because kiwis use pumpkin in several typical recipes, which include pumpkin soup. Also on the menu was corn pudding; however, monterey jack cheese was no where to be found. There were eleven of us in total and the meal was a total success! We are planning the next meal to be on or around November 2, for Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead).


Spent quite a bit of time studying for my Antarctica: The Frozen Continent mid-term and most of the questions were the same as on the practice tests. I'm feeling very confident. I managed to get my presentation on the effects of underwater sound on fish done and will present to the class on September 29. And to top it all off I got 100% on my International Business quiz! I can actually semi-relax this weekend with a little occasional Biology studying and playing my mandolin. I will also be starting up at Kathmandu this week! I'm feeling great!
[Picture from Taupo camping trip]

Spring is here!

That's right, spring has finally arrived. I have felt like I've been in eight months of winter with very little warm weather but the trees are green again in Auckland! And yet here I am, stuck inside studying Antarctica, working on my presentation on underwater sound with fish, and soon to be working. That's right, I now have a job! I begin this week at Kathmandu. It's an outdoors store that specializes in fancy camping gear and clothes. A little bit similar to L.L. Bean I think. I won't get 20 hours per week so I'm on the hunt for a second job, mostly for once summer vacation starts so that I can keep money coming in.
I am on quite the workout routine now as well. My Norwegian friend, Borghild, and I have been working out nearly everyday and watching what we eat...all the way down to no more beer! WHAT?! The good thing that has come out of this though is that my wallet is staying fat on this new diet. Which eventually leads to hopefully getting home for next Th…

Lake Taupo

On Thursday I went down to Taupo for a five night camping trip with Borghild, Divya, and Frank. We left Auckland via coach bus and had a fun ride down. Our bus driver was pretty funny and there was a girl about my age playing banjo. We talked for quite sometime about bluegrass and folk music. She was really glad to meet another folk music person since it isn't very popular in New Zealand. She has a band and has been playing the banjo for six years, just as long as me with my mandolin. Next time she is up in Auckland, she and I will be having a jam session.

We got off the bus in Taupo with beautiful weather; some clouds, but no rain. We took a taxi to the Great Lake Holiday Park and set up our tent. It wasn't a campground, but was the closest thing to it at the time. There was a full kitchen, bathrooms, a lounge, BBQ and a hot tub. We made hamburgers and sausages for dinner and finished up with some attempted volleyball before keeping warm in the lounge that ended up not being h…


I will be down in Lake Taupo until Tuesday and will have a nice long blog entry upon my return!

Whales Tails

On Saturday night a group of us went to my friend Becca's flat. She told us about this game called "Whales Tails" that she played at Florida Tech. That's all I am allowed to say.

Fire Hazard

Saturday morning a group of us woke up early to head out to Muriwai Beach and enjoy the sunshine. Sadly there wasn't much sunshine most of the day but it was still nice. Borghild and I were able to catch some rays at least, but it's not noticeable. A couple guys surfed, but the waves were really bad and it was hard for them to get up more than twice. It was still a nice relaxing day at the beach.

It is now mid-semester break. Yesterday, Borghild came over all day and since it was pouring rain we sat on the couch and watched movies and just relaxed. That night I fell into a nice sleep...that is until about 4AM when the fire alarms started going off. I couldn't even hear the alarms in my room! That's the scary part. Eike opened my door and that's what woke me up. The six of us flatmates went down the eight floors of stairs and saw three fire trucks outside. There was no sign of smoke. Everyone who evacuated did not seem very smart and stood right outside the main doo…

Still Sick

This cold is not getting any better. I thought that I was totally over it until Saturday night after playing soccer in the park with some mates. The past two days I have had a stuffy nose. The only good thing to come out of having a stuffy nose is that today in my biology lab I had to dissect a fish. It was a 24cm long carp, and according to my lab partner the whole room reeked of dead fish. I had a pretty good dissection, and yet I was probably the messiest one. There was fish blood all over the tabletop and the lab instructors would walk by and say "You really are enjoying lab this week!" I wish I brought my camera to take some pictures.
I have now been sitting at my desk for the past six hours working on my essay for Antarctica. It's coming along slowly but surely. I'm not looking forward to my international business mid-term on Thursday. But after this week I will have two heavenly weeks off to get rid of this cold!
I hope I can sleep well tonight since I'm so …

Busy week ahead!

On Thursday night I had a Comparative Animal Biology mid-term exam. Monday I have an abstract for my project due. It only needs to be 300 words but it is so difficult to explain something in that small amount of space. I would much rather write 1500 words! Then on Wednesday my essay for Antarctica is due. The research question is:
Describe the origins and nature of the Antarctic Ice Sheet and discuss how climactic change might be affecting its dynamics. Include in your essay a description of the two major components of the Antarctic Ice Sheet and discuss various lines of evidence relating to how they might be affected by climate warming and what the consequences of this warming might be.
HOT DAMN! That's a mouthful! And finally on Thursday I have a mid-term exam for International Business. It will be interesting. The whole lecture hour is pretty much "this is why America sucks." I realize that it's just the reality of international business with the United States bein…


Here are some videos from Queenstown that I put together into one clip from April 2009.

Beautiful Day

I woke up this morning to a beautiful day! The sun was piercing my eyes since I forgot to close my blinds last night and my room was lit up. It was a good way to start the morning though. I got to talk to Marius and his best friend Martin back in Norway. They were watching a soccer game on tv and said one of the best parts of the game was watching a guy get hit in the "croutch" with the ball. I then had to help them practice saying "crotch" funny!
It's so nice out today that I hope I can concentrate on studying. The whole weekend it was pouring rain and I didn't get out of the apartment much during the day. But I can't enjoy the weather too much because I have an exam for Comparative Animal Biology on Thursday! Time is flying by so fast, it's hard to believe I'm already into my fourth week at uni.
I have been keeping up with my gym routine. The cold is mostly gone but now my voice is also gone. My friend Ron celebrated his 29th birthday (the…


Thank goodness it's Friday! It's a rainy day today. Have one last class and then I will be done for the day. I will probably go to the gym and then get to work on my essay regarding how climate changes affect the Antarctic Ice Sheet. All but one of my lecturers for this course have spent time in Antarctica! I'm slowly getting over this cold, but woke up with red, watering eyes this morning - not fun. But my Comparative Animal Biology course was funny and interesting as usual. My professor told us that his 93 year-old dad has a facebook with five friends!

Tonight I plan to bake brownies with Borghild and then go to Frank's to watch a movie. Becca told me that she plays violin, so I think I will see if she wants to play together some time. She is a lot of fun and is like a mentor for me since she is a post-graduate Marine Biology student. I hope to stop by Kelly Tarlton's soon. It's an aquarium about 30 minutes from here...probably about a 90 minute walk from cit…

Just keep swimming.

A little update with what has been happening on the other end of the earth. I'm constantly researching for my science classes, which I thoroughly enjoy! I have a bit of a cold and it has moved from my head to my lungs now. I go to the gym six days a week and my exercise routines have been significantly lighter than the usual because of it. I would just stay home, but I need to keep on track. I love my new routine!
The research I'm doing is very basic; just reading scientific journals and talking to professors. The presentation will be eight minutes on the effects of underwater sound on fish. So far I have found out that it plays a role in guiding pelagic post-larval fish and crustaceans to settlement habitats in reefs. Sorry if that was like reading Chinese to some of you. I have been contacting my Marine Science professor from last semester, John Montgomery, about his research on the matter. He is published in a few scientific journals.
How do you like the new layout? I thought…

Comparative Animal Biology

Thought I would give an update on what has been going on with my studies here in New Zealand. I woke up this morning at 5:30AM feeling great! I made some tea, got some cereal, and turned on the BBC news that's played through the web. I stumbled upon an interesting link leading to the National Geographic site and saw one of the coolest things: prosthetic limbs for an injured 20-year old loggerhead sea turtle! The turtle was found intertwined in fishing nets in Japan she also had various wounds caused by sharks (lost half of one forelimb and a third of the other). Loggerhead turtles are endangered and it is amazing that scientists have developed this solution!

This is the link to the video if you're curious:
Today in my Comparative Animal Biology lecture we discussed the Phylum Chordata (includes vertebrates). The lecturer was pretty comical. We learned about the supergroup that…

Happy Birthday, Dad

Dad, today is your 50th birthday! Happy birthday, you old fart. I hope it is a good one and I'm sad I am not there to celebrate with you. I took my weekly walk to Mission Bay yesterday morning. It was nice and sunny when I started walking and then on the way back, out of nowhere, came heaps of rain! I walked into my apartment soaked to the bone. It was refreshing at least. In other news, last night some friends had a theme party. We were supposed to dress up as pirates, but I didn't feel like trying to put together a pirate costume I wore all blue and put some green streamers around my neck - I was "Davey Jones Locker," also known as the ocean. I was quite a hit.

Today I am continuing my research for one of my courses today. It is on fish behaviour with underwater sound. Fact of the day - fish make sounds, mostly for mating rituals.Here's some pictures from my walk to Mission Bay. It's a four-hour walk, round trip. This is a view from the beach of Mt. Rangito…

Keeping up with the pace of things.

This week I have been encountering some ups and downs while trying to renew my student visa. But there shouldn't be too much trouble, just some hurdles. Woke up this morning to a nice sunrise. Sadly I have class at 9am, so I don't have time to walk down to the harbor and take some more pictures. This weekend my new friends are going down to the caves in Waitomo, but I need to save my money and study this weekend. There are a lot of terms that I need to make sure I have memorized for my Comparative Animal Biology class. It's so interesting! We had lab this week, and we have to wear lab coats. I didn't have money for one so I was allowed to borrow one from the department for $2. We watched a chlorohydra animal capture and eat a bloodworm! It was so least for me. I will try to keep updating as much as possible. Not too much happening at the moment. It's winter. It's chilly and occasionally rainy. But summer isn't too far away now!

Here is the view of…

Weekend Update

This week has been a busy one. Been running around looking for a job and getting my visa renewed. I've been definitely living on the cheap by eating apples, oranges, salad, and the occasional "international meal" that is cooked in our flat by a new student. I'm inside the student commons right now, but it looks very nice outside. Yesterday was beautiful! I started my walk down to Mission Bay at 9:30AM and go there around 11 or 11:30AM. It was a very nice walk with a good view of the harbor. My only wish was that there weren't cars driving by constantly. When I was about 15 minutes away from the beach at Mission Bay, I bumped into Borghild, Skott, Jonas and Andreas. We walked along the beach and looked at shells. Then we walked up the hill to a monument and enjoyed the warm sun. We walked back to the city, bought a bottle of wine and some bread. We sat outside the Parnell Student Village at a picnic table and just enjoy the simple, good company.

Tomorrow is the sa…

Piha and First Day at Uni

Sunday afternoon I went on a little day trip/hike to Piha on the west coast on the Tasman Sea with Borghild, Eike and Sawyer. It was a beautiful drive outside the city and there were great views of the sea and some mountains. When we got there, we parked the car and walked along the beach. We saw kite surfers, hikers, people with their kids and dogs, and jelly fish that had been washed up on shore. The waves were HUGE! The wind was pretty strong and there were warning signs of strong currents. In the middle of the beach was "Lion Rock." It looked like it would take us a while to climb to the top but it was blocked off half-way up due to unstable rocks. We ended up reaching the end of the little climb in less than ten minutes, but the view was great. We thought about staying up there to watch the sunset, but we had plenty of time to explore more of Piha.

We then walked a little farther down the beach to a trail that lead up above the beach and over to a cove. The waves crashe…

First Day Back in NZ

What a stressful trip back to NZ! Because I was held up so long in Detroit, I missed my flight to L.A. from Memphis and then once I finally got to L.A. I had to sprint to my flight! The man I sat next to on the plane said that he studied geography at Auckland Uni and he seemed really interesting and then all of a sudden I looked over and saw him watching the Hannah Montana Move. Interesting. There was a small chance that I would actually get my luggage, but the people working for the airline were awesome and I got my bags and headed to my flat.

After getting into Auckland at 4:45am local time, I caught the bus to downtown near my flat. I got back to sleep around 7:30am and woke up again just after 1pm. I got lunch with my friend Ron and then picked up some groceries. When I got back my flatmate, Sawyer, asked if I wanted to help out with the iSpace quiz night (an event for new international students). I helped set up and after the newbies sat down and we began the quiz it wasn't d…

In the Memphis airport

Hey all!

Sitting in the Memphis airport wasting some time before my flight to Los Angeles. Then once I'm on the plane in L.A., I'll only have 15 hours until I'm back in Auckland, New Zealand. I'll be finishing my degree there. I will have a double major in Biology and Marine Science after another two years. This is very exciting, though I will miss everyone heaps. When I was laying in bed last night, it finally hit me that I won't see people for a long time. This whole thing is very bittersweet. My old friend, Nathan, told me that of all his friends I was by far doing the coolest thing. It's so nice to know how much support I have from everyone. I know that I'll be keeping in touch with everyone as much as possible, and if you send me your address then I will get a postcard out to you as soon as possible.

I will continue updating my blog. I love you all lots and hope to come home next Christmas. If you're interested in visiting New Zealand, just shoot me…

More Pictures from Auckland

1 - Max, trying to play my mandolin, and James
2 - One more "family portrait" with "Big Brother" Sven
3 - Marius near Albert Park
4 - Flowers in Albert Park
5 - Sad to say goodbye to Max
6 - Partial group picture (mostly Norwegians). So many mates still missing from the photo :(
7 - My luggage in Los Angeles on the way back to Detroit.