Showing posts from February, 2011

First day of school!

Today was the first day of the last semester of my Bachelors degree. It was just like the first day of every other semester: groups of Asians smoking by the "This is a non-smoking campus" signs, first years looking lost, crowded side walks, and the introduction lectures repeating that there is no cheating allowed. The only difference this semester making it feel so different was that it's my last one! Oh, and I have my first class at Tamaki campus, which is a 20 minute bus ride from the city.
This semester I'm enrolled in: principles of ecology, freshwater ecology, marine ecology and conservation ecology. Ecology is the theme this semester, but the field trips should be fun.

It's my birthday!

First birthday wish was via a phone call at 12:30AM (New Zealand time) from Marius. Though it woke me up, it was a sweet surprise. This morning I watched the Wild Thornberries, which was one of my favorite cartoons as a kid, then I got to talk to Marius on skype for almost 2 hours. Now I am watching my favorite movie (O' Brother, Where Art Thou?) before a pizza lunch with Mike and Divya. I can already tell it will be a nice day! [at 9AM]
....until my computer broke :( [at 11:30AM]
But then my flatmate, Mike, bought me a cake, pizza and wine to celebrate my birthday with me. It was such a nice treat! Really cheered me up after my computer gave me a panic attack and made me sad.

Earthquakes continue

There was an earthquake in Christchurch today. It wasn't very high on the Richter scale, but it was very shallow. Numerous fatalities (65 reported, so far), many people trapped under rubble. Prayers go out to those in Christchurch.

So long, mandolin.

Sold my mandolin on the New Zealand version of eBay today ( so that I could make some spare cash and trim down what I have to lug home. Luckily I still have my nicer mandolin back in Michigan, but I'm going to miss bringing out my inner hillbilly this semester. I hope the new owner treats it well and plays it often.

The Running Project

[Destination 1: Raglan]
So this is the start to my little project I'm going to do for my final semester in New Zealand. Since I run quite a bit each week, I'll map the distance and write a little blurb about the town related to the distance from Auckland that I will have run that week. Obviously I'm not running around New Zealand, but it's a nice way to inform readers about the beautiful country. So this is my travel guide to New Zealand based on how much I run. Follow the black line down the map and each featured destination will have a purple dot.
Since I'm starting this quite late in my running journey, I started with since I started mapping and tracking my runs daily - so January 8. From January 8th to February 8th I ran a total of 155 kilometers (I think it's more, but I'm not positive). That distance is enough to get to Raglan, which is the biggest town in the area.
Raglan is known as a great place to surf. Many families also go there for a weekend camp…

On sea cucumbers

When I was diving in Thailand, I was fascinated with the sea cucumbers. They aren't much to look at for people who like the more animated creatures, but after spending a semester learning about how these guys work I was amazed at how efficient they are as the ocean's vacuums. Now there is research finding that they could solve problems with fishery pollution, becoming a natural, organic cleaner for fish farms around the world. How creative! And better yet, the number of sea cucumbers could bounce back to a healthy population level. It's a win-win situation!
For the full article click (here)

Dog sitting on Waiheke Island...again

I was hired out by Hannah and Sonny to take care of their two dogs again while a friend of theirs is visiting. I am on Waiheke Island until Tuesday, when I have my summer school exam. It's nice to get away from the city, but I can't get too relaxed or I won't study hard enough for this exam. It's peaceful here, but some human company would be nice to have every now and then.
Last night I was bit on the eyelid by a mosquito. That did not look too nice this morning when I had to go to work. The swelling has gone down a bit, but I probably resembled "Sloth" from "The Goonies"...ok, maybe not that bad. I'm bustin' out the citronella tonight!
Forgot my camera at my apartment, otherwise I would have taken pictures of the nice sunset...and my fat eye.
[got a picture with my webcam of my study setup in the kitchen, pretty cozy]

Go Packers!

Saw the Superbowl today at a sports bar in town with a few friends (from WI) who are die-hard Packers fans. It was pretty fun and actually very crowded! There was an even number of Steelers and Packers fans. Many Islanders are Steelers fan because of Troy Polamalu, from Samoa. Go Pack go!

Auckland is a strange place sometimes.

Today on my way to the grocery store after work, I walked by a mini Egypt march down one of the side streets with a random guy holding a sign wanting to raise the minimum wage up to $15/hour. What was he trying to accomplish in a group of Egyptian protesters?!
Just a few meters down the road there was a gentleman's bar (or strip club), and there was a line up of about six creepy, dirty looking guys waiting to get admitted into the club. CREEPY! -------------------------
In other news, tomorrow (Feb. 6) is Waitangi Day. It is the day that celebrates the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, New Zealand's founding document in 1840. The treaty made New Zealand a part of the British Empire, guarnateed Maori rights to their land, and gave Maori rights as British subjects.
Every year there is a ceremony at the Waitangi Treaty grounds in Bay of Islands (about 3 hours north of Auckland). Mom and I walked on the grounds and took some photos when she was here...

Another mass stranding

There was yet another mass stranding of 82 pilot whales near Nelson this week where ten whales died. What causes these mass events?
Pilot whales are a deep water species, like sperm whales, and often beach themselves on New Zealand coasts. There has been some speculation that low- and mid-frequency sonar used in military ships are linked to mass strandings.
Other possible causes of strandings include: - water conditions - diseases - underwater seismic activity - unfamiliar underwater topography
The underwater seismic activity seems to be linked to New Zealand since the country sits on a continental plate boundary, but I'm not going to say that is my opinion on the matter.
TVNZ article

For Grandma Bea and Aunt Joanie

Here we are in the grays of winter, hold my hand, let's face tomorrow...
Here's some wings, they're yours forever. And here's some dreams that will come true.
May you sleep in peace Bea and Joanie, you will be missed."There is some kind of bigger thing that we can all appreciate and it sounds to me you don't mind calling it God. But when you forgive, you love. And when you love, God's light shines through you."