Single Digits!

Only nine more days left of this amazing experience- it’s so hard to believe! Jess & I had so much fun this past week, it was so nice to have my best friend fly all the way across the world to come see me! This is us at the top of Auckland’s famous Sky Tower.

It’s now 7pm on a Sunday, and tomorrow afternoon I will sit for my last final exam as a University of Auckland student. The following morning I will be heading to the airport with Tyler and Lea to spend a few days in Wellington, the capital of NZ.

We return Friday night, which will mark our last weekend in New Zealand! Tuesday morning I will be heading back home to the States, and it is SUCH a crazy feeling. 

Exam, Exam, Excitement!

Well, I just finished my first final exam at the University of Auckland! Aside from going to the wrong room, sitting in the wrong seat (once I found the right room), and getting yelled at for starting too soon, it went well! LOL

In two days I will have another exam, but more importantly it will be the morning Jess arrives! I can’t even describe how excited I am for my best friend to come visit! I have been in Auckland for exactly 16 weeks and I officially miss home! What better remedy than to have my favorite part of home come to me!

Gotta start cramming for my next exam, but here is a picture from the All Blacks game I went to last weekend! 

(Don’t let the picture fool you, it was about 50 degrees that night!) Brrr

Good-Bye Friend, Hello Finals?!

It is 4pm on Tuesday, and I just sent Mia off to the airport. This past week flew! We crammed in as much as we absolutely could, and had an amazing week! On Saturday, we took the ferry to Waiheke Island to go zip lining and it was a blast. However, we were in a rush to get back to the ferry afterwards because we had tickets to the Blues rugby game that night in Auckland. The Blues won, which made sitting in the freezing cold a little more worth it, and by the time the day was over we were exhausted!

On Sunday we took the ferry to Rangitoto Island, which is the youngest volcano in New Zealand. Although it erupted almost 600 years ago, it is the only volcano in NZ that still has the potential to erupt again. We spent about five hours on the island, hiking to the summit, walking around the massive crater, and we even were brave enough to crawl through some of the old lava caves!

Monday was the Queen’s birthday, so I had the full day off from classes. Since we didn’t get to explore Waiheke like Mia had hoped, we decided to take the ferry back over for the day. There we went to two different vineyards and experienced their famous wine tastings. We ate dinner on the island, and unfortunately missed our ferry back, so we had to stick around in the terminal for an extra hour and a half.

This morning we took the bus to Mt. Eden, which is only about a fifteen minute ride away. There we hiked up a much older and much smaller volcano, where we got a cool 360 degree view of Auckland below.

Now it is time to buckle down and start thinking about finals! Only three more days of classes are left of the semester, and then exams begin! Seeing Mia made me miss my friends from home even more, but in about ten days, Jess will be here! 

Sky-High

Mia has arrived! It is so nice to have a little piece of home here with me! Although she’s been fighting jet-lag, we’ve been able to do a lot around the city these past few days. This morning, we went on a Sky Walk, which takes place at Auckland Sky Tower. We walked around a 1 meter wide plank, 192 meters above the city! That’s almost 1,100 feet! Afterwards, we spent the day walking around downtown checking out the different shops. Tonight is the beginning of the Queen’s birthday weekend, so I’m really excited to go out and introduce Mia to all of my new friends!

Tomorrow morning we are going to Waiheke Island to go zip-lining! I’m so excited, because the past few days have been overcast and misty, and tomorrow it is finally going to clear up. We plan on getting up early to take the ferry, so we can spend some extra time before and after exploring the island. Waiheke is famous for its vineyard, so if we are lucky maybe we will get to taste some of the nice wines, too!

Free Fallin’

WE DID IT! We FINALLY went sky diving! 14 of us headed 3 hours south to Taupo for the weekend. The house we rented was beautiful, and we got to celebrate Erica’s 21st birthday the right way. While some of the guys went golfing, and some others hiked the infamous Mt Doom, the rest of us decided to sky dive. 

The majority of the weekend was spent relaxing in the house- something that we haven’t had a chance to do in a while. It was great to take our minds off school and assignments for a couple of days.

This week will be spent doing some serious cramming in preparation for Mia’s arrival in ten days! Wish me luck! :)

They Give Homework In New Zealand?

Again, another week of assignments! I thought we weren’t supposed to have any homework abroad!?

I had a presentation today in a class which I’m the only American. The class is titled The History of Medicine, and part of the material I had to cover mentioned malpractice in Massachusetts hospitals… it was interesting to say the least.

I have two more papers to finish this week before we head off to Taupo for the weekend. 14 of us are renting a house, and weather-permitting we plan to finally sky dive! *fingers crossed*

Back to School

I know I say it enough, but time is FLYING! Yet another week has gone by and I’m afraid next time I blink I’ll be at the airport heading back home! The second half of the semester is under way and the assignments are stacking up fast. I passed in a 12 page paper this morning, which would have been more satisfying if I wasn’t already working on another. It is crazy that my roommates are moving out of Bryant and I’m only half way through!

Over the next few weeks I will be cramming in assignments, because at the end of the month my friend from Bryant is coming to visit! I’m excited to give her a taste of New Zealand, and experience a little bit of what I’ve been fortunate enough to experience over the past two months. After that, classes will wrap up and finals will start. Final exams here are worth 60% of our grade so I’m a little nervous about that! But after finals another friend from home is coming to visit, and we will spend the last leg of my journey here together!

Since not much has gone on this past week, I will post a few more pictures from my South Island trip:

Home Sweet Auckland!

What an incredible trip!

After landing in Christchurch on April 11, our trip began in the pouring rain. It was much colder than we anticipated, and as it turned out there was a cyclone that we would be following for the first 8 days- just our luck! Unfortunately, that meant that many of our planned activities were cancelled, such as sky diving and kayaking, but of course we made the best of it. There were 8 of us for the first week, and 5 for the latter. We were still able to stick to our itinerary for the most part, which was nice. We began in Christchurch and looped around the island counter-clockwise. We still managed to see a lot even with the wind and the rain, and still got some great pictures. We were still able to do most of our hikes, too which was nice (and free). We travelled from hostel to hostel, (some worse than others), but it was an amazing experience nonetheless. It definitely gave us a great appreciation for Auckland’s mild weather after living out of a soggy backpack for 2 weeks.

Although I was bummed out that I wasn’t able to skydive, or see penguins – the two things I wanted to accomplish, we were able to do other activities instead. We toured a huge cave in Abel Tasman, hiked Arthur’s Pass, bungeed in Queenstown, and toured the famous Speight’s brewery in Dunedin. I still hope to skydive before I leave New Zealand, and I guess I will settle for seeing penguins at the Auckland Zoo instead. And as for the $500 I saved from skipping those activities, I booked a tattoo appointment for later this week- don’t tell my parents!

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South Bound

What a week! I woke up early this morning to pass in my papers and go to my last day of classes. It’s now 1am on Friday and I’m scrambling to pack for mid-semester break! I leave for the airport in a few hours to fly to the South Island for two weeks. Me and 3 others are flying into Christchurch, where we will pick up a rental car and spend our first night. The following morning four more of my friends will arrive, and the adventure will begin!

We have been working on our itinerary for a month and it is PACKED! We plan to see most of the South Island, and I couldn’t be more excited. I am a little bit nervous to drive on the opposite side of these windy New Zealand roads, but I’m sure we will do just fine. Unfortunately, I will not have internet or access to my laptop for the next two weeks, so I will not be able to post- but I will be taking LOTS of pictures! :)

The Chronicles of Coromandel

Again, this week FLEW by! But this weekend was absolutely amazing! After classes on Friday a huge group of us headed to Coromandel, a peninsula about three hours south east of Auckland. 14 of us stayed in a hostel on the beach for two nights. Our first full day we drove to Cathedral Cove, about a half hour from the hostel. It was the most incredible beach I’ve ever been to! Crystal clear water and white sand was only the beginning. In fact, I learned that part of the Chronicles of Narnia was filmed there. After we parked our car it was a 50 minute walk to the beach itself but it was well worth it!

Here’s a link someone sent me of the scene in Narnia with Cathedral Cove in it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=39xnFVV4IpQ

On Sunday we went to the Hot Water Beach, where we rented spades and dug a huuuuge hole that formed a natural hot bath! At low tide, a part of the beach is exposed that has hot rocks underneath. So when the tide goes down, you can actually see the sand steaming! We managed to dig for almost an hour forming a pool of hot water that held all 14 of us- and it was HOT! I could only stand to sit in it for about a half hour before I needed to go cool off in the ocean but it was such a cool experience! We spent about half a day on that beach and then headed back home to Auckland.

As for now, assignment due dates are rolling in and I’m scrambling to submit four papers before the end of next week. It’s not going to be a fun two weeks, between writing these papers, passing in other assignments, and registering for classes back home. But then on April 11 I’ll be flying down to the South Island for mid-semester break, where I will backpack with 4 of my friends for 2 weeks- it’s the light at the end of the tunnel! Well, time to get going on these papers!